Best Stuff Day 17: Albums 5 through 1

Now 30% more authoritative than other best-of lists.

5. Andrew Downing – Silents (Black Hen)

Written as a soundtrack for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Impossible Journey, Downing’s Silents is every bit as angular and expressionist as you’d expect. It’s not music for every day, but put it on next time you find yourself traversing an exaggerated, two-dimensional nightmare-scape and it’ll all make sense.


4. Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here (XL)

Barely half-an-hour long, with almost as many spoken-word fragments as fully fleshed songs, I’m New Here is almost shocking in its concision. Scott-Heron’s cracked baritone practically radiates hard-won knowledge; kudos to producer Richard Russell for somehow realizing minimal trip-hop was the best context to bring that voice back to life.


3. Eric Chenaux – Warm Weather with Ryan Driver (Constellation)

Chenaux’s acoustic guitar takes such a winding path through his songs, it’s a feat in itself that Driver’s piano fills the gaps so effortlessly. The result of the pairing is every bit as comfortable and natural as the title lets on; not all forces of nature are destructive, after all.



2. Gonjasufi – A Sufi and a Killer (Warp)

Just because he sounds like he might’ve wandered straight off the street and into the recording studio doesn’t change the brilliance of Gonjasufi’s full-length debut. The production is every bit as rambling as Sufi’s rasp of a voice, mixing fuzzed-out skronk and smooth vinyl soul into a gloriously messy whole.



1. Pantha Du Prince – Black Noise (Rough Trade)

Black Noise is so full of clicks, chimes and multilayered rhythms that the “minimal techno” tag seems somewhat inappropriate. It’s only minimal in the sense that there’s nothing extraneous here, that every subtly shifting beat has been thoroughly considered, judged and carefully compiled, like a musical house of cards.


Previous best stuff:
The Anthology Project
El Guincho’s “Bombay” (NSFW)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Eye Spy zine
Julia Tiller, illustrator
Hip: The History
Soundway compilations
No Exit
Comedy Death Ray
Metropolis + the Alloy Orchestra

Mario Crossover

Best albums 15-11

Best albums 10-6

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