This isn't a music site, but Ardour exists mostly for the purpose of about making music and as we draw close to the end of 2013, I wanted to provide my own counter to a few other websites' "Best of 2013" music lists. I listen to music almost non-stop while developing Ardour - often Soma.FM's "Sonic Universe" stream - and it plays a very important role in the process, and my life in general. So here, in no particular order is a list of music that I discovered during 2013 that I think is worth pointing out (note that release dates may be much older). Thanks to Nitya of Sonic Universe for the endlessly great music, and even to NPR for a couple of connections. I buy and browse music on emusic.com, but their website leaves much to be desired.
Ludivico Einaudi & Ballake Sissoko "Diaro Mali"
Einaudi is often written off as a neo-classical film score composer, but this album of duets with kora player Ballake Sissoko is exceptionally lovely. Piano and kora dance around each other light heartedly.
Ryan Teague "Field Drawings"
My mother introduced me to Teague earlier this year. Like Marc Millits, he is doing a fine job of carrying forward many of the basic ideas of Reich-ian minimalism but dressed up in new timbres and with nods to other aesthetics, including chamber pieces and even a hint of Penguin Cafe in there.
John Surman "Saltash Bells"
An exceptional new solo album from Surman, who takes his considerable chops on a variety of wind instruments, loops and layers them with synthetic color washes and bloopy sequences, and generally creates loveliness all around. I particularly like "Sailing Westward", "Winter Elegy" and "On Staddon Heights".
Eivind Aarset "Dream Logic"
A delicate, beautiful ECM release from this most textural of guitar players. Ominous percussion, guitar drones, miscellaneous noises, careful composition, and imagination combine in ways that hit the target on just about every track.
Up Bustle & Out "Soliloquoy" and "Master Sessions Vol.2"Two older albums from this not particularly well known UK duo. The first one is groovy funky stuff, in that dubby Bristol sort of way. the second one still knows how to lay down a groove but is suffused with a bit more a Cuban spirit.
Helio Sequence "Negotiations"
I'm not much of a fan of "indie rock" but 3 tracks here ("The Measure", "Downward Spiral" and "Open Letter") pull off just the right amount of shimmering guitar to hook me in. If you like The Edge's guitar on U2's The Joshua Tree and agree that it is the same thing that makes Interpol great (when they are great), then you might like this stuff too.
David Gilmore "Numerology"
Modern, polyrythmic, energetic and thoroughly skillfull ensemble jazz. "Nine: Dispersion (Live)" was the track that connected with me and is just some of the most energetic, intelligent lived in jazz that I've heard in years.
Carsten Lindholm "Tribute"
A somewhat eclectic noise/jazz/groove album, with every track having quite a different feel (thanks to them being "tributes" to different artists). I particularly like the track "N.P.M" dedicated to Nils Petter Molvaer, but "H.L.H" for Lindholm's father has a kind of Vangelis like sweetness, and there is some real energy on some other tracks too.
The Creole Choir of Cuba "Santiman"
Incredible acapella (with limited hand percussion). "Fey Oh Di Nou" is beautiful. "Boullando" rushes along with energetic speed, like "Tripot", and "Camina Como Chencha" has strong connections to more familiar Cuban aesthetics.