Here are the 100 greatest LPs of 2016, according to Crack Magazine. Visit 2016.crackmagazine.net for more end of year coverage over the coming weeks.
TIM HECKERLove Screams 4AD
Tim Hecker said that Love Streams was inspired by the idea of ‘a transcendental voice in the age of auto-tune’. Ever since Ravedeath, 1971, Hecker’s impressions of ambient drone and post-techno minimalism have been deeply rooted in abstract thought. Continuing this by evoking a world of nihilist electronics, Love Streams was a heady decryption of computerised melancholia, a visionary decoding of electronic weeping that was full of revelation and delicacy.
OMAR-SThe Best! FXHE
There was no ignoring Omar-S’ bluntness on naming his latest album The Best! but the reason he styled it out is because the music steps up to the swagger. In terms of Detroit producer writing honest machine music, no-one else is throwing it down like the FXHE label boss. From the unfussy funk of Chama Piru’s through to the dubby delights of You Silk Suit Wearing Mulafuk’ka, this was an album that hits you square between the eyes.
MEEK MILLDreamchasers 4 Dream Chasers / MMG / Atlantic
Dark powers have been conspiring against Meek Mill. His commercial prospects have been frequently stifled by the punitive decisions of eager parole officers, and, following his feud with Drake, elder rappers have targeted him, stirring up beef and ensuring that their names are trending online. With his reputation challenged, Dreamchasers 4 felt like the Philadelphia rapper’s comeback mixtape. And with grade A guests such Young Thug, 21 Savage, Pusha T and Nicki Minaj by his side, Meek rapped with a level of intensity that remains pretty much unrivaled.
Let's Eat GrandmaI, Gemini Transgressive
It feels like Let’s Eat Grandma appeared from nowhere. The teenage duo make escapist, DIY pop that crackles with just enough eccentricity to sound organic, without feeling too earthy. It’s folk music for people who don’t like folk music. And built on a seemingly otherworldly kinship, I, Gemini, was easily one of the most singular albums to appear in 2016.
OREN AMBARCHIHubris Editions Mego10
Hubris was a confident continuation of Oren Ambarchi’s work in its exploration of relentless, driving rhythms. A form which seems repetitive and inconclusive is, in this case, was a result of careful, meticulous work – layers of bass guitars, retouched percussion, slipped in aleatoric synthesiser. Its form captured a spiritual, ritualistic headspace. You could notice the subtlest of details and tonal shifts, but it was better to let go and lose yourself in the sound, bypass any sense of time, and fall into its unconscious journey.
VARIOUS ARTISTSGqom Oh! The Sound of Durban Vol. 1 Gqom Oh!
By far one of this year’s most significant gqom compilations, this was a comprehensive collection of tracks’ from the thrilling South African genre. The low bitrate production was minimal, like rough sketches of loose ideas. But the boisterous charge of outings from the likes of Emo Kid and Cruel Boyz proved that gqom is a form of dance still in its teething infancy, and that the Durban movement continues to gain strength.
KYLE HALLFrom Joy Wild Oats
No longer the wunderkind Detroit producer with the city’s musical legacy on his shoulders, From Joy felt like a refined and mature album from Kyle Hall. But, as it turned out, it was compiled of tracks Hall made as a teenager in his dad’s basement. In hindsight it made sense, plucking from the loose, improvisational feel of jazz and his raw house framework, there was a sense of freedom and wide-eyed exploration to the shimmering backdrops, bright flourishes and richly melodic touches in From Joy that carried the carefree flow of youth.
LIL YACHTYSummer Songs 2 Capitol Records
Released in the heat of a turbulent summer of discontent, the unwavering optimism and hyperactive youthfulness of Lil Yachty on his second mixtape was a breath of fresh air. The King of the Teens burst into the year against a backdrop of colourful pixels and bright-sounding trap beats. For some it was a refreshing blast of carefree enthusiasm, for others it was a nauseating piss-take from a millennial chancer. The battle lines were drawn and the debate continues. Next stop: the album.
DARKTHRONEArctic Thunder Peaceville
Arctic Thunder was Darkthrone’s sixteenth studio album. The name, as founder Fenriz detailed, is in reference to a typically obscure Norwegian band from the late 80s. It also worked in encapsulating the record’s emotive timbre. Incorporating elements of speed metal, crust punk, and distinctly traditional heavy metal, Arctic Thunder was a genuinely accessible metal record that endorsed all aspects of the genre’s budding conventions.
GIGGSLandlord SN1 Records
Having always operated slightly to the left of grime’s conventional blueprints, The Landlord was an off-kilter trap masterpiece built from fierce lyricism and high class production. Giggs’ vocal style – a slow, conversational flow that relies on charisma rather than agility – has always been more suited to spacious, US-style beats. An album of personal truths, all of which Giggs wears with pride, The Landlord reminded us there’s still depth to the Hollowman’s craft.