Here are 15 of the top 10 releases from 2008. Of course, they're not a "best of" of any sort, unless you are willing to assume that recordings to which I've returned throughout the year for edification, comfort, or pleasure over a longish period of time qualify as objects of excellence. I certainly think they are. These are among the list of recordings I played when no one else was around. These are among the list from which I will choose recordings for people I care about. And naturally, your mileage may vary.And since 15 is an arbitrary number and you can never have too many things of grace, lightness, and beauty in your life, I've added a new "honorable mention" listing!


Another Electronic Musician Patience N5md
Autechre Quaristice (and its EP entourage) Warp
Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago Jagjaguwar
David Byrne/
Brian Eno
Everything That Happens Will Happen Today Opal
Esbjorn Svensson Trio Leukocyte Spamboolimbo
Cikada Ensemble/
Morton Feldman
The Viola in My LIfe I-IV ECM
Mamoru Fujieda Patterns of Plants II Tzadik
The Hub Boundary Layer Tzadik
Johan Johansson Fordlandia 4AD
Paavoharju Laulu Ladkson Kukista Fonal
The Punch Brothers Punch Nonesuch
Terry Riley The Last Camel in Paris Elision Fields
Ryuichi Sakamoto/
Christopher Willits
Ocean Fire 12k
Sinuso Dial Anigma EP online release
Mats Ugorski/
Mikkel Meyer
Healing Beats

I honestly don't remember why it was that I wound up with 15 top ten releases a long time ago - I think that it was a way to both give myself a "margin of error" of sorts, and to suggest that there were things outside of that arbitrary range of 10. But the truth is that this doesn't really solve anything - there are still things that got edged off the list nonetheless. Reissues are a classic problem here - when they're well done, they vanish into their normal place in the "I listen to these all the time" list. If they're year-end releases, there's always the thought that in another N months, they'd bubble to the top. So here are some more. The phrase "honorable mention" seems a bit weak, so consider that you'd be seeing these releases had I made a longer list in the first place....

Benge Twenty Systems Expanding Records
Thomas Feiner and Anywhen The Opiates Samadhisound
Fennesz Black Sea Touch
Scott Fields Freetet Bitter Love Songs Clean Feed
Robert Fripp/
Brian Eno
No Pussyfooting
Evening Star
Various Artists Victrola Favorites: Artifacts from Bygone Days ECM