15

Always In Postscript

by Willamette
Own Records

This has been my go-to album this year, for blocking out the world. From my review - "Residue of ghosts leave their trace in objects and artefacts within these echoing rooms, willamette successfully capture this stirring intensity, rendering a gracefully architected work through these wonderfully minimal, yet cavernous pieces."

http://ownrecords.bandcamp.com/album/always-in-postscript

14

Woven Tide

by From the Mouth of the Sun
Experimedia

Released almost a year ago now, Woven Tide is an album that I've revisited numerous times when in the right frame of mind, and continue to be amazed by the sheer melancholic punch it manages to deliver. As I said in my review earlier this year these are "tales of loss, cathartic euphoria, and hope from out of pain and despair". Hoping for more in 2013...

http://label.experimedia.net/021/

13

Digressions

by Greg Haines
Preservation

I'm sure many will agree with this choice, an almost immediate hit with many it seemed at the time of release, and rightly so. Digressions has moments of sheer brilliance - mostly down to the attention to detail in how the notes are played - the gentleness of touch, speed of crescendo, and air around the recording; all making for a rich vibrant tone throughout.

http://www.preservation.com.au/product/greg-haines-digressions

12

Confluences

by Saaad
BLWBCK

Romain Barbot & Greg Buffier's Saaad project delivers their best work yet. A real drone-scape journey to get lost in, the duo try new things on Confluences but stay focused with the overall sound.

http://www.blwbck.com/catalog/2012/09/saaad-confluences/

11

The Cowboy Across the River

by Hakobune
Constellation Tatsu

Takahiro Yorifuji is a busy man. I counted 10 album releases this year (is that right/possible?!) from him under his Hakobune moniker. From the ones I've heard they're all good, this one though, a great cassette release on Constellation Tatsu caught my ear, and I've returned to it many times.

http://www.ctatsu.com/portfolio/the-cowboy-across-the-river-hakobune/

10

Orcas (s/t)

by Orcas
Morr Music

Benoit Pioulard and Rafael Anton Irisarri struck gold on this, their debut album, where every track as strong as the next.

http://www.morrmusic.com/artist/Orcas/release/236

9

Moon Ate The Dark (s/t)

by Moon Ate The Dark
Sonic Pieces

Christopher Bailey and Anna Rose Carter produce a magical work of dark swirling piano, melancholy echoes and strange ethereal noise. The balance between Bailey and Carter strikes a majestic presence throughout.

http://www.sonicpieces.com/sonicpieces014.html

8

And It Was So

by Talvihorros
Denovali Records

Ben Chatwin's 'Descent Into Delta' was on my top ten last year, when I saw 'And It Was So' come in not too long ago I was hoping it would match its sound and stature. In fact, Ben strides forward into new territories. The album adds strings, and percussion to his exploratory guitar. Seeing him conjure cavernous drones, and dark ambience, along side melody and phrasing.

http://www.denovali.com

7

Verse of Birds

by Richard Skelton
Corbel Stone Press

I'll make no bones about it, I'm a big Skelton fan. I don't know any other artist who captures and evokes such tangibly raw representations of nature, and sense of place within a surrounding landscape through original melodic repetition and drone (if you can call it that).

http://www.corbelstonepress.com/verseofbirds.htm

6

Hallelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!

by Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Constellation

It's been a while, so long that its possibly acceptable to view this Godspeed album under the new eyes of an uninitiated, and not those of a listener who nostalgically loves their earlier works. Perhaps they planned it like that? Either way, this is a behemothic creature of an album, exciting and challenging, what more could we have asked for?

http://cstrecords.com/cst081/

5

Charcoal

by Brambles
Serein

I'm ashamed to say I hadn't heard of Brambles before the press went out for Charcoal, if it was on Serein though it was going to be good. Something I like about Charcoal particularly is the range of instrumentation used, and awareness of high and low end sounds with them - an impressive album, immediately loved.

http://www.serein.co.uk/releases/sere003/brambles-charcoal

4

Everything is Connected

by Tobias Hellkvist
Home Normal

There is an intimacy within the folds of microsounds that reveal themselves on Everything is Connected which envelopes you as a listener, each moving into each other, blurring all definable edges in their wake. 'Donors' almost unnoticably travels into 'Christmas Rat', introducing a cloaked minimal beat, a kind of mountainous pinnacle found through heavy mist. Brilliant.

http://homenormal.tumblr.com/

3

The Shattered Light

by Ian Hawgood
Koen Music

You can tell Ian put his heart into this album, perhaps noiser than his previous work, but this just shows what he's capable of. I've come back to The Shattered Light many times and never tired of it, certainly an album that will go the distance and live with many listeners for years to come.

http://koenmusic.tumblr.com/ianhawgood

2

In Miserum Stercus

by Kyle Bobby Dunn
Komino Records

Of the two albums released by Kyle Bobby Dunn this year 'In Miserum Stercus' stands out for me the most. I first listened to it on the train to Paris, watching the French countryside pass by out of the window. There's something about the feeling of stasis Dunn manages to create through his music which is almost like an out of body experience.

http://kominorecords.com/site/news/portfolio/k0m1n0-003/

1

Paraphrases

by Christoph Berg
Facture

From the opening taught violins of Falling Asleep, Paraphrases steps purposefully through a series of considered movements, each possessing their own raw beauty and identity, yet belonging to the overall body of the piece. Tracks such as 'Buildings at night' demand repeated listens for their sheer disarming beauty. The vinyl now takes pride of place in my collection.

http://fac-ture.co.uk/Christoph-Berg-Paraphrases