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Thursday, December 19, 2013

"Best Of" 2013

Of course I have not listened to every album that was released in 2013 (I actually feel like I've missed a ton of potentially great releases) and make no claim to this being any kind of definitive or complete collection. So basically, here are some awesome albums I heard in 2013:

Tzolk'in - The Sixth Sun
[Ant Zen]
Brilliant tribal ambient/industrial album which manages to surpass their previous efforts, of which I was a huge fan. Easily one of the best Ant Zen releases ever.

Diaphane - Lifeforms
[Ant Zen]
A genre bending release which contains hints of his previous IDM work in Ab Ovo and the first Diaphane release, but more diverse and developed. Extremely well written and produced.

Caul - The Long Dust
[Malignant Records]
Absolutely beautiful dark cinematic landscapes. Great composition and use of melody. I find it so easy to put on and get lost in for its entire duration.

Phelios - Gates of Atlantis
[Malignant Records]
I find Phelios to be one of the more underrated dark ambient musicians. He consistently puts out top quality work and his newest album is no exception. Fantastically deep cosmic ambient.

Circular - Radiating Perpetual Light
[Loki Foundation]
I like Circular because his work really doesn't sound like any one else. His work is distinctly ambient, though he uses many sounds which aren't typical of the genre. His compositions are quite layered and evoke visions of things beyond the waking world. This one is more melancholic than previous efforts, which always scores points with me.

Lamia Vox - Sigillum Diaboli
[Cyclic Law]
Quite probably the best "new" ambient producer. This album encapsulates everything I love about dark ambient: occult themes, ethereal vocals, dark melodies, complex songs, and deep atmospheres. So glad that she was picked up by Cyclic Law.

Raison d'etre - various re-issues
Raison is one of my personal favorite dark ambient producers, and is one of the most skilled and notable ambient musicians in general. This year he continued re-releasing his older albums with bonus material. I got Within The Depths of Silence and Phormations which was remastered very skillfully, and he also put out reduxes of Prospectus I, Enthralled By The Winds of Loneliness, and In Sadness, Silence, and Solitude (my personal fav, though I already got the re-issue from a few years back). If you don't own these, than make sure to pick them up. They are all hallmarks in the genre.

Comaduster - Hollow Worlds
[Tympanik Audio]
Amalgam of lots of different styles (industrial, idm, dubstep, post rock) with incredible skill, precision and absolutely grandiose production. Not for everyone, but there is absolutely no denying this mans incredible talent.

Parhelion - Temples In Ice [EP]
Though unfortunately short, this EP is absolutely phenomenal. I am a big fan of arctic ambient and Parhelion is a master of this domain. I love this work because it's not simply minimal drone, it's very dense and active with tons of depth and darkness.

Displacer - Masterless EP
[Crime League]
Another ambient EP that I was highly impressed by. Great sound design and melodies lead to very hypnotic songs that I can play on repeat for quite a while and get lost in. I can only hope he makes more ambient in the future.

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