More great stuff from Adam Freeland's three-piece band The Acid. Here 23-year-old producer Luka gives album track Ra a dreamy, thick ambient synth-heavy R&B rework.
Following on from my list of the of 2014 best songs, which starts with Part One here, here is the first of two parts covering the best albums of the year. It has to be said, 2014 felt like a better year for songs than for albums - lots of interesting emerging artists released EPs, but there were less breakthrough albums that really lived up to the hype. In comparison to an individual track or an EP, creating a compelling album is incredibly hard. In my view, these were the best.
You can check out the concluding part, which includes my album of the year, here.
10. Liminal - The Acid
The debut album from Adam Freeland's new band was something of a surprise... Down-tempo, soulful and full of angst. There are hints of inspiration - take the vulnerable mumbling of Thom Yorke, the sub-bass from Burial - but the whole thing feels distinct. An organic, distinctly human snapshot that seemingly came out of nowhere.
9. I Never Learn - Lykke Li
Lykke Li's boldest album yet, I Never Learn turned up on your doorstep with tears in its eyes and hair that has been dragged through a hedge backwards. Such intensely personal music would be difficult to listen to if it wasn't for such compelling song-writing. Even when it is belting out power ballads, as on Never Gonna Love Again, I Never Learn was always uniquely Lykke Li's.
8. You’re Dead! - Flying Lotus
It almost always feels too easy for Flying Lotus these days, his experiments boldly carving out new approaches to sound like they were always the most obvious thing in the world. You're Dead! is FlyLo's most overtly jazz influenced album yet, and it is impossible to shake the sense that if some of the experimental jazz pioneers of the 50s and 60s were warped to today, this might be exactly what they would sound like... And that's a massive achievement.
7. LP1 - FKA Twigs
2014 was FKA Twig's year more than any other musicians. The most impressive thing about LP1 is that prior to 2014 very few had even heard of her - by now she is undoubtedly one of the most revered stars in R&B. LP1 has moments of confused, electrified brilliance, but I can't help but feel like the best is yet to come.
6. Reality Testing - Lone
Full of moments of experimental brilliance, Lone made one of the most interesting albums of beats I've heard in years. Reality Testing combined every genre Lone could get his hands on, but rather than the candy cane explosion of someone like Rustie this felt like a pleasant trip through the mind of a friend with an enormous record collection.
39. Blue Veins - LSBV
38. All We Need - ODESZA feat. Shy Girls
37. Swim - Fickle Friends
36. Strange Feeling - Panama
35. Flame - Ronya
34. Never Catch Me - Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar
33. Break Free - Ariana Grande feat. Zedd
32. Fame - The Acid
31. Heaven, How Long - East India Youth
Another fantastic track from The Acid, whose EP Fame came out earlier in the year... Ghost is the third single to be taken from debut album Liminal and the band plan to unveil a series of remixes between now and the end of the year. This first one from Maya Jane Coles perfectly captures the muted melancholy of the original and wraps it around a cool minimal rhythmic electronic sound. Cinematic and ferocious.
As part of the post this track was listened to on a Cambridge Audio G2 provided to BlackPlastic.co.uk by Cambridge Audio. Find out more about the portable bluetooth speaker here.
This new project from Adam Freeland, together with Ry X and Steve Nalepa, blows my mind. I've always harboured a soft-spot for Freeland, long after he ceased being 'cool', but this is probably his best work yet... The kind of sophisticated ambient pop hinted at on his remixes on GU32.
The original version (featured in the video above) doesn't feature on this remix EP, but it's a gorgeously wasted sultry dubby track full of loose rhythms, slow synths and gently picked guitars that evoke Spanish sunsets.
The second surprise is that Jesse Rose, whom I haven't heard a thing from since minimal was the new hot thing, delivers a gorgeously subtle remix. The synths are accentuated and the rhythm track tightened giving the track an even more dreamy, spectral sensation. It is like floating 500-feet above the world as it goes around its all so busy parties and hectic nattering, whilst we are several steps removed, relaxed yet slightly saddened by the distance. It's like tapping against the glass of sobriety when you know you can't quite remember what it felt like.
Rose also provides a dub, which strips out the vocal and some of the synths to further emphasise the warm bass.
Finally Factory Floor provide a much more robotic interpretation, full of their usual Germanic mechanical wonder but filtered through the same dreamy gaze of the original to create a weirdly balanced piece that blends warm humanity with clinical efficiency.
All three mixes plus the original are great. I've not had the chance to listen to the album yet but based off of this release I definitely will do - you can currently stream it in full on Soundcloud below. Order the album now from Amazon.co.uk on CD or MP3 [affiliate links].