2022 has been an surprisingly good year for new music. With the world on fire in nearly every direction, again it’s the artists and musicians that guide humanity forward. To clarify the point, we have endeavored to put together 10 records that readers may have overlooked; The Vinyl Dreamscape’s Top Ten Albums for 2022. With important reissues and other discoveries having beenset aside in favor of showcasing the new; music that will hopefully challenged our regular readers and provide a reminder of the important guild-posts that new music provides whatever the category; country, rock, electronic, jazz, avant-garde…
As in previous years, we have tried not to focus on the order of the individual albums. Each of these records will provide the listener with an active dialogue that all great music should provide. We encourage everyone to listen closely to all of these recordings; including those outside the personal prejudices that we all use to exclude new ideas. (Of course, this is only a small representation of a much larger universe of sounds from across the globe). Nevertheless, we are confident that you will discover a gem or two among these ten albums that could forever change your life. A modest goal, indeed. Enjoy.
10. Willie Nelson / A Beautiful Time: When music and words flow so free and natural from a man’s souls. There is a special but underappreciated richness of technic to be found on the very best of Nelson’s recordings. And you won’t need to look between the cracks to understand a man who has been making music his entire life. There is a soothing sense of realism in the straightforward and to-the-point approach used on A Beautiful Time. Nelson’s aging voice and unique guitar plonking has a strange, almost psychedelic effect. That said, it is a sound that requires very little studio enhancement or trickery. This is an album full of old-school sadness, regret and joy. A sense of wonder that may test the patience of those looking for secret messages. Nelson makes it clear that he has nothing left to hide. And he shares the beauty and tragedy of life with simple and timeless music. Don’t over look this gem.
09. Kyle Hall / Technically Deep: At this point, Kyle Hall’s soulful dance-vibe speaks with the authority of a skilled craftsman. His unique style begins with the organic House sound that has been shaking the clubs and parties of Detroit throughout the last few summers. Kyle Hall is part of a new(ish) crop of musicans, producers and DJs that are building their own traditions within electronic dance music. And Hall is a pivitol part of that growing scene. His approach to music walks a delicate balance between club-house groove and the old school sounds-of-the-street; you can just feel that funky back alley-environment throughout this amazing E.P. Almost all of Hall’s recent output has found this special place; that is, music that works in the car, club or in front of a fire with a friend. And there’s a lot happening inside the waves of beats and lush keyboards. Hall’s approach is peppered with a lyrical purpose that gives each individual track a distinction and forward purpose. Grab a hard copy of this classic while it’s still available. Or you may be searching the used bins for years to come. A instant classic of Detroit House music.
08. Heavy Temple / Lupi Amoris Turquoise: Every year or two a new rock band manages to tap into a that California voodoo-culture ascetic the fueled the best hard-rock of the early 70s. Mixing a heavy but melodic sound with a more contemporary doom-sludge. The difference is that Heavy Temple decided to bring the great songs and the personality of their live performance to the proceedings. Just fire-up the track, Desert through the Trees, to understand the band’s lustful power. Listening to High Priestess Nighthawk as she wails across the pulverizing soundscape is an absolute joy to behold. Raising a spirit that has been unheard since the glory years of Tony, Geezer, Bill and Oz. The band mixes a psychedelic supernaut of distorded heaviness with raw, wall-of-sound riffs that wouldn’t feel out-of-place with Hawkwind; the sound jumping right into the chest of the listener. A celebration of those wicked games and dangerous joys.
07. Brian Jonestown Massacre / Fire Doean’t Grow on Tress: Honestly, in 2022, we have no right to expect anything amazing from this band; Their subversion of the traditional jangle-rock sound has produced some of the finest songs of the last two decades. And still all the pieces remain intact on this trippy new record. Has any band been this consistently good? Anton Newcombe using the same technique of groovy, psychedelic distortion and floating melodies to make songs that are both “studio trash” and a compelling personal experience. There is no other way to put it. It’s been said by some critics that BJM makes the best “retro” music available. But such a pronouncement fails to understand the core of Newcombe’s talent. BJM has long ago stopped playing and creating music for anyone but themselves. Instead, Newcombe just invites his audience to take the trip and set the mind free.
06. Romeo Poirier / Living Room: The inclusion of Poirer’s Living Room is a direct result of late-night listen with StuntrockConfusion; the DJ, historian and musicologist. Living Room is an album that has an immediately impact; on the surface the album invokes a warm, rhythmic chill that comes from the very best of downtempo, experimential music. But be prepared. Poirier’s true motivation will only begin to reveal itself as you peel back the electro-acoustic layers. Each spin of this wonderful record will open the individual tracks for deeper study and quiet contemplation. The music is inviting but it also expects the listener to maintain an active role in this conversation. Poirier challenging the audience to reevaluate his art again and again as the translucent sounds morph from simple to complex. And there can be no mistake; this is important, challenging music that will place high on your personal play-list. (The album could easily fit into the number-one spot on our list). But then, each of his albums will reward your time and consideration. Try to get them all.
05. William Basinski and Janek Schaefer / On Reflection – Metallic Silver: The challenge of William Basinski’s music will come as no surprise to anyone with a vague interest in outsider or avant-garde music. Basinski is a legend and has been consistently producing rich and rewarding music for his entire career. However, words like difficult or complex are often used to mislabel or mislead. They can discourage those interested from taking the deeper plunge. On Metallic Silver, the listener is both challenged and rewarded with a recording teeming with detail and discovery. On this collaborative effort, Basinski partners with Janek Schaefer to tranform the sound and textures of his work. Creating music that is surprisingly accessible and deeply spiritual.
04. Terry Jennings / Piece for Cello & Saxophone 1960: Written over 60 years ago, Piece for Cello and Saxophone has an important missing element; namely the complete absence of the saxophone from the recording. And that blankness of sound becomes an important component in the creation of this amazing ambient-drone. Piece for Cello & Saxophone foreshadows a landmark development of drone/jazz in the avant-garde sound. Terry Jennings’ composition creates a sparse (almost thin) atmosphere with extended fields of electronic-enhancement and cello that form somber but beautiful sonorities of exploratory sound. The music growing slowly but remaining in constant motion. Jennings minimal sounds and liquid structures are the highest order of avant-garde music. A reminder of what an artist is capable of achieving when the goal is creation and innovation instead of consumption and commerce. Highly Recommended.
03. The Sadies / Colder Streams: On Colder Streams, The Sadies are searching; struggling to find a refuge in those cool, life-giving streams. Struggling to find the common ground. The toxicity of our sky, water and land has shaken our trust and hope in the future. And the environment is only the beginning of a long list of human calamities that are beyond our reach; the solutions only unveiling further dilemmas. Even the most basic resources of life now seem beyond our grasp. These uneasy themes are examined up close and personal on Colder Streams. And we are given no choice but to feel the sting of heartache. The band mixing the message of damnation with the inability to connect with a lost and forgotten love. And the willingness to see everything burn in flames over the pain.
02. Surya Botofasina / Everyone’s Children: Discovering the music of Alice Coltrane’s World Galaxy is one of those pivotal moments for any serious entry into avant-garde music. Coltrane was able to build layers of earthly sound into a highly textured, intoxicating trip; a heavy voyage that would takes her listeners to another dimension of thought and design. Sun Ra would take that same spiritual / free jazz journey even further into the outer limits. Surya Botofasina is disciple of that general aesthetic; taking his music on a broader and perhaps more acceccible route. Nevertheless, developing watery platforms for his music that incorporate more contemporary sounds of blues, jazz and hip-hop. A real surprise.
01. Dopplereffekt / Neurotelepathy: On their second LP (and fifth overall release), the renowned Detroit electronic music duo of Rudolf Klorzeiger and To-Nhan have moved well beyond their achievment of a near-telepathic capacity for collaborative thought and mechanical compositional construction. Dopplereffekt will challenge even the most jaded listener with their high level of experimental explorations. Dopplereffekt’s itchy electro impulses and icy soundscapes transend mere techno music. The album’s evolving atmosphere and elaborate sound structures creating a environment of uncertainty and uneasiness that will test the listener’s full commitment. But those avant-garde elements are tempered with a melodic sensibility; a hopeful mixture of Afro-Futurism and Krautrock that makes for an irresistible experience. Don’t miss the full album.