Finest CD albums of 2017

By Jazzual Jazzual
updated about 1 year ago

Alphabetical order.

  1. Actress - AZD

    An inconsistent artist who has at times almost disappeared into dark introspection returned to peak form with AZD. Instantly recognisable as an Actress album the blend of razor sharp techno, fuzzier experiments and a touch of darker ambience makes for one the most exciting albums of the year. More please!

  2. Aleksi Perälä - The Colundi Sequence Volume 2

    I can't say I understand the technical concepts behind this series but the results are something special. Precision engineered techno with soul covering a huge range of ideas. More ambient than the club friendly first volume but just as impressive.

  3. Anouar Brahem - Blue Maqams

    Jazz fusion doesn't have to be about guitars. Here the Tunisian master musician proves that the oud can also make a perfect bedfellow. He is joined by a word class rhythm section in bassists Dave Holland, drummer Jack DeJohnette and pianist Django Bates. A gently stunning triumph.

  4. As If - Presence

    3 For Sale from $9.89

    A warm and accessible take on dub techno. The dense, heavily layered sounds favoured by many producers are replaced by sweeping synths that ebb and flow. A beauty.

  5. Autumn Of Communion - Metal

    5 For Sale from $13.16

    Mick and Lee have moved into 90s inspired idm with recent albums and they have proven themselves to be as adept at this as they are at ambient. Rewards repeated listens as the melodies reveal themselves.

  6. Aythar - The God Particle

    Excellent berlin-school ambient that covers a wide gamut of sounds, rhythms and textures yet hangs together cohesively. Txt Recordings continue to be one of the labels to follow for underground electronic music.

  7. Biosphere - The Petrified Forest

    With every album he does something different. Yes, he will always be recognised for the ambient classic Substrata but right from the beginning Geir was an artist that refused to be pigeonholed so I won't try with this album other than to say it sounds like nothing I've ever heard.

  8. Bola - D.E.G.

    Return of the IDM legend and he is still at the peak of his powers. All of the elements that make his work so compelling are here. Intricate melodies, twinkling ambient and robust, fractured beat driven pieces and some vocal experiments. It's all held together by a lot of depth and soul.

  9. Charles Lloyd New Quartet* - Passin' Thru

    The evergreen Charles Lloyd continues to challenge himself by playing with some of the most exciting younger players in jazz. Technically brilliant, spiritually intense.

  10. DeepChord - Auratones

    I asked myself whether I needed to buy yet another record by the ever prolific Rod Modell. The answer was yes! Pure aural hypnosis.

  11. DeepChord Presents Echospace - Live In Detroit

    As above with some added oomph for the floor.

  12. FP-Oner - 7

    The third of Fred P's deep house trilogy as FP-Oner is another absolute beauty! 7 flows perfectly over 76 minutes yet also covers plenty of ground from the jazzy to the euphoric. There is plenty of funk throughout yet it is also a comforting, soulful album designed for those magic 6am dancefloor moments or if you are me, an early morning drive to work!

  13. Gas - Narkopop

    The surprise return of Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project after 17 years raised the question will he stick to the tried and tested formula or do something different? The answer is a bit of both. His unique, dense dub techno throb remains but is deeper in the mix. Warmer, modern classical elements are now at the fore creating a smoother, enveloping listen. A great comeback.

  14. John Abercrombie Quartet - Up And Coming

    Sadly the guitarists final album before his death. He signed off with a wonderful record. Telepathic group interplay from outstanding musicians. In some ways an archetypal ECM record. Rich, deeply relaxing music with melodies the emerge and beguile over repeated listens. As ever Manfred Eicher's production is peerless.

  15. Kangding Ray - Hyper Opal Mantis

    Another artist who seems to have found a new lease of life. Known for his austere, experimental electronics on labels like Raster Noton, Lettelier now proves himself to be equally capable of producing dancefloor techno with a difference. The super intricate production makes for a listen that is as cerebral as it is visceral. Serious music that can also rock a party.

  16. Klute - Read Between The Lines

    The drum & bass veteran returned with another solid album. Expertly blends in touches from his many musical influences.

  17. Loess - Pocosin

    Always adopting a quality over quantity approach Loess return after an 11 year hiatus with another melancholic take on idm. Their inspiration is the wonder of the natural world which they interpret through intricate melodies, expansive soundscaping and metallic micro-sounds. Unique and engrossing.

  18. Ninos Du Brasil - Vida Eterna

    If Ninos Du Brasil did'nt exist it would be necessary to invent them. Blending Brazil's frenetic, percussive batucada style with techno was a masterstroke that makes for utterly thrilling music. Heavyweight stuff.

  19. Peverelist - Tessellations

    Peverelist was one of the most interesting artists to come out of the whole post-dubstep sound. He now operates in techno mode but retains a crunchy, break tinged approach that is uniquely his.

  20. Sraunus - Atmospheric Insomnia

    2 For Sale from $12.97

    This was my introduction to Lithuania's Greyscale label. Deep, multi-layered, atmospheric dub techno and ambient sounds with some stunning innovation on a couple of tracks. This is an artist and a label to look out for. Great packaging too!

  21. Tony Allen - The Source

    Afrobeat legend and the man Brian Eno rates as the world's greatest drummer returned with album number 16 at the age of 77. His sinuous funky beats are accompanied by a brassy big band vibe. Still pushing the boundaries of fusion music.