2020 in 10 albums selected by Andrei Puiu
When Codin asked me if I’d like to sketch a list of my favorite music albums of 2020, at first, I was afraid, I was petrified. I was thinking I would rather skip this since I haven’t been in a full listening mood lately and also believing that there weren’t enough releases to choose from, and so on.
After finally agreeing to give it a go, I found myself struggling to squeeze in my favorite LPs, as, to my surprise, there were much more worthy of the top 10 charts. So, here is a shortlist of the ones that didn’t cut but are worth mentioning:
Surprise Chef - All news is good news; VA - Orbeats (Melting Records); Nym - Countermagic, VA - Puzzles vol.4 (Raw Tapes); Kamaal Williams - Wu Hen; Dayes, Stacey & Palladino - Welcome to the hills; Shabaka and the Ancestors - We are sent here by history; The Heliocentrics - Infinity of now; Oscar Jerome - Breathe Deep; Orgone - Connection, Mr. Bungle - The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny, Sault - Untitled (Rise)
I’m pretty sure there are many others that I’ve forgotten about, or I hadn’t had the chance to listen to yet.
01. Duo Brothers - Duo Brothers
Raw Tapes / 2020
For a while now, I’ve been watching closely all of the releases of this wonderful label from Tel Aviv, called Raw Tapes. This community, consisting of many talented musicians, manages to build a specific sound, that gives a certain flow and common ground to their releases - Duo Brothers is a perfect example of this, with a combo of cinematic-jazz textures, backed up by solid grooves.
2. Cut Beetlez - What Beetlez?
ae PRODUCTIONS / 2020
Whoever said that hip hop nowadays isn’t as good as it used to be, didn’t know where to search. This was an accidental finding in the record selection of Lazy Hour Store in Oradea.
3. Nubya Garcia - Source
Concorde Jazz / 2020
There’s no news in the fact that the new London jazz scene is very prolific and tight. This LP, which is in the spotlight for all the right reasons, shows us a new side of Nubya Garcia, a side that I’m sure we’ll see again shortly.
4. Skinshape - Umoja
Lewis Recordings / 2020
I’m a longstanding fan and bought almost all the records released by Skinshape, on his real name William Dorey. He is a bedroom multi-instrumentalist, who is recording almost entirely his albums by himself. The new LP delivers a new vibe of world music, unused in his previous releases. It certainly manages to keep that trademark nostalgia feel characteristic to his other recordings.
5. The Sorcerers - In Search Of The Lost City Of The Monkey God
ATA Records / 2020 (1994 reissue)
An exciting soundtrack, always keeping you on the edge, that manages to tell a story of a lost Maya city, located deep in the Central American jungle, where the secrets of this civilization lay dormant so that they can be revealed to the public.
p.s. Thanks to UFE for showing me this one!
6. The Mabon Dawud Republic - The Mabon Dawud Republic
Budabeats / 2020
Started as a Fela Kuti tribute band, the first LP of this amazing Budapest afrobeat supergroup is released at Budabeats label. Their features with West African musicians give the record a nice flow, making it a must-have for all world music fans out there.
7. Islandman - Kaybola
Music for Dreams / 2020
The Turkish trio brings forward a perfect mix of shamanic rhythms, nomad guitar riffs, jazz elements, and influences of Balkan and Oriental music, all of whom blend with compact electronic structures to create a cross-cultural sound journey. A must-listen in your next outdoor road trip.
8. Kruder & Dorfmeister - 1995
G-Stone Recordings / 2020
There’s not much of an intro I can write about the two famous Austrian pioneers of trip-hop/electronica/downbeat sounds but these compositions, recorded 25 years ago, finally came to light and could be regarded as the LP debut that they never had. It’s time to lie down and party like it’s 1995!
9. Deftones – OHMS
Warner Records / 2020
This release has all the necessary elements for a future all-time classic, being a mix and a perfect follow up to 'Diamond Eyes' and 'Koi No Yokan' - which I can’t say the same about 'Gore'. The release was on repeat many times since the first listening.
10. Puscifer - Existential Reckoning
Alchemy Recordings / 2020
With an inexhaustible source of inspiration, Maynard, releases a stunning LP in the style of “V” is for Vagina, but with a new electro feel to it. Really good!
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