Echoes's John Diliberto's Top 25 of 2015
2015 was a year of convergence on Echoes with old and new coming together. Here’s my selection for the Best of 2015. You can make yours in the Echoes Listener Poll now.
Pioneers and new lights came together this year on Echoes. On the one hand, early veterans returned with albums that crystallized their sound, like Tangerine Dream’s Supernormal-The Australian Concerts 2014, or expanded it like Jean Michel Jarre’s Electronica 1: Time Machine. Early Echoes stalwarts, Steve Roach and Robert Rich put out definitive CDs and new musicians who have never appeared on the show including Jacco Gardner, The Mynabirds, Slow Meadow and Smoke Fairies, set their mark on the Echoes soundscape.
2015 started out sadly with the passing of Tangerine Dream founder Edgar Froese in January, followed soon after by Gong’s Daevid Allen and Cluster/Harmonia’s Dieter Moebius, all musicians whose DNA resides in the Echoes soundscape. Our latest CD, Echoes Live 21 is dedicated to them. But their legacy could be found all over the music heard on Echoes this year, and not just in Tangerine Dream’s CD of the Month Pick, Supernormal-The Australian Concerts 2014. You can hear the reverberation of the Dream in Robert Rich, Steve Roach, and Ben Neill. Gong is reflected in Ozric Tentacles, and Moebius’s work with Cluster and Harmonia can be heard in Ludovico Einaudi, Kevin Keller and Digitonal.
2015 was year that didn’t see much in the way of stylistic innovation or upheaval, but it did see a lot in the way of personal refinement, taking the past and weaving it into a possible future. That might be why I picked Heather Woods Broderick’s Glider as my number one album. I love the way she’s incorporated the delayed guitar sound of Michael Brook and Robin Guthrie in the service of beautifully etched songs. You can even hear echoes of Robert Rich’s glissando lap steel, although I suspect Broderick has never heard of him. I could imagine these songs being played on acoustic guitar, but why should I when Broderick creates such sun dappled textures and sinewy melodies. With Glider, Heather Woods Broderick created the most enveloping and sustained song-cycle of 2015.
But the difference between Broderick’s dream pop Glider, and say, the number 25 pick with Slow Meadow‘s very different ambient chamber album, is slim. It was that kind of year. There wasn’t a breakout release, but there were many artistic statements that had my jaw dropping. And that includes impressive albums that barely missed the top 25 cut like Michael Spriggs’ Back to One, Anima’s Sacred Alliance and Fernwood’s Arcadia. So here’s the my Top 25 albums of 2015.
John Diliberto’s Top 25 Albums of 2015
1 Heather Woods Broderick – Glider
2 Pat Metheny, Jan Garbarek et al– Homage é Eberhard Weber
3 Sumner McKane – Stone’s Throw
4 Kevin Keller – La Strada
5 Lana Del Rey – Honeymoon
6 Tangerine Dream – Supernormal-The Australian Concerts 2014
7 Silencio – She’s Bad: More Music Inspired by David Lynch & Angelo Badalamenti
8 Robert Rich – Filaments
9 Contact/Brian Eno – Discreet Music
10 Jean-Michel Jarre – Electronica 1: Time Machine
11 Steve Roach – Skeleton Keys
12 The Mynabirds – Lovers Know
13 Digitonal – Beautiful Broken
14 Ben Neill – Horizonal
15 Ozric Tentacles – Technicians of the Sacred
16 Smoke Fairies – Wild Winter
17 Sonomad – Sonomad
18 Rebekka Karijord – We Become Ourselves
19 Erik Wøllo – Blue Radiance
20 Hans Christian – Nanda Devi
21 Jacco Gardner – Hypnophobia
22 Al Di Meola – Elysium
23 Ludovico Einaudi – Elements
24 Maia Vidal – You’re the Waves
25 Slow Meadow – Slow Meadow