My favorite records from 2023

Note: I will be updating this list beyond 2023. The additions are marked with the manicule (☞).

Heavy rotation

Some of the albums I’ve listened to a lot this year, in alphabetical order.

  1. Alternativ Quartet — Deocamdată suntem [s/r]
  2. Alternativ Quartet — Departe de solstițiu [s/r]
  3. Arvo Pärt — Tractus [ECM]
  4. Balmorhea — Pendant World [Deutsche Grammophon]
  5. Baxter Dury — I Thought I was Better than You [Heavenly]
  6. Beirut — Hadsel [Pompeii]
  7. Ben Howard — Is it? [Island]
  8. The Blaze — Jungle [Animal63]
  9. Blonde Redhead — Sit Down for Dinner [Section1]
  10. Brian Eno & Fred again.. — Secret Life [Text]
  11. Bruce Brubaker — Eno Piano [InFiné]
  12. Constant Smiles — Kenneth Anger [Sacred Bones]
  13. Devendra Banhart — Flying Wig [Mexican Summer]
  14. El Michels Affair & Black Thought — Glorious Game [Big Crown]
  15. Eluvium — (Whirring Marvels In) Consensus Reality [Temporary Residence]
  16. Erland Cooper & Scottish Ensemble — Folded Landscapes [Mercury KX]
  17. Fever Ray — Radical Romantics [Rabid]
  18. Gregory Alan Isakov — Appaloosa Bones [s/r]
  19. ☞ Iuliad — Mă așteptam la alt sfârșit [s/r]
  20. James Blake — Playing Robots Into Heaven [Republic/Polydor]
  21. ☞ James Holden — Imagine This Is A High Dimensional Space Of All Possibilities [Border Community]
  22. Jay-Jay Johanson — Fetish [ART/29 Music]
  23. Jonathan Bree — Pre-Code Hollywood [Lil’ Chief]
  24. Kelela — Raven [Warp]
  25. King Creosote — I DES [Domino]
  26. Laurel Halo — Atlas [Awe]
  27. Lubomyr Melnyk — The Sacred Thousand [Jersika]
  28. The National — First Two Pages of Frankenstein [4AD]
  29. The National — Laugh Track [4AD]
  30. Philip Selway — Strange Dance [Bella Union]
  31. Roger Eno — The Skies, they shift like chords… [Deutsche Grammophon]
  32. Romy — Mid Air [Young]
  33. Sigur Rós — Átta [Von Dur]
  34. Sofia Kourtesis — Madres [Ninja Tune]
  35. Yara Asmar — Synth Waltzes and Accordion Laments [Hive Mind]

Quite into Daniel Lanois’s Player, Piano (from 2022) and Enzo Favata The Crossing (from 2021) as well, both of which I learned about just this year.

On the radar

These ones I enjoyed but didn’t get to dig into as much as I’d hoped.

  1. All Hands_Make Light — “Darling The Dawn” [Constellation]
  2. Altın Gün — Aşk [Glitterbeat]
  3. Alva Noto — HYbr:ID II [Noton]
  4. Alva Noto — Kinder der Sonne [Noton]
  5. Alva Noto — This Stolen Country of Mine [Noton]
  6. Angel Olsen — Forever Means [Jagjaguwar]
  7. ANOHNI — My Back Was a Bridge For You To Cross [Rough Trade]
  8. Anoushka Shankar — Chapter I: Forever, for Now [Leiter]
  9. Aphex Twin — Blackbox Life Recorder 21f / In a Room7 F760 [Warp]
  10. bdrmm — I Don't Know [Rock Action]
  11. boygenius — the record [Interscope]
  12. Carlos Cipa — Ourselves, as we are [Warner Classics]
  13. Chris Abrahams, Oren Ambarchi, Robbie Avenaim — Placelessness [Ideologic Organ]
  14. Colleen — Le Jour Et La Nuit Du Réel [Thrill Jockey]
  15. Daniel Avery — More Truth [PIAS]
  16. David Toop & Lawrence English — The Shell that Speaks the Sea [Room40]
  17. Donato Dozzy & Sabla — Crono [Gang of Ducks]
  18. Eiko Ishibashi & Jim O’Rourke — Lifetime of a Flower [Week-End]
  19. ☞ Explosions in the Sky — End [Temporary Residence]
  20. Föllakzoid — V [Sacred Bones]
  21. Forest Swords — Bolted [Ninja Tunes]
  22. Greta Van Fleet — Starcatcher [Republic]
  23. Hania Rani — Ghosts [Gondwana]
  24. Hilary Woods — Acts of Light [Sacred Bones]
  25. James Ellis Ford — The Hum [Warp]
  26. Jana Horn — The Window Is the Dream [No Quarter]
  27. Jim O’Rourke — Hands that Bind OST [Drag City]
  28. Julie Byrne — The Greater Wings [Ghostly]
  29. Julie Byrne — Julie Byrne with Laugh Cry Laugh [Ghostly]
  30. Kali Malone ft. Stephen O’Malley & Lucy Railton — Does Spring Hide Its Joy [Ideologic Organ]
  31. Kevin Morby — More Photographs (A Continuum) [Dead Oceans]
  32. Lawrence English & Lea Bertucci — Chthonic [American Dreams]
  33. Lawrence English & Werner Dafeldecker — Tropic of Capricorn [Hallow Ground]
  34. Loscil & Lawrence English — Colours of Air [Kranky]
  35. Luke Schneider — It Is Solved By Walking [Third Man]
  36. Natalia Beylis — Mermaids [Touch Sensitive]
  37. Noriko Tujiko — Crépuscule I & II [Editions Mego]
  38. Oneohtrix Point Never — Again [Warp]
  39. Oren Ambarchi & Eric Thielemans — Double Consciousness [Matière Mémoire]
  40. Ozmotic & Fennesz — Senzatempo [Touch]
  41. Philip Jeck & Chris Watson — Oxmardyke [Touch]
  42. PJ Harvey — I Inside the Old Year Dying [Partisan]
  43. Rone, Orchestre National de Lyon & Dirk Brossé — L(oo)ping [InFiné]
  44. Ryuichi Sakamoto — 12 [Milan/Commmons]
  45. Róisín Murphy — Hit Parade [Ninja Tune]
  46. Sarah Davachi — Long Gradus [Late Music]
  47. Slowdive — everything is alive [Dead Oceans]
  48. Sufjan Stevens — Javelin [Asthmatic Kitty]
  49. Tim Hecker — No Highs [Kranky]
  50. Timber Timbre — Lovage [Hot Dreams]
  51. Vanessa Wagner — Les heures immobiles [InFiné]
  52. Will Butler + Sister Squares — Will Butler + Sister Squares [Merge]
  53. Yann Novak — The Voice of Theseus [Touch/Fairwood]
  54. Young Fathers — Heavy Heavy [Ninja Tunes]

Other things

Reissues, expansions, archival material, remixes, live albums, et cetera:

  1. Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Bjarnason — Jóhannsson: A Prayer To The Dynamo and Suites from “Sicario” & “The Theory of Everything” [Deutsche Grammophon]
  2. Joanna Brouk — Sounds of the Sea (1981) [Numero]
  3. Laraaji — Segue To Infinity [Numero]
  4. Roger Eno — The Turning Year: Rarities [Deutsche Grammophon]
  5. Sarah Davachi — Selected Works I + II [Late Music/Disciples]
  6. Sparklehorse — Bird Machine [Anti]
  7. William Basinski — The Clocktower at the Beach (1979) [Line]

Plus some individual tracks:

Live shows I went to this year: A Winged Victory for the Sullen at the Barbican in London; Jay-Jay Johanson, Sigur Rós, Jamie XX, and Mulatu Astatke in Cluj; Florence and the Machine in Bucharest; Brian Eno and the Baltic Sea Orchestra in Utrecht.


Ryuichi’s Last Playlist. We would like to share the playlist that Ryuichi had been privately compiling to be played at his own funeral to accompany his own passing. He truly was with music until the very end.RIP Ryuichi Sakamoto.


Timeline of favorite records: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023.

Other 2023 lists: Boomkat, Bleep, Rough Trade UK, Rough Trade US, The Quietus, The Wire. Simon Collison, Jon Hicks.