2012 was a fantastic year in music for me. I seemed to listen to more and enjoy it more. I’m particularly thrilled, touched, honored and humbled by the output of 12k this year and, because of that, ironically, have decided to leave off any 12k releases from this year-end list as to try to remain more objective! Suffice to say, I would likely include all 10 of this year’s 12k releases on the list and there wouldn’t be room for any others. The Boats, Steve Peters + Steve Roden, Gareth Dickson, Simon Scott, Stephan Matheiu, Kane Ikin and the five us us who shared the tour in Japan to come up with the Between CD, including Marcus Fischer, Simon, and Corey and Tomo from Illuha. It was just a highlight year for me and 12k.
But, moving past these label doors I found myself listening to a lot of sleeping music this year. The list below is in no particular order and also includes some older releases because I listened to this stuff constantly over the past 12 months.
I hope you found this year as inspiring as I did and have continued to support your favorite artists and labels. We all greatly rely on our devoted, intelligent listeners to remind us why we do this and to help us move forward.
Here’s to a creative, inspirational and peaceful 2013.
Brian Eno “Lux” (Warp)
I’m so happy to hear a new Brian Eno album that’s nearly as good as his ambient music from the 80’s. “Thursday Afternoon” is my favorite piece of music of all time so I can’t even begin to compare these two, but “Lux” is certainly the best thing Eno has done (to me) in 30 years.
Neil Halstead “Palindrome Hunches” (Brushfire)
A new Neil Halstead album always comes with great anticipation. The opener “Digging Shelters” is worth 10X the price of the album by itself.
Ichiko Aoba “Utabiko” (Daichi Sound)
I’ve felt so fortunate to get to know Ichiko over the past two years and to have performed and collaborated with her. She’s a gem, a true talent. starlight.
Oren Ambarchi “Grapes From The Estate” (Touch)
Introduced to me on the van tour in Japan. While I know Oren I have not spent a lot of time with his music. This album is right up my alley.
The Boats “Do The Boats Dream of Electric Frtiz Pfleumer?” (Slaapwell)
I think my favorite piece of music The Boats have done. Textural, beautiful and crumbling.
Machinefabriek “Halfslaap” (from the album Diorama) (Power Shovel Audio)
I kept gravitating towards this song in particular and had it on heavy rotation. A modern lullaby for sure.
The Singing Skies “Routine and War” (Preservation)
The Preservation label put out great music this year (I have to give a nod to Seaworthy’s “Bellow’s & Breath here, too) but this one really hit me in particular. A great, sometimes retro, sometimes folky, blend of voice and instrumentation.
Billy Gomberg + Offthesky “Flyover Sound” (Experimedia)
On its way to becoming a classic for me. I never cease to discover new sounds within this universe. Such a beautiful release. Highly, highly recommended. Came out in 2009.
Stars of the Lid “And Their Refinement of the Decline” (Kranky)
A nightime staple for sure. Music to dream to.