The Best of Echoes 2012….. So Far.

25 Essential CDs to take into the second half of the year.

 [Click on the artist link and it will take you to a podcast interview.  Click on the album links and you’ll go to either a review with tracks or a link to purchase.]

Thierry David’s Stellar Connection

According to some interpretations of the Mayan calendar, the world is supposed to end at the conclusion of 2012.  Since we may not be around then, we’re taking a mid-year pause to look back at the best Echoes music of the first six months of 2012 (plus a few stragglers from 2011).  It’s the 25 Best Echoes CDs for 2012…. So Far.

Marconi Union’s Different Colours

Not surprisingly, many of the selections were Echoes CDs of the Month including the number one and two picks, Thierry David’s expansive electronic spacescape, Stellar Connections and Marconi Union’s ambient noir masterpiece, Different Colors.  Honestly, either one of these albums could be number one by year’s end.

That’s followed by one of the most different and most beautiful CDs of 2012, Amanke Dionti, the second album from Ablaye Cissoko & Volker Goetze.  The combination of Cissoko’s intricate kora playing and soulful singing, tinged by Goetze’s trumpet melancholy is already the most sublime album of the year.

Liftoff’s Sunday Morning Airplay

Sunday Morning Airplay is the debut from DC area downtempo band, Liftoff, which includes members of Thievery Corporation and Fort Knox Five.  Their nostalgic meeting of 60’s pop psychedelia and chilled electronic modalities was an easy seduction for me.  Their Echoes interview was also one of the most fun pieces of the year.

Raygun Ballet shares that sense of nostalgia with World That Wasn’t.  A project of Hollywood CGI designer John-Mark Austin, he mixes retro analog synth sounds with spoken word snippets from 40s and 50s radio and TV shows creating visions of the future from the past in the present.  Look for his interview on July 23.

Sigur Ros’ Valtari

Sigur Ros’s Valtari may be their most challenging, yet mellow record to date, a dark, slow ambient expanse that presents a chilled surface hiding molten turmoil.

Todd Boston’s Touched by the Sun

There’s nothing hidden in Todd Boston’s Touched by the Sun, produced by Will Ackerman.  It’s a work of deft melodicism and meticulous pastoral arrangements.  It was also the CD of the Month for June.

Love On A Real Train was a surprise album, coming from Joachim Cooder, Ry Cooder’s son.  It’s a CD of downtempo lullabies and laments with a great cast of singers and Cooder’s layered textures.

Forastiere’s From 1 to 8

Forastiere has become the guitarist of the new millennium on Echoes.  He has the two handed tapping techniques of Michael Hedges down, but in the service of great melodies born from his Italian heritage.

Coming in at 10 are longtime favorites, Niyaz.  Their new CD, Sumud,   continues Azam Ali’s exploration of her Iranian roots pushing up through the soil via Loga Ramin Torkian’s exotic strings, including a guitar viol, and Carmen Rizzo’s subtle electronic backings.

Coyote Jump’s Waking from the Roots

See the Complete Best of Echoes 2012….So Far.

That’s been the soundscape of Echoes for the first half of 2012.  Where else are you going to hear that on the radio or on-line?  I’m looking forward to more music like this in the second half of 2012.

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

You get great CDs like the ones on theBest of Echoes 2012 So Far, including this month’s selection, Marconi Union’sDifferent Colours,by becoming a member of the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Follow the link and see what you’ve been missing.

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