Old Acquaintance Be Forgot
By Cian Ó Cíobháin
1. Mica Levi - Lonely Void
Mica Levi’s soundtrack for Jonathan Glazer’s film ‘Under The Skin’ (based on Michel Faber’s novel) was, without doubt, the oddest yet most beguiling music I heard all year. I had listened to the soundtrack loads before I finally got to see the movie. Listening to the music out of context had made an impression, finally hearing it as I viewed the film almost made me want to start a cult.
2. Kode9 & The Spaceape - Autumn Has Come
The ‘Killing EP’ was the last release from Hyperdub vocalist-poet-MC Stephen Samuel Gordon AKA The Spaceape before his untimely demise in the autumn. His parting words “I must learn to dance with life again while autumn is still here” are particularly heartbreaking considering he passed away soon after the recording was made.
3. Visonia & Dopplereffekt - Die Reisen
This track should be employed by music teachers in classes to illustrate ‘how to write a bass arpeggio’. A big thanks to Laura O’ Connell for putting me onto this one. Released on Last Known Trajectory in January, this should still sound fresh in decades to come.
4. Clark - Snowbird
Chris Clark has been a formidable presence on the legendary Warp label for over a decade now. His eponymously titled 2014 LP is rumoured to be his last. If there is any substance to these rumours, it is safe to acknowledge that he refused to go out with a whimper with possibly his most coherent LP to date.
5. Roberto Clementi - Agile
The Italian’s debut LP for Soma - ’N Lights’ - took a slightly organic and dubby approach to electronic music. This one was the diamond in the rough: an ethereal and glistening piece of electronica that has shades of Burial or The Cyclist about it.
6. Actress - Gaze
His latest LP ‘Ghettoville’ may not be up there with his finest work, but it did bestow upon the world this gorgeous slice of dreamy house.
7. JAW, Philip Wolgast & Benito W - Papersand
Is JAW the new Robert Owens? The frontman of electronic French act dOP’s voice can be heard lighting up many a house tracks these days. I’ve never really been a fan of Robert Owens, bar a handful of tracks, though I’ve slowly began to warm to JAW. However, something about this collaboration - the production and the wistful vocal - made it sounds like a more melancholic take on what Ali Love & Hot Natured have been getting up to. One to slow dance to at the end of a lost weekend. From the ‘Midtown EP’ on Circus Company.
8. To Rococo Rot - Baritone
Veterans of the German electro-acoustic scene released their eighth studio LP ‘Instrument’ this year which included this track, redolent of classic mid-90s Tortoise.
9. Fhloston Paradigm - Never Defeated (feat. Rachel Claudio)
King Britt - under his Fhloston Paradigm guise - produced one of the most memorable LPs of the year in ‘The Phoenix’ and this collaboration with Rachel Claudio is the kind of gritty soul I subscribe to.
10. Ariel Pink - Lipstick
Ariel Pink’s new LP ‘Pom Pom’ is a riot of ideas. Like an enterprising magpie, he swoops over many different genres and eras and steals the best parts to create a new and vibrant love letter to both AM & FM bubblegum pop.
11. Aphex Twin - PAPAT4  [pineal mix]
A period of two weeks listening to Aphex Twin’s first LP in 13 years confirmed this and the ‘minipops’ single to be my personal highlights. Which tracks did you dig?
12. Andy Stott - Faith In Strangers
Moody Mancunian (is there any other kind of Mancunian? …. only joking) Andy Stott has been making - you guessed it - moody, melancholic electronica since 2006. Recent outings have seen him slow down the BPMs and begin to introduce vocals. Featuring Alison Skidmore, this is the closet thing he’s ever recorded to a new wave track. Taken from his fourth LP of the same name (as the track, that is) on Modern Love.
13. John Callaghan - Once More With Feeling
Not to be confused with the ‘trance’ John Callaghan, this short track by the ‘Brummie’ John Callaghan certainly possesses the nuances to put you in a trance (in a good way). It’s been floating around since 2010 but I only heard it recently and was convinced (mistakenly) that it was a 2014 release when I placed it upon this podcast. So apologies from deviating from the theme of this podcast. I assure you it was by accident.
14. Temples - Move With The Season (Beyond The Wizards Sleeve Re-Animation)
Lots of talk in indie circle about Temples this year. I probably wouldn’t have paid them much attention were it not for this widescreen, psychedelic ‘re-animation’ from Erol Alkan & Richard Norris. Well actually, I did give them my attention on the back of this rework, but didn’t hear anything quite as captivating on their 2014 LP ‘Sun Structures’.
15. Rival Consoles - 3 Chords
I’m not au fait with the early work of Ryan Lee West AKA Rival Consoles, but his EPs for Erased Tapes this year and last are quite remarkable. I could have chosen any track from the Sonne EP and this podcast would have been none the poorer for it.
16. David Douglas - California Poppy
Dutch producer David Douglas released his second LP ‘Moon Observations’ on Atomnation this year and this highpoint was played quite a bit on my radio show. One of those tracks that ended up winning me over after repeated plays.
17. Mr Mitch - The Night
There was much to admire in the work of Gobstopper head honcho Mr Mitch’s output this year. Leading with a superb EP in November, then releasing his debut LP ‘Parallel Memories’ on Planet Mu just recently, his music injected grime with a pathos and romance it very rarely tries to aspire to.
18. HTRK - Give It Up
On a bed of low-slung, beats appears one of the most haunting vocals of the year from Jonnine Standish. The quasi(queasy)-chorus ‘I’m gonna love you much better’ is poised with amends to make up for past regrets. Slightly menacing, wantonly sexual, you’ll find it on ‘Psychic 9-5 Club’, their latest LP for Ghostly International.