Another year, another end-of-year music list. You might have seen more of such lists than you care to take in. As selectors/tastemakers/radio show DJs, it’s almost a duty to put out a list that he/she feels best represents music from the past year. Some lists go minimal, while others are longer than the size of a legal pad. In my desire to keep things as simple as possible, I chose to go with the former.
Another thing that may annoy some people is a lack of music reviews as reference guides. Truth be told, it was quite the arduous process just attempting to narrow down the numerous releases, which is why I ended up foregoing a separate list for singles and EPs. It’s safe to say that if I play tracks from an album on my Playtime radio show/podcast, then I’m confident that it’s worth adding to your collection. As much as I’d love to leave a 1-2 paragraph synopsis of each album, it would require listening back to each of the final picks, then deliberating before penning the words down before having to clean up said words into something coherent. That’s not something that I have time to do currently, due to the myriad of things that are on my plate. I would have to give equal time in order to be fair to each of them, and that’s time that is more than I can expend.
The picks are a variety of different styles. There are ten albums that, for me, made the cut in terms of quality. Some of them have pushed along production seldom heard in the mainstream, and others simply are works that are very listenable and that I felt were outstanding enough to be added. The list includes jazz, future soul, future jazz, a bit of 60s/70s retro, choice downbeat, and cutting-edge world sounds. The ten honorable mentions also inhabit those styles, and then some. And finally, I’ve chosen five compilations out of the many fine releases played during the year that were either ace or represented their labels nicely.
Thanks to all of the labels, producers and music promo folks who have supported me and the show this year with loads of quality albums that I played both on air and at DJ gigs. The continued support of spreading quality music is something that I strive to continue to do, and your generosity helps keep the momentum going forward.
And with that, here are my picks. Happy New Year!
Alessandro Scala Quartet – Viagglo Stellare (Schema)
Electric Conversation – Electric Conversation (Futuristica Music)
Reggie B – DNA (Tokyo Dawn)
The Stepkids – Troubadour (Stones Throw)
The Electric Peanut Butter Company – Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics (Ubiquity)
Hiatus Kaiyote – Twalk Tomahawk (Flying Buddha)
Tremor – Huella (Wonderwheel)
Cuttooth – Cuttooth (4Lux)
Alice Russell – To Dust (Tru Thoughts)
Nicole Willis and The Soul Investigators – Tortured Soul (Timmion)
Seravince – Hear to See (Moovmnt)
Louie Vega and the Elements of Life – Eclipse (Fania)
Machinedrum – Vapor City (Ninja Tune)
Jukka Eskola – Orquestra Bossa (Schema)
Mark de Clive-Lowe & The Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra – Take The Space Trane (Tru Thoughts)
Nightmares on Wax – Feelin’ Good (Warp)
Lea Lea – Lea Lea (Wah Wah 45s)
Recondite – Hinterland (Ghostly)
Omar – The Man (Freestyle)
The Bahama Soul Club – The Cuban Tapes (Buyu)
Paskal & Urban Absolute – LUX (Sonar Kollektiv)
Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club Vol. 2 (Freestyle)
Sonar Kollektiving Vol. 1 (Sonar Kollektiv)
Peru Maravilloso (Tiger’s Milk)
Nicola Conte Presents Viagem 5 (Far Out)
Spiritual Jazz 4: Americans in Europe (Jazzman)