An article by The Silent Ballet Staff


20) Four Tet - Sing
Kieran Hebden puts forth enormous effort with Four Tet and Fridge, and it certainly shows on works like “Sing”. Due to its intelligent yet simple structure, the track remains one of more accessible moments on There is Love in You. It is tightly packed with minimal instrumentation, yet it remains multifaceted when its components are separated and digested. The splendid elements are plentiful and include charming synth melodies, chilling vocal samples, and a drum beat whose dynamic nature remains fully capable of extracting euphoric sensations from the listener. The track’s environment expands and evolves to digital statures that resemble the spirit of Boards of Canada and Nosaj Thing. (Brent Dare)

19) Rafael Anton Irisarri - Traces
“Traces” makes up about a quarter of the entire running time on Rafael Anton Irisarri’s The North Bend. During the track's ten minutes, restful waves of implicit textures continuously dissolve and amass. It is a delightfully repetitious journey that ends before its duration can even be sensed—such is the mark of great music. Simply an ingenuous representation of ethereal design, “Traces” should be noted for its personal configuration and precise execution. Irisarri’s style on this track can be likened to a slightly more abstract Rudi Arapahoe, or a more haunting Jasper, TX; certainly he is in great company. (Brent Dare)

18) Errors - A Rumor in Africa
Signed and fully supported by Mogwai, with a critically acclaimed album to boot (as well as a host of some of the best experimental artists around begging to be called up for remix duties), Errors has had it good recently, and quite deservedly so. “A Rumor in Africa” sums up a huge portion of the band's sound. Errors' ability to seamlessly mix elements of electronica and post-rock is probably unmatched in today’s scene, and the way the group is able to jump from near dance-oriented sections to more thoughtful, emotionally driven ones makes this track grow better with every play. While most tracks on Come Down With Me can be labeled as essential, this one might as well be the clear highlight and the one destined to be the fans’ and critics’ favorite. (Mohammed Ashraf)

17) Ef - Sons of Ghosts
"Sons of Ghosts" displays, without faltering, how a band can take the traditional quiet/loud post-rock formula and breathe a stunning breath of life into it. One would be forgiven for thinking that, within the first minute, this track is fairly standard fare… but listen on! Throughout the track's duration, there are a number of themes introduced, each one of them showing the true ingenuity of this Swedish trio. After five minutes, the established theme cuts out, leaving only a guitar and an almost Efterklang-esque male/female vocal harmony. Truly one of the best tracks of the year, "Sons of Ghosts" is an exhilarating, emotive juggernaut of a piece, and one that is almost equaled by every other track on the album. This is essential listening. (Barry Smethurst)

16) My Education - Oars
The quality of My Education’s recording of Sunrise is a big reason it connects so powerfully. “Oars” is the apex of the album and the silent film it accompanies, and when the eight different instruments are in full throat (and it sounds great), nothing else in the world matters. Bowed vibes and tremolo guitar set the eerie tone for a murder on a lake, tumultuous energies and temperatures rising in the mind of a crazed lover. The track opens once into a groove driven by the drums and violin, with the wah-ed guitar tastefully becoming more vertiginous, and then it erupts into the barnstormer jam with furious, high register guitar, dizzying strings, and catapulting drums. “Oars” ticks all the boxes on the 'How To Write A Great Post Rock Track' form, and it also ends up not sounding like one. This is the highlight of an album that sets a new standard of excellence. (Nayt Keane)

15) Gold Panda - You
"You" is a track for those with Attention Deficit Disorder. Utilizing IDM's glitch element for harmonious effect, Gold Panda cuts out a smooth foundation and litters it with vocal samples that have a shelf life of only a fraction of a second. The jittery result could be described as schizophrenic, but most will find the end product endlessly infectious. For a track that required such effort to construct, "You" is a relatively simple treat, and therein lies its appeal. After only a few spins, the incessant repetition of "You" will no doubt be buried deep within the listener's head and will persist in the memory for weeks, if not longer. In a year filled with superb singles from electronica artists, Gold Panda may be having the last laugh. (Jordan Volz)

14) Stubborn Tiny Lights vs Clustering Darkness Forever, OK? - Sieve Of Eratosthenes
Stubborn Tiny Lights' full-length debut, The Infinite Regress, contains only four tracks, so each one has to count. The band's finest moment (or to be more accurate, eighteen-and-a-half minutes) seems to be an album's worth of ideas condensed to one long track, replete with piano, glockenspiel, soaring violin, swirling guitars, sudden stops, strategic builds, and bombastic crescendos. It has everything we love about post-rock, and more. A surprisingly sweet harmonic cream filling piles on the sonic calories; by the end, we are stuffed. And it is not even the band's longest track! (Richard Allen)

13) Caribou - Odessa
Part of the brilliance behind Caribou’s very well received Swim is its ability to deliver a nuanced short story collection in the form of zesty, danceable snacks. While Dan Snaith continues to build tracks off the interplay of analog percussion and a collage of electronics, Swim has a defined mood all its own—a soaked melancholy beneath a scrim of ebullience. The lead track, “Odessa”, is this idea in pitch-perfect microcosm. Consisting of a tight list of repeated musical and percussive phrases, it is easy to get lost in hypnotic head-bobs before discerning lyrics like, “I’ve been with you for all these years / Tell me what I’ve got to show for all my tears.” Snaith shows that joy can be tempered with heartache and somehow not lose any of its concentric energy. (Bryan Parys)

12) Zoë Keating - Escape Artist
When it is broken down, Zoë Keating’s style and songwriting methodology sounds simple—with the help of technology, loop a bunch of melodies until they sound like a sixteen-piece cello orchestra. In reality, her process is strikingly complex, weaving the science of programming and artful compositions—a marriage of logic and intuition that results in effortlessly engrossing atmospheres. If played by an orchestra or a four-piece band, the main melodic motif of “Escape Artist” might sound cliché or unsubstantial, but the balance struck between throbbing, criss crossing phrases, delicate bow-taps, and an intricate system of custom foot pedals is weighty and organic. Here, Keating shows herself to be a quintessential virtuoso—elegantly delivering a heady, but emotive experience that consistently values art over concept. (Bryan Parys)

11) Slow Six - The Night You Left New York
From its opening track, Slow Six’s latest LP had us in its grasp with quietly swelling guitar, plucked violin notes bouncing around like raindrops, and the Rhodes fading in while the first mournful pulls of the violin set the mood. By the time the drums kick in and the main motif enters, it is already apparent that this is a group who has mastered its craft. “The Night You Left New York” sets the tone for the rest of the record, taking everything we loved about Slow Six ’s prior work and injecting it with more energy. Dueling violins perfectly play off the other instruments building tension slowly, reaching a peak of emotion without falling into the tired clichés of the crescendo-to-climax. This is lovely stuff. (Joseph Sannicandro)


Top Albums: 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

Top Tracks: 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1