An article by The Silent Ballet Staff


40) The Ansion | That is the Way of Things
Scotland

Skean dhu

Scotsman Jon Innes et al, aka The Ansion, offer a reprieve to the restless by way of mellifluous shades of emotive sound with That Is The Way Of Things. The collection reveals itself in a refreshing caboodle of live instrumentation flecked with gossamer electronic hues, subtle vocoders, rain stick metronome, and softly pulsating percussive undertones. A true treat for all music fans, the album is veritable head candy and an invitation to lose yourself, for want of a better description, in ether architecture.
(James Crossan)

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39) The Weak Men | DOG
United States

Self-Released

Coming from the ‘make it long, make it epic’ school of thought, The Weak Men create a tapestry of sound that evolves and explodes into a multicolored field of flowers and trees. The slow intros gently lead the listener to the destination, but the trip is quite lovely. Layers are added to rich drones, which round out the sound and create a foundation for some good old post-rock dynamics to offer a release after such a long and exciting journey. Melody is not lost with the droning shoegaze inspired songs, but instead taken to the forefront and allowed to entice the dynamics from the accompanying instruments. The album as a whole is a slow and thoughtful album, quite deliberate and precise in its approach and, inevitably, it pays off in the end. DOG is a nice addition to the post-rock catalog and the slight nuances and additions to the classic post-rock sound prove that The Weak Men are capable of great things in the future.
(Greg Norte)

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38) Hannu | Worms in My Piano

Finland

Osaka

With one of the most charming electronic albums of the year, Hannu Karjalainen presents his unique interpretation of the ever evolving minimal/experimental realm. The audience is treated to sparse instrumentation, stray electronics, and ghostly ambience. Although this is Karjalainen's first completed musical endeavor, Worms in My Piano is much more mature than its composer's experience would have us believe. Much attention is paid to the balancing components in the music space, of which we are constantly hypnotized from. This is a commendable start for Hannu, in keeping with great Finnish tradition he has given us something wonderful to behold.
(Jordan Volz)

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37) Akira Kosemura & Haruka Nakamura | Afterglow
Japan

Schole

Japan’s Akira Kosemura and Haruka Nakamura collaboration is a wonderful introduction to the works of both artists and provides a glimpse of what these artists are capable of separately as well. Collaborations often go awry as musicians attempt to claim individuality with the shared environment, but Kosemura and Nakamura achieve a natural harmony in which both can be expressive without silencing the other. The immix of electronics, piano, and acoustic instruments presents itself as a single entity with a serene flow, turning Afterglow into a genuine piece of music. Delicate and inspiring, their album spreads over vast melodic landscapes while only lasting for a moment -- A moment of stillness.
(Diana Sitaru)

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36) Morgan Packard | Airships Fill the Sky
United States

Anticipate

For a rookie, Morgan Packard did quite an excellent job at knocking our socks off this year at The Silent Ballet. After a little experience with Airships Fill the Sky, it's not hard to see why. Packard deftly navigates electronic waters, carefully combing through the past two decades of electronic innovation en route to crafting one convincing album that is as rough and experimental as it is smooth and accessible. Few things prove to be as fun to listen to as Airships Fill the Sky, achieving a wonderful balance between abstraction and addictive production. It's so good that we can't stop listening, and so intriguing and challenging that we really don't want to either.
(Jordan Volz)

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3
5) Cue | Wedding Song
United States

Self-Released

This album is overflowing with happiness. Instrumental music tends to concern itself far more with the melancholic than the sanguine, but Cue apparently likes to enjoy life. Who knew? This 4-piece “chamber rock” group from Texas fills every track of Wedding Song with tremendous energy and joyousness. Like with any good wedding song, this music should make you want to dance. Dance drunkenly, dance ridiculously, and dance with the unrestrained happiness of a child – you can’t dance wrong. There may be better albums this year, but none will make you feel quite so good about life as Wedding Song.
(Tom Butcher)

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3
4) 65daysofstatic | The Destruction of Small Ideas
England

Monotreme

65daysofstatic's third studio album, The Destruction Of Small Ideas, is a slightly matured offering confettied with subversive sonics and discord. The dynamic musical force returns with their trademark hyper-intense and glitch-intrinsic audio trigonometry, containing all the fervor of an impassioned street-corner preacher declaring the imminence of Armageddon. While their sound continues to be raw and visceral, yet interspersed with tinkling ivories and strings set to a backdrop electro-meltdown, moreso than ever this can be likened to cerebral noise art peppered with neo-classical iron filings -- increasingly sophisticated, if not at the expense of their usual linearity. Hanging onto the ever present political underpinnings, it is, most importantly, music for running through minefields in the dusk of oblivion.
(James Crossan)

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33) Tuna Laguna
| Ripples and Swells
Norway

Guano

Although "Tidal Eddies" was undoubtedly shafted from inclusion in our top tracks of the year feature, it'd be a crime to wrap up the year without mention of Tuna Laguna's fantastic sophomore effort, Ripples and Swells. "Tidal Eddies" puts the icing on an album which is generally filled with upbeat, groovy tunes that are somewhat nostalgic yet still fresh in the modern musical market. Tuna Laguna continue in the great Nordic tradition of cutting out all the superfluous instrumental flair and forging a "no nonsense" approach to their high octane instrumental rock, a surprising turn of events given the nature of the bands moniker. Get this while it's hot; this is one of the most invigorating new sounds in all of Scandinavia.
(Jordan Volz)

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3
2) Destroyalldreamers | Wish I Was all Flames
Canada

Where Are My Records

Ok, let’s get out the list: Gradual build-ups to climactic sounds? Check. Really cool baselines? Check. Waves of the warmest sounding distortion you’ve ever set your ears upon? Oh baby, check. A sound that’s a perfect cross between My Bloody Valentine and your favorite guitar-based post-rock band? Yeah, that’s a check. For several years now, shoegaze instrumentalists Destroyalldreamers have been showing fans of both genres how that music should be played, and with Wish I Was All Flames, they show no signs of letting up. If the cold winter months are getting you down, throw this album in the player – it’s warmer and more comforting than any nearby fireplace.
(Tom Butcher)

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31) Johnnytwentythree | JXXIII

United States

Self-Released

Cincinnati quintet Johnnytwentythree, claimed to be taken from the works of William S. Burroughs but to me will always be the serial rapist portrayed by Danny Trejo in Con Air, are, pardon the cliché, a breath of fresh air for the ever-so-cloned so-called ‘epic post-rock’ genre. Glittering guitar work with every necessary pedal on queue, visceral crashes from giant cymbals, and the all-important staple of strings do not fall short of the likes of another quintet, Yndi Halda. JXIII is thoughtfully composed throughout, processing a series of constantly evolving rhythms which always remain faithful to its adopted style while retaining an element of aesthetic desirability. Notwithstanding the tattered nature of this territory, Johnnytwentythree dexterously tread it, unafraid to brandish its starkly familiar influences. What results is a solid hour of bliss where even the unnecessary roman numeric of what is otherwise effectively a self-title is not devoid of charm.
(Mac Nguyen)

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