Favourite Albums of 2022

Favourite Albums of 2022

December 28, 2022

Written by:

Dragoș Rusu

Share article:
It's that time of the year when we draw a line of what happened in the music world within the past year. And yes, it's been a while since we're doing this annual lists.

Since we dislike lists as much as you do, we asked some of our collaborators and friends to help us and share their favourite albums of 2022. No constraints; a complete freedom of picking any preferred album (or compilation) which was produced or repressed during the course of this year.

A big thank you goes to everyone who contributed in the creation of yet another adventurous selection of music, that (maybe) will resist the test of time.

From Aldous Harding to Black Midi

Ansambl Mileta Petrovića - Veseli Romi (Radio Martiko)
Ansambl Mileta Petrovića - Veseli Romi (Radio Martiko)
Ak’chamel, The Divinatory Monkey and the Sovereign Plumed Serpent - Transitory Collection Vol. II
"Released on cassette by La Republique Des Granges (France), this is the second volume of a limited series which speaks to the transitory nature of human existence on earth: it will eat you, and even the earth will eat you; like an ignorant man, like a man easily deceived...." Picked by Dragoș Rusu

Alberto N.A. Turra - Jinn (Felmay)
Jinn is the debut album of the homonymous duo born from the musical encounter of two well known artists in the Felmay catalog: Alberto N.A. Turra (Blumenkranz, Roy Paci-Corleone, Capovilla) and Peppe Frana (Vinicio Capossela, Daniele Sepe) respectively on electric guitar and oud. Picked by Branislav Jovancevic / Knr

Aldous Harding - Warm Chris (4AD)
"Warm Chris is the fourth studio album by the Hannah Sian Topp under her Aldous Harding alias." Picked by Andrei Rusu (The Attic)

V.A. - American Dream Reserve (Smiling C)
"This really is what dreams are made of. Perhaps one of the most impressive compilations I laid my ears on. Compiled by Charles Bals & Henry Jones with surgical precision this is an hour-long soaking bath in psychedelic lo-fi folk, home recordings and love making anthems. I quite simply have not been able to listen to anything else since this came into my life." Picked by Dragoș Munteanu

Anadol - Felicita (Pingipung)
"Made the mistake of skipping through it the first time (shameless, I know), but then it became a personal favourite. As sensible as she may be, Felicita forces you to be aware of all her identities. The album's novelty lies in the way it progresses, smoothly gliding through wherever it feels like going. A mesmerizing and contrived journey, free-form and touching on so many levels." Picked by Samer El Abassi

Ansambl Mileta Petrovića - Veseli Romi (Radio Martiko)
"By now it is old news that 1980s Yugoslavia was home to some of the most daring experiments on the European music scene. New wave, post-punk, electronica, metal, progressive, ethno-pop, experimental, you name it, they had it. After so many digging, unearthing, and restoration projects, one would be hard pressed to find anything new (from the old, that is) which would bear the “wow” factor. Somehow, Ansambl Mileta Petrovića pull it off. The story is simple: during the 1980s, the Serbian Ansambl Mileta Petrovića modernized the Romani music sound, by replacing the traditional accordion and brass with synthesizers and electric guitars. By today’s standards, nothing new, quite on the contrary. But when you give this compilation (released on the Belgian label Radio Martiko) a listen, you realize not only how pioneering their musical endeavour set out to be, but how inspired it was as well, withstanding the test of time." Picked by Claudiu Oancea

approved cabin - J (self-released)
"A new album from 2/3 members of the grand Moscow band Elektricheskaya Sobaka, which managed to mix outsider-pop and dub, mutant-techno and kraut in the improvisation way. This February band stopped its concert activity, but two of its members - Rustem Imamiev and Kirill Stepanov - met again in Berlin to work in approved cabin project. The duo's second album J is a free electronics opus that falls apart and reassembles, with a warm and monotonous vibe built on spectacular hissing ambient and distant mechanical lo-fi noises. Sometimes it seems that this is how a wooden submarine that has entered too deep waters can sound - the hull creaks, water drips from the ceiling, metal utensils roll from side to side on the floor in the semi-darkness." Picked by Eugenie Galochkin (ТОПОТ / TOPOT)

ASSID - Connaissance des Lois Cosmiques Lp (Notte Brigante)
"Funny, zappy, needy. A side in the streets, B side in the sheets?" Picked by Samer El Abassi

Black Midi - Hellfire (Rough Trade)
"From cabaret to math rock, from country music to Tropicália, from everywhere to anywhere, and all within a matter of seconds. In theory, such a project should fall to pieces, but somehow not only does it succeed, but it turns into one of the most interesting musical journeys of the year. After all the King Crimson and Mr. Bungle sounds, one thought the paths to alternative melting pots had already been opened. But when you add hellfire into the mix, then be prepared for an insanely paced, surgically executed concept album, that blends music styles with the imaginative nonchalance of a child and the experimental technique of a mad genius." Picked by Claudiu Oancea

bouti - blackrock! (ULTRAVIRUS)
"A monstrous collage opus the size of a Tyrannosaurus rex from Marseille-based producer bouti. A real monument to the era of excess musical information scrupulously fit into a half-hour timekeeping, which the author himself calls no less, but Planderphony. blackrock! reminds a roller coaster trolley with broken brakes - with sparks from its eyes, it breaks through every conceivable sound barrier on its way. The play boils with plot abundance - the gabba rhythms merge here kaleidoscopically with the choruses from Ke$ha songs, the viscous trap grooves bursts from the effects, and the listener's smile does not leave the face until the end of the release. IDM in design, dumb-dumb in fun factor is a better description than bouti himself came up with for the album." Picked by Eugenie Galochkin (ТОПОТ / TOPOT)
Circuit Diagram - Ursumpf (Ondes HXCX)
Circuit Diagram - Ursumpf (Ondes HXCX)

From Caterina Barbieri to El Khat

Carcascara - II (Hegoa)
"There is a reason why for the third year in a row, a Hegoa release makes my top 3 list for The Attic. It is, by a long way, my favourite label around with a clear focus that delivers time after time. Carcáscara second studio album is a beautiful elegy to Basque atmosphere in the shape of a guitar induced trance. Sublime is the word I am looking for here." Picked by Dragoș Munteanu

Caterina Barbieri - Spirit Exit (light-years)
"Caterina Barbieri is an Italian composer and musician, whose cascades of synthesizer melodies and rhythmic pulses seem to bend time and space around her. Music has the power of transportation and listening to Barbieri has felt like traveling at light-speed and slow-motion all at once since 2017’s breakthrough double-album Patterns Of Consciousness. 2019’s acclaimed Ecstatic Computation pushed even further with the lead single Fantas, where a haunting melody hurtling towards its supernova climax felt like witnessing the life and death of a burning star. On Spirit Exit album on her new label light-years, Barbieri now delivers her most profound work yet — a transcendental poetry of female mysticism, cyber culture and post-humanist theories, it’s a musical journey through inner-space as vast as a universe and as intimate as a heartbeat." Picked by Cătălin Teodoru (JADD Records)

Circuit Diagram - Ursumpf (Ondes HXCX)
"Had to include Ondes HXCX with the Circuit Diagram release, a delicious sauer-kraut blend of grooves and I do believe in where this label is going. So, keep an ear out for future releases." Picked by Mihaela Vasiliu (Chlorys)

Coby Sey - Conduit (AD 93)
"Stepping out to tell his truth with debut album Conduit, Coby Sey perfectly molds on AD93’s mastery to get out of the box and dare the listener with all the music they put out. Experimental and fusion project, his contribution to the musical world blends atmospheric noise tones with vocals in such a way that it feels like peeking inside his mind. Contradictory thoughts float over the beats during the listening building up to this beautifully haunted translation of an interior monologue into sound." Picked by Andreea Ilisăi (Cocco Mio)

Cole Pulice - Scry (Moon Glyph)
"Beautiful record from Cole. I love his synthy saxophone. Probably too sweet sometimes but anyway so beautiful." Picked by Misha Sultan

Cosvar - Troubled Waters (self-released)
"To me, meaningful tracks for the new club local scene are a true delight when it comes to Cosvar’s compositions. The gender dystopia shows the sides of creation process alongside a healing process. Troubled Waters guides me through melancholy, anger and sensuality that could not have been expressed better." Picked by Alexandra Statache (YCS)

Current Value - Platinum Scatter (YUKU)
"A release that made me think about how to construct sound, its limits and beyond. Very cerebral, but I do need a bit of contrast to what I usually look for in music and this was a very welcome surprise." Picked by Mihaela Vasiliu (Chlorys)

Diane Barbé - a conference of critters (forms of minutiae)
"After multiple non-human morphings, Diane Barbé comes back to her hominid-self to share a glimpse into Thailand’s rainforests and the acoustic expressions they foster. a conference of critters is a humid, drenched, gathering of biophonic and sylvan gestures cadenced by delicate human interventions. Here, the jungle pulses and hums. Thick stridulations guide us from the margins of the forest to its heart. Dwelling between soakings and crepuscular choruses, a multitude of earthlings sound the tropical ecologies. Monkeys, insects, frogs, birds, and humans intertwine under a resonating canopy. ‘The critters confer’ Barbé writes as she inevitably blends with the local fauna. Amid the strident ecoscape, perspectives oscillate — without warning animals (humans included) invade the foreground, momentarily dissolving the sonic tapestry before vanishing back into the greenery. These recollections transport us in a sonant bloom. A murmur rises, creatures stir, rain sizzles, leaves vibrate, the forest materializes." Picked by Pablo Diserens (forms of minutiae)

DJ Travella - Mr Mixondo (Nyege Nyege Tapes)
"DJ Travella’s version of Tanzania’s singeli music blends MIDI sawtooth waves and sampled percussion at +150bpm speeds, all done through his iconic VirtualDJ setup . ‘London Jomon Beat’ uses texturally contrasting drums and vocal cuts to achieve blitz breakdowns, before shifting the melody to create a truly ‘Link - Amenity’ moment." Picked by Dan Anghelache (Ondes HXCX)

El Khat - القات - Albat Alawi Op.99 (Glitterbeat Records)
"Rough-hewn and exhilarating, EL Khat's second album Albat Alawi Op.99 is a deep dive into leader Eyal el Wahab's Yemenite roots and their inspired re-imaginings. A careening orchestra of percussion, horns, strings, electricity and el Wahab's own DIY instruments." Picked by Dragoș Rusu
Gonçalo F. Cardoso - Impressões de Outra Ilha (Borneo)
Gonçalo F. Cardoso - Impressões de Outra Ilha (Borneo)

From Esplendor Geométrico to Iannis Xenakis

Ensemble Nist-Nah - Elders (Black Truffle)
"Very nice gamelan style percussion music very impressive. I saw a solo live performance by Will Guthrie, he is so cool." Picked by Misha Sultan
"Wielding metallophones, drum kits, hand drums and gongs along with found objects, the nine-piece percussion group engage in a criss-cross of rhythms and question/answer sections. The feverish drive of Rollin reminds the listener of HHY & The Macumbas’ Beheaded Totem. As Will Guthrie explains in an interview with Inverted Audio, an essential influence on the project has been Roscoe Mitchell of Art Ensemble, who included gongs, found metal and tuned percussion in his free-jazz practice." Picked by Dan Anghelache (Ondes HXCX)

"Freshly released by fellow Romanian producer and DJ, always relentlessly crisp, slick and fun, full of really cool features by other very talented local artists - definitely a must check and a relief for my tired brain at the end of this year." Picked by Mihaela Vasiliu (Chlorys)

Esplendor Geométrico - Live in Utrecht + (expanded) (Geometrik Records)
"Released in October 2022, remastered in 2021, this album stretches over two decades. Arturo Lanz and Gabriel Riaza are nothing but cementing their cult status for the industrial sound. They started 40 years ago, being also inspired by the Viennese actionism, they keep being relevant to this date. I need to mention that they were one of my highlights at Ombra Festival edition 2021." Picked by Ovidiu Vasilescu

Eve Risser Red Desert Orchestra - Eurythmia (Clean Feed)
"Two of my four picks for this list have piano and this one is quite jazz too. But hey, this is not the enemy, although it may soften and lighten your black heart emoji as it did mine." Picked by Victor Stutz

François Robin & Mathias Delplanque - L'ombre de la bête (Parenthèses Records)
With L’Ombre de la Bête, François Robin entrusts to the Nantes artist Mathias Delplanque the electroacoustic treatment to offer an immersive music dissecting, exploring, triturating the organic sounds of the veuze. Picked by Branislav Jovancevic / Knr
"Released by Parentheses Records, a label dedicated to crossroads music, this album starts with kind of warm-up rough sounds that slowly evolve to spectacular sonic articulations revealing the the beast: the heart-breaking wild moans of bagpipes played uniquely by François Robin along with electroacoustic taming tone set by sound artist and composer Mathias Delplanque. The two succeed in creating an ecstatic advance through hypnotic rhythms and spatial modulations to the final stage of total becoming with carnal polyphonies, ritual dancing and Dionysiac liberation." Picked by Elena Dobândă (Image and Sound)

Gonçalo F. Cardoso - Impressões de Outra Ilha (Borneo)
"Discrepant's founder summons another one of his Island Impression(s). This time we dive in Borneo's sonic dwellings, here documented and manipulated with an attention to detail. What sounds the local forest and community fosters are layered, composed, and carefully infused with synthesized and radiophonic swells. Dolphins, insects, birds and humans merge in hissing ambient spells. A cohabitation that oscillates between concrete and re-imagined realities. These oneiric reminiscences come together in a ‘personal memoir’ so beautifully charged in emotions as to spark ‘an impressionistic portrait [that opens on to] new meanings.’ " Picked by Pablo Diserens (forms of minutiae)

Haus Arafna - You (Galakthorrö)
"A white smoke surrounded me in the dungeon and started conversing to me. It was friendly, but my surroundings were certainly not. Invisible enemies all around. I had to run around, shooting aimlessly while hiding. I could barely see in the dark. That was until I commanded my soul, and it commanded me: ‘You don’t believe me when I say to you that in front of the door, they are asking for you.’ In an act of faith, a door opened to the bright surroundings. There, I found my path." Picked by Jeroen Holthuis (Ordo Viatorum)

Hieroglyphic Being - The Shittest Sounds U Don't Ever Want 2 Hear With Spiritual Name Titles 2 Prove How Deep I Am (Mathematics)
"Chicago’s cosmic lifeforce Jamal R. Moss reassembles fourteen house jackers and uneasy cosmic soundscapes, harvested from old VHS tapes, showcasing some of his most niched and screwed up productions from his decades-long career." Picked by Ninu Alin (The Hipodrome of Music)

Horse Lords - Comradely Objects (RVNG Intl.)
"As in Russian constructivism, which the Comradely Objects album invokes, Horse Lords delivers a performance as a laboratory work—rhythms and gestures placed in egalitarian combinatorics, (in)finite repetitions and an end product as contained as the set design of Lyubov Popova for Meyerhold’s version of Le Cocu magnifique." Picked by Paul Breazu (Paradaiz Tape Mașina)

Iannis Xenakis - .Electroacoustic Works (Karlrecords)
"Another intriguing release of the year is the Karlrecords' complete electroacoustic works celebrating the 100th anniversary of the avangarde composer Iannis Xenakis. Structured in chronological order to mark the prolific evolution of sound synthesis ideas from the very first one - the innovative 1957 Diamorphoses - to his late radical stochastic music in the early ‘90s. These molecular sonic treatment offers the synesthetic experience of movement in space, with unfolding lines of rich textures of microsound arrangements creating unseen architectural forms." Picked by Elena Dobândă (Image and Sound)
Jenny Hval - Classic Objects (4AD)
Jenny Hval - Classic Objects (4AD)

From Jenny Hval to Lethal Tender

Jac Berrocal, Vincent Epplay, David Fenech - Transcodex (Akuphone)
"Poetry, concrète edits and a sparse dubby rhythm section guide the listener through the trio’s latest album on Akuphone. In ‘Javanese Sea Fleur’ Berrocal’s trumpet is submerged in slowly decaying reverb, whilst Jah Wobble explores the low end of the sound spectrum, creating grooves resembling Cabaret Voltaire’s ‘Kirlian Photograph’, but with less of the rhythmic vocal work." Picked by Dan Anghelache (Ondes HXCX)

James Asher - Shaman's Almanac (Sleepers)
"James Asher is an English composer of world music and relaxation music, with a career spanning over 40 years and 30 albums. He is known for his individual and distinctive approach to creating tribal drum music. Trained as a sound engineer, Asher blends a confident grasp of fusion and worldbeat with a crystal-clear audio production style, combining acoustic and electronic elements, using instruments like autoharp, violin, mandolin, piano as well as synthesizers. Shaman's Almanac is a vinyl compilation by Sleepers Records, featuring six earthy, grounded and compelling tracks from the Drums & Didge albums released on Asher's label Starfield in 2020, in CD format." Picked by Ninu Alin (The Hipodrome of Music)

Jean-Luc Guionnet w/ Rhodri Davies - Dyslexic Harp (Deciphered in the Dark) (Amgen)
"Mistakes and successes signalled - no such thing as incorporation." Picked by Andrew Choate

Jenny Hval - Classic Objects (4AD)
"We’ve all been witnessing Jenny Hval’s rise to singer-songwriter masterdom, and on her eighth album she has finally cracked the formula to aural alchemy. This is the work of a brilliant mind, a Classic Object on its own and for me crowns 2022." Picked by Mersenne

Konduku - Mantis 0910 (Delsin Records)
"Released at Delsin records, this album dives into the hypnotic polyrhythmic realms of the minimalist dark corner of techno. I was lucky enough to catch the Dutch master at Parallel festival in the pre Pyrenees mountains, the perfect landscape for his music." Picked by Ovidiu Vasilescu

Kulku - Fahren (Phase Group)
"Officially, this music has been labelled as post-punk/no-wave. I only know that it ended way too soon after it had started. What was in between? Five tracks with a percussion heavy, tribal feel, accompanied by all the meditative chills a communal jam is bound to give if the inspiration is spot-on. Krautrock fans might want to give this album a try, as it is full of the motoric vibe of a band such as Neu! The recipe might not be new, but rarely has it been applied, at least recently, with such effectiveness." Picked by Claudiu Oancea

Large Plants - The Carrier (Ghost Box)
"I’ve scooped this on the euphoria of Large Plants’ debut single on Ghost Box from December 2021 — which has actually been the best song for me this year — a cover of Madonna’s La Isla Bonita. Distinctly UK stoner & psychedelic rock from Wolf People vocalist Jack Sharp’s colossal pandemic boredom." Picked by Mersenne

Le Motel - Sueños (Maloca)
"Le Motel’s versatility enjoys me and I consider this a bubbly and interactive album with a percussive driven sound signature." Picked by Alexandra Statache (YCS)

Lethal Tender - Empire Illusion (Corum)
"Way too harsh, bloated, confused, uncertain. Too hot to handle. Understandable. An inspiring trip with an uncompromising finisher." Picked by Samer El Abassi

Los Ahijados De La Changa - Los Ahijados De La Changa (Discos Resaca)
"One of very few very important things about 1968: the sonidero movement was officially born in Mexico by Sonido La Socia of Guadalupe Reyes Salazar and Sonido la Changa of Ramón Rojo, El rey de reyes, the King of Kings. From then on, he was the spiritual godfather of every sonidero. This album is about the old man together with his great godsons and daughters doing the Cumbia. Oh, my life (o viața mea) and that voice by Mariposas Del Alma on Cumbia Cuando Te Fuiste!". Picked by Victor Stutz
Mahler, Guðnadóttir, Elgar - Tár (Deutsche Grammophon)
Mahler, Guðnadóttir, Elgar - Tár (Deutsche Grammophon)

From Lucrecia Dalt to Merope

Lucrecia Dalt - ¡Ay! (RVNG Intl.)
"Lucrecia Dalt is a wonderful and cerebral Colombian artist anchored in experimental music to ponder the nature of human consciousness. On her new album ¡Ay!, the story centers on Preta, an extraterrestrial entity that arrives on our planet and confronts earthly conceptions of temporality, embodiment, and love for the first time. Yes, its sci-fi, but it’s also bolero and other classic genres who Lucrecia grew up with, filtered with congas and jazzy double bass. Dalt questions the essence of time, using concepts, texture and acoustics to make a good narrative-driven experimental music." Picked by Cătălin Teodoru (JADD Records)

Lucrecia Dalt - The Baby (Original Score) (Invada Records)
Lucrecia Dalt's soundtrack for the comedy-horror show The Baby on HBO is bold and unconventional, featuring bizarre vocalizations, bodily sounds, and throat singing. Dalt is known for creating immersive musical experiences with her multi-layered, mystical instrumentations, as seen on her previous works Anticlines and No era sólida. The score is composed of pulsating synth beats, haunting vocals, and body percussion, as well as amorphous blobs of sonic ripples. These elements come together to create a unique and otherworldly soundscape." Picked by Cosmin Nicolae / TRG

Lynn Avery & Cole Pulice - To Live & Die In Space & Time (Moon Glyphs)
"Another one from Cole but collab with Lynn Avery." Picked by Misha Sultan

Mads Emil Nielsen - Black Box 3 (arbitrary)
"arbitrary’s founder shares yet another Black Box release from his ongoing series of works for theatre, dance, radio, and more. This time Mads Emil Nielsen develops an uncanny sonic environment where insect and amphibian acoustics blend with delicate electronics and manipulated drums. Sounds from the real interweave with synthesized ones while cadenced by booming bass accents. The whole set transports us in the ambiguous twilight of an electrified dusk. Timbres reverberate, transients multiply. Submerged at times, or dry within the reedbed’s fauna, the electronics unravel gently while never culminating. Tension lies elsewhere, perhaps within the slow settlements of these reimagined soundscapes. As if at the edge of a dreamed pond, Nielsen’s music oozes and stridulates in sublime finesse." Picked by Pablo Diserens (forms of minutiae)

Mahler, Guðnadóttir, Elgar - Tár (Deutsche Grammophon)
"Guðnadóttir described her approach to creating music for the film, emphasizing the importance of being both "invisible and incredibly present" in the process. She explained that the audience only hears the score when the characters in the film also hear it, but that the score actually plays a much more subtle and nuanced role in the film. Rather than simply underscoring and punctuating the action on screen, the score is given autonomy and becomes a powerful force in its own right. Guðnadóttir's work demonstrates the ability of music and film to complement and trust each other on screen, creating a harmonious and powerful artistic experience." Picked by Cosmin Nicolae / TRG

Md. After Hussain & PAQ - Matir Gaan (Hive Mind Records)
"Collab between Italian musician Andrea Rusconi and Bengali migrant Mohammed After Hussain. I listened to this record many times." Picked by Misha Sultan

Merope - Naktės (Stroom)
"I’ve been listening obsessively to this album from the collective Merope, a prime example of Lithuanian folk influences finding a firm place in the global ocean of experimental world sounds. Originally released in 2018, the album found its way to the Stroom imprint for a repress this year, so I guess it deserves a steady place in this list. As their presentation mentions, Merope also addresses other global concern such as the state of the ecosystem and our reliance on energy; they recorded their debut album in a natural setting in Spain using only solar power." Picked by Dragoș Rusu

Mokre’tzy Konstruktor - The Mystery of Maybug (Dead Channel Records)
"Downright diabolical, an effective anesthetic from the deepest of pits, coming to isolate and devour the sick. Music to die to." Picked by Samer El Abassi

Noori & His Dorpa Band - Beja Power! Electric Soul & Brass from Sudan's Red Sea Coast (Ostinato)
"Western ears unfortunately tend to treat African Music as one big desert-meets-percussions category, but aficionados will surely cherish this uplifting Sudani (indeed Beja!) fusion." Picked by Mersenne

O. G. Jigg - The Land Dictates the Lay of the Stone (Earth Memory Recordings)
"Alias of Will Memotone. Mystical music." Picked by Misha Sultan
Rokia Koné & Jacknife Lee - BAMANAN (Real World Records)
Rokia Koné & Jacknife Lee - BAMANAN (Real World Records)

From Psychic Ills to shemovesshe

Psychic Ills - FRKWYS Vol. 4.5: Nowhere in the Night (RVNG Intl.)
"Psychic Ills and Gibby Haynes’ Nowhere in the Night is a document of sound twisting, snaking, and unfolding with the joy of relationship and unleashed aim." Picked by Dragoș Rusu

Radko - The Dirt On Caligula (Enfant Terrible)
"A voice creeping from below the soil comes to me through a crack. It swiftly moves to the side of my face, entering my ear canal where it whispers in my middle ear to make sure no one else could hear it. It is a wish to come and wash the dirty * of the Godflesh. I respond: Deviecer egassem." Picked by Jeroen Holthuis (Ordo Viatorum)

Raz Mesinai, Val Jeanty - Time Assasins (UPA Recordings)
"Drums, vodou electronics, sound chemistry and overall sonic shamanism from very special Haitian born and raised Val Jeanty. Haiti is hell right now, so yeah, Ayibobo." Picked by Victor Stutz

V.A. - Risks Issues Opportunities II (R.i.O. Label)
"The Berlin based label R.I.O. never ceases to deliver proper outer space, hypnotic sounds. Here with the second edition of Risks Issues Opportunities compilation, they bring together 8 artists to take you by the hand in this spinning slow dance, a seducing dream, a meditation that dares to unfold unseen realms and push limits. It brings a specific nostalgia for an unreachable place far away with fragile ambient yet punchy mystical frequencies and that makes it an impeccably curated selection – a musical trip from beginning to beyond." Picked by Andreea Ilisăi (Cocco Mio)

Rokia Koné & Jacknife Lee - BAMANAN (Real World Records)
"From Mali, West Africa, comes Rokia Koné, one of the mighty ten singers of the Les Amazones d'Afrique. The debut album BAMANAN roars like a lion for everyone to hear Rokia's powerful voice and mark her debut album, released by no other than Real World Records. The debut album of the Rose of Bamako, Kone's nickname, has a unique taste due to the insertion of electronics by the Irish rock producer Jacknife Lee. You will feel Lee's electronic drums and bass on tracks like Kurumba or the guitar riffs on Anw Tile, but the blandness is incredible. You would believe a producer who works with big mainstream names such as U2, Taylor Swift or R.E.M. would influence the music more. BAMANAN is a showcase of how West African music can mix with the technological Western World, bringing calm, warmth, and spirit to a world that sometimes seems to forget where the musical origins are coming from." Picked by Codin Orășeanu (Black Rhino Radio)

Romperayo - Así No Se Puede Muchaches (Discrepant / Sook Records)
"Firstly, my attention was caught by the drums of the Meridian Brothers and that's how I found that one the many projects of Pedro Ojeda is Romperayo. Expect a drunken quirky madness like a parade on your national day. But, played by a cumbia band with a hint of punk. Si, asi se pueden mis borrachos!" Picked by Ovidiu Vasilescu

Sakostamu - Break Down (Brachliegen Tapes)
"There's happy children choir, dur dur d'être bébé, there's also dark children choir and mouth of babes and, as you will find here, there's inner children exorcism." Picked by Victor Stutz

Sélébéyone - Xaybu: The Unseen (Pi Recordings)
"Xaybu: The Unseen is the sophomore release from Sélébéyone, an international avant-rap collective led by saxophonist and composer Steve Lehman, well known in musical territories like modern jazz and contemporary classical music. Comprised of MCs HPrizm and Gaston Bandimic, saxophonists Lehman and Maciek Lasserre, and drummer Damion Reid, their 2016 debut album was described by Pitchfork as legitimately new and a revelation, an intricate combination of underground hip-hop, modern jazz and live electronic music. Xaybu, Sélébéyone means intersection in Wolof and the interaction between different musical styles finds new levels of effortless fluidity. The word xaybu in Wolof refers to the concept in Islamic mysticism of al- Ghaib - that which is unknowable and unseeable. HPrizm (a.k.a. High Priest, legend of New York's underground hip- hop scene and a founding member of Antipop Consortium), Bandimic (one of Senegal's most distinctive young rap stars), and Lasserre are all Sufi Muslims, and there is a spiritual connection there that leads to complex sonorities, intricate compositional structures, and cutting- edge improvisation that explores spirituality and mysticism through the lens of experimental music." Picked by Cătălin Teodoru (JADD Records)

Síntomas de techno - Ondas electrónicas subterráneas desde Perú (1985-1991) (Buh Records)
"The mid-1980's saw the explosion of punk in Lima, Peru, and the appearance of the so-called Rock Subterráneo (underground rock). During the same time, and sometimes by the helm of the same people active in the punk scene, various projects emerged in the melting pot of Lima, introducing styles such as techno-pop, EBM, industrial and minimal synth. This compilation presents for the first time the music of various underground techno groups and projects that activated in that period. Many of the recordings included here are extracted from demos with limited circulation, practically impossible to find. Other tracks are unpublished pieces which come from the private archives of the artists themselves. The title of the compilation, Síntomas de techno (Symptoms of Techno), is inspired by the name of a concert held in Lima in 1991, considered to be the first techno concert to have taken place in Peru." Picked by Ninu Alin (The Hipodrome of Music)

shemovesshe - moi sni (kashev tapes)
"The album moi sni ("my dreams") is woven from somnambulistic hallucinations and sonic slumber. The first thing you feel when listening to it is an obsessive feeling of deja vu, as if you had already encountered this disappearing matter. It is enough to start listening to the music and peering into the images that it creates, then everything instantly begins to disappear, to dissolve in the veil of fitbacks. However, the dreams of the Ukrainian electronics artist Galya Abakarova (shemoveshe) are not always airy ambient, but rather disturbing doom-pop with wielding mesmerizing rhythm and macabre guitar distortion echoes." Picked by Eugenie Galochkin (ТОПОТ / TOPOT)
Sophia Jani - Music as a mirror (Neue Meister)
Sophia Jani - Music as a mirror (Neue Meister)

From Shackleton to Tapan

Shackleton - The Majestic Yes (Honest Jon's Records)
"Comprised of three solo pieces crafted by a peak form Shackleton and a wild dub remix piece by Mark Ernestus, this release hits hard. Polyrhythmic sabar percussion by Beaugars Seck recorded in situ in Dakar, coupled with heavy psychedelic synths, mystical harmonium and ancient future vibes; you’ll find yourself listening to it over and over and still be surprised by the merging layers and textures." Picked by Gabriel Leașcu

Slowfoam & Neilll - kindly (Lillerne Tapes)
"The duo’s convergence manifests here as a mixture of manipulated saxophone vapors, caressed lyre, contorted electronics, dronesque suspensions, textural swells, and field recordings. Six tracks form a sizzling cloud hovering somewhere between cybernated shapes and organic articulations. Who knew there was music in the cumuli? Charged with electrified vibrations and sentiments, the duo toy with the boundaries of ambient music ultimately making it something of their own. The cyber-cloud cracks and weaves into a unique form of sonic world-building. Voltaic thorns swirl. Melodies cushion. Things flicker. ‘What is real? What isn't?’ one wonders as the layers of sounds unfold, warp, and blend, blurring the lines between the tangible and the impalpable. The vapours reach us, radiations too, this feels personal. With its complex emotional ventures and its unannounced turns and ruptures, Kindly is an honest and cheeky investigation of the possibilities of connection. It is a moving yet playful journey across the entangled landscape of the in-between." Picked by Pablo Diserens (forms of minutiae)

Sophia Jani - Music as a mirror (Neue Meister)
"Music as a mirror is the debut album Berlin-based composer Sophia Jani. It features a compelling string quartet and a few other pieces for chamber ensembles." Picked by Andrei Rusu (The Attic)

Staraya Derevnya - Boulder blues (Ramble Records)
"British-Israeli krautfolk collective Staraya Derevnya return with a new album, Boulder blues, a psychedelic sonic affair that goes beyond aesthetics and demands full attention." Picked by Dragoș Rusu

Sundan Archives - Natural Brown Prom Queen (Stones Throw)
"The music of Sudan Archives sounds genuinely European. Released by the infamous Stone Throw, this album breathes a hip hop that is best friends with soul, house, and R&B. They are so close that these fellows spoke before moving into the same block. Violinist, vocalist and artist that produces her tracks, the L.A.-born and raised Brittney Parks, sings like the mermaids from Homer's Iliada. From the calm waves of 'Home Maker' to the uptempo 'Selfish Soul' and back to the downtempo 'Homesick', the album is best described by Britney's verse: Gorgeous and arrogant." Picked by Codin Orășeanu (Black Rhino Radio)

Sun Ra Arkestra - Living Sky (Omni Sound)
"Living Sky just came out in October from the super group Sun Ra Arkestra, containing an outstanding rework of one of Chopin's preludes and their signature cosmic jazz music. Listen also to their guest mixtape of Late Junction." Picked by Andrei Rusu (The Attic)

Tagliabue - Un' Altra Forma Di Vibrazioni (Invisible, Inc.)
"A conceptual release with all nine tracks connected to one another like a cosmic web. It feels like a journey through the history of electronica but not necessarily nostalgic. Imagine if the photos from the James Webb telescope were somehow translated into music; it is like looking back in time but from a totally different angle and understanding of the past, thus giving new meaning to more established sounds. Very soothing and easy listening, with some tracks that could fit in a multitude of contexts, from driving to clubbing and so on." Picked by Gabriel Leașcu

Taxi Kebab - Visions al 2ard (Real World X)
"This one is my favourite dance, meditate, drive, love, fight album of this year. It has everything: poetry, modulated electronics, synthesizers, and a Mediterranean atmosphere and groove that I so hardly listened to. On Wana, I am not sure where I am, as the distorted guitars go hand in hand with the drums and create the need and the desire to explore the entire cosmos while the voice of Leïla Jiqqir creates the unbreakable connection with this plain, keeping you in a meditative state. In the 7 minutes of Nebniw el Ghad f dlam the roles change, and Leïla is the one who pushes the energy through her voice, coming as a counterpoint with buzuq harmonies and machines by Romain Henry. From Paris with love, the duo stands on the high ground of psyche, techno and Arab music." Picked by Codin Orășeanu (Black Rhino Radio)

Tapan - Novi Svet (Offen Music)
"After a long slow cook, Offen Music released this year Tapan’s debut album on the label. Novi Svet (New World) contains 4 long mind-bending tracks with a dubby psych-jazz feel. The immersive explorations on sax, percussion and guitar don’t give you other choice but to fall deep into the wavy sound. This is a one-way massive and radiant journey where a New World is the destination. We don’t know exactly how we got there but the trip was definitely worth it." Picked by Andreea Ilisăi (Cocco Mio)

Teahouse Radio - Her Quiet Garden (Vrystaete)
"I don’t know where I was, but I kept hearing the track The Elsewhere Sleep on repeat. I remember I was dreaming of being put into an artificial coma. There was some blood, but I don’t know why. I can feel my body as I fall asleep and I experience an anxiety that I would be conscious in my coma while unable to move and forced to perceive the boring blackness for a long time. I am anxious that I would become afraid of being with nothing more then myself for a day while my body is being operated. But then I let go and it turned out to be a beautiful long sleep." Picked by Jeroen Holthuis (Ordo Viatorum)
XTC - Mummer (Ape House)
XTC - Mummer (Ape House)

From Touraj to Ustad Noor Bakhsh

The Callous Daoboys - Celebrity Therapist (MNRK Heavy)
"The Callous Daoboys manage to gather the wildest menagerie of references on their latest album. Celebrity Therapist is a Dadaist collage that casually orbits between heaviness and melodrama, loaded with an irresistible humour and dizzying twists." Picked by Paul Breazu (Paradaiz Tape Mașina)

Touraj - Me without you, the spring without you (Fun In The Church)
"Fantastic but underrated reissue of breezy and seductive Persian 1970es pop, highlighting elaborate and bitter-sweet arrangements. Extra layers of urgency are added by the tragedy of the most recent developments in the artist's home country and by the man's life own story: Touraj Shabankhani's career came to an end with the Islamic revolution in 1979, and the songwriter didn't survive the first wave of Covid infections in 2020." Picked by Christoph Linder (Planet Rock)

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - Bones And All OST (The Null Corporation)
"The film's score, which is centred around acoustic music that is inspired by classic songs from the American heartland, aims to enhance and highlight the nuanced themes of the film rather than overshadowing them. The goal was to create a musical score that would serve as a character in the film, adding depth and texture to the understated love story. Ultimately, the music helps to create a beautiful and tragic romance that is both poignant and devastating." Picked by Cosmin Nicolae / TRG

Tuleje - Ciche miejsca (Gustaff Records)
"Just as this painful year comes to an end, Poland’s long-running Gustaff Records presents us with a true treasure cove. The trio of Tuleje plays folk songs from the Region around the village of Konin, in an unusual line-up of vocals, a double bass played with a bow and drums. Radical and highly emotionally charged. The wonderful LP is limited to 66 pieces, with the last copies available for grabs. Go and get them!" Picked by Christoph Linder (Planet Rock)

UNF41[r].io - B4.[i].G[o]
"This release by Dutch producer Unfair, is a testament of his musical maturity. Unlike his more dungeon rap releases before, this takes industrial experimentalism at a new level. Very heavy, throbbing pulses, shadowing your perception with its complexity and hopelessness. This limited edition cassette release feels like a perfect metaphor for the angst inducing, posthuman, algorithmic world we’re living in the present times." Picked by Gabriel Leașcu

Ustad Noor Bakhsh - Jingul (honiunhoni)
"The 2022 award for the heaviest roots sounds of the year goes to the remote Balochistan region of Pakistan. At almost 80, Ustad Noor Bakhsh is a viral sensation on the Indian subcontinent and an absolute maestro on the Benju, a keyed string instrument which has its origins in a kids’ toy from Japan. Jingul, recorded with two microphones in situ at sunset, is a truly magical affair." Picked by Christoph Linder (Planet Rock)

Valentina Goncharova - Ocean - Symphony for Electric Violin and other instruments in 10+ parts (Hidden Harmony Recordings)
"The music is a stream of consciousness in the purest form - this may be the most representative description of this outstanding album recorded by the Ukrainian-born composer Valentina Goncharova in 1988, first released in 1989 by LEO Records in London and reissued this year by Hidden Harmony Recordings in Tallin along with the 11th part, the 23 minutes Return to the ocean recorded in 2021. Considered to be the artist's magnus opus and most complete, comprehensively conceived recording (Jakub Knera / The Quietus), it strikes you with blazing inspiring experimentations and boundless creative force shifting from classical to electronic music, improvisation with standard instruments or household objects, and surprising technical solutions to overrun the impossible. The fascinating career of the artist, her studies, the artistic experience and fruitful collaborations fills up the complexity of Goncharova works reminding the experimental and electronic music of the pioneering composer Pauline Oliveros." Picked by Elena Dobândă (Image and Sound)

Valentina Magaletti - A Queer Anthology of Drums 异鼓选 (bié Records)
"Something I knew I needed to hear in this life by one of my favourite musicians as of late." Picked by Mihaela Vasiliu (Chlorys)

Valma - La Vida Moka (Rolling Records)
"Finnish hip - hop at its finest - dance, chill, or sing along." Picked by Andrew Choate

XTC - Mummer (Ape House)
"Nice job with the proper repackage – great fire burning through." Picked by Andrew Choate

Y Bülbül, Yumurta - Not One, Not Two (Pingipung)
"Not one Not Two. I’ll be damned if I let a year slide without scratching my percussive itch. Y bulbul does a great job at this. Extremely atmospheric work, one of those records not bound by speed or time so you can have all the fun you need with it." Picked by Dragoș Munteanu

Zaliva-D - 孽儿谣 Misbegotten Ballads (SVBKVLT)
"A kind of twisted technocore splash, coming from Beijing and obviously swinging between some sublime cyberpunk epiphanies and small sounds gathered from urban vertical forests, flowing like the Yangtze River from the beginning to end." Picked by Paul Breazu (Paradaiz Tape Mașina)

Zohar - Objects (ZHR)
"From the promotional text: In Zohar’s renewed modus operandi analog and digital techniques interact with dissected and transformed sound experiments — an eclectic approach that honors the wide musical scope the artist seeks refined and surprising connections in. Consciously withholding energy, these seven percussive and pulsating tracks seek a balance between a near teasing attitude, and total transgression." Picked by Alexandra Statache (YCS)
About the Author

Dragoș Rusu

Co-founder and co-editor in chief of The Attic and allround music adventurer.

Share this Article
Next Article

Excavated Shellac: An Alternate History Of The World’s Music

Excavated Shellac focuses on music recorded across the non-Anglo world, offering a taste of the music being made in myriad communities at the dawn of recorded sound.

Garth Cartwright
More Articles

Everything You Are About To Hear Is Absolutely Real

At the edge of two (imaginary) worlds of electronic music, academic and popular, M. C. (Martin) Schmidt and Drew Daniel from Matmos discuss their work.

Miron Ghiu

Lăutărie Then and Now: Inside Romania's Romani Musical Heritage

Conversations with four lăutari from different backgrounds and generations about the journey of the Romanian-Romani music genre known as "muzica lăutarească".

Shaun Williams

The Polyphonic Search for Authenticity in a Balkan Country

From archaic phonos to “Made in Romania“, here's a look on how the term “Balkan” is used in the construction and perception of rock music and manele.

Claudiu Oancea