As Christmas is fast approaching it means that it must be end of year list time… As usual I provide a run down of my favourite releases for Jumbo Records who ask a few regulars to get their felt tips out and list what they have enjoyed listening to over the previous 11 1/2 months.
I make no claims for my list being definitive, or that it is in any way a ‘best of’ for the year. I’m sure there is much I have missed and things that many have loved that I’ve just not got into. So, with that in mind this is a run down of my favourite albums released in 2015.
I’ve not included reissues here – I’ll come back to those. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong – I like to hear the views of others, especially if you have must – buys I missed. So my favourite new albums of the last year (in no particular order) starts with…
RUF DUG – Island
Eagerly anticipated and superbly received album of balearic delights from Ruf Dug. Tropical, sun drenched grooves that will soundtrack many a sunset.
CONCRETISM – Town Planning
This vinyl edition was issued by Norman Records who loved the cd so much they felt it deserved a vinyl press. Atmospheric electronics summoning up cold war era fears whilst simultaneously stirring nostalgia for simpler times living in 1970’s market towns. Hard to find on wax now, you can find the cd from Norman, or check out the artists on Soundcloud.
DEGO – The More Things Stay The Same
Broken beat pioneer, rave legend, jazzy drum & bass master begind 4-Hero; Dego returned with a stunning album. Touching on his broken beat heritage, blending in boogie, hip hop & r&b influences this is the sound of a man on top form. His 12’s released with Kaidi Tatham this year are also essential.
FLOATING POINTS – Elaenia
Sam Shepherd needs no introduction really. The dancefloor don / aka jazz nerd apparently spent years working on this album. The result may disappoint those looking for more Vacuum Boogie type tracks, but has delighted many more. Intricate, careful production rewards repeat listens as the jazz influenced electronica unfolds to reveal a beautifully absorbing album.
ST GERMAIN – St Germain
The long awaited return of Ludovic Navarre didn’t disappoint. Widening his influences from the jazz and deep house of before St Germain absorbs a more global pallette of sounds. With musicians from around the world afro and blues join the beats and still there jazz to form an album of warmth and irresistible groove.
GOLDEN IVY – To Elvira From Golden Ivy With Love
Six tracks of laid back electronic beauty from Golden Ivy. Deep house, melancholic atmosphere, leftfield beats all held together with a lightness of touch that makes this a record you’ll want to come back to again and again.
PTAKI – Przlot
Ptaki have created quite a buzz, from their work on Very Polish Cut Outs to dancefloor bombs released on People Must Dance. This album takes jazz, deep house, broken beat, trip hop, boogie and blends it into a hypnotic collection of grooves.
ROMARE – Projections
Released very early in the year this was the first album to be a must on my end of year list. From the incredible ‘Roots’ and its club shaking grooves this album also touches on blues, jazz, hip hop as well as adding afro influences to its deep house pallette. Essential.
Below is a link to my full review of Romare’s album from February 2015.
MATTHEW HALSALL & THE GONDWANA ORCHESTRA – Into Forever
Beautiful album of soulful jazz. Essentially a record for those who wish the Cinematic Orchestra would make another ‘Everyday’.
JOSE PADILLA – So Many Colours
Cafe Del Mar legend Jose Padilla worked with a range of producers on this album released on the always excellent International Feel label. Including the inevitable sunset tracks the album suprised by expanding its range to also include deep house, boogie inflected electronica as well as lightly jazzy even slightly poppy moments. An accessible album designed for warm evenings, but remaining credible due to the sterling work of its more underground co-producers.
LEN LEISE – Lingua Franca
Beautiful mini album from Len Leise, ambient and balearic grooves for sunsets and sunrises. More gorgeous music from International Feel.
BLACKALICIOUS – Imani (Volume 1)
After a lengthy absence Blackalicious returned with Imani. I had my doubts, after all it is a long time since Nia and Blazing Arrow, but Chief Excel & Gift Of Gab have come back in fearsome form. The album recaptures the funky sound that served them well and GofG demonstrates his famous verbal dexterity. Well worth checking.
DANIELE BALDELLI – Cosmic Drag
Italo disco don Baldelli served up a cosmic slice of low slung chugging disco grooves. A double album (plus bonus 7″) that will appeal to deep house heads, balearic dancers and those who love a bit of a psychedelic trip alongside their disco. Recommended.
ROISIN MURPHY – Hairless Toys
The always interesting Roisin Murphy’s latest album is a superb blend of house, disco, soul, italo influences with touches of glamour. Endlessly enjoyable and absorbing this is the sort of record you need for a hedonistic disco in your front room.
D’ANGELO – Black Messiah
ROOTS MANUVA – Bleeds
A real return to greatness from Roots Manuva, the new album stands up next to his best work. Deep musical production aligned to Roots creative wordplay telling tales in his distinctive rich tines this is a hugely rewarding listen.
DEATH AND VANILLA – To Where The Wild Things Are
I have put a selection of tracks from this list together – they are posted to my mixcloud & Hearthis pages with links to both here…
As I said above, please tell me what I’ve missed, why I am wrong about what I’ve listed or any other thoughts. I’ll also post up my favourite singles, compilations and reissues from 2015. So please check back to see those lists.
As ever – if you love the music buy, don’t steal.