1. Susumu Yokota | Azukiiro No Kaori
Susumu Yokota was really a great Antidote to a Hectic Time in my Life: living in LA, trying to figure out what I was going to do next. This track kind of exemplified a Warmth of Sound that I have tried hard to reproduce with mixed results.
2. AFX | (CAT 00897-AA1) (Track #8 from Analogue Bubblebath 3)
This track was important to me, not only because it's so Simple and Beautiful, but because it's kind of a Rarity, and a sign of things to come for an early Richard James.
3. Bochum Welt | Untitled (From Desktop Robotics)
This song (and album as a whole) was such a nice combination of Whimsy and Nostalgia. It had the Sound of 80's Electro, but the Heart of Something Much Deeper.
4. Fridge | Harmonics
Just a beautiful track. I Love the Sampling of Acoustic Instruments here. It feels both Organic and Rigidly Electronic. I Love Artists that can Embrace Imperfections, and it actually adds to the Feeling and doesn't take away. It's a harder trick to pull off than it may seem.
5. Bibio | A Tout A L'Heure
Bibio is one Artist that isn't Afraid to Surprise. I was driving home from playing at Sasquatch Festival here in Central Washington with my Wife earlier this year when this song came on, and I'll always be able to Visualize that specific scene when I hear this song.
6. Mountains | Choral
This is such an Epic track, with such careful Layers. I Hear Something New Every Time. I've seen them perform once with a Mountain of Pedals and Instruments. It really was one of the Best Live Shows I've Ever Seen.
7. Fennesz | Château Rouge
Fennesz has a One-Of-A-Kind Sound. It's so Abrasive and Sentimental at the same time. I feel like this track is the Perfect Expression of Emotional Tension, without being Melodramatic.
8. The Sea And Cake | The Fawn
This track takes me back to my days in Austin. I can feel the heat of Summer every time I hear it. It's like a Love song, but from someone who has a hard time being direct about it. Strangely, this aspect makes it about 10 times more Powerful. One of my All Time Favorite Albums.
9. Autechre | Eutow
I'm one of those pre-Chiastic Slide Autechre fans. This was back when Autechre still had Roots in the Dance World, but were turning the expectations on the Genre upside down. They were still very Melodic and Progression-oriented back then, which is where I derived a lot of my influence.
10. Röyksopp | So Easy
When I first moved to Seattle in the Winter of 2002, this song was in constant rotation on the Radio, and it just seemed like such a Perfect Soundtrack to the City. It has a Funky Electronic feel with a Bobby Vinton Sample from the 50's that just screws with your head. Seattle has always felt slightly Reclusive and Moody, but it also feels connected to an earlier time, and it just works.
+11. M83 | Run Into Flowers
I appreciate the fact that M83 has such Raw Energy and doesn't really hold back. This was his early hit, and I prefer the obscured Vocals of his older material and the loose Progressions to the more overtly Song-Based Formula he's using today. I saw him perform this track in Seattle and it was pretty amazing.
+12. Herbert | The Audience
I Love the Refrain in this song. I guess I'm a pretty introverted guy, and it just makes sense to me. It's like imagining a scenario where you share a Life with someone in the room with you, but you know that the moment will pass and you might not ever see them again. It's sad, but beautiful at the same time.
+13. DJ Koze | Nices Wölkchen (feat Apparat)
DJ Koze is such a great Producer because he likes working within the Structure of Dance Music, but he's doing things that you don't expect, and it always makes Perfect Sense, in the end. You can tell he's kind of got a Weird Sense of Humor, but it doesn't totally take things over. One of my favorite tracks from this past year.
+14. Beirut | Scenic World
I like that Beirut makes Music that Sounds like it's from 1900 or something. It has a really Positive feel, very Bright and Sunny. I just imagine the cliché of driving all over Seattle on a Sunny Summer day, being glad to be Alive.
+15. Damien Jurado | Beacon Hill
Damien Jurado is a Local Hero here in town. I like the imagery of two really broken people trying to find their way together. It feels Real.