Surprise, this year is as exhausting as the previous one. There are a handful of good things happening here and there, one of the more consistent things are good music getting released basically every week. To keep track, The Noise Of has your back!
Joan Wasser gathered a fantastic team of musicians to create The Solution is Restless, most prominently the late Tony Allen. Her new album feels so real, the improvising character shining through as fresh and honest, without being messy. Not only her best album yet, but one of the best records of the year.
They were tons of great albums in the ‘real heavy’ department this year, so it didn’t surprised me at all that Genocidal Rite didn’t stir up any buzz. Which is a shame, since Chuchburn created a disgustingly filthy sludge monster, full of black metal rawness and bleak moments of rage.
I’m still raving about Pink Noise, an album dear to my heart. To have Pili Coït back with their new album Love everywhere is very welcomed, and I appreciate hearing that the duo became even weirder and more special. Somewhere between post punk, folk, and indie, but with a lot of strange ideas gluing everything masterfully together.
What’s left to say about Delta Sleep? They are one of my favorite bands around, juggling an impressive track record of phenomenal releases with a charming, slacker-esque ‘it just happened to be so good’ attitude. Spring Island is their first record under their own label, and it shows a band sticking to what makes them so great, while adding new layers of psychy, trippy elements into their art. Fuck, why they are so good?
I didn’t expect such greatness from this record, to be honest. But I’m always happy to get surprised. On the surface, this is just some indie folk album from a bunch of guys, yet somehow they managed to interweave amazing artsy and psychedelic elements, focusing on a mesmerizing narrative and great sound design.
The moment “Leave the Door Open” dropped earlier this year, we all knew that we were in for a treat. Waiting for an album coming from the collaboration between Bruno Mars and Anderson.Paak, and after getting teased with some more fantastic singles and accompanying videos, An Evening With Silk Sonic gave me what I wanted: A collection of phenomenally written and gorgeously produced songs of the year.
Did I ever express how much I love the term ‘art pop’? Often enough, I just use it to describe music which is rooted in pop music, but went into so much transformation that’s it’s barely recognizable anymore. I love the term because it has a certain vibe of freedom. Sega Bodega obviously enjoys this freedom, since Romeo is such an expressive and diverse album. Absolutely stunning, even.
Prolific electronica artist Jon Hopkins finally and fully caught my interest with his sixth studio album Music For Psychedelic Therapy. I always enjoyed his music, but never made past just one spin. It’s hard to pinpoint what made his newest effort different or better than his previous work, but Hopkins somehow managed to make this experience both lighter and more complex.
Camae Ayewa already impressed me with her latest Moor Mother release, now she and her peers in Irreversible Entanglements are fancy enough to make jazz even more interesting in 2021. Open The Gates lives and breathes improvisation and artistic freedom, dancing and grooving with compelling grooves and intricate arrangements.
From Russia, with love. Blankenberge first appeared on my radar with their 2019’s record More, which I loved. To have them back with a new record was extremely exciting, and while Everything doesn’t take a huge steps forward, it delivers the same kind of magic the band already established on their previous releases.
Percussion-heavy IDM with binaural sound design? Fuck yes! Ever since I fell in love with Kilchhofer‘s Moto Perpetuo, I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff. Supermundane delivers on many levels here, and I can’t count how many times I got totally lost in its soundscapes.
Ben Lamar Gay – Opem Arms to Open Us
November 19 // International Anthem
Open Arms to Open Us encapsulated everything I love about jazz. Artistry without boundaries, reflecting styles and meshing the wildest ideas together. Ben Lamar Gay created a stunning amalgamation of his myriad of influences, and his newest album just breathes authenticity and character.
Back in 2017 when I stumbled upon soup‘s previous record Remedies, I was into it right from the spot. I always appreciate a clever use of vocals in post rock, and soup did it so damn good. Fast forward to November 2021, and the new album Visions dropped onto my plate. I wasn’t impressed, and that bugged me. This time around, the album just needed a bit more more time for me to appreciate the more classic prog vibe, but when it clicked….DAMN.
Fuck, who would have expected that? Converge made me like Chelsea Wolfe? Wild times we’re living it. Converge‘s track record is nothing short of impressive, releasing highlight after highlight, and they didn’t stop that trend with Bloodmoon: I. One of the best things happening in music in 2021.
Makaya McCraven (who is a badass percussionist) has quite a few fantastic album under his belt, most notably 2015’s In The Moment, which is a masterpiece. Deciphering The Message mixed McCraven’s contemporary version of jazz and combines it with samples of old school jazz. And it works just fucking good.
I’m just gonna quote myself here: I wanna die wrapped in jazz. As always, Charles Rumback shows how effortlessly he combines smoothness with a creeping and unnerving subtext of composition. Mesmerizing and intricate, Seven Bridges lures you in just to show you that this magical forest is full of meat-eating plants and free-jazzing wolves.
Beautifully Black just fucking blew me away, plain and simple. When I put it on, I’ve expected it to be just another weird hip hop album, but it’s so much more than that. Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon is such a charismatic and intriguing rapper, who delivered one of the most memorable efforts in the genre.
There is something truly special about Dans L’Interminable. I, The Voidhanger delievered some of the most unique metal records of the year AGAIN, with Kreationist being one of the most fascinating ones. An absolute belter if you want your black metal a bit twisted!
Cosmic black metal which is actually good beyond its premise? Woah, that’s surprising. Imperialist‘s newest album Zenith slaps and plays rather delicately with the whole cosmic approach. While the production can be a bit rough here and there, it’s thick and emulates the feeling of a spacey void with expertise.
There is so much to say about this album. How Cynic have built up one of most enjoyable and engaging discographies in music. How only Paul Masvidal was able to create this spacey and meditative experience which is Ascensions Codes with authenticity and a nearly therapeutic power. Or how this project just keep evolving. I’m very thankful to have Cynic in my life.
Thanks for scrolling.