Looking back at 2008, Part The Second, being music released before the year in question, but favoured these past 12 months


As I wrote in my previous post covering 2008′s releases, music increasingly has to strive – heroically or otherwise – against its own past to be heard. In light of this and my ramblings down music’s assorted thoroughfares and byways, the following is a list of the music that’s meant most to me in 2008. For quite a bit of the time it’s, perhaps inevitably, been of greater significance than the current year’s crop.


The Drift by Scott Walker was my soundtrack to 2008. It finally made sense to me after 20 or so partial listenings in 2007. In all seriousness I now view it as the greatest work of the new millenium, riven as it is with the personal and political. Tilt, Climate of Hunter, the Pola X soundtrack and the rare Scott rarities (the Nite Flights quartet, the Ute Lemper songs and Darkness) kept it frequent company.


Charley Patton‘s delta blues haunted me, initially in the budget set then with renewed strength when I caved in and paid the bargain price of £40 for the unutterably great Revenant box, Screamin’ and Hollerin’ The Blues, soon to be featured on Hard Format.


Harry Smith‘s Anthology of American Folk Music was an autumnal favourite, its sense of voices heard through time, their wealth of testimonial resonance a source of wonder to me. I’m saving up the pennies for Victrola Favourites and Goodbye Babylon too…


2008 was the year that I finally began to listen to Miles Davis again after a hiatus of something like four or five years. Before that I’d listened mostly to his ’70s recordings (bootlegs and official releases) intensively to the point of exhaustion. Now I find myself listening mainly to the best bits of the Jack Johnson and On The Corner Complete Sessions, i.e. the first three CDs of each. Also, the ’60s Second Great Quintet, the studio recordings and the Live At The Plugged Nickel and the Miles and Gil Evans Complete Columbia Studio Recordings.


I rediscovered snd to my great pleasure. I’d bought makesnd cassette on its release, but not followed its successors, Stdio, the brilliantly entitled Tender Love and this year’s vinyl only 4, 5, 6.


I finally got round to listening to Disco Inferno whose Lost In Fog I’d meant to follow up on for years. I’m glad I did, their blizzard/chaos/melody/(un)familiar approach is strikingly resonant.


Mark Hollis‘ one and only solo album I’d heard occasionally before, but this year it struck an almost silent, but deeply felt chord.


I stopped listening to Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark/OMD at Architecture and Morality. This year I discovered Dazzle Ships. Precursor to so much, including Dubstep’s hidden echoes, it’s a hugely ambitious and sadly overlooked work.

Other discoveries this year: Schubert’s Winterreise, .O.Rang, The Conet Project, Sly and Robbie’s Stripped to the Bone, Morton Feldman, Terje Isungset’s ice music, The Good, The Bad & The Queen, Morgan Packard.

Perennials: Kraftwerk of course, Rhythm & Sound, múm, King Tubby, Jon Hassell

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