Sabrutin
Sabrutin - the dynamic range police
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Last Active 01-09-22 12:44 pm
Joined 04-05-14

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 Lists
12.27.21 Sab's smol 2021 list 12.31.20 Sab's tiny 2020 list
10.22.20 Italy under curfew01.06.20 Sab's mini 2019 list
12.26.18 Sab's slim 2018 list12.31.17 Sab's fast 2017 list
08.31.17 Mountain and sea // digs of old and new01.04.17 Sab's cute 2016 list
01.01.16 Sab's lazy 2015 list07.04.15 Toto last night

Sab's smol 2021 list

Tough year, not much time dedicated to new releases. Here are the only albums with which I bonded at least a little bit, rounded to 65 to have a tidy number, with some quick shoutouts to start off. Loosely ranked except the top spots. Happy festivities! ~(^_^)/~
65DJ Seinfeld
Mirrors


// House.

// "U Already Know" is chill.

// Shoutout
// https://youtu.be/fhrWKulKwgY
64Kharace
Dakhalè


// Black metal.

// Lo-fi and distant, basically becoming pure ambiance; it puts you in a strange trance.

// Shoutout
// https://youtu.be/sekLklDbLao
63Mahmood
Ghettolimpo


// Alternative R&B, trap.

// Not exactly my territory but I don't mind to hear it. After taking Italy by storm with "Soldi", Mahmood offers a surprisingly varied sophomore album with the likes of "T'amo", which is a homage to a beloved Sardinian song, or "Rubini" which features an absolutely infectious pop chorus that actually makes me happy to hear it on the radio!

// Shoutout
// https://youtu.be/-njNe2pzq3w
62Radura
Effetto Della Veduta D'Insieme


// Screamo with quieter spoken word sections.

// An interesting mixture, perhaps post-rocky in places. "Riflessi" is an interesting song that ends with an instrumental coda that sounds somewhat world music-y.

// Shoutout
// https://youtu.be/vnN6d5PJF2Y
61Toto
With A Little Help From My Friends


// AOR.

// Look Toto is my most listened band ever, nobody mixes pop with prog/jazz/riffs/disco/stuff (please check out the studio versions of "Tale of a Man" and "Love Is a Man's World" as a Christmas gift for me) like them, so this release was quite anticipated. Is this the end of Toto, without Paich? Will Luke and Williams keep the band alive for touring only? Luke's soloing is still a force of nature ("Till the End", the last minute of "Stop Loving You"... come on dude) and the surrounding band plays well, however... it left me cold, perhaps due to a safe and slow-paced setlist, or the felt absence of Paich, or a strangely soft live sound (they're usually a loud band, what happened? Guess they're tired too). I mean of course the music is fine but surely one fo the least useful entries in the discography. They didn't play "Africa" though, which I found amusing.

// Shoutout
// https://youtu.be/vB7qFkhwaY8
60Go_A
#Ідиназвук


[this entry is for the 2021 single "ШУМ"]
// Trance.

// A friend liked to put this in the car while I was taking a little vacation on the Dolomiti mountains and it was always a blast.

// Shoutout
// https://youtu.be/sDeMfL8Ib9A
59Ascendant Vierge
Vierge


[this entry is for the 2021 single "Petit Soldat"]
// Hardstyle, trance.

// Same as the last entry. *headbangs*

// Shoutout
// https://youtu.be/kvUPgaVh8_A
58ABBA
Voyage


// Europop.

// Does what it needs to. Always cool to have some more "joy pop" with cute arrangements today. "Just a Notion" is lovely.

// Shoutout
// https://youtu.be/vy4bLOYDmsQ
57Ulver
Scary Muzak


// Horror synth.

// Leave it to Ulver to drop a quotationistic Halloween record inspired by Carpenter and Goblin and make it pretty good. If the opening song "Aleen Howl" doesn't make you smile, you're weird.

// Shoutout
// https://youtu.be/I4EGZ277si0
56Iron Maiden
Senjutsu


// Heavy metal, proggy.

// The title track could be their freshest song in quite a while. Not bad for a late career double album with multiple 10+ minutes songs, wish they'd speed it up a bit every now and then though. The long soloing in "Darkest Hour" is delicious.

// Shoutout
// https://youtu.be/vxgTpbKUANQ
55Paradise Lost
At the Mill


// Gothic metal, death/doom in places.

// Their second nice live release in 2021. Nick Holmes' clean vocals are not the same as his studio counterpart, but he does fare more consistently in the harsh department. Instruments-wise the rawer live sound gives the music a pleasant organic quality (though not audiophile by any means), which together with the solid setlist makes this a worthwhile listen for sure. "Blood and Chaos"'s a prime example of this as it almost feels like a different song, but "Fall from Grace" rhythm doom riffs feel much heavier than the studio version. A couple other highlights are the re-energized take on "So Much Is Lost", the pleasure of hearing the final lead guitar in "One Second" with clarity, and that mega rattling bass tone in "Beneath Broken Earth".

// Shoutout
// https://youtu.be/0c8Uqt7exe4
54McKinley Dixon
For My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like Her


// Jazz rap.

// Discovered this super late, when it finally dawned on me to filter rym 2021 charts by hip hop and check something. I've only peeked through the cracks, but I'll have to get around this sooner or later because the music felt great, def lives up to the jazz rap tag. Could be a hip hop gateway album for both you and me. (✿◡‿◡) And not even the only one this year, there are also Little Simz and Injury Reserve who both piqued my interest.

// Shoutout
// https://youtu.be/GOpey0HqCzA
53Tropical Fuck Storm
Deep States


// Noisy, psychedelic art punk.

// Truthfully this is part 3 of their usual sound and I can understand if you are getting bored because some days I kind of do too. But, by efficiently playing with the songs' dynamics, for now TFS gave us three rock solid records. If you thought Braindrops leaned a bit too much on quieter moments, Deep States will give you a bit more sonic meltdowns. [EDIT in December: I'M SORRY but between the samey nature (in the context of their discography) and its particular way of being harsh to the ears I didn't manage to find enough 2021 time/"willpower" to absorb it.

// Shoutout
// https://youtu.be/ksw6jsEzotw
52Bicep
Isles


// Prog breaks, future garage (I have no idea what I'm talking about).

// This is such a cozy listen, even though it's just a couple of okay beats. What can I say, they're catchy comfy beats to do whatever you want to. I also appreciate the ambient side like "Lido".

// Favs: "Atlas" (the cutest), "Cazenove", "X".
// https://youtu.be/DPm9RVpwOLQ
51Unto Others
Strength


// Gothic metal/rock.

// First things first: the singer's voice has this processed quality to it a la Volbeat that can get in weird uncanny valley territory ("Downtown" sounds like it's sung by a robot?). It doesn't help that the album hits a road block about halfway in; simplicity and sameness aren't a crime, but taken together... Anyway, if you wanted more heavy metal in your goth diet this could give you some pleasure. It's still enveloped in catchy vocal melodies and little clean guitars, but in the first half the drums often go for the full double bass gallop and the vocals get gruff making this partly heavier than the debut. I still feel like the guitar leads could use a bigger presence, because they're always a breath of colour in a samey sound.

// Favs: "Heroin", "No Children Laughing Now", "Strength".
// https://youtu.be/6yqagyJelgg
50Joseph Williams
Denizen Tenant


// Pop, adult contemporary.

// Starts with a tight four-song salvo but then peters off into easy listening a bit too much. Still a perfectly serviceable slice of pop with great musicianship flourishes like the guitar solos in "Remember Her", courtesy of Steve Lukather. Bonus points for the stripped down jazziness of the vocal-driven "No Lessons".

// Favs: "Never Saw You Coming", "Liberty Man", "Denizen Tenant".
// https://youtu.be/jpZnYVtKZUY
49Pendulum
Elemental


// Drum and Bass, electronic rock.

// Very poppy but the result is fun, if a bit too hasty. Like "Driver" starts cool (complete with the cheeky water sounds a la Immersion) but then it just ends without arriving anywhere precise, shame. It'd be cool to hear a full-fledged album.

// Favs: of the four songs, "Louder Than Words" and "Nothing for Free".
// https://youtu.be/mOj-N0sP_bs
48Altered Dead
Returned to Life


// Death metal.

// Breezy 35 minutes of groovy dm that relies on swampy downtuned guitars and never sets on the same speed for too long, also helped by crunchy production. The buried vocals fit the swampy feel rather nicely. It's just fun! See the title track.

// Favs: "Prosodemic Realms", "Returned to Life", "...Of the Oppressed".
// https://youtu.be/VM15s69yIlg
47Stimming
Ludwig


// IDM, minimal techno.

// I remember Alpe Lusia with pleasure so I was happy to check this out. Perhaps not as "quietly emotional" but still a gently enveloping experience, this time with an occasional tribalish and naturalistic feel (buzzing sound of flies included).

// Favs: perhaps the early trio "Pidgeons", "Celestophone" and "The Hyve".
// https://youtu.be/AlMewILQ91Q
46Burial (ITA)
Inner Gateways To The Slumbering Equilibrium...


// Death metal, death doom.

// The guitars drone on warmly and the music gets quite evocative, surely they have the potential to develop the sound further. I could see them moving deeper into the atmospheric hypnotic/sludgy direction that's already here, it's cool that "Absent Visions..." isn't just a simple interlude but a proper instrumental track. At times the album plods (or blasts) along a little squaredly but it's an interesting debut!

// Favs: the nearly 14 minutes of the title track, "Halls of the Formless Unraveler", "Absent Visions Conceive Unspeakable Beings".
// https://youtu.be/HJmhr66aBDI
45Doctor Smoke
Dreamers and the Dead


// Heavy metal.

// They're back! The debut was cute but with time I had almost lost hope. Fun catchy old school metal with a dark vibe and sort of Ozzy-meets-Ghost vocals. Some great guitarwork and a certain fluidity in the rhythmic shifts that I didn't expect to find, although a full listen def reveals the limits of the sound.

// Favs: "Reborn Into Darkness", "These Horrid Things", "What Lies Beyond".
// https://youtu.be/glk_qPdyMdM
44Billie Eilish
Happier Than Ever


// Contemporary R&B, pop.

// I liked her debut record for its unabashedly edgy dark sound, it was fun in its way. However it's hard to deny that Billie's sophomore outing has more thoughtfully structured songs; it flows nicely and the music is subtly colourful, quite atmospheric even in places ("Not My Responsibility", "Halley's Comet"'s final third). It's not a greatest hits of bangers but it's a tidy listen, although it does get lost in its ballads here and there. A welcome surprise but, intentional or not, a bit of a lethargic listen. Shoutout to the title track for its unexpected turn.

// Favs: "Oxytocin", "GOLDWING", "I Didn't Change My Number", "OverHeated" (following "Not My Responsibility"), "NDA". Weirdly I couldn't bring myself to pick three.  ̄_(ツ)_/ ̄
// https://youtu.be/Fcd8UbutjIg
43Hyperdontia
Hideous Entity


// Death metal.

// It won't redefine your concept of death metal but do not miss giving it a shot if you're into the genre, as it's got the pro of being competently coiled up in some tight song structures with an added bonus of nicely horror-y solos. A bit of welcome bass presence too.

// Favs: "Snakes of Innards", "Beast Within", "Lacerated and Bursting".
// https://youtu.be/g0BnKco5rdk
42Emeka Ogboh
Beyond the Yellow Haze


// Ambient, IDM, field recordings.

// Some really good urban soundscapes in here (is it a case that the artwork used on Spotify sorta reminds me of Perdition City?). Watch out for the car honks and chatter though, this may not be relaxing if you are specifically looking for that except for "Palm Groove"'s rain sounds.

// Favs: "Danfo Mellow", "Lekki Aiah Freeway", "Palm Groove".
// https://youtu.be/Foe3o__Q9uQ
41Witherfall
Curse Of Autumn


// Proggy metal, power-y.

// Witherfall proves to be a trustworthy band by releasing their third solid record in a row, although their sound now begs for some novelties soon. Still, as a trilogy of gloomy shred-happy metal with a charismatic singer, the discography is still entertaining. I do miss the bigger presence of acoustic/flamenco guitar playing that made the debut unique though. Marco Minnemann behind the drumkit.

// Favs: "Tempest", "Another Face" (lovely coda), "I Lie Awake".
// https://youtu.be/jUDgiOskP0g
40Thriftworks
Quantico Jack


// Wonky, glitch hop (I hope).

// Not as immediatly capturing as last year's Nah, but then again this is a groovier dense affair. Really the mood here is just special, somewhere between mysterious, nostalgic and melancholic? You'll know what I mean right away.

// Favs: "Mina Grandmina", "Queztal Kick", "Ovaltine Murderer".
// https://youtu.be/sj3sS5DQnAI
39Monolord
Your Time to Shine


// Doom metal, stoner.

// The stomping intro of "The Weary" is heavy but hints at a taste for some melody, and then the vocals enter and it's like a doom version of Wishbone Ash. Fuzzy, comfy doom for a comfy jam. Perhaps a little too simplistic.

// Favs: "The Weary", "To Each Their Own", "Your Time to Shine".
// https://youtu.be/Xh34DZEaonQ
38Jinjer
Wallflowers


// Prog metal(core).

// "Pisces" video reactions and all, I've got to give them credit: pressing play on Wallflowers "Call Me a Symbol" offers beefy guitarwork, plenty of unexpected blast beats, great bass playing and obviously great vocals (both the harshes and cleans). Beefy production too. Totally didn't expect to dig this one. The occasional brat vocals are a strange choice though.

// Favs: "Call Me a Symbol", "Mediator", "Wallflower".
// https://youtu.be/uHUqHRuFHEo
37Nubiyan Twist
Freedom Fables


// Afrobeat, nu jazz.

// I believe it suffers a little as a record memorability-wise, but when it's on it's tight, infectious, and the looser jazz instrumental parts give it dynamics.

// Favs: "If I Know", "Tittle Tattle", "Wipe Away Tears".
// https://youtu.be/ePl3Zb1Undg
36Regal Lily
the World


// Indie rock, shoegaze.

// Just a bite-sized EP to wait for their sophomore album coming January 2022. I liked their 2020 debut but I had felt a bit cheated because its bookends were the most interesting songs, so I'm really happy with this EP's busy sound. The opening song "Tokyo" ("東京") is such a neat shoegaze-drenched ear-candy with a climax of fuzzy goodness, but all four songs are solid. Great bass presence, sparkly guitars (both clean and distorted), groovy drums, etc.

// https://youtu.be/kecLwl0nla0
35Cloud Nothings
The Shadow I Remember


// Punky indie rock.

// Energetic and always moving, the shortness seals the deal for this infectious listen. Some memorable bits sprinkled on top like the slow build-up of "Oslo" or the spacey second half of "A Longer Moon", and it's got a nice organic sound to boot. There's a nice roughness too, like "This Love" or the end of "The Spirit Of".

// Favs: "A Longer Moon", "Nothing Without You", "Sound of Alarm".
// https://youtu.be/gBq3SnVm9Ec
34An Autumn For Crippled Children
As The Morning Dawns We Close Our Eyes


// Blackgaze, post-rocky, post-punky(?).

// I didn't like how budget-y the last album felt but, though it's far from their 2013-2018 output, this new one is definitely a step in the right direction. There's indeed a wintry vibe throughout the record that makes it unique thanks to synths ("Of Your Light") and atmospheric post-rocky passages ("In Winter", middle of "Melancholia"), plus I always get a kick out of their post-punky drumming. The black metal vocals feel especially dry this time, which fits the cold sound well. Honestly, bedroom-tier production aside, this band continues to be my personal favorite of the blackgaze thingy even in their lesser albums.

// Favs: "Of Your Light", "In Winter", "Last Night I Believe in You".
// https://youtu.be/4uMrLwpH490
33Alessandro Cortini
SCURO CHIARO


// Prog electronic, dark ambient, drone.

// Psychedelic in its own way, give it a shot when you need a soundtrack but can't decipher your own emotions. It can get "nicely anxious" like with "Corri".

// Favs: "Chiaroscuro", "Lo specchio", "Sempre".
// https://youtu.be/mE27ezBt6Nc
32Darkside
Spiral


// Neo-psychedelia, art rock.

// Quietly doing its thing and making it sound easy, taking the classic psych rock heritage ("Lawmaker") to make something that sounds modern and atmospheric. Excellent mixing gives "Narrow Road" a liquid-feeling beat while the inventive guitarwork plays on top.

// Favs: "Narrow Road", "I'm the Echo", "Lawmaker". "Only Young" too, sweet solo.
// https://youtu.be/e2YK11wncw0
31voljum
dayscapes


// Nu-Jazz, IDM, Halftime.

// Four-track EP. A little journey that covers a lot of ground from dinner table jazz to complex D'n'B (and I'm the last person to ask what exactly this is haha). It does sound like the artwork. Very curious about an hypotetic full album.

// Favs: "components" and "café mañana". (it's just four songs)
// https://youtu.be/Am00spVWiYA
30Mdou Moctar
Afrique Victime


// Tishoumaren.

// Tuareg guitar hero! I have no idea what they're singing about, but their psychy (finger!)noodling rocks.

// Favs: "Afrique Victime", "Taliat", "Chismiten".
// https://youtu.be/rnERiRvlw58
29Steve Lukather
I Found The Sun Again


// Catchy rock and/or jazz fusion.

// Arguably loses value if you aren't a fan since three songs are covers (like that 10+ minutes cover of Traffic's "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys") and "Run to Me" is a cute pop ditty with the man himself Ringo Starr on drums, but the remaining half makes the album a strong package, powered by excellent musicianship and production. Lukather's solos as always sound like strolling on the moon.

// Favs: "Journey Through", "I Found the Sun Again", "Along for the Ride".
// https://youtu.be/5pSKINVl0KU
28Paradise Lost
Gothic Live At Roadburn 2016


// Gothic death doom metal.

// Heavy compression and the weird ass choice to publish this as one single 45 minutes track (which I promptly cut up) ultimately can't hide that this little Bandcamp exclusive is a very nice gem for the fans. The band plays the album in full commendably, Holmes' vocals in "Shattered" included, with a chunkier sound compared to the studio version and also a nice extended take on "Silent". It's a shame that "Eternal" is missing its (synth) string accompaniment though! All in all, an interesting occasional alternative to the original.

// Favs: "Silent", this beefy "Dead Emotion", "The Painless".
// https://paradiselostofficial.bandcamp.com/album/gothic-live-at-roadburn-2016
27Fear Factory
Aggression Continuum


// Industrial metal.

// Downtuned riffs, surgical machinery-like drumming and happy-sounding clean vocals choruses to contrast the harsh verses; I'm sure you know very well the drill, especially if you are a fan of the band. Personally I've never listened to them with dedication, so I'm not really feeling the fatigue of this samey band in practice. So for what it does it simply rocks, especially when they let synth/symphonic colours into the mix the most. The second half is a bit fillerish at first though, but the heavy "Cognitive Dissonance" brings it back on track with some truly mean vocals too. There's even a short but tasty guitar solo in "Monolith". Honestly, as more of the same as this may be, it's some of the tightest FF I've heard (choruses, especially)

// Favs: "Recode", "Fuel Injected Suicide Machine", "End of Line".
// https://youtu.be/qsiEflDfWBw
26Aaron Dilloway and Lucrecia Dalt
Lucy & Aaron


// Tape music, industrial.

// You start hearing jagged, fragmented "dialogues" from somewhere, with white noise buzzing underneath, then it gets progressively worse (aka better). If you needed a soundtrack to take with you for an abandoned(?) site exploration, this should be creepy enough. Don't enter expecting "songs".

// https://youtu.be/4SvrmoElxPk
25Lightning Bug
A Color of the Sky


// Dream pop, slowcore.

// Comfy, dreamy, hazy, soothing, whatever pleasant adjective will probably fit this. Slow-moving clean guitar lines, nice organic-sounding drums subtly carry the songs and, of course, the tender vocals seal the deal. A tinge of indie folk and shoegaze also add welcomed shades to the sound. All in all there's a feeling of some underdeveloped ideas though ("The Chase"?).

// Favs: "The Return", "I Lie Awake", "The Right Thing Is Hard to Do".
// https://youtu.be/MJfMnPcroO0
24Mol
Diorama


// Blackgaze.

// I liked Jord but it wasn't the most memorable blackgaze ever and it suffered from an obnoxiously fat sound. Well, Diorama is an improvement in every way! More instrumentally refined, more expressive guitarwork and a few clean vocals here and there (both male and female), while still being firmly rooted in the post black metal thing (thankfully, since the singer has some mean harsh vox to display). Perfect album length too, to boot. Just tight and varied enough to be a honest step forward.

// Favs: "Vestige" (I keep humming that guitar theme one minute in), "Photographic", "Itinerari".
// https://youtu.be/9ouat3wvcQ8
23Lantlos
Wildhund


// Shoegaze, alt metal.

// I'm not too big on the lifeless drum sound, but on the other hand the guitars sound quite interesting, like the softest djent ever in a weirdly positive sense. I'm torn about this record because it's like it fades into white noise as soon as I get distracted, especially tracks 3~7, but then I pay more attention and I dig it again. In any case the "Lake Fantasy" - "Magnolia" opening duo and everything from "Cloud Inhaler" onwards is favs material so the album's stacked enough.

// Favs: "Dream Machine", "Lake Fantasy", "Dog in the Wild".
// https://youtu.be/RFtRXatjj1s
22Krallice
Demonic Wealth


// Avant-garde atmo black metal.

// Who knew substituting guitars with atmospheric synths would have worked so nicely for bm. That said, the way "Folds of Plasma" places those chaotic formless-feeling drums under weirdly blissful distorted electric guitarwork is so stupidly addicting too. Totally understand if someone considers this trash though lmao.

// Favs: "Folds of Plasma", "Dilution", "Resistant Strains".
// https://youtu.be/3DPp6C03AY0
21Ulver
Hexahedron


// Prog electronic.

// As usual Ulver released a live album that's as important to check as a studio one for anybody who follows the band. This time it's a hour-long prog electronic journey that may appear as distant from their current poppy phase as could be, although it's actually not without nods (plus Garm straight-up sings lyrics off "Little Boy" inside "A Fearful Symmetry" to make it obvious).

// Favs: "A Fearful Symmetry", "Bounty Hunter", "The Long Way Home".
// https://youtu.be/sq2h_PGomG8
20Pat Metheny
Road to the Sun


// Modern classical (classical guitar).

// Unexpectedly, after the tour de force of a record he dropped in 2020, Pat Metheny opened his 2021 with an album containing two suites for the classical acoustic guitar; Jason Vieaux plays the first and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet the second suite. Metheny appears in a final, isolated, track in which he plays a 42 string guitar. All in all a very serene and pleasant experience, although to my uncultured ears it feels a little "easy listening" here and there.

// https://youtu.be/NBy3gp2lBoM
19Lingua Ignota
SINNER GET READY


// Neoclassical darkwave, avant-folk.

// It really strikes me how the simple addition of a warm buzzing sound underneath the opening song somehow makes it so much more interesting to my ears; granted the vocal harmonies do the heavy lifting accompanied by the mellow piano, not to mention the sudden chaotic shifts, but that buzz definitely adds something you know? Plenty of things have already been said about this album, so take this as my small contribution or something haha.

// Favs: "The Order of Spiritual Virgins", "Many Hands", "Man Is Like a Spring Flower". The album closer is also highlight material for its calming harmonies to close the experience neatly.
// https://youtu.be/qfnEYePSo6w
18Millennium Parade
The Millennium Parade


// Art pop, pop rap.

// Dense, often bombastic, groovy, catchy as sin. It's also barely 40 minutes long, so it's not a daunting listen.

// Favs: "Fly with me", "Trepanation", "2992".
// https://youtu.be/fuXZMQAD9vU
17Kaatayra
Inpariquipê


// Brazilian folk black metal, post-minimalism.

// Name-your-price on Bandcamp: https://kaatayra.bandcamp.com/album/inpariquip. He already gave us two great "clean black metal" records in 2020, and here we are with another one. There's also an influence from minimalism, especially in the bookends, that lends itself well to the sound. All in all for my tastes this one is a bit too background-y, but well it's a great mood.

// Favs: "Inpariquipê ", "Ãráiãsaiê", "Iasá", but the minimalist opener "Tiquindê" deserves a mention.
// https://youtu.be/v8VE-OUKxA0
16Japanese Breakfast
Jubilee


// Indie pop.

// Great vocals over plesantly varied music, ranging from string-driven to disco-y and electronic beats too. That little guitar solo at the end of "Kokomo, IN" followed by the sax of "Slide Tackle" sealed the deal. It'd be hard to dislike this stuff, really. And it has sweet production. And it's barely 37 minutes long. Jump in. Works amazingly both for happy and sad moods.

// Favs: "Paprika", "Posing in Bondage", "Be Sweet".
// https://youtu.be/aA5l2qsX_O8
15Porter Robinson
Nurture


// Electropop.

// Somebody described this as happy music made by depressed people and it fits perfectly. It's warm, may I say "organic" in its sound (from actual drum sounds to thumping beats, from clear synths to piano, strings and acoustic guitar) and songwriting (abundance of melodies and flowing compositions like the mostly instrumental "Wind Tempos"). It's the heartfelt kind of happiness that you're not sure if you should smile or cry to, with plenty of quieter atmospheric breaks and vocals that are often effected to make them sound female/childlike creating interesting androginous self-duets. The glitch instrumental "dullscythe" works well to split the album in halves.

// Favs: "Get Your Wish", "Look at the Sky", "Unfold". Check "Mirror" for a simple bop.
// https://youtu.be/4SZEDBFPpgw
14Colleen
The Tunnel and the Clearing


// Ambient pop, prog electronic.

// Beautiful little album that constantly ~floats~ soothingly, simple but tasteful. Eventful just enough to never lose itself and also sustained by some nocturnal vocals. Perfect length for a full seamless jam too. It only loses a little steam in the "Gazing at Taurus" duo, but nothing dramatic.

// Favs: "The Tunnel and the Clearing", "Implosion-Explosion", "The Crossing".
// https://youtu.be/5vKsP9fYAWY
13Cacola
A Gift to Us All


// Breakbeat, Drum and Bass.

// This one sparks joy! Filled with a nostalgic atmosphere and built around variegated structures, this is a real gem. Great use of samples too, like Muse's "Hysteria" in "How to Take... ". If you needed a record to break the "electronic music is repetitive" idea somebody might have, this could be a good choice.

// Favs: "The Perfect Shape", "Flowers & Snakes", "Unused Assets".
// https://youtu.be/a_luNfFGZHc
12Devoid of Thought
Outer World Graves


// Death metal, prog-tech-doomy.

// Replicates the artwork in audio form. Gnarly. (these dudes were Warstorm?? Huge jump in quality!)

// Favs: "Sidereal Necrosis", "Four Cereulean Ways", "Perennial Dream".
// https://youtu.be/vqZkVsqOJOA
11Mastodon
Hushed and Grim


// Catchy Mastodon prog.

// Approaching a double Mastodon album looked daunting even as a fan of EoS but "Pain with an Anchor" eased me in with some classic Brann drumming and a heavier ending section. Turns out most songs share the quality of having memorable sections peppered through and a downcast atmosphere to tie it all together, but you have to be prepared because this is very vocal-driven and arguably their softest full-length ever with even a couple of "canonical" (Mastodon-ized) ballads! Fans of Cold Dark Place shouldn't miss this. Shame for the shrill poppy production and the comically thin mix ("Dagger", "Gigantium"??).

// (Bunch of) favs: "Pain with an Anchor", "Eyes of Serpents", "Gigantium", "The Beast", "Had It All".
// https://youtu.be/i8GeSCV2bZI
10Iosonouncane
IRA


// Post-industrial, darkwave, art rock, things.

// I don't know if it's because I'm copying Schubert's Winterreise to my PC, but this album does also feel like a snowy journey, with a mysterious occasionally ritualistic feel too. Really, the flow is excellent, the atmosphere on point and the 17 songs manage to remain afloat for almost two full hours. I'd be lying if I said I can't wait to re-spin it in full though, some songs are more expendable than others.

// Favs: "ashes", "jabal", "hiver", "niran", "hajar" + "cri", I didn't expect that cool lengthy guitar solo in "ojos".
// https://youtu.be/YVRlLT3n9Bg
9Cynic
Ascension Codes


// Prog rock, new age-y.

// The clean jazziness and many ambient interludes give this record a new age vibe, which I actually don't mind at all. Even the artwork somewhat carries this clean aesthetic. It's probably going to take a while to digest this one; I'd say that the balance between complexity and memorability isn't always perfect, but that'd be too soon to really say. All in all this line-up has started with a bang, the synth bass fits the sound well and the intricate drumming helps to keep the album lively enough. Not a record to everybody's liking, but Masdival is definitely trying and I still feel hyped to re-jam it.

// Favs: "Aurora", "6th Dimensional Archetype", "Architects of Consciousness".
// https://youtu.be/B_UGta2sZ-4
8Zaaar
Magická Džungl’a


// Ritual ambient, free improvisation.

// I have yet to properly check Neptunian Maximalism (the "parent" band), but this artwork was too good to not (hopefully) have in my list. Luckily, I did enjoy this quite a bit! Rym's summary for the ritual ambient tag describes it perfectly: "dark, deep, disturbing, ritualistic, and occult atmosphere". The kind of "background" music that won't let you to focus on any task. I really like how the tracks do move somewhere memorable throughout their (very long) running time, it definitely feels like there's a group of persons channeling (or rather, improvising) the ritual you are hearing.

// Favs: "Respiration Aérobie", "Explosion Cambrienne", "Multicellularité Des Cyanobactéries".
// https://youtu.be/HtJ4o9YIUsQ
7Hiatus Kaiyote
Mood Valiant


// Neo-Soul.

// HK took a more rigid/repetitive approach here, with even a more electronic-y feel in some places that almost gives it a "chill Kaiyote beats to study to" vibe occasionally. Personally I still think that Choose Your Weapon is on another level but Mood Valiant is also a great record by a great band, just not accurately aimed at me.

// Favs: "All the Words We Don't Say", "Rose Water", "Chivalry Is Not Dead".
// https://youtu.be/6ywsOjATovE
6Springtime (AUS)
Springtime


// Experimental rock (post-rocky, noisy).

// Trio of Tropical Fuck Storm's Gareth Liddiard on vocals and guitars, The Necks' Chris Abrahams on piano and Jim White behind the drumkit. If you feel TFS could use more nuance, then you should definitely follow Liddiard in this new project that mostly descends into atmospheric jazzy corridors (like "The Viaduct Love Suicide") and build-ups to cathartic releases (like "Jeanie in a Bottle"). I will keep this somewhat "low" in the list because the meandering sadboi Liddiard singing can get samey.

// Favs: "The Killing of the Village Idiot", "Jeanie in a Bottle", "The Island".
// https://youtu.be/rXbhormXurM
5Ad Nauseam
Imperative Imperceptible Impulse


// Tech death, avant-garde metal.

// dissonant and aggressively jagged, of course it got labelled as avant-garde. A hour of this is a bit too much for a full spin as it's not the most diverse ever, although admittedly I can get lost inside it by giving full attention to the guitarwork (is there even one single "normal deah metal" riff in the whole record?). Also the excellent production and full dynamic range edition on Bandcamp keeps it easily digestible throughout (which should be the damn norm, I'll add). The occasional throat singing bits fit right in with the sound, if you need a soundtrack to write your cosmic horror novel here it is.

// Favs: "Horror Vacui", "Imperative Imperceptible Impulse", "Inexorably Ousted Sente".
// https://youtu.be/ma3cKFX9_0g
4Motorpsycho
Kingdom of Oblivion


// Prog/psych Sabbath worship.

// To the surprise of three people at best Motorpsycho "returned" with their hundredth great album, this time with more Black Sabbath vibes than ever; the very start of the opener speak by itself, and then "The United Debased" comes up sounding like a lost Master of Reality sessions song (4:30 onwards!). Spicing up the record there is a certain medieval flavor through the acoustic songs ("Lady May", "The Hunt") and the tolling bell samples of the epic™ title track or the hunting ground feeling of the psychedelic "Dreamkiller". It's incredible how after a billion records they can still pump out something like 6:00 onwards in "The Transmutation of Cosmoctopus Lurker" with some of Snah's most memorable soloing ever and Bent's usual bass guitar hunger going on under it.

// Favs: "The Transmutation of Cosmoctopus Lurker", "Kingdom of Oblivion", "The United Debased".
// https://youtu.be/f_qUTAsfXH0
3Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The LSO
Promises


// Post-minimalism, third-stream.

// Airy but rich ambiance with Sanders' playing over it. His sax playing is delightful in its ability to talk through the restraint and it's perfectly complemented by the minimalist base that is actually "busier" than what I expected. Replayable and entrancing, flowing free for 46 minutes.

// Favs: movements 5-6-7, but 1 is pure perfection as an opener.
// https://youtu.be/FvlyttLEQlk
2Papangu
Holoceno


// Avant-garde metal, zeuhl influence, brutal prog.

// Absolute banger of a debut; it's much less impenetrable than what it may seem, heck "Bacia das Almas" is a lively song with catchy (Portuguese btw) vocals and some migthy cowbell. Album's also not a guitar wankfest... drums, if anything, but why would you check this kind of stuff if not for getting your skull bashed in? I guess the presence of some harsh vocals and doomy/entrancing parts especially in its last stretch of songs lead it to have a sludge tag too. Oh and the drums don't sound like overproduced garbage, which could have easily killed this. It's a full meal, really! Come eat your veggies.

// Favs: "São Francisco", "Terra Arrasada", "Lobisomem". The short and catchy "Água Branca" is perfect if you want take a bite.
// https://youtu.be/yOUnAhcfUCc
1Otay:onii
Ming Ming


// Post-industrial, art "pop", dark ambient.

// Flip flopping between eerie and ethereal, oftentimes right in the middle, with some haunting vocals on top. The art pop tag may be misleading if you enter expecting something that cares to be likeable, as the Bandcamp page sums it up this draws from "Electronic, [dark] ambient, sound collage or even noise" with a Chinese folk influence. It really starts to come together with a couple of listens. "Child No.22" gives me goosebumps in its first half due to the vocal delivery and misty soundscape, before turning into an obscure mechanical dirge halfway through. "Through Death a Cup of Coffee" destroys me with the title alone. 2021: the album.

// Favs: "Child No.22", "Through Death a Cup of Coffee", "Blackheart Breakables".
// https://youtu.be/3HxWfwwvgvY
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