Music of 2016

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Compiled across the year, these are my favourite tracks from the albums I liked in 2016. They’re not ranked; just ordered to a nice flow between genres.

Artist Title
Black Focus Yussef Kamaal Strings of Light
Mt. Crushmore Lettuce Elephant Walk
Instrumentalepathy The Gaslamp Killer Warm Wind (Frimpong)
Comet B Matt Chamberlain Grounded
The Catastrophist Tortoise Ox Duke
From the Deep Heliocentrics Outer Realms, Pt. 2
99.9% KAYTRANADA WEIGHT OFF
The Olympians The Olympians Sirens of Jupiter
Sounding Out The City El Michels Affair Too Late to Turn Back
6AM Kutiman I Think I Am
Changes Charles Bradley Good to Be Back Home
Special Night Lee Fields & The Expressions Lover Man
"Awaken, My Love!" Childish Gambino Have Some Love
IV BadBadNotGood Time Moves Slow
Man Made Object (Deluxe) GoGo Penguin Weird Cat
Spacebound Apes Neil Cowley Trio Governance
and the Anonymous Nobody... De La Soul Royalty Capes
Kindness For Weakness Homeboy Sandman Talking (Bleep)
The Mountain Will Fall DJ Shadow Nobody Speak (feat. Run the Jewels)
untitled unmastered. Kendrick Lamar untitled 03 05.28.2013.
We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service A Tribe Called Quest Melatonin
The Heir Vast Raticus D.W.I
Run the Jewels 3 Run The Jewels Legend Has It
Feature Magnetic Kool Keith Super Hero
Atrocity Exhibition Danny Brown Really Doe
A Fistful of Peril CZARFACE Machine, Man & Monster
The Impossible Kid Aesop Rock Lotta Years
Let Them Eat Chaos Kate Tempest Europe Is Lost
Blonde Frank Ocean Solo (Reprise)
The Spoils Massive Attack Come Near Me
Night Melody Rival Consoles Slow Song
Sisters Odd Nosdam Burrow
Monument Builders Loscil Drained Lake
The Last Panthers Clark Strangled To Death In A Public Toilet
Orphée Jóhann Jóhannsson De Luce Et Umbra
Trance Frendz Ólafur Arnalds 00:26
Atomic Mogwai U-235
Skeleton Tree Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Jesus Alone
Häxan Dungen Peri Banu vid sjön
Kuiper Floating Points Kuiper - Part II
Couple in a Hole (Original Soundtrack) Beak> Battery Point
Light Falls Wrekmeister Harmonies Light Falls III - Light Sick
The Glowing Man Swans Cloud of Unknowing
ATGCLVLSSCAP Ulver Moody Stix
Lightning at the Door All Them Witches Swallowed By the Sea
Requiem for Hell MONO Requiem for Hell
Mariner Cult Of Luna Approaching Transition
Guidance Russian Circles Vorel
What One Becomes Sumac Clutch of Oblivion (I)
What One Becomes Sumac Clutch of Oblivion (II)
Transcendence (Deluxe Edition) Devin Townsend Project Failure
The Madness Of Many Animals As Leaders Arithmophobia
The Violent Sleep of Reason Meshuggah Clockworks
Command Your Weather Big Business Popular Demand
Marked for Death Emma Ruth Rundle Protection
Post Pop Depression Iggy Pop Chocolate Drops
Monolith of Phobos The Claypool Lennon Delirium Boomerang Baby
A Moon Shaped Pool Radiohead The Numbers
Blackstar David Bowie Lazarus

Surprise

Childish Gambino. The track I have picked (Have Some Love) sounds like Parliment/Funkadelic at their absolute best. This shouldn’t be too surprising considering ‘Riot’ contains a sample of ‘Good to Your Earhole’ and ‘Redbone’ is clearly influenced by Bootsy Collins.

Disappointment

The Claypool/Lennon Delirium. I’m not sure why I still expect good things from Les Claypool recordings. It’s been almost 20 years since The Brown Album which is the last consistently great studio album (despite a glimmer of hope in the shape of Purple Onion and Oysterhead). This album suffers from the same issues as the last few solo Claypool albums - the recording quality isn’t great, and where Les/Sean have decided to handle the drums themselves the playing doesn’t match the standard of the other instruments.

You can always rely on Les Claypool for one thing though: No matter how average the studio album, the live shows that follow will be exceptional. I’ve not been able to see any of this album performed live but the recordings are excellent, especially with King Crimson and Pink Floyd covered flawlessly.

Special Mention

André 3000’s verse (which makes up the entire track) on Frank Ocean - Solo (Reprise) is probably the best 79 seconds of vocals all year.