Category Archives: soundscapes

Best Albums of 2011

Barn Owl - best albums of 2011
Barn Owl

I threw together a Top Ten list of the best albums of the past year for the CBS site Street Date. It’s a fun task, but not always easy, as anyone who’s done it knows–you inevitably miss a few things, and weeks or months (or more) later, you may come to regret your choices. Either way, though, it stands as a capsule of where your head is at at a specific point in time. Here’s where mine’s been at lately.

My Top Ten albums of 2011

Type Records

Lately I’ve been growing more and more enamored with the label Type Records, a small indie experimental label out of the U.K. that specializes in moody, low-key, soundscape-y music. Think drones, quiet piano pieces, a few scratches and electronic glitches–plus a bit of folk-like guitar here and there, environmental sounds, and the occasional industrial grind. Perfect stuff for grey Sunday mornings or laid-back late nights, when in either case you want something low-key and borderline quiet but still possessing an edge–not just simple background sounds, and certainly not anything overly soft or New Age-y. As a general rule the music is subtle, but it’s also got a cinematic quality that widens things out and feeds the imagination. (If you’ve listen to Brian Eno’s abstract ambient albums you know the territory.) Favorites of mine so far include Goldmund, Ryan Teague, and a collaborative release from The North Sea and Ramses III (album cover pictured). Those first two links by the way have free MP3s behind them, so have at ’em.