2009: my view of the music


Sick of end of year lists? Well, here’s another one.

Sometime around June 2009 seemed like a really promising year, but now I’ve come to make this list of my personal favourites, it doesn’t look as impressive as I’d expected. Boomkat’s end of years seemed a bit meh and The Wire’s rewind likewise imparted a sense of the lacklustre. It might just be me. Despite that, there were some really strong albums and my shortlist of enduring releases expanded from 2008′s trio to a quintet this year.



  • Junior Boys – Begone Dull Care
    Subtle pop masterpiece, distressingly ignored in year end lists, this even bested their debut Last Exit for me.
  • Jon Hassell – Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street
    There are few such original instrumentalists left, though this release wasn’t revelatory that doesn’t seem important at this stage.
  • King Midas Sound – Waiting For You
    More coherent and convincingly haunted for me than the Burial albums though I realise I’m in the minority with that opinion. Roger Robinson is amazing and it’s great to hear K. Martin rein in the bombast to
  • Kraftwerk – The Catalogue
    An all too obvious choice I know, but an unavoidable one all the same.
  • Moritz Von Oswald Trio – Vertical Ascent
    Vertical Ascent is a significant new approach for Moritz, particularly in light of his joint responsibility for the deep innovation of Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound (I’ve never been able to feel the claim for Monoton’s prior claim). Can’t wait for the second album from the trio.

Well worth hearing

  • Broadcast & The Focus Group – Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age
  • David Sylvian – Manafon
  • Martyn – Great Lengths
  • Monolake – Silence
  • On – Your Naked Ghost Comes Back at Night
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto/Alva Noto – UTP
  • Shackleton – 3 EPs
  • Snd – Atavism
  • Tortoise – Beacons of Ancestorship
  • Various – 5 Years of Hyperdub
  • Vladislav Delay – Tummaa
  • Zomby – One Foot In Front of the Other
  • 2562 – Unbalance

Meaning to hear

  • Supersilent 9
  • Peverelist – Jarvik Mindstate

Music released prior to 2009 that I loved in 2009

  • Steve Tibbetts
    This was the year Tibbetts’ music made sense to me. Unfortunately I struggle to articulate that sense to anybody else.
  • Jimmy Giuffre – Free Fall
    Though I’d heard Free Fall before, this was the year I found it absolutely riveting in its exploration of the atavistic. I kept thinking of Harrison Birtwistle’s unrecorded opera Yan Tan Tithero. Giuffre’s 1961 live recordings Emphasis and Flight and Free Fall’s precursors Fusion and Thesis (reissued by ECM as 1961) are essential companions.
  • John Martyn
    I cried buckets on learning of his death this year and listened to his ’70s albums on repeat for a long time after.
  • Lech Jankowski – Institute Benjamenta.
    Long familiar with the film, 2009 saw me search out the soundtrack and found it to be a fascinating masterpiece. It’s OOP and rare as hen’s but the torrent is easily found.
  • Neil Young – Dead Man.
    See above.
  • Scritti Politti – White Bread, Black Beer.
    I really, really struggled with this album, but I finally appreciated its otherworldly strangeness this year.
  • Jan Garbarek – Paths, Prints; Wayfarer
    Garbarek’s acerbic sound balances beautifully with Bill Frisell’s wafting chords on this pair of albums.
  • Bugge Wesseltoft – Im
    Beautiful solo piano.

Other noteworthy lists

Previous years

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