GIGsoup Writers’ Best Albums of 2017 : Alex Raworth

For many writers in top publications, not many enjoy jotting down their ‘Top Ten Best Albums’ of the year. The listicles may be entertaining to the readers, worthy of the vote, but in truth they are not what the journalist perceives as being, well, ‘Gold’.

Editors will always be there to fuck around, to refine the list to the demographic and the publications readership. That’s why, ashamedly, some of the more mainstream media publications are probably going to have both Liam and Noel Gallagher in their Top Ten.

However, here is what I have managed to perceive as being the almighty ‘Gold’ albums of the year. And I’ll probably change my mind in three months time…

10 Hibushibire ‘Freak Out Orgasm’ 

Do I regret buying this record? No. Could I have purchased something better at the time? Yes. Nethertheless, I feel like we all need some kind of true Japanese guitar-heavy psychedelia in our lives, more so in the time leading up to Christmas; hint, its all about the mystic mountain in which ‘Freak Out Orgasm’ was mixed ear penetratingly by Kawabata Makoto from Acid Mothers Temple.

9 Protomartyr ‘Relatives in Descent’

A rare appearance from the post-punk genre in this countdown, the show of Detroit’s Protomartyr’s colossal record contained all the feels you would have wanted when all the shit from every single cow in the world was placed upon your shoulders. Album opener ‘A Private Understanding’ launched the world around into a kind of organised chaos, whereas other tracks became a relative to the slow and agonising death of Detroit. Since its release, ‘Relatives in Descent’ has become my ‘I hate unethical capitalism’ soundtrack.

8 Dwight Trible ‘Inspirations’

To quote the New Statesman’s Kate Mossman, “I don’t want much from a film – just cannibals, soft-porn bass and a boa constrictor eating a mongoose”. Okay, so unfortunately, I have been somewhat lazy in finding those classic Italian, small budget movies – and we’re going to have to settle with Dwight Trible’s latest LP, ‘Inspirations’. Why, you may be asking, is ‘Inspirations‘ similar to cannibals, soft-porn bass and a boa constrictor eating a mongoose? Okay, well, it is no cannibal and it definitely is no boa constrictor eating a mongoose. Instead, ‘Inspirations’ is just one large sock filled with un-adulterated SOFT PORN JAZZ.  

7 Four Tet ‘New Energy’

Honestly, it took approximately fifteen listens to get into the King of Night vibes’ latest LP, ‘New Energy’, before I saw it for the early morning special K cereal binge that it is. Ultimately, this is an album to substitute as the backing for those who enjoy peering out of windows into a darkening sky, whilst considering the elements of yesterday. Kind of similar to Hitchcock’s film, ‘Rear Window’? You decide.

6 Gnoomes ‘Tshak!’

Laid out there still, in Manchester’s Piccadilly Records, is Gnoomes’ weirdo debut: ‘Tschak’. The day I found it, unfortunately, was a day of complete and utter-regret. What a fool I had been to pick Hibushibire’s ‘Freak Out Orgasm’ over this mighty Russian nu-psychedelia record. Oh! My sweet ‘Tschak!, how you have tortured me and how I miss the touch of your tight and sugary embrace. Still, to this day I shamefully forget about you. Hopefully, by seeing this, you will forgive me for my faults and make your way into my caressing nature. I will never forget the time we spent together in that minute store, gazing out upon the wilderness that is the Mancunian City Centre.

5 Bonobo ‘Migration’

Bonobo’s ‘Migration’ arrived at a time which was, for me personally, pretty bleak. But besides its sentimentality, this record was sophisticatedly filled with multi-genre influences such as Afrobeat, Techno and the ol’ classico: Pop. Which in turn awarded the album a place in this list. Also, it’s a pretty good one to sleep too, as I’ve figured out in the past three months.

4 Chilly Gonzales & Jarvis Cocker ‘Room 29’

There is something in the wind, and I feel like this was how it was all meant to be… Jarvis Cocker, posing semi-naked upon a grand piano – with Chilly Gonzales pulling some stricken, tight faces as he oozes over the keys. ‘Room 29’ was the Jarvis Cocker album I’d been waiting for since my ears laid witness to his unique sound. I’d always complained that Jarvis would be much more suitable to nothing but himself and a piano; his voice not being eloquent enough to compete with an old school jazz vocalist such as – I don’t know, Nina Simone (?). All we needed, was just talking. Nothing, but talking. Reminiscing his youthful days, not a folk track to coincide with a Wes Anderson film, nor a guitar heavy indie-punk piece. Just. Talk.

3 Fabiano Do Nascimento ‘Tempo Dos Mestres’

“What the fuck is this, the New Internationalist?” That is what I expect you to be thinking right now, with all of these foreign names being thrown around. Anyway, Ambient Latin-Classical guitar still exists and will always exist as long as Fabiano Do Nascimento sticks around. In a world where Latin-Classical is always seen on the streets of Iberia, it is often hard to find the artists who stand out. And finding Nascimento’s latest LP, ‘Tempo Dos Mestres’, was quite literally by a cliché mistake. Again, in a record store, it had been misplaced in the Reggae and Dub section and like the buffoon that I am, I presumed it was a Dub record from Latin American. But oh no, instead I treated myself to a record – which legend has was produced deep within the Amazonian Rainforest, like some long lost magical coffee bean. But oh man, if you want to take yourself away from the miserable urban city-life that has become the bane of your personal world – PAY MONEY FOR THIS AND BECOME IMMERSED.

2 Philipp Gorbachev & The Naked Man ‘I Don’t Give A Snare’

Even now, five or six months after its release the world does not have enough Gorbachev (no relation to Mikhail Gorbachev by the way) and that is a fact. A man who has been consistently shut down by the Russian authorities due to his involvement in the nations dance community and venue, ARMA17, Philipp Gorbachev is more than just an electronic artist, he is more of an icon towards an underground, evolving non-conservative Russia. Gorbachev’s heavy use of analogue synthesisers and The Naked Man band proved unique, with elements of techno, house and Industrial – all woven into Punk. I will never, ever, EVER stop banging on about this record.

1 Kedr Livanskiy ‘Adriadna’

There are simply no odds stacked up against Kedr Livanskiy’s debut album, ‘Adriadna’. Not only is this one of the best lo-fi electronica albums released this year, but it is also the one that has a whole lot of statement, as did Philipp Gorbachev’s and Gnoomes’ recent LP’s this year. The three of them stating that the isolation of the Soviet Union is dying away, and finally there is a breath of fresh air in new underground music communities throughout the Russian nation. Anyway, I digress. Livanskiy’s use of analogue synths and heaviness in reverbs sets the tone for a very early noughties darkness, and oh, how I like noughties darkness.