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Key To 2013

2013 was easily the best year for music that I've experienced. It had everything from spectacular comeback albums (this will be a recurring theme throughout this list), to outstanding debuts. Loosely ranked, I've put tags and descriptions just in case anyone's interested as well as links to any free albums.

Black Metal

Idm/Ambient ~ Very theatrical album reminiscent of Kashiwa Daisuke's Program
Music I, but with a lot of vocal samples and some singing.
98Dr. Quandary

Trip-hop ~ free on bandcamp
97The National
Trouble Will Find Me

Indie ~ somewhat of a disappointment as it doesn't live up to the last 2 albums,
96Of Solitude and Solemn
Of Solitude and Solemn

Doom metal/post-rock ~ The excellent debut of our very own DarkNoctus. Also has
a new release out this year.
Aetas Cineris

Black metal
94Hope Drone
Hope Drone

Black metal
With Love

92Emyn Muil
Túrin Turambar Dagnir Glaurunga

Black metal ~ Good Summoning worship, we need more of these.
91Battle Dagorath
Cursed Storm of Ages

Black metal
90Forlorn Path
Man's Last Portrait

Black/doom metal ~ Free:

Shoegaze ~ Airs drop any and all black metal influences and go full on gaze, and
the result is very satisfying. Free as well
Recurring Dream

87Omnium Gatherum

Melodic death metal ~ Some really great melodies and ideas brought down by some
mediocre, unfitting vocals and a bit of bloat.
Endless Fantasy

Chiptune/synthpop? ~ Anamanaguchi freshen up their signature chiptune sound by
adding elements of edm and synthpop.

Black metal/post-rock/screamo ~ I'm gonna start by saying Dream House is one of
the songs of the year, and Irrestible lives up to its name, and should really just be
considered part of DH. Unfortunately it all goes downhill from there, and the album
descends into a snoozefest until Pecan Tree tries its best to resuscitate it.
84Mazzy Star
Seasons of Your Day

Dream pop ~ Yet another comeback album, 17 years after their previous one. Hope
Sandoval and co. still got it.
83Fell Voices
Regnum Saturni

Black metal ~ A much more drone-y, lo-fi affair from Fell Voices and that suits me
just fine.

Dark jazzbient? ~ Not quite sure how to label this, but it's eerie as hell. Free:
Terry - D

Orbs and Channels

Drone ~ Free:
79Ildjarn/Hate Forest
Those Once Mighty Fallen

Black metal

77Benoit Pioulard

The Kitchen

Hip-hop ~ Hiero's back after a decade and it's like they haven't missed a beat. Pep
and Del for example are still on point as ever, but I gotta give a special shoutout to
the extremely varied production courtesy of Sacramento DJ crew The Sleepwalkers.
Quiet Moments

Darkwave ~ After 10 years, Lycia put out their best album since A Day in the Stark
Corner (which is also my favorite).
74The Field
Cupid's Head

Minimal techno

Post/black meta
72Old Man Markley
Down Side Up

Folk punk/bluegrass
71Grave Miasma
Odori Sepulcrorum

Death/black metal
70An Autumn for Crippled Children
Hearts Of Light/Blossoms

Post/black metal ~ A nice little EP to whet the appetite early in the year. Only
consists of 2 songs, one of which made it to the LP later on in the year. Free:
69Pusha T
My Name is My Name

Hip-hop ~ Push is on top of his game here, and shines on tracks where he's alone
like the superb Numbers on the Boards. It's just a shame that there are some weak
features and throwaway tracks.
68Soror Dolorosa
No More Heroes


Black metal
66Lotte Kestner
The Bluebird of Happiness

Folk ~ Anna-Lynne Williams of Tresspassers William fame, crafts a collection of
intimate, heartfelt and ultimately beautiful songs. She even managed to make
Beyonce's Halo sound amazing.
65The Fall of Every Season

Death/doom metal ~ Brave Murder Day era Katatonia mixed with a lil Opeth. Yes,
it's as good as that sounds.
The Western Front

Death metal ~ Galloping, NWOBHM influenced death metal a la Arghoslent, but with
some very welcome doom metal influences too.

Shoegaze/drone ~ Boris be gazin like a mo'fucka on this and I love every second of it.
62Fire! Orchestra

61Ghostface Killah
Twelve Reasons to Die

Hip-hop ~ Immaculately produced. The most consistent Clansmen puts out an
outstanding concept album supplemented by downtempo guitar samples courtesy of
Adrian Young who is credited as a collaborator.
60Oneohtrix Point Never
R Plus Seven

Ambient/electronic ~ On his major label debut, Daniel Lopatin releases a worthy
successor to Replica. I can see myself digging this more with time in all honesty.
Oblivion Hymns

Post-rock ~ Hammock tone down the cheese from DS just a tad and the result is
one of the most beautiful albums of the year.
58Quiet Evenings

57Globular and Radioactive Sandwich
Sorbet for the Soul

Psytrance ~ Globular and Radioactie Sandwich provide a song each in the really
trippy sample-heavy Shpongle-esque vein of psytrace. Then they remix the other's
song. So much fun. Free too:
Ghost Colored Halo

55Access to Arasaka
Ecrasez L'Infame

Idm ~ Short and sweet little EP by one of my favourite IDM acts.
Opulent Atrocity

Sick, doomy, crushing dm
Nightmare Ending

Ambient ~ Covered in writing is one of the best tracks of his career. Check it:
A Fabric of Beliefs

Ambient ~ His best release yet. Can't wait for more material.
51Paysage d'Hiver
Das Tor

Black metal ~ As frigid as ever
50Entropia (PL)

Black metal
Spiral Power

Idm ~ User Rev's sweet idm project. Lots of anime and video game
references/samples to be found within that only enhance the experience. Oh and
Tepplin is such a hard jam. Free:
48Julianna Barwick


Progressive metal/jazz fusion ~ When I heard the news in 2012 I think, that
Exivious were setting up a kickstarter for a new album I flipped my shit. And they
haven't disappointed.

Shoegaze ~ A sweet EP from my favourite modern gaze band.
45Julia Holter
Loud City Song

Random Signal Analysis

Idm ~ Free:
The Man Who Died in His Boat

Ambient ~ The b-sides to Dragging a Dead Deer. They're so good though, that they
wouldn't sound out of place on that monumental album.

Garage ~ Adam is such a jam:

Garage ~ Ditto for Grip:

Hip-hop ~ My favorite Clansmen Rebel INS teams up with 7L & Esoteric to make one
of the most satisfying hip-hop albums in recent years. Full of excellent samples and
ridiculous wordplay courtesy of both Inspectah Deck and the much improved
39An Autumn for Crippled Children
try not to destroy everything you love

Post/black metal
38Solar Fields
Origin # 02

Ambient ~ A collection of unreleased tracks from throughout SF's career. The last 3
in particular make you wonder why the hell hasn't he released these songs in all
these years
Black Clouds Gathering

Black metal ~ Excellent atmospheric black metal with folk tinges from neighbouring
36Sigur Ros

Post-rock ~ I barely jam this, but when I do oh man. Probably top 3 Sigur Ros.
35Jon Hopkins

Museum of Consciousness

Psybient ~ Shpongle hit us up this time with less psychadelia and more ambient.
Just how I like it.
33Justin Timberlake
The 20/20 Experience

Pop ~ Has grown on me significantly since its release. From initially being a huge
meh, the songs slowly started to reveal themselves to me. Strawberry Bubblegum,
Tunnel Vision, and Don't Hold the Wall are quickly becoming some of my favorite
pop songs. But the crowning achievement has to be Blue Ocean Floor. ~Bliss~
32Submotion Orchestra

Downtempo/rnb/jazz ~ Submotion Orchestra take the rnb influences that were
slowly growing in their sound, and amplify it on this EP to great effect. Sexy.

Death metal ~ Crushing, suffocating atmospheric death metal by these ever
consistent New Zealanders.
The Charnel Expanse

Death metal ~ Heavily Demlilich influenced. That is a good thing. A very good thing.
[ Elsewhere ]

Ambient/Downtempo ~ Extra smooth and chill album offering something a little
different to the stellar Ultimae Records catalog.
28Sorrow (UK)

Garage ~ Gorgeous. Check the title track:
Cro Magnox


Techno ~ The soundtrack to a rainy day. Some of the most chill stuff from 2013.
Extremely well produced.
Chewed Corners

The Event of Your Leaving

Shoegaze/Ambient ~ Liz Harris teams up with Jefre Cantu-Ledesma to create an
aural interpretation of the artwork by Vija Celmins.
Time Heals All

Ambient ~ 2 hours of blissful ambient from the ever flexible and prolific ASC, more
commonly known around these parts as Deviant.
Lush Islands - Illusion of Paradise

Ambient ~ Absolutely gorgeous ambient made to be played on sunny mornings. Kind
of like a more organic Panabrite. Free: http://carpi-
A lame Enflammee, lame Constellee

Black metal
20The Knife
Shaking the Habitual

Electronic/experimental ~ Raging Lung is like top 10-15 songs of the year easily.
19Forest Swords

Electronic/Experimental/Psychadelic ~ Some of the catchiest, most hypnotic music
of the year. Also a shoutout to the exemplary use of samples. Ridiculous.
18Yamantaka // Sonic Titan

Progressive/Psychadelic rock ~ While not quite as good as the amazing Yt//St, it is
pretty damn close.
17Caladan Brood
Echoes of Battle

Black metal ~ Calling Caladan Brood a Summoning ripoff doesn't do them justice,
while it also goes some way to describe their sound. They can be most compared
to in sound to Dol Guldur era Summoning but with more emphasis on the guitar riffs
and chanted clean vocals. Epic almost to a fault.
16Steven Wilson
The Raven That Refused to Sing

Progressive rock ~ With this album Steven Wilson does his best to affirm to me that
his solo material is so much better than most of his PT material. Heavily influenced
by King Crimson this time around, Wilson not only manages to write some sweet
prog jams, but also some very atmospheric and emotional songs.
Messe I.X-VI.X

Experimental/Ambient ~ Ulver has one of the most varied and consistent
discographies I have ever heard. Starting off as a black metal band, they've since
tried their hand at neofolk, ambient, psychadelia among other genres. Messe has
them collaborate with the Troms Chamber Orchestra to create what can best be
described as a film score. Dark and brooding, this album sits high among the rest of
their wonderful back-catalog.
Xenon District

Ambient/idm ~ Mixing a bit of idm into his unique brand of ambient, Panabrite puts
out what is by far his best release.
Machine Love

Drum n bass/Idm ~ On Machine Love, the prolific ASC collaborates with Synkro and
Sam KDC to come up with 4 of the best electronic cuts of the year. Just check out
the futuristic title track:

Neofolk ~ 9 years after the monumental Forlatt, Vali broke their silence and
dropped an album that eclipses its predecessor in almost every way. Achingly calm
and beautiful, this is like the soundtrack to walking through the woods which is
aptly depicted in the cover.
11Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

J-popyu popyu ~ Something about Kyary's music has always struck a chord with
me. While admittedly not for everyone, her brand of j-pop is very whimsical and
overly-saccharine and leaves you reminiscent of times when things were much
simpler and innocent; childhood. 2012 was when she announced herself to the
world with Pamyu Pamyu Revolution. After a few teaser EPs and singles, she finally
dropped Nandacollection midyear. Yasutaka Nakata the producer and brains behind
the ingenious sound, ups his game. Invader Invader and Fashion Monster are 2 of
the best songs of the year, the latter having some amazing ethereal synth solos
and the former with the catchiest chorus of the year. Even the dubstep wubdown
midway through the song is perfect and in no way tedious thanks to the
immaculate production.
Black Death Horizon

Death metal ~ With BDH, Obliteration have cemented themselves the poster boys
for old school death metal revivalism. With stellar, dirty, murky production
reminiscent of classic Autopsy providing the backdrop to the chaos contained
within, BDH will put a smile on the face of any death metal enthusiast. This album
also sports the best cover art of year to boot.
Colored Sands

Death metal ~ Hey look, another comeback album. 12 years after From Wisdom to
Hate, we're treated to a more progressive Gorguts. The songs progress from riff to
riff with precision and shows Luc Lemay and co. on top of their game. And this is all
allowed to come to life with one of the best production jobs in death metal in
recent years.
8Tim Hecker

Ambient ~ Tim Hecker's followup to one of my all time favourites Ravedeath, 1972
is nothing short of jaw-dropping.
7The Doppelgangaz

Hip-hop ~ By far my favourite hip-hop album of the year. It's difficult to say what
their strongsuit is. The Orange County, NY duo EP and Matter ov Fact possess 2 of
the most potent flows in hip-hop in my opinion. They spin their humorous tales of
dumpster diving, and brothel hopping with sharp rhymes. To go with that, the
Groggy Pack are extremely proficient behind the boards.

Idm ~ One of the earliest releases I've heard in 2013, and I'm still trying to fully
digest the 2 disc behemoth that is Exai. Incredible dense and highly rewarding, the
otherwordly robot duo add another album to their impressive repetoir.
The North Borders

Garage/Trip hop ~ In 2013, Bonobo managed to craft the ultimate cruising album of
2013 by incorporating garage stylings a la Burial. No track better encapsulates this
than my favourite track Know You. The amazing use of samples, and some excellent
guest features from the likes of Erykah Badu and Grey Reverend really make this
Old Mornings Dawn

Black metal ~ The duo Protector and Silenius have been silent in the 7 years
proceeding 2006's Oath Bound. They finally broke that silence in 2013 with the
announcement of OMD. Continuing in the same vein as its 2 predecessors, with
triumphant synth leads driving most of the Lord of the Ring themed songs. The
production is much improved this time around and even the programmed drums
sound almost organic which is almost unheard of with Summoning.
3My Bloody Valentine
m b v

Shoegaze ~ 22 years after they released the greatest album of all time ever, period
(slight hyperbole), MBV has released a more than worthy successor. A Loveless 2.0
of sorts, m b v explores aveneues its predecessor never did. The track Is This and
Yes, is a stripped down ambient piece featuring nothing but synthesizers and Bilinda
Butcher's sensual vocals. Kevin Shields who's also responsible for the yet again
immaculate production, takes his signature glide technique a step further on the
track Wonder 2 with a sound that can only be described as the rushing by of jet
planes or helicopters. Mezmerizing.
2Laura Stevenson

Folk/Indie ~ In 2011, Laura Stevenson put out what turned out to be my album of
the year and a cherished favourite in the years since. Fast forward 2 years, and
Laura is back to comfort us again. While I was kind of lukewarm on Wheel after the
first few listens, it started to encroach my psyche like a virus. I listened to nothing
but for weeks. Every heartfelt line, every violin note, banjo solo was etched into my
mind and yet I couldn't get enough. To describe Wheel, I'll just quote Aids who put
it better than I ever could "The world is fucked, absolutely and unquestionably, but
we may as well enjoy what little time we have left. Is the sadness any less real? Is
impending doom any less frightening? Absolutely not, but when we do ourselves a
disservice by letting fear control out lives. The world keeps spinning, just like the
wheel, whether we huddle in our lonely corners or we go experience life to the
fullest, and Wheel is the musical realization of that wonderful, inspiring truth."
1Boards of Canada
Tomorrow's Harvest

Ambient/Idm ~ Just when it seemed that BoC had disappeared into obscurity
without a peep, 6 years after the stellar The Campfire Headphase, out of nowhere
in typical mysterious BoC fashion a vinyl surfaced entitled ------/------/------
/xxxxxx/------/------ which was supposedly from the Sandison brothers. It was
soon after confirmed that Tomorrow's Harvest would be a reality. By the time I
stopped screaming like a fangirl (they're my favourite band of course)it started to
sink in. I tried to imagine what I'd want the album to sound like, and what I thought
of was almost exactly how the album turned out to be to my delight. Their most
ambient affair yet, BoC have managed to craft what I like do describe as the
soundtrack to the first sunrise after the apocalypse. Surreal, but with an underlying
sense of forboding. Tracks like Jacquard Causeway and Nothing is Real catapult
their way into the upper echelons of BoC's catalog.
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