Friday, December 20, 2013

Top-20 Albums of 2013, no.1: Essie Jain - All Became Golden

All Became Golden is a very apt title for Essie Jain's fourth album. She recorded this live, meaning with an orchestra and audience at the same time in the studio with her, much like artists like Frank Sinatra used to do in the mid-20th century. This does not mean that the album has any retro feel or lingers on past sounds. On the contrary, even including one cover version, Dire Straits' Why Wait. It's a breath of fresh air, modern, spare, emotional and gutsy, Nico Muhly's arrangements being the perfect foil for Essie's compositions. She goes through her songs seemingly effortlessly, her divine voice the connecting thread. The album has a film twin, , as the whole process was filmed, directed by Natalie Johns. I saw the film first, which may have made the album experience even better, as it gives you her insights into writing and performing the songs, and watching the creative process of recording the music, which is mesmerising. Who knows. What I know is that this is the music I played and listened to most this year, through good times and bad, a true companion for life now. My best album for the year. Love.


no.02: John Grant - Pale Green Ghosts
no.03: Daft Punk: Random Access Memories
no.04: Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2
no.05: Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience 1 of 2
no.06: London Grammar - If You Wait
no.07: The National - Trouble Will Find Me
no.08: Anna Calvi - One Breath
no.09: James Blake - Overgrown
no.10: Poliça - Shulamith
no.11: Scott Matthew - Unlearned
no.12: Phosphorescent - Muchacho
no.13: Laura Mvula - Sing For The Moon
no.14: The Ballet - I Blame Society
no.15: Son Lux - Lanterns
no.16: Gustaf Spetz - Saknaden
no.17: Daughter - If You Leave
no.18: Larry Gus - Years Not Living
no.19: Pan Pan - Missing Two Trains On Purpose 
no.20: inc. - No World

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