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Monday, January 02, 2006


So here it is, our best of the best according to our insignificant self. You also might want to check out the following lists: Boomkat, Dusted (props btw for being the only one I've seen with Why? on!), PopMatters, Pitchfork and Tiny Mix Tapes.

Regrets go to Bohren & Der Club of Gore, Vashti Bunyan, Deaf Center, Six Organs of Admittance and Stephan Mathieu.

Oh and everyone out there who's also making a list, submit it through us and it will be posted. That said, here goes the noctos ten:

0. Viktor Sjöberg - Belgian Promo Only

We reach Point 0 when personal involvement intertwines with pure listening pleasure. This album gets the most special mention because it pervaded another full year on so much different levels. It's not exactly a real album in the true meaning of the word but a showcase of true talent. Talent that marked his youtful folly on other albums this year as well but I'm picking this one because of November. I was so glad and proud to witness those shows, even if the results and feelings were mixed afterwards. But we did it. And we will do it again and better and more.

So dear interested reader, I'm afraid this album is not for sale nor available anywhere. But remember the name, go check and buy other available albums, wait for new releases and receive warm, sincere and authentic cheers from the noctos headquarters.

And to that special dogperson: may you be protected from all evil but above all, keep going down that magic road of yours buddy, 2005 was hard with them huge u-turns, but you are truly doing it. Until that next sommarljus intersection.

(and i hope i can finally add that other great record to my list when it gets a release in 2006!)

1. Why? - Elephant Eyelash

Last year we already had senor Why? on our list under his Hymie's Basement monk (together with the great Andrew Broder), but this year there was no stopping to Yoni himself. A well well deserved number one spot! This was by far the most interesting, the most layered record of the year. Is it safe to say we have a little Yoni Wolf fixation? Yes.

We have been singing along in bars (and your eyes are...), on the streets (us in black hoodies), trying to seduce female ears (oh yes it worked for some) but above all, this record gave tremendous joy. It made us 'live it happy'. It made us smile.

So thank you -- thank you family Wolf. Don't make this your last cardtrick and see you on next year's list!

2. ES - Kaikkeuden kauneus ja käsittämättömyys

The first of the finnish and if we were really good police, I guess this album is not eligible for a 2005 list. It was released on the sweet (K-RAA-K)³ label in 2004, and released on Fonal even earlier I think.

But fuck the rules for once. I only caught up a few months ago and it left such a definitive impression that I couldn't leave this one out! So forgive us and baby jesus and pay attention: get this album if you haven't already. It is true beauty looped and looped.

And here's what you should do: put on my favorite track 'Aavehuminaa' (track 09), go out in the middle of night and walk down the empty railroad. Bless You Sami.

3. Manyfingers - Our Worn Shadow

I'm still left in the dark if this album has gotten a real release or not. It's still not widely available and I'm so glad I picked it up at one of the manyfingers gigs. Chris Cole stayed on the number one spot most of year but then around october we fell for why? and Es.

Still this album is of the most essential. I really like the first self-titled Manyfingers album (which you can still buy over at boomkat) but Our Worn Shadow exceeds its predecessor easily. The compositions are of such extraordinary beauty and to think the man can really play all those instruments himself.

Amazing find this year. Amazing performance. Amazing record.

4. Islaja - Palaa aurinkoon

The second finnish artist on this list and maybe the strangest record to talk about. I was reading alot on the internet about the whole Finnish music scene but 2005 was the year I finally checked it out. The results are fascinating: lau nau, es, Kemialliset Ystävät, Islaja and so much more. Not everything is the same quality but once again it's the girls and boys up north bringing most of the interesting things.

Islaja's record is in some way the new 'When'. Yeah sure, the music is very different but it has a similar effect: the sort of same whisper, lullaby-like which will you warm and comfort you on a cold melancholic night. Hail Before Sunrise.

5. Mount Eerie - No Flashlight/Singers

I still can't make up my mind whether I liked Singers more than No Flashlight or the other way around, so I'm adding them both. But the gist of the argument is really easy: the microphones are not dead, phil elverum is still doing absolutely great music and his best moments are not behind him as some media might have suggested (yess pitchfork we're pointing at you).

So please step in the Mt Eerie world and discover what's behind the big black cloud.

6. Det Gamla Landet - Det Gamla Landet

Picked this album out of the sales section for 7€. What a lucky day that was. The record is yet again made by swedes who like their beautiful language alot (det gamla landet means the old country if i'm not mistaken). Most reviewers seem to label this music as folk, although i do think it has quite some other influences and it goes beyond straight folk.

Anyway, another exceptional instrumental record (almost half of the albums on this list are instrumental btw, does that say something?) and Tolv Under for one of the best 2005 singles.

7.Red Sparowes - At the Soundless Dawn

Much like last year, this Isis spinoff made us rock it. We are known to be quite picky about the harder, noisier, more metallike stuff but this record really did it for us. The mixture between the lovely, more post-rock tunes and the scarier doom tunes was as perfect as them snakes on planes. We preferred this much more above other igor pimped records such as Pelican and SunnO))). Plus the Red Sparowes boys scored very high in the ephemeral categories: best concert visuals and best song titles (The Soundless Dawn Came Alive As Cities Began To Mark The Horizon!). I'm going to see them live again in March, you should too.

8. Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra - Horses in the Sky

The biggest surprise on this list maybe because it has gotten so much bad reviews but I must tell you this album just kept growing and growing on me. I wasn't really into it at first when they released it somewhere at the beginning of 2005. But around July, it kept me cold during some warm nights and now in december it's the other way around. The album with the biggest impact.

I'm aware Efrim's voice is probably the biggest barrier for people but I'm really loving his voice. It's so bleak and strong, that it cuts right through these ears.

I acknowledge that it's not the great Godspeed anymore, but these canadians keep me listening and I'm still competely mesmerized. So this is an endorsement to everyone out there: spin this record again.

9. Mitchell Akiyama - Small Explosions That Are Yours To Keep

Or what a trip to a lovely recordstore can accomplish. I heard this music play in the store and just knew right there how good this was going to be. This record was released on the amazing Sub Rosa label and Mitchell Akiyama is the guy behind the intr version label (who released the wonderful aMute album A Hundred Dry Trees).

Now although I'm aware this album may not be for everyone, I find it to be one of the most essential point of views of this past year about how to (de)construct music. Boomkat describes it so much better than I could, so I'm just going to past their words:
Since his debut release on Alien8 Recordings, Akiyama's music has been a study in fiction and texture. He records compositions and improvisations for piano, strings, and other instruments, and restructures them in his studio in a post-facto montage. Playing on the distortions in causality that recording technology can effect, Akiyama creates music that lays claim to a moment of creation that never happened. Located somewhere in the interstices of classical, electronic composition and post-rock, his works vacillate between delicate melodies and confrontational bursts of noise.

10. Antony & The Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now

The album that's on every music journalist's end of the year list but when it's well deserved, we happily endorse the praise. Ever since 'Golden Apples of the Sun' Antony's star has been rising and it finally broke through completely this year. Bless you David late Tibet for being the first one to put out this music.

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