20. Tim Hecker - Prism
Album openers are a tricky business; does one go in heavy-handed, or is it better to ease the listener in? Tim Hecker not only rejects possibilities, he instead - as Virgins opener "Prism" callously exerts - forces the listener into a state of shaken-not-stirred insecurity altogether. "Prism", while one of Hecker's most loop-orientated pieces to date, leaves the listener with a peculiar but raw relapse of asphyxiation - dry, vacuuming synthesizers and atmospherics sucking the air from out both surroundings and our lungs. And with an instability of distortion and reverb blowing over the piece, straight from the word go Hecker's voyage into the cold unknown is vindictive... if, by the end, draining on one's psyche.
19. My Bloody Valentine - She Found Now
Let’s be honest, any track off mbv could make our Top 50 Tracks list. My Bloody Valentine’s third album was so powerful and dominating, that another track makes an appearance further down this list. But it makes perfect sense, these tracks are absolutely stunning. There’s nothing wrong with My Bloody Valentine’s absence from music, and the highly acclaimed and rated (by most including us) album Loveless has not damaged the potential for mbv. “She Found Now” is the perfect opener, linking My Bloody Valentine’s old sound with a more fresh, modern sound as heard throughout mbv.
18. The Knife - Networking
The sounds emanating from "Networking" perfectly sum up Swedish brother-and-sister duo The Knife's uncanny way-of-thinking in combining wide-breadth subject matter with their own colossal, avant-garde eye-openers Shaking The Habitual was chock full of. The more you take in the track's frenzied dash of scurrying beats, scrutinzingly-twisting tone and Karin Dreijer's shapeless vocal snippets - all of which crisply handled by brother Olof's delicate arranging and production - "Networking" as both a word as well as a Knife piece, becomes less a 'this is what it may sound like' analogy and more 'this is the result of our over-indulgnce in such a thing'.
17. Savages - City's Full
Savages belong in the top 20 no matter what. The singles from Silence Yourself, are arguably some of the best British charted singles in a very long time. It’s the album tracks that haven’t necessary been heard, that really take home 1st prize though. “City’s Full” is the most powerful track on the album lyrically. It cuts right to the heart of Silence Yourself, and in doing so, has become one of Savages masterpieces to hang on to for the future. The lyricism is outstanding, and the guitars are bursting with rage.
16. of Montreal - Colossus
Bleakness and sadness have been associated with of Montreal for quite some time. “Colossus” is the fifth track on of Montreal’s 12th album Lousy with Sylvianbriar. It’s not as twee as previous of Montreal recordings, as read with the above lyrics. The opening verse is one dark, and deep beginning to a track filled with poetry of the Edgar Allen Poe kind. “Colossus” easily makes it on this list because of Kevin Barnes’ lyricism, and the instrumental is bright and wonderful as well.
15. Data Romance - Guard
Not since roaming the mid-90's arrangements of trip-hop act Lamb had I come across a male-female, composer-vocallist duo as invoking and atmospherically enthralling as Data Romance. On "Guard", the darkly but soulful nimbleness of Amy Kirkpatrick's voice created one of Other's most compelling, dance-compliant relaxants. Alongside Ajay Bhatacharyya's lavish assortment of bubbling synthesizers, club-nestled percussion and enrapturing production, Kirkpatrick's hopeful, reassuring lyricism was met with a just delivery of danceable hooks and luminescent comfort that furthered Other's overarching precedence as a city-stretch assortment laid with contextual risk, but more-so charitable reassurance of intimate and musical engagement.
14. Doldrums - Live Forever
Even in its initially pitch-quirky and boggingly-conjoined state, "Live Forever's" opening still manages to asatain a kind of surreal darkness that Lesser Evil perfectly envisaged this year. It's further proof that Montrealer Airick Woodhead's palpable arrangements are not without a degree of awe. Here, like striking a match to the compound of darkened synth pop present, Doldrums' hefty percussion deliveries and shining vocal harmonies radiate over the space, providing the surrounding atmosphere with a sonic glow of distortion and tone that removes itself from physical restraint and eventually ascends among the flickered tips of the band's equally-effective electronics.
13. Glasser - Dissect
US singer-songwriter Cameron Mesirow showed her true colours as well as her more prevalently female influences on Interiors. And while many pointed to this appreciation of compassionately-structured favourites Björk & Kate Bush as derogatory and without evolution, "Dissect" proved Glasser had very much carved out an individual persona from out the comforted manner of such feminine artistry, without merely carbon-copying it. Thus it was Glasser's heart-of-the-matter, epicentre vocals amid the spatial flare of woodwind-like electronics, drumbeats and waning synths that gave us a contemporary pop track outwardly compelling and engaging, yet invitingly sensual and charming in its human nature-esque honesty.
12. Jagwar Ma – Four
Jagwar Ma’s “Four” is unfortunately track six on their debut album Howlin, but it does offer up some of Jagwar Ma’s most exciting and unique sounds on Howlin'. Where the singles such as “The Throw” came across as long ‘baggy’ anthems set to the tune of Madchester circa 1988, “Four” is far more 90s influenced. It has the acid house beat, replicated by both Jagwar Ma and Cut Copy on their respected albums, but a sense of modernism in the vocal cuts and aim towards deep electronica // Read our interview with Jagwar Ma.
11. Lorde – Ribs
This list wouldn’t be complete without a track from Lorde’s debut album Pure Herein. “Ribs” doesn’t make the top 10 through tough competition, but that doesn’t make it unimportant for 2013’s Top 50 Tracks. “Ribs” unites the singles of Pure Herein with the back album, more conceptual tracks fitting of her debut album. There’s not machine trickery, or distorted effects to cram “Ribs” together. It’s quite a simple track, one with a build-up, clear vocals, and deep synthesizers mimicking the post-dubstep sounds of 08/09.