After looking back over a year of very, very nice releases, I can confirm that 2013 has been the best year for music since 2012. Things are changing as people evolve and build on sounds that already exist, but it's like a shedding of skin. Nothing is 'dead', nor are we living through any particular golden ages. We'll have to wait until a music hack gets 20 years down the road, writes a book about things as they remember them to be, and then we will have the half-remembered blueprint of what shaped our lives at this current moment seen through a very singular lens.

But, if they are to mine the 405 vaults for things that scared/scarred me this year, then here's a handy primer.



Album of the Year:

Hey Colossus - Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo

"Hey Colossus are your goofy but righteous friend. Too jovial for the pomp and high camp that other, 'doomier' bands drown their presence in for grim authenticity, they are fun and crushing in equal measure and that is really quite OK with me."


Runners-up

Okkyung Lee - Ghil "There are musicians who have such intimacy and understanding with their instrument that they are able to change the nature of the beast entirely, and Okkyung Lee is one of those people."

A-Sun Amissa - You Stood Up For Victory, We Stood Up For Less

"It's a glorious whimper that stretches itself out until the very last breath. It wouldn't feel right any other way."


EP of the Year

Weed Thief - Dead Dog

"Slowed down grindcore that's tighter than a gnat's chuff. Proper octopus limbs and helter-skelter bass play."


Tape of the Year

Bedroom Suite

"Not since I first discovered William Basinski's Disintegration Loops have I felt so emotionally connected to a piece of ambient music. Its softly washing synths push and pull gently, until you unconsciously match your breathing to it and there is a connection between the body and the sound - from here everything external to the tape's core feeds directly into your mind, turning the most incidental of noises into grand events, no matter how insignificant they may or may not seem. Listening to this body of work is an exquisite pleasure, of that there is no doubt."

(N.B. Although this tape was a limited run of 20 and fully sold out by now, I have had it confirmed that there will be a repress in the near future on either Step Pepper - or Male Activity).