As it’s that time of year again, I have compiled a Spotify playlist of some of my favourite 2018 sounds, which includes songs from new albums and reissues from the last year.
All of this of course with the usual caveat that what I actually heard was but a tiny fraction of the many things released in 2018, so please feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments section for others to read. If I have to pick one above all others then I pick Low “Double Negative” as my album of the year. It takes guts for a band to reinvent itself 25 years into its career, but that’s what Low did, giving their beautiful songs a strange electronic production, and then making them sound like they were left out in the garden to rust, creating a beautiful and eerie effect. (I see that for once I’m in sync with at least part of the UK media, as Uncut have also selected it as the number one album of the year).
Other top picks for me are Loma’s gorgeous debut album (a new project of Jonathan from Shearwater) and Autechre’s massive 8 hour, 12 disc NFS Sessions. The latter is certainly not an easy listen, with its long melody-free pieces of constantly mutating electronic rhythms, but I can lose myself in it for hours at a time. Also I must mention Matt Berry’s utterly charming Television Themes album, which surely can’t fail to have nostalgic appeal to anyone like me that grew up in England in the 80’s.
More tracks from albums I enjoyed this year in my Spotify playlist.
Favourite movie of the year was actually one that came out in 2016, but I only saw this year for the first time; Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper, with a phenomenal central performance by Kristen Stewart. This film is many things; murder mystery, ghost story, commentary on the fashion industry, but above all a haunting and unforgettable mediation on grief. I also really liked Alex Garland’s flawed but ambitious sci-fi movie Annihilation, with another great central female performance by Natalie Portman. On TV the documentary Evil Genius blew my mind in a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction kind of way, and The Haunting Of Hill House was fantastic (and much better than the hyped up Hereditary, which is certainly NOT the scariest horror movie since The Exorcist). Although it did fizzle out a bit at the end, some of the episodes, especially The Bent Neck Lady, had some of the scariest shit I’ve seen for many years!