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But what does the list say musically? It’s pretty diverse for one. I could argue that the top five are variations on modern electronic strategies, even Dead Can Dance and their largely programmed Anastasis. But delve into the next five and you find acoustic world fusion from Todd Boston’s Touched by the Sun, mostly acoustic ambient chamber music from Jeff Pearce’s In the Season of Fading Light, Kate Bush’s expansive song cycle set from late last year, 50 Words for Snow and then Eric Wollo’s more conventionally electronic excursions on Airborne.
What’s on the list? You’ll find some post-rock, including two by Sigur Ros, along with Tycho, Balmorhea and Hammock for whom ambition clearly paid off in their sprawling double CD, Departure Songs, an Echoes CD of the Month. There’s different flavors of ambient including the Godfather, Brian Eno, joined by Marconi Union and Darshan Ambient. The avatars of Space music, Tangerine Dream, get two on the list, and several of their disciples appear as well, Ian Boddy, Erik Wollo, Robert Rich, Thierry David and Paul Ellis.
Ambient Chamber Music continues to hold interest with Jeff Pearce and Kevin Keller. I’d include Jeff Johnson & Phil Keaggy’s gorgeous WaterSky in there as well.
Seven of the winners were Echoes CD of Month Club selections. That’s a pretty good batting average.
What’s missing? Acoustic guitarists. Outside of Todd Boston and the California Guitar Trio, none are present. And even they aren’t truly solo which, given the amount of solo acoustic guitar we play, is surprising.
Another surprise is Loreena McKennitt’s Troubadours on the Rhine. In years past McKennitt consistently topped this poll and in some years, held both the one and two positions. But this year she only makes it to the middle of the pack. Admittedly, it’s a live recording of materiel from one of McKennitt’s less auspicious albums, The Wind That Shakes the Barley.
It was clearly the year for Dead Can Dance. They may be a love ‘em or hate ‘em group, but the people who love them really do.
Here’s the list of The Best of Echoes 2012 – The Listener Poll
- Dead Can Dance – Anastasis (Pias America)
- Hammock – Departure Songs (Hammock)
- Brian Eno – Lux (Warp Records)
- Marconi Union – Different Colours (Just Music)
- Air – Le Voyage Dans La Lune (Astralwerks)
- Darshan Ambient – Falling Light(Lotuspike)
- Todd Boston – Touched by the Sun (Gita Records)
- Tycho – Dive (Ghostly International)
- Sigur Ros – Valtari (XL Recordings)
- Jeff Pearce – In the Season of Fading Light (Jeff Pearce Music)
- Kate Bush – 50 Words For Snow (ANTI Records)
- Tangerine Dream – (Eastgate Music & Art) The Angel From the West Window
- Erik Wollo – Airborne (Projekt)
- Jeff Johnson and Phil Keaggy – WaterSky (Ark Records)
- Loreena McKennitt – Troubadours on the Rhine (Quinlan Road)
- Tangerine Dream – (Eastgate Music & Art) Finnegan’s Wake
- Kevin Keller Ensemble – The Day I Met Myself(Kevin Keller)
- Robert Rich – Nest (Soundscape Productions)
- Thierry David – Stellar Connection (Real Music)
- Ian Boddy and Erik Wollo – Frontiers (Inner Knot)
- California Guitar Trio – Masterworks (California Guitar Trio)
- Coyote Oldman – Time Travelers(Coyote Oldman)
- Sigur Ros – Inni (XL Recordings)
- Balmorhea – Stranger (Western Vinyl)
- Paul Ellis – I Am Here (Lotuspike)
~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))
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Here’s a Best of Echoes 2012 Spotify Playlist Minus Seven who weren’t on Spotify.