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12.02.16 2007 Top 25 albums11.26.16 Fellow sound engineers/producers on spu
11.25.16 2008 Top 10 albums11.19.16 2009 Top 10 albums
11.19.16 2010 Top 10 albums11.19.16 2011 Top 10 albums
11.19.16 2012 Top 10 albums11.19.16 2013 Top 10 Albums
11.19.16 2014 Top 10 albums11.19.16 2015 Top 10 albums

Fellow sound engineers/producers on sputnik?

What are some of your favorite albums on an engineering/producing level? Here's a few of mine, in no particular order

Produced by The National's Aaron Dessner. I absolutely love this album and the production/arrangements is a pig part of it. It's a masterclass in subtlety and production complementing the songwriting. The delicate horn layers, the intricate electric guitar leads buried way back in the mix, the flawless female/male vocal harmonies, the tick-tock sounding high-hat and ambient bridge on "Early Night". I cannot say enough good things about it.
2Arcade Fire
The Suburbs

Again, production that greatly enhance the songs but in a subtle way. The "up-front in the mix" crash cymbals that start a few key songs give a good sense of flow to the album. The lingering synth note on "Wasted Hours" echoes the lyrics and give a lot of gravitas to the chorus, which would sound pretty empty without it. I also like how "City With No Children" sounds like nothing else on the album. And of course there's the 80's stomp of "Sprawl II" that sounds like the best song Cyndi Lauper never recorded.
3Daft Punk
Random Access Memories

Pure eargasm. I remember listening to the first track for the first time; turning up the volume way up and being amazed at how it was never getting harsh sounding. They reportedly spent around 1M$ producing the albums in various world renowned recording studios that are relics of the heyday of analog recording technology. But first and foremost, this album is a testament to hiring the best musicians you can get, spending a lot of time to find the best instruments tones/synth sounds/mic placement and squeezing all those elements into near-perfect takes on tape. There was very little studio trickery involved in the mixing. There's this saying; "shit in, shit out". Well in this case, it's "pure gold in, pure gold out".
4Pink Floyd
The Dark Side of the Moon

I don't think I could say anything that hasn't been said before. Absolute sound engineering masterpiece, hasn't aged a day.
5Mustard Plug
In Black and White

Descendents' Bill Stevenson is my favorite punk rock producer. No-frills, in-your-face, crisp and punchy production. Every element is in it's right place and he doesn't overdo it (looking at you, John Feldmann). This album is a prime example.
In Rainbows

Produced by Nigel Godrich (duh). Ugh, that guitar tone on "15 Step". And "Nude"... and "Bodysnatchers"... Great use of reverb on the whole album, especially "Reckoner" and "House of Cards". My favorite Radiohead album.
PS. Jonny Greenwood is a wizard.

Alright, I have to disclose that these guys are my buddies so I'm probably biased. I love how crisp everything sounds on this album. Check out "Cosmogony" (although not one of the best songs on the album).
8T. Rex
Electric Warrior

Produced by Toni Visconti. Timeless album, timeless production. This is the kind of sound that a lot of garage rock revivalists are trying to capture.
9Fleetwood Mac

"Dreams" is making sweet sweet love to my eardrums.
10Les Colocs
Les Colocs

Few albums have such shrilling yet great sounding high frequencies.
11Amen Dunes

I love me some good lo-fi sounding stuff. This is one of my favorite in that area. It never gets too murky and there's a good sense of depth in the mix. The Leslie effect on "Sixteen" is a nice touch that elevates a song that otherwise is pretty unremarkable. I find that the moment captured on the cover artwork and the music go hand in hand, and the way the music sounds is a big part of that.
Sea Change

Another Nigel Godrich production. Sounds so rich. The acoustic guitar is beautifully captured and never gets buried, which is pretty difficult to pull off when there's this much going on in the mix. Awesome string arrangements. Lots of great little sonic touches added here and there. All in all, a very rewarding listen.
13Brand New
The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me

Holy dynamics, Batman! I just had to get my favorite album of all time in this list somehow. Doesn't sound amazing but the guitar arrangements and tones are wonderful.
14Depeche Mode

Produced by Flood. This album is a pure treat to listen to, musically and sonically. Aging well like a great wine.

Maybe a bit too monochromatic but that is definitely the desired effect. The band spent some time in an abandoned Russian settlement in the Arctic and recorded a bunch of sound samples that would end up being the starting pieces of Piramida. There's a great sense of space, emptiness and coldness conveyed. I also love how the drums were captured. The whole mix could use a bit more definition, though.
16Johnny Cash
American IV: The Man Comes Around

Produced by Rick Rubin. The raw way in which Rubin captured Cash's voice and guitar very interesting. It sounds particularly affecting on "Hurt". It's like Johnny Cash is singing his epitaph right in front of you. This is enhanced by the fact that for most of the song, Cash's voice is the only element in the center of the mix.

Just simply a great sounding electronic album.
18Sigur Ros
Agætis byrjun

Could use a lot more definition but I put it on this list because of the creative use of sound effects throughout the album. Like that double bass in "Starálfur" that sounds like it's been coupled to the sound of a rock falling in water, or the heavily compressed cymbal microphone in "Ný batterí". There's always a lot going on in the mix and it's really well done. An immersive listening experience.
19Neutral Milk Hotel
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

Produced by Robert Schneider. I wouldn't want this album to sound any other way, with all its little imperfections. Like when Jeff Mangum is singing his guts out in "Two-Headed Boy" and you can hear the whole thing overdriving like crazy.
20Portugal. The Man
Evil Friends

Produced by Danger Mouse. Danger Mouse is one of my favorite producers active in the business right now. He seems to be great at focusing an artist on their strenghts. Portugal. The Man always had a lot of potential but they sounded like they easily got lost amongst all the different ideas they threw in the same basket. On Evil Friends, everything falls into place and they deliver a neat little pop album and I believe that Danger Mouse had a lot to do with it. It also gives the impression of great things to come for this band. With their newfound focus, they can take any direction they want.
The Last Resort

Very rich and diverse sounding electronic album. Great use of electric guitars and bass. The bass thump on "Vamp" is pure audio sex.
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

(I've just realized that there's a lot of my all-time favorite albums on this list. This is another one of them)
What I especially love on this album, other than the noise experiments and top notch songwriting, is how almost no two songs sound the same. "Jesus, Etc." is one of the smoothest songs I've ever heard.
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