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.
When it was announced that Views had been streamed one billion times, Drake celebrated the milestone by posing with a framed plaque alongside Apple CEO Tim Cook. In that very moment, his transition from slushy meme-machine to unconquerable corporate commodity was complete. Views is a blockbuster showcase of the relentlessly catchy and unmistakably Drake-y hits he cooks up. Despite its length, there are enough moments of pure pop-rap magic on this LP to justify his status. A quintessentially modern megastar – giving us strength and guidance.
JUAN ATKINS + MORITZ VON OSWALD PRESENT BORDERLANDTransport Tresor
Collaborative efforts in techno don’t come much weightier than the marrying of its two most distinct focus points: Berlin dub techno originator Moritz Von Oswald, and one of Detroit’s foremost techno pioneers – Juan Atkins. Transport felt modern, but also leaned on consistently strong periods of engaging repetition, morphing, winding and bending across seven tracks. There was genuine magic here.
FRANK OCEANEndless Def Jam
It’s easy to look back on Frank Ocean’s pair of releases this year and assume that Endless was some kind of support act, in place to set the stage for his more refined, more conventional full-length Blond[e]. But it’s when you allow Endless to exist as its own entity when it begins to fly. Largely beatless, the record and its accompanying visual of Ocean slowly building a spiralling staircase is one of the year’s most rewarding, replay-friendly treasures.
JENNY HVALBlood Bitch Sacred Bones
Norwegian art-pop auteur Jenny Hval asserted that Blood Bitch was about blood, menstruation and vampires. These things were referenced throughout the album, but in typical Hval style, the ideas fed into grander themes – desire, control, and confusion. While this was Hval’s most accessible work so far, there were jarring moments too – field recordings reminiscent of the sound of urination, screeching feedback, and ripping electronic organ to shake you out of the dreamy reflection the sway of her gorgeous synth-pop had lulled you into.
DANNY BROWNAtrocity Exhibition Warp
With his 2013 double album Old, Danny Brown inflated the drug-addled, sex-obsessed rock star persona he’d created for himself until it exploded, leaving the scraps of his troubled psyche completely exposed. So where did he go from there? Having signed to Warp, this year Brown was free to forfeit crossover appeal and embrace his experimental urges with regular producer Paul White. Atrocity Exhibition would have been too exhausting if the music wasn’t so obscenely great.
FRANKIE COSMOSNext Thing Bayonet Records
Greta Kline’s second studio album as Frankie Cosmos drew from the same heart line as the 40+ record she’s released via BandCamp catalogue, but this time the cult songwriter was looking out of her bedroom window and forward, to the future. With perfectly pitched pop melodies, each intimate diaristic story was full of modest charm.
HIEROGLYPHIC BEINGThe Disco's of Imhotep Technicolour
Avant-garde electronic music is frequently in thrall to the spiritual abandon and healing resonance of sound. Even then, Chicago producer Jamal Moss operates on a higher plane. The Disco’s of Imhotep was one of his more accessible recent releases, a concise nine-tracker indebted to the spirit of the titular Egyptian demigod and healer. From the languid temple shimmer of The Shrine of the Serpent Goddess to the gloriously unnerving finale Nubian Energy, The Disco’s of Imhotep was frequently sublime.
SAVAGESAdore Life Matador
“Do you adore life?” was the question Savages asked with their second album, and Jehnny Beth’s answer, posed in an age when caring is anything but cool, delivered an unexpected punch for any jaded millennial. Savages have always been defiant, but this might be the ultimate statement of contempt for a capitalist society intent on destroying your sense of self-worth.
NICOLAS JAARSirens Other People
Since Space is Only Noise, Nicolas Jaar had put out an impressive body of work. But it had been half a decade since he’d released a full-length solo album, and Sirens felt like an important milestone; a way of gauging how far this prodigious Chilean composer and producer had come. This was another exemplary album with depth and maturity which confirmed that Jaar, at the age of 26, has established himself as a significant figure in the world of experimental electronic music.
Hailing from the school of Chicago rap’s new romantics (Chance, Mick Jenkins, Vic Mensa), Telefone found Noname looking inward and breathing out preparation for adulthood. The album was full of gentle melodies, live instrumentation and a standard of ruminative poetics developed from years of open mic sessions and piles of notepads. At 25, Noname’s shown an emotional intelligence and artistic freedom beyond her years – blissfully adrift and ready for it all.