Zac Gardiner’s Top Five Albums of 2016

So 2016 has been an interesting year to say the least, we lost a lot of great people, Brexit and Trump happened, and I probably degraded some great artists work with my uni essays. Never the less, there were some great albums released. Here’s my top five Albums and EPs of this year:

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Radiohead – Moon Shaped Pool

Moon Shaped Pool is an amazing comeback by Radiohead after their previous album The King of Limbs failed to meet the hype. Released on the 8th of May and produced by long time Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich, Moon Shaped Pool is a cinematic piece that hits all the right notes. It opens strongly with Burn the Witch, which carries you with it’s almost sharp, attacking yet hypnotic strings, from there moving to Daydreaming and continuing to flow brilliantly throughout the album. The songs Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor… and Burn the Witch stand out as favourites. Radiohead are easily one of my favourite bands, so my opinion is somewhat biased this year, but this is definitely one of my top albums of 2016, if not the top.


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Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love!

Awaken, My Love! is Childish Gambino’s third full album, released December 2nd, and it’s managed to be right at the top of my 2016 list; not only due to it being fantastic for the most part (I found California to be a weak point of the album), but also due to it being so far from Gambino’s last record. The album is incredibly brave and I give it insane props. I also really enjoy the album itself, with the songs Redbone and The Night Me and Your Mamma Met standing out as highlights. You can read my fellow writer Kieran Bowie’s full review of the album here.


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Tycho – Epoch

Epoch was somewhat hyped for me due to Tycho (otherwise known as Scott Hansen or ISO50) posting the progression of recordings and producing on his snapchat. Released on September 30th, it lived up to the hype. The album is beautiful in design and sound, taking a lot of inspiration from the likes of Boards of Canada and other electronic ambience groups and artists. It stands up well when compared to Tycho’s previous album Awake which was also a solid album. Its highlights include Epoch and Continuum.


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Com Truise – Silicone Tare

I found Silicone Tare was somewhat unexpected; I had only really got into Com Truise a year or so before this album came out, this was nonetheless a pleasant surprise. Com Truise (a character of producer Seth Haley), is humanity’s first synthetic astronaut; the albums so far follow his journey throughout the vast expanse of space. This album continues that story brilliantly; using excellent deep synth and making fantastic use of percussion to put this album on my top five list. Stand out tracks are Diffraction and Du Zirconia.


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Aphex Twin – Cheetah

Finally I had to include an Aphex Twin album on this list; he’s one of my favourite electronic music producers and continues to push boundaries on his 2016 album Cheetah. The brilliant percussion programming returns, as expected with a Richard D James album. The album was teased on his SoundCloud ‘user18081971’ account a year previous and it was eventually released on 8th July. A music video followed, directed by 12-year-old fan Ryan Wyer, who was discovered on YouTube by Richard. Stand out tracks from the EP include CHEETAHT7b and CIRCLON3  [ kolkhoznaya mix ]. 


That’s the end of my list for this year, there was a lot of great music released this year and next year is looking to be even better. Thanks for reading and see you in 2017!

Zac Gardiner

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