Image Credit: Bandcamp

Bandcamp Makes The Argument Of Why Boil Down Art To Numerical Standing?

The end of year lists have become a content staple throughout the music press world, as we start drifting towards Christmas everyone starts throwing out their (insert number) best albums of 2020. The articles are all good fun and let’s be honest, even the most subjective art critique or music fan will list out their top tens throughout the year. It’s unavoidable but it does beg the question “should we rank art in numerical order?” Surely, art is subjective and simply ranking it into a quantifiable list. As J Edward Keyes of Bandcamp explains: 

“On light of the year that we’ve all fought our way through—and certainly some more than others—not a single member of the editorial team had the stomach to start jockeying over the placement of one record over another. It was a lot of fun in previous years to say, “This record is 54, but this one feels like a 55,” but this year, we just couldn’t shake the arbitrariness of it all. And once we started pulling at that thread, we soon found ourselves interrogating the whole process. In the end, we were left staring at the conclusion that the whole affair was founded on profoundly misguided ideas about art.”

So, with this in mind bandcamp won’t be creating a numerical list for their favourite albums they will be splitting them into five thematic groupings: Connecting the Dots (albums that bridge styles, continents, and generations), Imagining New Worlds (albums that dream of new landscapes, both musical and political), It Got Heavy (albums that are either musically or topically heavy), Silver Linings (albums that spoke of hope & healing in dark times) and an alphabetical list of the Essential Albums of 2020. 

Connecting The Dots

The best of inventiveness, a list for pioneers of new pathways or ways of thinking. 

Includes: Habibi Funk 013 -The King Of Sudanese Jazz, Alan Braufman – The Fire Still Burns, Butcher Brown – #KingButch, Caixa Cubo – Angela, A.G. Cook – 7G, Damu the Fugemunk, Archie Shepp & Raw Poetic – Ocean Bridges, Katie Day – mydata, Kiko Dinucci – Rastilho, Nubya Garcia – Source, Sam Gendel – Satin Doll, Ixachitlan – Eagle, Quetzal, and Condor, Georgia Anne Muldrow as Jyoti – Mama You Can Bet, Neptune Maximalism – Eons, Svitlana Nianio & Oleksandr Yurchenko – Znayesh Yak? Rozkazhy, No Joy – Motherhood, Ryan Treanor – File Under UK Metaplasm, Various Artists – Alterity, Various Artists – Strum, & Thrum: The American Jangle Underground 1983-1987, Various Artists – The Many, Ric Wilson & Terrace Martin – The Call Me Disco, Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad – Jazz is Dead 001

Imagining New Worlds

The best of inventiveness, a list for pioneers of new pathways or ways of thinking. 

Wilma Archer – A Western Circular, Buscabulla – Regresa, Caribou – Suddenly, Eartheater – Phoenix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin, Asher Gamedze – Dialectic Soul, Angelica Garcia – Cha Cha Palace, Gabriel Garzon-Montano – Aguita, Nick Hakim – Will This Make Me Good, Takuya Kuroda – Fly Moon Die Soon, KMRU – Peel, Mary Lattimore – Silver Ladders, LCSM – Earthbound, Lunch Money Life – Immersion Chamber, Meridian Bros – Cumbia Siglo XXI, Nicole Mitchell & Lisa E.Harris – EarthSeed, Nidia – Nao Fales Nela Que A Mentes, Rüstəm Quliyev – Azerbaijani Gitara, Rui Ho – Lov3 & L1ght, Witch Prophet – DNA Activation 

It Got Heavy

A cathartic selection that highlights the darker tones of a year surrounded by unrest.

Actress – Karma & Desire, Angel-Ho – Woman Call, Anjimile – Giver Taker, Moses Boyd – Dark Matter, Oliver Coates – skins n slime, Cryptic Shift – Visitations From Enceladus, Alabaster de Plume – To Cry and Lee: Instrumentals Vol. 1, Deradoorian – Find The Sun, End – Splinters In An Ever-Changing Face, Girl Friday – Androgynous Mary, Irreversible Entanglements – Who Sent You?, Bastien Keb – The Killing of Eugene Peeps, Jackie Lynn – Jacqueline, Slauson Malone – Vergangenheitsbewaltigung (Crater Speak), Metal Preyers – Metal Preyers, METZ – Atlas Vending, MJ Guider – Sour Cherry Bell, ONO – Red Summer, Photay – Waking Hours, Protomartyr – Ultimate Success Today, R.A.P Ferreira – purple moonlight pages, Speaker Music – Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry, Special Interest – The Passion Of, Yves Tumor – Heaven To A tortured Mind, Zebra Katz – Less Is Moor

Silver Linings

Moments of light during these bleak times

Aluna – Renaissance, Bbymutha – Muthaland, Erika de Casier – Essentials, Cleo Sol – Rose In The Dark, Jeremy Cunningham – The Weather Up There, Cut Worms – Nobody Lives Here Anymore, Demae – Life Works Out… Usually, Dyani – Under, Carla J. Easton – Weirdo, Ego Ella May – Honey For Wounds, Grrrl Gang – Here To Stay!, Koreatown Oddity – Little Dominiques Nosebleed, Yazmin Lacey – Morning Matters, Jessy Lanza – All The Time, Angela Munoz – Adrian Younge Presents Angela Munoz Introspection, Navy Blue – Àdá Irin, Oceanator – Things I Never Said, Ras Michael – Live By The Spirit, Rituals Of Mine – Hype Nostalgia, Brother Theotis Taylor – Brother Theotis Taylor, Thundercat – It Is What It Is, Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud, Zeroh – BLQLYTE.

The Year’s Essential Releases

Bandcamps Essential Listening of 2020, in no numerical order.

Against All Logic – 2017 – 2019 & Nicolas Jaar, Cenizas, Armand Hammer – Shrines, Jack Blount – Spider Tales, Beverly Glenn-Copeland – Transmissions: The Music Of Beverly Glenn-Copeland, The Diabolic Liberties – High Protection & The Sportswear Mystics, Duma – Duma, KeiyaA – Forever, Ya girl, Okkyung Lee – Yeo Neun, (Liv).e – Couldn’t Wait To Tell You, Moodymann – Taken Away, Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin kynsi, Kelly Lee Owens – Inner Song, Jeff Parker – Suite For Max Brown, Pink Siifu – NEGRO, Ranil – Ranil y su Conjunto Tropical, SAULT – UNTITLED (Black Is) & UNTITLED (Rise), Sufjan Stevens – The Ascension, Moses Sumney – græ, Throwing Muses – Sun Racket, Duval Timothy – Help.