Cyclic writers best of 2007


Seb Chan
This year I listened to about 10% more music than 2006. Several long haul flights helped but this was another year in which I dug out some old favourites and long unlistened-to moments from the 90s. Whilst my club sets gravitated towards dubstep, on radio I made several mixes built solely out of old rave and German techno. Reminiscing and actually mixing these tracks again has played tricks with my sense of time.

Obviously Burial, again, features in my best of. Not just the fabulous Untrue, but also his remixes of Jamie Woon and Bloc Party. Although I tend to mix with people who don’t quite get the vocal science of Untrue, this is largely because the shared memories it draws upon are not common to their experiences – early morning post-rave comedowns and hazy mornings (in all senses); and the skippy beats of late 90s garage. Panda Bear’s Person Pitch and Animal Collective’s Strawberry Jam will also be on everyone’s lists as well.

Much in the vein of AC was Skeletons and the Kings of All Cities’ very odd Boy Lucas which was quite excellent. Caribou’s Andorra was superb and Four Tet’s remix of the first single, ‘Melody Day’ was equally splendid – bringing a northern hemisphere summer to the middle of a southern hemisphere winter. Equally poptastic was the Hot Chip remix of Matthew Dear’s Don & Sherri, and sweet albums from New Buffalo, Serafina Steer, Nancy Elizabeth, Bachelorette and Tunng. Odd Nosdam’s Level Live Wires was a pleasant surprise, especially as The Fog’s Ditherer was so disappointing.

James Blackshaw’s The Cloud of Unknowning and Deepchord Presents Echospace’s The Coldest Season were the two opposing poles of my late evening listening – the former offering gently unfurling ripples of guitar and the later, endless galaxies of hiss and a warm bed of dub techno. Heliocentrics’ Out There was a great assemblage of funk oddities that could almost have been pulled from a dusty pile of 70s vinyl, whilst Soul Jazz at the end of the year released a stunning compilation of funk and soul versions from the 70s – Jamaica Funk.

The technoid dubstep of 2562’s and the heavily Detroit influenced Rustie’s Jagz The Smack offered two different edges of dancefloor side of things whilst Geiom, Cyrus, Pinch and Disrupt all dropped albums which ended up more as ‘collections of tracks’ rather than coherent statements. At the end of the day dancefloors are all about tracks – usually tracks that need a big system to sound anything more than half decent.

On the electronic experimentalish tip I really enjoyed albums – Roma the Hello Clouds’ Near Misses, Christophe Bailleau & Won’s Free Bees Full Of Light, The Buoys’ Gillo Parlante, Pjusk’s Sart, Mark Templeton’s Standing on a Hummingbird . . . .

Mind you, like Matt, there’s a mountain of other things of note which change from week to week.

Emmy Hennings

strong>Or, The Music That Appealed To Me Most This Year Was Music In Which Desire Became Enmeshed With Technology, and Voices Lost Their Bodies (Or Never Had Them To Begin With), And What This Says About Me I’m Not Too Sure, But Perhaps It’s Time That I Read Some J.G. Ballard:

Burial - Untrue

Burial, Untrue
50 Cent feat. Justin Timberlake, ‘Ayo Technology’
T2 feat. Jodie Ayesha, ‘Heartbroken’, ‘Baby’ (remix)
Mark Pritchard & Steve Spacek, ‘Turn It On’
Britney Spears, ‘Gimme More’
David Thomas Broughton vs. 7HZ, ‘Weight Of My Love’
Pikelet, Pikelet
Radiohead, ‘All I Need’

Britney Spears

I Listened To A Lot of Dubstep This Year and Spent Too Much Money on 12″ Singles Imported From the UK, But For Me The Best Tracks Were Neither ‘Spongebob’ nor ‘Night’, ‘Cos I Prefer To Disco In The Comfort of My Own Home, and The Club Bangers Don’t Make As Much Sense There:

Loefah, ‘Disco Rekah’
Appleblim, ‘Fear’
Shackleton, ‘Stalker’ and ‘Hamas Rule’
The Bug feat. Killa P & Flow Dan, ‘Skeng’ (Kode9 remix)
Martyn, ‘Broken’


I Don’t Know Much About Grime, But I Know What I Like:

Fuck Radio 5 feat. Ghetto, Griminal, Chipmunk, etc
Trim, Soulfood Vol. 1 & 2
Wiley, ‘Gangsters’ and ‘Newham Generals War Dub’


The Field Album Did Nothing For Me and A Lot of This Minimal Techno I Find A Bit Too Neat Though There Are Some Good Moments, Nevertheless, I Generally Prefer My Minimalism To Be A Little Warmer At Heart:

Stars Of The Lid, And Their Refinement Of The Decline
Opitope, Hau
Ricardo Villalobos, Fabric 36
Deepchord Presents Echospace, The Coldest Season

Ricardo Villalobos

It Was A Pawtracks Kind Of Year, Though the New Animal Collective Didn’t Quite Make The Cut, Lucky, ‘Cos They’re Not Signed To Pawtracks Anymore, Anyway:

Panda Bear

Panda Bear, Person Pitch
Eric Copeland, Hermaphrodite

The Year’s Best Indie Record (See Above) Had The Dancefloor At Its Heart, And Only Local Bands Seemed Able To Lift Guitar Pop Out Of Its Creative Doldrums:

Rand & Holland, Caravans
Sly Hats, Liquorice Night
School Of Two, School Of Two
Sun, I’ll Be The Same

Rand & Holland

In Fact, The Year’s Most Perfect Album Featuring Guitars Was Actually a Quarter of a Century Old:

Young Marble Giants, Colossal Youth (re-release)

Young Marble Giants - Colossal Youth

There Was Also A Fair Bit Of Spooky Stuff Going On Locally, Some Of It Drone-Based, Some Of It Lo-Fi and Shockingly Intimate, A Lot Of It Was Excellent:

Moonmilk, The Winter Sun Has Teeth
Castings, Punk Rock Is Bunk Squawk
Fabulous Diamonds, Fabulous Diamonds 7″
Fulton Girls Club, Teeth & Air, I Wish I Had X-Ray Vision


Three Leading Ladies Made Flawed But Rewarding Albums, And One Band That Brought Ovaries To the Boys’ Club of Post-Rock Will Be Sorely Missed, And What Is It With the Letters ‘K’ and ‘A’?

Bjork, Volta
PJ Harvey, White Chalk
M.I.A, Kala
Electrelane, No Shouts, No Calls
Amiina, Kurr

PJ Harvey

Moving On to the Category of Live Performance, the Award For A 3am Slot Best Suited To the Dreamy Pre-Dawn Mood Goes to:

Tim Hecker @ The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, for This Is Not Art

Best Use of a Constantly Shifting Line-Up for Shows of Rewarding Unpredictability:

Rand & Holland @ various places

Most Austere Yet Simultaneously Self-Indulgent Guitar Solo, I Didn’t Think People Played Those Anymore:

Ned Collette @ The Hopetoun

Most Blindingly Amazing Performance By a Band I’d Never Seen Before, AKA, I Was An Instant Convert:

Ohana @ The Pitz

Strongest Performance By a Band With Few Live Shows to Their Name, Incorporating the Warren Ellis Memorial Violin Players’ Trophy:

Charge Group @ various venues

Most Imaginative Use of a Line-6 Delay Pedal:

Pikelet @ Spectrum

Best Collaboration At A Show That Happened To Be My Birthday Party, It Ruled:

Sly Hats & Guy Blackman @ The Hopetoun


Have You Noticed Yet That All the Pictures Are In Black & White? Good. Happy 2008.

  • Matt Levinson
    Talking music, 2007’s been a strange year. I’ve felt more connected to and more detached from music than ever before – that’s just where I’m at, I guess – from being out at gigs and parties every weekend to doing a lot more of my listening to music at home or on the bus. That, and the gradual impact of storing music on a hard drive, have paralleled a shift in my listening habits… away from house and techno and other dancefloor sounds, which I really still love, and towards more… song-y? indie? maybe just back to my roots. But it’s a broader malaise, I think, with massive, exponential changes in the way people interact with music.

    Hearing bits of my brother seep out of the edges of his second solo record (Urthboy’s The Signal) was a personal highlight. And, even though ‘We Get Around’ wormed its way into my head for months, it was the anthemic ‘Modern Day Folk’ that anchored the record for me, and that I keep going back to. It took me a while to notice Adrian Klumpes’ sound in Triosk’s thrilling wash of sound, but at some point I realised his phased arrangements were the magnet that really drew me in. The worst band name in a world of worst band names, according to The Wire, Roam The Hello Clouds’ debut, Near Misses, had me listening over and over. Following on from collaborations for Perth’s Meupe label, and Klumpes’ gorgeous solo record, Be Still, this new collaboration with Dave Miller and Phil Slater is a real Matt07 fave.

    One of my favourite shows for 2007 was a little birthday gig at the Hopetoun Hotel (for/by Emmy Hennings) with Founder, Charge Group, Rand + Holland, and a duo show from Geoff ‘Sly Hats’ O’Connor and Guy Blackman. It was a spectacular lineup, and just reinforced O’Connor’s talent. Considering he recorded one of last year’s best pop hits with Crayon Fields’ Animal Bells, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, but his naive, minimalist bossa nova was one of this year’s unexpected pleasures. The other favourite show from this year was Sydney’s Jazz in the Domain, featuring Oscar Castro-Neves, Airto Moreira, Abraham Laboriel, Alex Acuna and others, playing a magical set of Brazilian jazz (I wonder if 08’s nuyorican set will match it?).

    After an exhausting series of gigs late last year, Animal Collective faced a Brisbane crowd at the Zoo, and caved – “Our singer’s sick!” – they called it a night after just five songs, leaving drummer Noah ‘Panda Bear’ Lennox to hold the fort. He played what’s been described as a single dub track. It didn’t sound so great, but when Panda Bear’s Person Pitch appeared early the next year, it was so much more. A favourite. The other big record for the year was Burial’s Untrue. I slept on his debut – I get a bit allergic to hype, and sometimes it takes a while to go back and reevaluate big records. No such problems here. It’s been called Enya crossed with the Artful Dodger, but I’d say This Mortal Coil crossed with El-B.

    There have been so many favourites this year. More than any other, it’s been a year of overwhelming amounts of music. New and old. Alela Diane’s gorgeously familiar The Pirate’s Gospel, Disco Inferno’s Five EPs (how did I miss that back in the early ’90s?), Underlapper’s lovely Red Spring (I may never forget wandering into the Bat & Ball, Surry Hills, to them playing just as the election tally began to turn against Howard), Saddleback, Iron & Wine, Seaworthy, Caribou, Deepchord, Skull Disco, Sun, Swoop Swoop, Aluf, Animal Collective, Rand + Holland, Groove Chronicles, Kinski, Westernsynthetics, Pikelet, Go Betweens, Faux Pas, Naked On The Vague, AR Kane, Birth Glow, Ed Kuepper. There’s a lot more too. To be perfectly honest, hit me up for an annual list next week and it’ll probably be different.

    Peter Hollo
    I seemed to miss this last year. Not surprising ‘coz it’s a lot of work! I’m bad at top-10s and suchlike, so I’ve just compiled all the releases I really enjoyed this year into one big post. As usual, it’s insanely comprehensive. If it’s not here, either I didn’t like it that much, or it had way too many horrid diva vocals all over it, or I genuinely missed it (it’s possible!)
    Cross-posted at the Utility Fog blog.
    On the Sunday 30th of December and Sunday the 6th of January I’ll do my 2007-retrospective shows, and from the look of this list I’ll be spoilt for choice. They should rock! Comment over there if you have a specific request, or a grievous objection.

    65daysofstatic – The Destruction of Small Ideas [Monotreme] {While 65dos have pretty much found a (great) sound and stuck to it, the stand-out final track on this album adds vocals and strings to great effect}
    aheadphonehome – in the static [lofly] {Very cool indietronica from Brisbane that I’m embarrassed to have missed when I first posted this list. Glitchy processing, crunchy drums, guitars and vocals.}
    Shoeb Ahmad – Mixed Doubles [HellosQuare] {featuring remixes/versions from top types like Part Timer, pretty boy crossover, and others}
    Shoeb Ahmad – Summer Drift [Wilting Flower Records]
    Shoeb Ahmad – Vinyl Sketches [HellosQuare] {a demo, I think… Both this and the above explore ambient glitchy territory which fits Shoeb like a glove}
    Akron/Family – Love Is Simple [Young God] {They tend to get a bit meandery and howly sometimes, but what the heck, they’re nothing if not sincere…}
    Aleks & the Ramps – pisces vs. aquarius [Cavalier] {Homebrewed hits of last year make good!}
    Angels of Light – We Are Him [Young God] {This was a true stunner, eclipsing almost all other releases for the year, and kept sneaking into my mp3 player’s playlists… not to mention sending me back to Swans & M.Gira albums…}
    Animal Collective – Peacebone EP [Domino] {The b-sde, “Safer”, is at least as good as anything on the new album!}
    Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam [Domino]
    Appleblim – Vansan [Skull Disco] {I didn’t mind the collected Shackleton & Appleblim, Soundboy Punishments, although I really dislike “Blood On My Hands” and the interminable Villalobos remix. That said, this track is awesome.}
    Arcade Fire – Neon Bible [Merge] {I was pretty late to Funeral, and late to this too. Quite Bruce Springsteen innit? It’s… quite good.}
    Ólöf Arnalds – Í Nýhu Húsi [12 Tonar] {I haven’t been able to find the album Við Og Við anywhere, but this one track kills me. A simple vocal and guitar track, but full of otherworldly beauty. She’s worked with Múm, but this is truly something else. Oh – I downloaded it from somewhere; here for instance. Grab it!}
    at the close of every day – leaves you puzzled (the remixes) [art union] {the album seems to be a pretty dreary kind of emo-indiefolk, but the remix album features lots of great people including Hood!}
    Raz Mesinai’s Badawi – Unit of Resistance [ROIR]
    The Bad Plus – Prog [Do The Math/Heads Up] {Some may be tiring of their po-mo jazz covers of pop songs, and while there’s nothing as surprising and brilliant as their cover of Aphex’s “Flim” from a few years back, or as transcendently beautiful as “Prehensile Dream” from the previous album, this is still a solid and desirable release}
    Badun – Badun [Rump] {Danish glitch-jazz, in the vein of Nonplace Urban Field or something, nicely skittery}
    Battles – Mirrored [Warp] {Saw them live twice in 2007, and it’ll be at least twice in 2008… pogo to the math!}
    Battles – Tonto+ [Warp] {in two minds about this… Can’t work out if I like the remixes (even the Four Tet one) or if it’s just that I just like the song itself so much…}
    Beirut – The Flying Club Cup [Ba Da Bing/4AD] {it’s genius, but I particularly loved “Transatlantique” from the Elephant Gun 7″ on 4AD}
    The Besnard Lakes – …Are the Dark Horse [Jagjaguwar] {a revelation}
    Blaerg – Sesquipedalia [self-released] {breakcore with some intriguingly unusual sources}
    Björk – Volta [One Little Indian] {just erase that horrible Antony track!}
    Blonde Redhead – 23 [4AD] {gorgeous, gorgeous. }
    Bola – Kroungrine [Skam] {contains his best song ever, the wonderful “Halyloola”}
    The Books – Playall DVD [self-released] {handed to me by Nick Z after I finally saw them live in Chicago! With some new Books tracks accompanying some delightful videos}
    Boxcutter – Glyphic [Planet µ] {Wasn’t convinced at first by this one, but it’s grown on me a lot. Some pretty advanced dubstep sounds, verging on idm & jungle at times}
    Bracken – We Know About The Need [Anticon] {unparalleled. Read my gushing review at Cyclic.}
    Bracken – Remixes [no label/Anticon]{Awesome, but none as brilliant as Chris Adams’ own dubstep reworking of “Heathens” as Downpour on the very limited Norman Records bonus CD from late last year}
    Breakage – Clarendon/Shroud [Digital Soundboy] {truly advanced minimal drum’n’bass}
    The Bug feat. Flowdan – Jah War [Ninja Tune] {both the original and the amazing Loefah remix!}
    The Bug feat. Killa P & Flow Dan – Skeng [Hyperdub]
    Caribou – Melody Day 7″ [City Slang] {for the stunning Four Tet remix}
    Caribou – Andorra [City Slang] {another great surprise, just some great songs and lovely production}
    Castings – Punk Rock Is Bunk Squawk [Spanish Magic] {on one track here the Newcastle primitives create something that’s almost electronica!}
    Cdatakill – Bleeding Hearts Part 1 [Ad Noiseam] {not only an excellent companion to his Valentine album of last year, but also one of the few places we got to hear Enduser this year!}
    Cex – Sketchi [Temporary Residence] {I’ve followed Rjyan Kidwell through his various stylistic changes, and never stopped enjoying him (although I admit I was initially wary of the hip-hop phase).}
    Cibelle – Green Grass [serviceav] {an album track covering Tom Waits, but the b-side, “with the ghost of infantjoy“, is worth it}
    Cluekid – Crazy Legs/Odyssey [Bullfrog Beats] {Odyssey’s one of the dubstep tracks of the year…}
    Clark – Ted EP [Warp] {I loved the last album, and this offered a continuation thereof along with some nice remixes}
    Clouds – Shallow [from MySpace – Finnish dubstep tune featuring that amazing sample of Joanna Newsom‘s “The Book of Right-On”]{apparently this has been released now…}
    Colleen – Les Ondes Silencieuses [Leaf] {absolutely revolutionary – Colleen here plays viola da gamba (more like a cello than a viola), acoustic guitar, clarinet and other instruments, in layered, quasi-baroque style. Enthralling!}
    Comatone & Sleuthound – Albert & Leonard Put Things In Holes [Feral Media] {Our Greg’s best work yet, incorporating electric guitar but not losing the beats and deep production}
    The Crakow Klezmer Band – Remembrance [Tzadik] {their farewell album, live and rapturous gypsy-klezmer}
    Deadbeat – Journeyman’s Annual [~scape] {meant to be Deadbeat going more up-tempo, but it’s still got his signature bounce, plus a bonus of his very fine Saul Williams remix}
    The Declining Winter – 7″ and remixes [Misplaced Music] {debut solo release from Richard from Hood! Wonderful sounds}
    Deerhunter – Cryptograms [Kranky] {Saw them live in Montreal, loudest gig I’ve seen in some time, with all the energy and bile you could want. Love it!}
    Deerhunter – Fluorescent Grey EP [Kranky]
    Department of Eagles – No One Does It Like You [free(!) download from Stereogum] {it’s still there! FUCK! The world needs new Department of Eagles RIGHT NOW! Check out their Take Away Show from La Blogotèque too! Go on, do it now!}
    Dirty Projectors – Rise Above [Dead Oceans] {Black Flag reimagined as post-folk; I saw them supporting Battles in New York in April, and they floored me, especially the “Police Story” cover…}
    Distance – My Demons [Planet µ] {a very fine dubstep album that refused to be put back on the shelf for ages}
    DJ C – Sonic Weapons [Wimm Recordings] {Jake Trussell finally drops a full-length album as DJ C, collecting a whole lot of highlights from vinyl plus a few other bits. A shame that some of the more blatant samples were curtailed in a few tracks, but it’s indispensible all the same!}
    DJ /rupture vs Filastine – Shotgun Wedding Vol 6 [Violent Turd] {two great mixes back to back, Rupture mashing it up in his usual inimitable style}
    Dntel – Dumb Luck [Sub Pop] {It would be inaccurate to call this a disappointment, as I wasn’t really expecting Life Is Still Full of Possibilities… It was pretty good, just mostly unmemorable}
    The Drift – rmxs 12″ [Temporary Residence] {epic remixes by Four Tet and Sybarite, also available on the Ceiling Sky CD}
    Epic 45 – may your heart be the map [Make Mine Music] {very well-received new album from this rural northern UK band, glitchy guitars and all}
    sj esau – wrong faced cat feed collapse [Anticon] {very very odd. I particularly like the tracks with fiddle}
    Erik Friedlander – block ice & propane [Skipstone Records] {Friedlander shows us how it’s done with an album of almost entirely solo cello, wandering through a variety of American folk styles}
    Faux Pas – Changes EP [self-released, through Fuse] {with a great remix of Zeal sampling Aleks & the Ramps‘ banjo…}
    Fennesz – On A Desolate Shore A Shadow Passes By [Touch] {beautiful download-only release, available from Boomkat, crept in just at the end of the year…}
    Foetus – Vein [Ectopic Ents/Birdman Recording Group] {Only got 2005’s Love album a couple of weeks after picking up this excellent remix album. It’s great too!}
    Fog – Ditherer [Lex Records] {This one took some time to grow on me, but now about 2/3 of it is way up near album of the year territory…}
    Sage Francis – Human The Death Dance [Epitaph] {especially “Got Up This Morning”, the collaboration with Jolie Holland!}
    Fridge – The Sun [Temporary Residence/Domino] {a more Fridge-sounding record you couldn’t ask for…}
    Burnt Friedman – First Night Forever [Nonplace] {despite a few missteps (IMHO), there were also a few brilliant efforts from one of Germany’s glitch-edit kings}
    Frog Pocket – come on primates show your teeth! [Planet µ] {his best album yet – the most accomplished combination Celtic harp, fiddle playing and his unique brand of breakcore}
    Funckarma – refurbished two [N5MD] {more remixes from the brothers Funcken, still doing idm like none other}
    The Future Sound of London – From The Archives Vol 1-4 [FSOL Digital] {astounding – three, now four albums jam-packed with archival FSOL, with nary a dud track among them! Quite a few of the offerings here sound like they post-date Dead Cities too – aren’t we lucky!}
    Gescom – A1-D1 [SKAM] {not 100% about this – it’s a bit of a battering ram – but hey, it’s Gescom! New Autechre next year, coming soon!}
    Giardini di Mirò – Dividing Opinions [Homesleep]
    Githead – Art Pop [Swim~] {I think the first album was better, but “Darkest Star” is excellent}
    Grinderman – Grinderman [Mute/ANTI-] {total return to form for Saint Nick; I lost interest after the patchy Murder Ballads and mostly woeful Boatman’s Call, and have enjoyed about one track off each album since; caught this playing in an underground punk store in Montreal and couldn’t believe my ears.}
    Grizzly Bear – Friend EP [Warp] {just delete the CSS crap, but Dan Rossen’s “Deep Blue Sea” at the end, and the formerly rare “Granny Diner” are worth the price of admission alone. But then there was…:}
    Grizzly Bear – Knife (Girl Talk remix) [Warp] {mp3 courtesy Pitchfork, mashing up Tears For Fears and Clipse with the Grizzles!}
    Hauschka – room to expand [Fat Cat] {prepared piano and post/neo-classical arrangements – a sleeper, I keep coming back to this}
    Kim Hiorthøy – My Last Day [Smalltown Supersound] {more of what we expect from Kim, dinky sampled sounds and crazy-yet-muffled beats}
    Icarus – Sylt [Rump] {Pure genius. I’m a massive fan I admit, but here they combine their latter-day concrète/electroacoustic leanings more explicitly with the drum’n’bass roots that they’d never really left behind. I’m in love.}
    Inlets – Vestibule [Luv Sound] {free download!!! Do it now! It’s a crime that Sebastian Krueger isn’t better known; these are gorgeous songs, beautifully arranged. It’s chamber folk of the highest order}
    iTAL tEK – ZIQ184 12″ [Planet µ] {“White Mark”‘s the one innit. Top class dubstep from a producer equally at home with idm (see below) and breakcore}
    iTAL tEK – Snippets [Net-Lab] {free download! Yup, Alan Myson’s making waves, and apparently his new Deep Pools 12″ is the best yet. It’ll go up in this list once I’ve received it, methinks…}
    Jesu – lifeline [Hydra Head Industries] {especially “storm comin’ on” (feat. Jarboe) – fuckin yeah!}
    Jonquil – Lions [Try Harder] {brilliant follow-up to their Sunny Casinos album, establishing them among the Grizzly Bears, Inlets and Beiruts in the melodic adventurous folkie crowd}
    Kettel – Whisper Me Wishes [dub] {compiles a couple of excellent old 12″s with some newer material, combining neo-classical piano and cello works with melodic idm, often in the same songs. His best album yet…}
    The Ladies – They Mean Us [Temporary Residence] {Pinback plus Hella equals indieprogpunk bliss}
    LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends (John Cale version) [DFA Records] {Cale’s version far surpasses the original, appropriately enough. I don’t mind the original, but the Cale version went on repeat for days… heck, weeks!}
    Legiac – Mings Feaner [Sending Orbs] {would be one of the less exciting Funckarma-related projects of late, but for the track “Vega Orbid”, which is absolutely gorgeous}
    Low – Drums and Guns [Sub Pop] {a true instant classic. The leftfield production and perfect harmonies combine to make something magical…}
    Machine Translations – Seven Seven [Spunk] {He may say he’s “changed”, but the bent indiepop is still there, and tracks like “Oh Ma the Sea is Rising” and “The First Stone” remind us why he’s so special.}
    Machine est mon Coeur – self-titled [self-released/promo] {Sydneysider Bianca Calandra and her partner, now reisdent in Paris, created a bizarre mixture of indie songs and way-out experimentalism. We need more of this!}
    Maserati – Inventions for the New Season [Sugarrush/Temporary Residence] {“math prog”, they say, and that’s exactly what it is. I keep meaning to revisit this one!}
    MDK – A Theme [WèMè Records] {The A side of this 12″ from Spymania veteran MDK is a stunning piece of dubstep-techno, one of the deepest tracks of the year without a doubt…}
    Menomena – Friend & Foe [FILMguerrero/Barsuk] {Irresistible. Those piano lines! Those songs! Craig Thompson’s artwork! Everything!}
    MIA – Kala [XL Recordings] {Yep. Cash registers and machine guns, Pixies quotes and Clash samples, grimey production, it’s all there.}
    Mice Parade – Mice Parade [Fat Cat] {Quintessential Mice Parade, as you’d expect from an eponymous, is it seventh? album – and we (at least Sydney) get to seem him/them in January!}
    Milanese – Adapt [Planet µ] {brilliant stuff – features the stormin’ “So Malleable (Cold mix)” which was out on a limited white label 12″ last year}
    mist & sea – unless [Popfrenzy] {just what you’d expect, I guess, from pretty boy crossover working with the legendary Vincent Giarrusso…}
    MRK1 – Copyright Laws [Planet µ] {Brilliant dubstep album which became an instant classic, to the extent that I forgot it came out this year ;) His grime cred comes through in the highly successful collabs with vocalists, and the beats & basslines all hit the spot.}
    Múm – go go smear the poison ivy [Fat Cat] {every album I forget how great these guys are. The new album has some great stuff purely for the songwriting, plus retains enough oddness in the production to satisfy}
    need more sources – shed [Moteer] {another palpable hit out of left-field for the Moteer folks. And unknown gent called Chris Stewart brings us a mix of folktronica, postrock and cleverly-imitated classical sounds. This kept itself on the stereo for many months}
    Nine Inch Nails – Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D [Interscope] {ever since The Downward Spiral, which is still a fantastic album, I’ve ignored the NIN releases, but continued to pick up the remix EPs & albums, and while this one isn’t quite as great as some others, it’s not bad at all}
    Odd Nosdam – Level Live Wires [Anticon] {Despite the deliberately fuzzy production and strangely buried collaborators, there’s a solid hip-hop backbone here, perhaps more than on Burner}
    ollo – c-sides 1996-2006 [iTunes exclusive download release] {Very sad that this collection of ollo’s outtakes and rare trax is only available through iTunes (unless you’re a lucky bugger like me), as it has some really special sounds}
    origamibiro – cracked mirrors and stopped clocks [expanding records] {Wauvenfold member does folktronica, to rather lovely effect…}
    Part Timer – Blue [Flau] {admittedly featuring sampled FourPlay String Quartet on lots of tracks, but my donation of unused studio improvs to John’s cause is entirely because I adore his music. This album’s a stunner}
    Pieno – Pieno [Curt] {more loveliness from our man in Canberra, Mr Shoeb Ahmad}
    Plastician – Beg To Differ [Terrorhythm] {not sure this was really ever released, but the (I would say) very Chinese-sounding “Japan”, and the folk fiddles of Vio-Lent made for some stand-out dubstep moments!}
    pretty boy crossover – a different handwriting [Sensory Projects] {as pretty as ever, with an indie/shoegaze bent appropriate to their ongoing collaboration with Vince Giarrusso}
    Gail Priest – imaginary conversations in reverberant rooms [Metal Bitch Recordings] {this sat on my desk for a couple of weeks before I gave it a play, and I was instantly hooked; reminiscent of the less arcane end of the Mego spectrum}
    Radical Face – ghost [Morr Music] {indietronica of high calibre here by Ben from Electric President}
    Radiohead – In Rainbows [self-released] {While I think Kid A, Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief are all better albums, that doesn’t mean that this isn’t at least 1/2 gold, especially the opening track. My Discbox arrives any day now and I can’t wait for the 2nd CD!}
    Roam The Hello Clouds – Near Misses [~scape] {Laurence Pike from Triosk, Dave Miller (sometime Pivoteer) and Sydney free trumpeter Phil Slater bring forth a very Triosk-like sound, with Slater’s trumpet frequently a thing of beauty}
    Saddleback – Night Maps [Preservation] {Yes, I’m playing on most of the tracks, but I’m in awe of Tony Dupe’s work, and wouldn’t hesitate in offering this up as candidate for Aussie album of the year…}
    Ulrich Schnauss – Quicksand Memory [Independiente] {with those great Robin Guthrie mixes!}
    Ulrich Schnauss – Goodbye [Independiente] {Somehow expecting myself to be a bit sick of Ulrich’s nu-shoegaze-tronic sound, instead I found myself really enjoying this album. It’s a great shape to it, and just works for pure listening.}
    Serafina Steer – Cheap Demo Bad Science [Static Caravan] {indie-folk on harp and vocals, with some production from Mike Lindsay of Tunng here and there. “Peach Heart” is genius, and the cover of Eno’s “By This River” (see also Holly Throsby below) intriguing}
    Shearwater – Palo Santo [Misra] {gorgeous album from 2006, almost explicitly a tribute to late-period Talk Talk, re-released on Matador in 2007}
    Shitmat – Grooverider [Planet µ] {I liked this a lot more than I expected. Shitmat tones down the hardcore here in a surprisingly literal (except when it’s not) tribute to classic junglist stylez}
    Valgeir Sigurðsson – Ekvilibirum [Bedroom Community] {when producers make their own albums it doesn’t always turn out that great, but Valgeir does a first class job with help from Nico Muhly and others}
    Skeletons and the Kings of All Cities – Lucas [Ghostly International] {Utterly bizarre, strangely compelling}
    Sleepytime Gorilla Museum – In Glorious Times [The End Records]
    Snawklor – Quick Be the Feet That Run to Mischief [Bus] {great to hear something new from this Melbourne duo! One long track of their characteristic sounds}
    Aaron Spectre – lost tracks [Ad Noiseam] {such a versatile producer, whether it’s ragga jungle (of sorts, below), the hardcore jungle-meets-hardcore punk of Drumcorps, or the beautifully produced stuff here, more ambient, with crunchy beats, dulcimer and other acoustic instruments, and some vocals…}
    Aaron Spectre – Say More Fire/Music Is The Weapon 12″ [Rag & Bone]
    Subtle – Yell & Ice [Lex Records] {Oh, that Bracken collaboration!!!}
    Ryan Teague – Coins & Crosses [Type] {classical meets glitch – didn’t make a huge impression but certainly lovely}
    Telephone Jim Jesus – anywhere out of the everything [Anticon] {still getting my head around this one, but it’s nicely Anticon, with some very pretty acoustic instruments on at least a couple of tracks…}
    Terminal Sound System – Compressor [Extreme] {a truly strange deconstruction of the sounds of drum’n’bass from this Melbourne artist}
    Thee More Shallows – Book of Bad Breaks [Anticon] {Perhaps a surprising signing to Anticon, but given the indie direction of many of the Anticon stalwarts these days, not so much. Strangely structured with interludes that make the album as a whole hard to grasp, but I really like it whenever I put it on}
    They Might Be Giants – parts of The Else were a nice return to form but the best and oddest stuff was on Cast Your Pod To The Wind [Zoë/Longtime Listener]
    The Threshold Houseboys Choir – Form Grows Rampant [Threshold House] {What Sleazy Pete did post Coil – weird ambient world music, as dark and atmospheric as ever}
    Throbbing Gristle – The Endless Not [Industrial Records] {they’re back! Some tracks here are very reminiscent of Coil at their best, and Genesis is his usual unsettling self…}
    Holly Throsby – One of You for Me [Spunk] {the title track’s delightful, and the cover of “By This River” is beautiful}
    Tigrics – Synki [Highpoint Lowlife] {Hungarian idm producer with a highly limited release here, sadly as it has some of his best work, incorporating (it seems) some live instruments into the mix}
    Tin Hat – The Sad Machinery of Spring [Hannibal/Rykodisc] {no longer Tin Hat Trio, but no less ravishing}
    Amon Tobin – The Foley Room [Ninja Tune] {felt like a return to form!}
    Amon Tobin – Kitchen Sink Remixes [Ninja Tune] {just out, very nice!}
    Tunng – Good Arrows [Fulltime Hobby] {a couple of great tunes here, but I particularly loved “Peanuts” from the 10″ vinyl comp It Happened on a Day (see below). The album doesn’t feel like a great leap forward, but I love what they do, so what the heck! And (parts of) Australia finally get to see them in January!}
    Underlapper – Red Spring [Feral Media] {one of my top albums of the year, a massive step forward from these Sydneysiders (not that they weren’t great before). “Fallen Face Moon” is just one of many highlights from an album beautifully incorporating electronic and postrock elements}
    Venetian Snares – My Downfall (OST) [Planet µ] {a sortof sequel to Rossz Csillag Alatt Született, it doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor’s high standards, but it ain’t half bad}
    Snares – Sabbath Dubs [Kriss] {This is VSnares kinda doing dubstep, and definitely doing Black Sabbath. Strangely works…}
    Via Tania – Moon Sweet Moon [Love & Mercy] {I wasn’t expecting to love the new album from ex-SPDFGH singer Tania Bowers, even though I was a fan of the girls from right back when they started… Her vocals can grate a little, but there’s some interesting production and songwriting here, plus John Herndon‘s excellent drumming on about half the album!}
    Von Sudenfed – Tromatic Reflexxions [Domino] {Mainly for Rhinohead and “Dearest Friends”}
    Vorpal – the end [Cockrockdisco] {download the whole album FREE from here! It’s really good – really!}
    Why? – The Hollows EP [Anticon/Tomlab] {some nice remixes and covers, and it seems Joni and the gang are keeping their more-indie-than-hip-hop sound for the next album, which is most welcome}
    Saul Williams – The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust! [download-only, self-released] {very interesting collaboration with Trent Reznor – their styles mesh very nicely, and Saul Williams’ vocals sound remarkably like Reznor. Also notable for being a download release, circumventing the labels, something this year will be notable for!}
    World’s End Girlfriend – Hurtbreak Wonderland [human highway records] {The man’s a genius, and this is his masterwork. All the crazily-disparate elements, from post-classical to folktronic, postrock, drill’n’bass and glitchy cut-ups, are all here, and all fit together perfectly.}
    Robert Wyatt – Comicopera [Domino] {OK, now this man is a true-blue genius, and this is everything that a new Robert Wyatt album should be and more. The sampled vocals of Eno and others, Wyatt’s own rough vocals and frequently shattering lyrics in collaboration with his wife Alfreda Benge, coupled with the deceptively simple songs – it’s all brilliant. And somehow nice to see him on Domino, home to well-known Wyatt-worshipers (and -samplers) Hood}
    Adam Gnade & Youthmovies – Honey Slides [Try Harder] {I knew of Youthmovies, aka Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies, from a 65daysofstatic remix, but hadn’t heard of Adam Gnade. Here the band run the gamut from punkish indie to glitchy ambience while Gnade rants over the top. Gnade is a first-class storyteller, and seems to bring out the best in Youthmovies, making this a superlative little EP}

    Various Artists – 200 [Planet µ] {For Planet µ’s 200th release, they’ve compiled a double CD of relatively recent vinyl tracks, a few highlights from albums, and some new stuff. Hardly any filler, either!}
    Various Artists – Asleep on Trains [hellosQuare] {The ubiquitous Shoeb Ahmad here puts together one of the best compilations of the year, with tracks from Part Timer, Morning Stalker (Morgan from the Underlappies), The Rational Academy and a brilliant Leafcutter John & Sébastien Roux collaboration! Painfully limited}
    Various Artists – Binary Oppositions [Static Caravan] {Compiling Birmingham electronic & experimental music with many luminaries, plus Absent‘s “Wide Range Reader”, a dead ringer for Boards of Canada}
    Various Artists – It Happened On A Day [Great Pop Supplement] {Tunng track mentioned above, but plenty of other delights on this 10″ vinyl comp}

    Plus discovered from 2006:
    Ass – Ass [Headspin Recordings] {absolutely mesmerising folk/folktronica/something-or-other from an obscure Swedish artist}
    Breakage – This Too Shall Pass [Bassbin] {Very solid drum’n’bass album with some intriguing sub-d’n’b-tempo numbers on the 2nd CD}
    Patrick Watson – Close to Paradise [Secret City Records] {released in Australia in 2007, Watson comes complete with Pitchfork‘s disapproval, but to these ears his occasionally excessive Jeff Buckleyisms are more than made up for by the lush arrangements, occasionally skittery contemporary touches, and cabaret songwriting}

    And on top of this, I spent large slabs of 2007 obsessively listening to reissued/remastered NOmeansno albums…

    Richard MacFarlane
    25. Caribou – Andorra
    24. Raccoo-oo-oon – Is Night People
    23. Sleeping States – These Are Open Spaces
    22. The National – The Boxer
    21. Celebration – The Modern Tribe
    20. Sly Hats – Liquorice Night
    19. The Sea and Cake – Everybody
    18. King Kahn and the Shrines – What Is?!
    17. Phosphorescent – Pride
    16. Growing – Vision Swim
    15. Yeasayer – All Hour Cymbals
    14. Magik Markers – Boss
    13. Francis Plagne – Francis Plagne
    12. Kes – Grey Goose Wing
    11. M.I.A. – Kala
    10. A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Scribble Mural Comic Journal
    9. Black Lips – Good Bad Not Evil
    8. Eric Copeland – Hermaphrodite
    7. Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew – …Spirit If
    6. Burial – Untrue
    5. The Clientele – God Save The Clientele
    4. Deerhunter – Cryptograms
    3. Black Dice – Load Blown
    2. Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam
    1. Panda Bear – Person Pitch

    Simon Hampson
    I always find lists of releases difficult. It’s not that I am a sit-on-the-fence type of guy (although friends will tell you that I am easy going.. there’s a difference) – I just find that I am not occupied by the newest of the new all year. Sure – I will most likely pick up the releases at some point but that will be mixed in with a wide variety of listening.

    But looking back 2007 has been a watershed year. It was the year that dubstep really hit home in my musical world. Sure, I was into grime, UK Garage and the like – but I never really followed the strands. I picked up the Skream album last year and aired it on Symbiosis a few times.. enjoyed listening to it. But the sound really came alive when I heard Skream’s BBC 1 Essential Mix mid 2007.

    It coincided with a time of change – at the end of June I wrapped up Symbiosis after 5 years on Triple R and I took a break from touring artists. It was with the aim of focusing on my own sounds and getting into djing properly after years of small gigs and radio.

    So this year’s list is a very dubstep heavy.. it’s what I could remember sifting through the lists and I have probably forgotten many things – I will add to this as and when I find them.

    Picks of 2007 (in no particular order)

    Burial – Untrue (Hyperdub)
    Pinch – Underwater Dancehall (Tectonic)
    Deadbeat – Journeyman’s Annual (~Scape)
    MIA – Kala (XL Recordings)
    Pole – Steingarten remixes (~Scape)
    Flying Lotus – Reset (Warp)
    Vaccine – Breathless / Side Effects (Hotflush Recordings)
    Rusko – Babylon: Volume 1 (Sub Soldiers)
    Benga & Coki – Night (Tempa)
    L.V. ft Errol Bellot & Dandelion – Globetrotting / Takeover (Dub) (Hyperdub)
    Caspa – Ave It: Vol 1 (Sub Soldiers)
    Caspa – Way Of The Dub (Caspa RMX) / Bushido (Caspa RMX) (Dub Police)
    The Bug feat Killa. P & Flow Dan – Skeng (Hyperdub)
    Thom Yorke – Eraser remixes
    Bloc Party – flux (Burial remix) (Wichita)
    Skull Disco Soundboy Punishments (Skull Disco)

    So there you have it.. have a great New Years and tune into the new Symbiosis podcast at We’re kicking off with a special teaser on Australian dubstep this weekend to precede the launch show next week (featuring all Australian tracks and a mix from Westernsynthetics).

    Bob Baker Fish
    Now that I’m reasonably sure 2007 is over, I feel I can safely write this list.

    i Gazalo! Bugalu Tropical (Vampisoul/ Fuse)
    The first of two volumes released this year of the craziest most upbeat and obscure genre you’ll ever peel half intact out of dusty crate – Peruvian Boogaloo music. It’s mischievous, kitsch genius all wrapped into one exotic little time machine with great liner notes.

    Tinariwen – Aman Iman (Filter)
    True desert rockers. Recorded in Mali, the guitars are unforgettable. Soulful joyous, angry. This their second album is mind-blowing.

    Rio Baile Funk: Favela Booty Beats (Essay/ Fuse)
    This raw sleazy kind of slut rap funk has been thumping in the favela’ above Rio for years. It’s Miami bass through transistor radios pushed up to 12. It’s all sex and bravado. It’s been in clubs for a while but this collection, originally released in 2004 got local distribution this year. Great for Bonds ads.

    Balkan Beat Box – Nu Med (Crammed Discs/ Filter)
    High energy Balkan hip hop funk party tunes from imaginative New York based Balkan dudes.

    Toni Iordache – Sounds From a Bygone Age Volume 4 (Asphalt Tango/ Planet Company)
    A tiny Romanian man who played the tambal at terrifying breakneck speed. Sure he looks like a mafia accountant but he beats, finesses and caresses the tambal like the lover you never knew you wanted.

    Antibalas – Security (anti/shock)
    John McEntire produced experimental afro-beat from New York. Strange beautiful and contemporary take on Fela’ world.

    Neil Young – Live at Massey Hall 1971 (Reprise)
    The legendary archives are starting to trickle out. Finally Bad Fog Of Loneliness Appears. How can you write such an amazing song and not release it for 36 years?

    Tim Catlin – Radio Ghosts (23Five)
    Incredible control and precision in these unique drones from Melbourne tabletop guitarist. One of those records where you wonder how it’s all possible.

    Black Dice – Load Blown (Mistletone)
    Black Dice do pop. Pop gets angry and upset. Black Dice viscously bastardize it in retaliation. Melodic sound art. mmmm.

    Panda Bear – Person Pitch (Mistletone)
    Kind’ve shitty sound quality yet the Panda somehow transcends it with an enthusiastic pop mentality. It’s a gentle melodic mess that you want to hug over and over again until it goes limp in your arms.

    Rail Band Feat Mory Kante – Classic Titles (MRA)
    Shitty compilation, crap cover featuring some incredible music between 1965 and 75. The first track the thirteen odd minute Walenmalomybaliya has the greatest vocal melodies I’ve ever heard. Great to wail to. Incredibly diverse.

    Eluvium – Indecipherable Text (Sensory Projects)
    Double album grouping two previous works, gorgeous thick warm drones that tear at the emotions and are so dense that it’s difficult to come up for breath. Drowning has never been so comforting.

    Bracken – We now know about the need (Anticon/ Stomp)
    No new Hood record, but this may be even be better, highly electronic with those incredible vocals. Absolutely gorgeous, one of the obscure gems of the year.

    Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba – Segu Blu (Out Here Records/ Inertia)
    Only just discovered this, gentle strumming beautiful voices. Absolutely incredible. The peace the patience. There is nothing else like this. More inspiration from Mali.

    Pretty Boy Crossover – A Different Handwriting (Sensory Projects)
    Local shoe gazing electro pop. Sublime.

    Hanne Hukkelberg – Rykestrasse 68 (Shock)
    Beautiful intimate close mic’d vocals, classy, idiosyncratic arrangements, fragile beauty that threatens to fall apart at any moment. Version of the Pixies break my body leaves me weak at the knees.

    The Hot 8 Brass Band – Rock With the Hot 8 Brass Band (Tru Thoughts/ Creative Vibes)
    New Orleans Dixieland Hip Hop. Community music that goes right through you and helps you discover your inner funk. And it’s not a smell either. Their cover of sexual healing makes my soul break-dance.

    Snog – The Last Days Of Rome (Psy-Harmonics)
    Go to sleep little Australia pretty much describes the Howard years. Particularly the rimming. Is it wrong to live in hope? Very classy outing. Despite, or perhaps because of the rimming.

    Sun – I’ll Be The Same (Preservation)
    A gentle abstract, acoustic breath of fresh air that feels like it’s going to fall apart at any moment. Gorgeous.

    Persian Electronic Music – Yesterday and Today: 1966- 2006 (Sub Rosa/ Fuse)
    Occasionally something comes along that takes something that you thought you understood to a totally new world. Iranian electronic music does this. Two cds, one for the old school the other for the new. Absolutely uncompromising and mind blowing.

    Battles – Mirror (Warp/ Inertia)
    There’ something special going on in this maths rock weirdness. More than just an incredibly high up ride cymbal. Perhaps there’ even truth. Perhaps rock’ not even dead.

    Bruce Haak – The electric Lucifer (Omni Recording Corporation)
    This 1970 reissue of early electronic madness is incredible. Haak’ concept of Powerlove, a love so powerful that it could end war, has been inspiring. I’ve been powerloving people ever since. Whether they like it or not.

    Amon Tobin – Foley Room Ninja Tune/ Inertia)
    Amon does field recording and then processes the Bejesus out of them to make funky beats. His best album thus far, rough around the edges but incredibly interesting. Grows like cancer.

    The Alejandro Jodorowsky Collection (Siren)
    Soundtracks to Holy Mountain and El Topo, as well as both films and Fando and Lis. A box set of very weird bliss. The kind of bliss that talks to you, says weird things, offers to clip your nails. Has cinema ever been this good?

    Damnit, I’m sure I missed something…

    Ewan Burke
    strong>My Top 10 LP’s of 2007:

    Throbbing Gristle – Part Two The Endless Not

    Psychic TV/PTV3 – Hell Is Invisible, Heaven Is Her/e

    Bexar Bexar – Tropism

    Erdem Helvacioglu – Altered Realities

    Jeffrey Roden – Seeds of Happiness

    The Soft Machine – Volume Two [re-issue]

    John Cage – Imaginary Landscapes [as played by the Maelstrom Percussion Ensemble, conducted by Jan Williams]

    Amon Duul II – Carnival in Babylon [re-issue]

    The Green Kingdom – s/t

    Nine Inch Nails – Year Zero

    Most played album which wasn’t a new release: The Dead – Live at Oakland Arena 31/12/03

    Favourite TV Show: The Mighty Boosh and The Chaser

    Favourite film: The Number 23

    Favourite book: Jon Ronson – The Men Who Stare at Goats

    Best live performance: Merce Cunningham Dance Co with Sigur Ros, Melbourne, Oct 2007

    Favourite Australian Public Moment: David Hicks is returned to Australia after 5 years incarcerated at Camp X-Ray on the flimsiest of pretexts

    Quotation which sums up my year: “That of which one cannot speak, one must remain silent” – Wittgenstein


    About Author

    Seb Chan founded Cyclic Defrost Magazine in 1998 with Dale Harrison. He handed over the reins at the end of 2010 but still contributes the occasional article and review.