Albums of the year by Wouter

Hammock - Elswhere

Favorite track: Someday
Release date: 05 Nov 2021 | Bandcamp

This album evoked the most emotion for me this year. Something in the layered ambient songs and the wideness of Hammocks sound just hits me. This album makes you reflect (something we can all do more off) and offers a helping hand for some soul searching. Hammock has been releasing music for 17 years and clearly isn’t done yet. This is a must listen if I am concerned. Enjoy!

Mono - Pilgrimage of the Soul

Favorite track: To See a World
Release date: 17 Sep 2021 | Bandcamp

First of all, really great title! I don’t find all Mono releases to be equally good or captivating, but Pilgrimage of the Soul really hits the spot for me. It sounds aggressive and forceful and I think really tries to deliver a point, and succeeds in that! Like Sebastian wrote in his review of this record, it is Mono on top of their game still evolving their sound. Highly recommend this.

Soars - Enfold

Favorite track: The Heist
Release date: 29 Oct 2021 | Bandcamp

As a big pg.lost fan, especially their earliest releases, this album was a pleasant surprise for me. It is evident what Kristian Karlsson brings to the pg.lost sound and that he is well equipped to write great songs as a solo artist as well. Punching bass, great melodies and piercing vocals make this release special and one of my favorites of the year.

Baulta - Another Second Chance

Favorite track: Long May Reign
Release date: 05 Mar 2021 | Bandcamp

This release was highly anticipated by many as Baulta’s previous release dated back 6,5 years. For me, it was worth the wait. Baulta has such a distinctive sound that I don’t find in another band in the genre. It is warm, lush and at times, mesmerizing and a Another Second Chance is a record I keep getting back to.

Ranges - Cardinal Winds

Favorite track: Cardinal Winds
Release date: 27 Aug 2021 | Bandcamp

Cardinal Winds has been so well thought out from start to finish. From the music all the way down to the artwork it is just right on all levels. It is heavy, melodic and associative. I like listening to Cardinal Winds and do nothing else and see where the music takes my mind. It obviously tells a story, but leaves enough room for everyone to create their own narrative in the story. Great release by Ranges once again.

Further recommendations

China has some amazing bands in the postrock/instrumental genre. I knew of Wang Wen of course, and Zhaoze shouldn’t go unmentioned either, but I never heard of Amber before they released Boundary of Time in June of this year, and there is a good chance you haven’t heard of them either. If I have to choose one word for this record, it is going to be beautiful. In its composing as well as in its production.

Comma is as much of a tip for myself, as for anyone else, as I completely missed this release when it came out in April this year. Got hooked on Monobody when I stumbled upon their live recording for Audiotree, recorded in 2017. If you like great musicianship, the odd time signature here and there and great composing, you will love Comma as much as I do. Special mention for the artwork as well, which is stunning.

The EP’s remastered is a combination of several Signal Hill releases, a band that operates under the radar a lot, which isn’t always deserved. I recommend listening to this an judge for yourself. I personally love the clean guitar sounds and hyper melodic compositions.

Ok, I admit, it might be weird finding Godspeed You! Black Emperor in a tip list. But for me, this is a tip specifically for those that haven’t been as much of a fan of everything they have released up to this year as everyone who loves the genre seems to be. I must admit, I am in that category myself. But this G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! feels different, fresher, more to the point, urgent. I found myself enjoying it much more than I thought I would. So if you haven’t been into them up until now, give this record a chance anyway. You might end up liking it!

I will be honest, The Machine is burning and now everyone knows it could happen again took a while to grow on me. Many were enthusiastic about this album from the get go but it took me a while to get into it. As this album is in a lot of top-5 album of the year list, my tip isn’t to just listen to it, but to give it a couple of spins. Listen to it as a whole, and like me, you will probably find it is a great album. This album makes a lot of music lovers rightfully curious about what is still to come for Bruit ≤ now that they signed with Pelagic. My guess, a lot of great music.