Albums of the Year 2012
"Well hasn't this been a remarkable year for music?"
Every end of year list of recent times could have an identical opening, using the calcified template of "Well hasn't this been a remarkable year for music?" and the introduction for 2012 is certainly no exception to this formula (for a number of intertwined reasons).
Access to music is at an all time high, in terms of the sourcing of music by the avid proactive listener, but also for artists themselves to get their work heard. Which is one and the same point, essentially resulting in a democratisation of the whole process. The pace of evolution in genres is extraordinary as they continue to fragment: the explosive pieces never settling in a constant state of flux, bouncing off one another at seemingly random junctures like super-charged electrons in a heightened case of causality, jumping between eras.
For every pillaging of past guitar sounds like Toy, there's a Tall Ships. Experimental techno/idm climbs woozily into bed with wonky, as Actress blends a rich mélange of electronica styles - only to fall asleep where Wild Nothing delivers a pure slice of 80s dream pop. Visceral shit-yourself guitar thrashings by Swans co-exist with the electronic ambience of Halls. Chillwave is dead, long live chillwave-esque. Substitute those words with witch-house. Did they even exist, and does it matter? The result is an amorphous mixture of the flash fire ephemeral with the profound and indomitable; however you tend to describe it as, it's a fucking exciting time to be a music fan, right?
The list we've created is technically a list of 25 albums, but also not. Acolyte readers will be aware of our penchant for the discovery and promotion of new music, and the idea for our end of year list is a continuation of this process in effect. So while we have our top 5, the basis for the rest of the list is for the albums included to act as a footstep for yourselves to become engaged in a related album, by way of our listening recommendation segued with a specific release.
We wanted to create something a shade more timeless that can be referred to in the future for you to enjoy further music, rather than as a self-fulfilling "Oh, here's what we've got as Number 1". An end of year list is for life and not just for Christmas, eh? The related albums aren't auto-generated but instead are handpicked by ourselves; we're not necessarily saying that they're similar in genre or style, but something that we simply think you'd enjoy if you enjoyed that particular album. It's about the music and that's the way it always should be, not some almost arbitrary number adjacent to an album title.
Long-term, the plan is for this to be the foundation of our future end of year lists, and that next year the dots will be connected even further (with a super-laconic intro so it really is only the music doing the talking). We sincerely hope that this proves a useful tool and you go on to discover some formidable LPs that may have passed by your musical radar - and that you then go and buy them from your local record store like a good little benevolent capitalist. - Tim Boddy (405 Photo/Video Editor)