Soundlab: The Year is Over S01EP09: To sum up…

To summarise the last year, I created a list of recommendations that would combine albums that pleasantly surprised me at the end of it and some of the gems that kept coming back to me throughout it. I hope you had fun listening to my suggestions, and I hope some of those made their way to your Wrapped playlists!   

We’ll listen to absurdist dub-jazz; then a more traditional, instrumental take on it; some techno record with a church organ; a house ep that’s a bottle of sunshine and last but not least, a progressive polish folk-inspired album. 

CS + Kreme – Orange

CS + Kreme is a Melbourne-based duo consisting of Conrad Standish and Sam Karmel. It’s challenging to prepare anyone for what they’re about to get into when they put this album on. It takes a complete left turn whenever you feel like you understand what’s going on. 

There’s a definite dub undertone to the whole album, but it is complemented but live instrumentation, drum machines, and even an emotional vocal feature, which makes the entire thing surprisingly human for how experimental it is. I highly recommend listening to the album all through, but if that would prove to be challenging, the second to last track, Would You Like a Vampire, is the one You don’t want to miss. 

Makaya McCraven – In These Times

Makaya McCraven is a drummer/producer/composer based in Chicago. His previous album, Deciphering The Message, released on the legendary Blue Note label, should inform you about the level of professionalism we’re about to indulge ourselves with.

Enough about McCraven’s CV; what can you expect to find on the album? It’s all beautifully recorded instrumental jazz with a clear focus on percussion. The instrument provides a backbone for the tracks while at the same time taking the lead in a gentle and glamorous way. There are also subtle nods to hip-hop production; if you enjoy Bad Bad Not Good, or polish EABS, you’ll find something for yourself in this collection of tracks too. 

Maxime Denuc – Nachthorn

The sacrum-profanum motive might seem like a played-out cliché. However, by combining it with bold sonic and technological imagination, Maxime Denuc proves that it can still be thrilling. 

Natchorn is a techno album recorded only with the use of… computer controlled church organ. I feel like it’s important to point out that it’s not recordings of the organ put together in a recording software; it’s an actual instrument, located in St. Antonius Church in Düsseldorf, captured live. Seems like an impossible feat? Hear what the impossible sounds like for yourself. 

altrice – compciter EP 

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like last year’s gloomy season lasted a few weeks. I never thought I’d recommend a dance record in January, yet here we are! Altrice is an alias of Michael Sadatmousavi, an Arizonian releasing music on Dan Snaith’s (Caribou, Daphni) label Jiaolong. 

If the fact that the mastermind behind Caribou signed the author isn’t enough of a recommendation, take my word for it; it’s one of the best-produced house records of the last year. The beats pack a punch, the sample selection is outstanding, but the thing that impressed me the most is that it stays exciting throughout and doesn’t suffer from the clothing-store sound a lot of house does. So listen to it on a warm spring weekend, I guarantee you’ll love it! 

Odpoczno – Dryf

Folk music isn’t my area of expertise, and I’ll admit I find it challenging to vibe with at times. So why is there a folk record on this list, then? Because I’m honestly amazed by it! Odpoczno is a quartet based in Łódź, making music together since 2014. 

Their sound is unequivocally folk, but not in the way you would expect. Instead, the addition of contemporary instruments such as synthesizers and electric guitars, clever production techniques and the compositional skill of the musicians really takes the sound of traditional polish music to the next level while still maintaining the “rural” aesthetics. 

Listen to the full Spotify playlist below:

About The Author


Aspiring philosopher, musician and music aficionado, speciality coffee enthusiast. He holds bachelor degrees in Swedish Linguistics and Philosophy. Interested in all kinds of sonic arts both as a producer and listener. Currently working on the topic of social ontology.

This might interest you