Archive for the 'Best Of The Year' Category


themilkman on Dec 22nd 2011 12:59 pm

The 2011 Review

As another year folds out, it is time once again to look back and take stock or the highs and lows, before a fresh year rolls in. 2011 has had its moments and has overall been a rather good year, and trying to extract a list of twenty albums from the hundreds, thousands possibly, that I have listened to, loved, hated, reviewed or not, tried to make sense of or misunderstood seems a pretty restrictive effort at best. Still, it is always good to look back and realise that some records have made more of a mark than others, some almost imperceptibly. So, here is, in twenty records, what 2011 was made of…

Jenny Hval: Viscera1.

Rune Grammofon


There is such urgency throughout this record that it is quite astonishing how Hval manages to retain any lightness in her music, but she does, and [Helge] Sten picks up on just enough to bring it all to life in sprightly bright colours and tones. Continue Reading »

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themilkman on Dec 19th 2010 08:49 pm

The 2010 Review

As 2010 bows out, it is time to look back on a year that has been rich in new music, some from very well established artists, and some from entirely new comers. Here are themilkfactory’s twenty favourite records of the year, and this year for the first time, this list is augmented with thirty other records that have marked the year.

With no less than four albums in the top 20, the year belonged to Rune Grammofon, and more particularly to Supersilent, who occupy two places, including the top spot. Room40 also place two albums in the twenty best records on 2010, while new imprints Desire Path, Hibernate and Textura also feature with some strong releases.
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themilkman on Jan 4th 2010 12:17 am

10 years in 20 records

The noughties have seen probably the most radical changes in the music industries since the advent of the record. Consumption habits have dramatically moved from traditional to digital formats, music has been increasingly seen as something to steal rather than to buy, and listening habits means that nowadays, the album is becoming increasingly redundant. Or is it? Whereas it had, at least in some circles, become totally acceptable to fill records with substandard music, it is now essential for artists to create consistent pieces of work if they want to retain the attention of their audience. The last ten years have delivered their fair share of hits and misses, and this list doesn’t pretend to be in any way shape or form exhaustive. This is just, in no particular order, the definitive list of the 20 albums that have defined the noughties at themilkfactory.

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themilkman on Dec 13th 2009 07:52 pm

The 2009 Review

Twelve months compiled into just twenty albums. From the thousands of records released each year, it is difficult to get even a handful on the site, and even more difficult to decide which ones were the best of the lot. This is however the twenty albums that have marked 2009 for themilkfactory.

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themilkman on Dec 21st 2008 08:22 pm

The 2008 Review

This time of the year again. We’ve absorbed twelve months of music, digested it and featured some of it on this site. Here, we compile the definitive milkfactory top 20 albums of 2008, as voted by our regular contributors. And, we’ve also got the individual lists available here. Was this the best of 2008? It was for us. Continue Reading »

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THE 2008 REVIEW: David Abravanel

David Abravanel on Dec 21st 2008 08:21 pm

The 2008 Review

My 2008 best-of list is one of the more eclectic I’ve assembled.  As usual, I owe much to themilkfactory writers and readers for introducing me to some delightful sounds, including Leila, Alexandre Navarro, and Minilogue.  Other factory favorites just missed the top 20 and bear honorable mention, including Ólafur Arnalds, AGF, and B12 and The Black Dog.

2008 was a good year for interesting surprises, from the hard data dots of Ryoji Ikeda to Hauschka’s gentle prepared-piano pieces.  A number of old favorites came through again as well, from Jamie Lidell’s soul-stomping Jim to Jason Pierce’s gorgeous meditations on Spiritualized’s Songs In A&E.  Perhaps the best story comes from Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, who many-times-upped Radiohead by releasing The Slip, easily his best record since 1999’s The Fragile, for free, in a multitude of high-quality formats.  Rounding everything out are the playful albums, The Dream seeing the Orb return to silly form, and Supreme Balloon charting Matmos’ lush, synthesized excursions.  In the end, Italian producer Populous and his understated emotional pieces, with Doseone-esque vocals from Short Stories, takes number one.

Populous With Short Stories: Drawn Basic1.

Drawn In Basic
Morr Music

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THE 2008 REVIEW: Robert Rowlands

Robert Rowlands on Dec 21st 2008 08:20 pm

The 2008 Review

It has been the year of the credit crunch, the year moneyed ease took a clobbering, the year having a job suddenly became something you couldn’t take for granted. But a listen to most of the music made in 2008 shows few links with the panic in the markets or the shuffling of feet in the Job Centres. Any art form is only linked second hand to the era in which it is forged, but much of what has come through this year – especially in electronic music – has been the music of the good times, the music of the high point before the wave collapsed. Vampire Weekend epitomised that as well as anybody with a guitar this year. But in electronics, it was the beatific sound of artists such as Lindstrom and Air France that seemed to dominate. Sure, there were dark sounds out there – with Portishead’s gloomy opus Third perhaps the most obvious example – but the prevailing mood was not down but up. As the recession sinks in, and as the musical zeitgeist takes another twist, the music of 2009 may well have a far gloomier ring to it.

Minilogue: Animals1.

Cocoon Recordings

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THE 2008 REVIEW: themilkman

themilkman on Dec 21st 2008 08:20 pm

The 2008 Review

When I was a kid, I clearly remember my parents telling me that the older you get, the faster time seems to pass. At the time, of course, I had all eternity in front of me, and time was never passing fast enough. I couldn’t wait for school holidays, birthdays or Christmases and dismissed what they were saying with all the contempt I could gather. I have since understood how right they were. It seems like I was putting together my end of year list for 2007 only last week, but it’s well and truly been a whole twelve months, filled with countless pocket-sized tales of blood sweat, tears, re-invention, revival, weird explorations and revived hopes.

Perhaps above all, 2008 has been marked, for me at least by the stunning return of Portishead, once one of the many jewels in the Bristol crown, now a totally revitalised and more powerful than ever formation, and by the faultless first album proper of Norwegian disco lord Lindstrøm. There were also magnificent albums by Arve Henriksen, Paavoharju, Peter Broderick and Nico Muhly, while Leila and Twine both released new albums after years of silence and Dark Captain Light Captain proved to be one of the year’s best newcomers.

Portishead: Third1.

Island Record

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THE 2008 REVIEW: Max Schaefer

Max Schaefer on Dec 21st 2008 08:19 pm

The 2008 Review

Before the year leaves we acknowledge our debts, we try and address those with and through whom we live.  While discrete exchanges of information happen nearly all the time today, those who approach with a face and speak to us remain few and far between.  Musically, this is achieved by those who, against a backdrop of emulsion, of input-output, and controlled chain reactions, resist the draw of the digital download or the anonymity of standard jewel casing and interrupt, confound, and challenge with a body of work whose meanings are quite insidiously written all over it.  My thanks, then, to the following labels who seek to maintain this dimension in music: Spekk, Symbolic Interaction, And/Oar, Helen Scarsdale, Crouton, Mystery Sea, Room40, Gears of Sand, Die Stadt, Twenty Hertz, Edition Sonoro, Sedimental, Afe, Data Bloem, Data Obscura, Noble, Cronica, The Land Of, Experimedia, Kvitnu, 12k, Line, Winds Measure Recordings, Infraction, Dynamophone, Die Schachtel, Sirr, Leerraum [], Staubgold, Samadhisound, Schole, Flau, Elevator Bath, Palace of Lights, and countless others.  A few noteworthy pennyworths:

Graham Lambkin & Jason Lescalleet: Breadwinner


The Breadwinner

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themilkman on Dec 20th 2007 11:24 pm

Feature: The 2007 Review

2007 is coming to a close, and with it comes legions of ‘best of the year’ lists. 2007 was also the year themilkfactory came back to life, so it is only fair to add to the background noise with our very own selection of the essential albums of 2007. 20 albums that you shouldn’t have missed. And don’t forget to check out the individual top 20 albums for each of the site contributors for a comprehensive overview of what 2007 was made of.

Burial: Untrue1.


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THE 2007 REVIEW: Eleventh Volume

Colin Buttimer on Dec 20th 2007 11:23 pm

Feature: The 2007 Review

These are the releases that’ve rocked my world this year. It’s felt like a bumper year, but looking over my list, I’m not quite so certain. Perhaps that’s because, like most people, I’ve also been listening to a lot of music released at other times, lots of world, reggae, pop and minimal (precious little Indie, though). One more reason to throw hands up in horror at this list: none of these releases appears in Q magazine’s top 50 albums of 2007 (though Rihanna’s Umbrella does appear in their top 10 tracks). Now I’d be alright, if I could only shake off the feeling that I’ve missed lots of stuff that I should have included – I do intend to check out the new ones from Radiohead when I get a chance.

Underworld: Oblivion With Bells1.

Oblivion With Bells

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THE 2007 REVIEW: Joe Muggs

Joe Muggs on Dec 20th 2007 11:23 pm

Feature: The 2007 Review

In the year when Dubstep proved its staying power and went international, it still produced few artist albums: the mainstream of the sound still with its heart in the mixtape – but London’s Burial, Bristol’s Pinch and Nottingham’s Geiom produced absolutely brilliant spooky, soulful and brooding (respectively) takes on the sound. Further dub variations came with fizzing post-Basic Channel stuff from Germany (Disrupt) and Detroit (Echospace), while techno veteran Neil Landstrumm added the dubstep template to old-school rave on Restaurant Of Assassins.

The folktronic-indietronic-organic-electronic interface continued to be fertile, with Tunng, Muscovite producer Gultskra Artikler, Icelanders Múm, Canadian-in-London Caribou and Danes Efterklang further blurring the band/producer boundaries, while the brain-boggling Battles and Yeasayer produced a new strain of post-dance prog rock. Fennesz Sakamoto and Michaela Mélian produced some of the most beautiful pure ambient music of recent years, while the techno continuum showed its diversity with Cristian Vogel’s futurism, Supermayer’s good-natured fun, and Matthew Dear’s darkside pop. The Hot 8 Brass Band fused generations of funk to show that even near-destruction couldn’t still the heart of New Orleans, while The Black Dog’s terrifyingly rare early 90s rave-tronica tracks got a welcome re-issue.

Burial: Untrue1.

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