December 31, 2022

HCTF's best of 2022 (5-1)

HCTF's best of 2022

HCTF's annual list of the 20 albums that will be in regular rotation for many years to come. As per usual many genres are represented. Here Comes The Flood covers a lot of ground and it shows in this eclectic, final tally.

Today: final countdown from number 5 to 1.

Please shop at your local record store. The folks who work there know their stuff. And most of the shores have a pretty good website where you can order your stuff. It might even be cheaper than the big ones on the 'net.

Buy directly from the artist, attend live shows and stop by the merch table. And be sure to tell your friends about that great new act you discovered. Word-of-mouth can't be beat as the prime source to discover new music.

Aret Madilian: The Abbey Project

5 Aret Madilian: The Abbey Project

A beautiful soundtrack to accompany a road trip to all the abbey ruins in Normandy.

It seems a contradiction to provide the soundtrack for something that celebrates silence, but Madilian found a way around that, writing 10 mostly instrumental, neo-classical excursions, all of them named after stars. (...) With a prominent role for Armenian reed instruments - duduk, tavshevi, plul - all played by Artyom Minasyan - and the Indian flute bansuri played by Pierre Baillot the music moves quietly. Each note counts and it evolves into something deeper after each listen.

» Full review

Jeffrey Halford & The Healers: Soul Crusade

4 Jeffrey Halford & The Healers: Soul Crusade

All sorts of Americana on a single album? A gamble where everybody wins.

(...) a celebration of all the kinds of "roots" music that has made to the airwaves: country, blues, gospel, folk, and soul. Jeffrey Halford has broken out of his niche with this one, throwing all his musical references to the wall to find out what sticks. Well, all of it in fact. There is no way back now, but why should he? Play loud and dance the night away.

» Full review

Custard Flux: Phosphorus

3 Custard Flux: Phosphorus

Progressive psychedelic rock maestro is aging well like a great wine.

As a composer, he allows the tracks to take their time, going through sonic hills and valleys using tension and release. This immersive music will be embraced by fans of King Crimson and Weather Report. Taking it all in one session is the way to go to fully appreciate the textures, but taking a little pause after each side on the first try doesn't hurt. Curvey is still growing as a musician, taking more risks as he moves forward, but he is already leaving most of the competition far behind.

» Full review

Môgô: Somersaulting Through Eternity

2 Môgô: Somersaulting Through Eternity

Longform, ambient explorations filled with drones, short noise outbursts, and gentle keyboards.

Baronner's mixing skills are a guarantee for a captivating listening experience, with plenty of surprises like the dry percussion popping up in Cycle II or the pastoral coda that brings home Cycle I. People might even get up from their seats and head for the dancefloor, lured by a dreamy trance that brings avant-garde to the club scene. Imagine techno moving at glacier speed.

» Full review

Katie Lass: Hypnopomp

1 Katie Lass: Hypnopomp

The first rule of a making an adventurous album is: there are no rules.

Detroit art-rock artist goes all out with sounds and textures on her debut album, throwing out all of the usual "proper" recording tricks and familiar construction bricks of a song out of the window. Combining elements of dream pop, shoegaze, noise and rock she has constructed a truly unique collection of songs. Imagine Syd Barrett attending a party thrown by the cast of Alice in Wonderland, with the members Soft Machine and Can pretty near the top of the guest list. (...) Carefully sidestepping the pitfalls marked "self-indulgence" and "art-for-art's sake", Lass has made an album that both challenges and invites the listener to go in at the deep end and explore an alternate universe, wherein a sound can have a colour, and a colour can emanate a sound.

» Full review

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