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Monday, December 28, 2015

Favorites of 2015

Usually we put together something resembling a "best of" list of the year's releases, but I don't feel like I was on top of things this year as much as I have been in the past, so this time it's just a list of some of my favorite stuff from throughout the year, in no order (and trust me, I missed a lot of probably awesome records this year). As you can see, Malignant and Cryo Chamber really delivered.

Yen Pox - Between The Horizon And The Abyss (Malignant Records)
New album from Yen Pox in quite a long time (13 yrs) and proves they are better than ever. Absolutely massive and crushing.

Shibalba - Samsara (Malignant Records)
I just got this one (released Dec 22), but I'm glad I did and was able to add it to this list. I've had it on nonstop since getting it. Exceptional Eastern-themed ritual ambient that is incredibly captivating and contains everything that I like about this style of ambient.

Leila Abdul-Rauf - Insomnia (Malignant Records)
Didn't immediately stick out as a top 10 record, however after thinking about it, I realized that it's one of those that I can put on and let play forever. Excellent sombre, dreamy atmospheres by way of an opium haze.

Sabled Sun - 2147 (Cryo Chamber)
Simon Heath never disappoints and I think that this may be the best yet from his Sabled Sun project. Fantastic post-apocalyptic drone music.

Apocryphos + Atrium Carceri + Kammarheit - Onyx (Cryo Chamber)
Two of dark ambient's best producers combined with one of the most promising newer artists - there was no way this wouldn't be a top 10 record. It goes without saying that this is a masterpiece of an ambient and needs to be owned by everyone.

Aegri Somnia - Monde Obscure (Cryo Chamber)
Not sure who this guy is or where he came from, but this album is absolutely brilliant and I can only hope for more from this project. While Cryo Chamber focused a lot on minimal droning ambient this  year, Aegri Somnia makes the style I like most which contains numerous layers of elements in constant ebb and flow. Definitely a must own for those of us who like more "active" dark ambient.

Ionosphere - Nightscape (Loki Foundation)
He created one of my favorite albums with The Stellar Winds in 07, but to be honest after nearly 8 years of silence I assumed the project dead. Much to my surprise not only is it not dead, but Ionosphere has delivered another incredible offering with Nightscape.

Also Notable re-releases:

Die Sektor - To Be Fed Upon Again
The greatest modern harsh EBM record made gets a re-release with bonus tracks and a 2nd disc containing the exceptional (and finally mastered!) EP Scraping The Flesh along with tons of b-sides.

Ionosphere - The Stellar Winds
I was never able to find this album in hardcopy, but thankfully Loki Foundation re-released the Ionosphere backcatalog digitally this year. This remains one of my favorite dark ambient records and is a must hear for fans of droney space ambient.

Troum & Yen Pox - Mnemonic Induction
This absolutely colossal (and long sold out) collaboration was finally made available again in 2015, remastered and in brand new packaging. Obviously a must have for all dark ambient fans

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