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Stephen’s Top Ten Albums of 2022

Last updated on December 9, 2022

This year’s top ten reflects my continued exploration of genres and sounds that are new to me. From full-on experimental music to electronic to composition to folk to totally genre-defying work, there’s a lot of different points on the map. Much of this music falls on the quieter side of things; in this chaotic year of headlines, I wanted peaceful sounds. Several of these albums were close companions on that quest.

10. JPH – A Holy Hour. A deeply experimental album that plays with repetition to draw out and investigate the experience of emotions.

9. Drone San – Drone San. Exemplary electrojazz that deconstructs and reconstructs the conventions of both genres.

8. Brown Calvin – d i m e n s i o n // p e r s p e c t i v e. Brown Calvin’s mesmerizing take on chill electronic music pushes boundaries in all directions, resulting in an experience not like any other this year.

7. Cameron Blake – Mercy for the Gentle Kind. An intimate rumination on healing from trauma, the likes of which we need more of.

6. Cemento Atlantico – Rotte Interrotte. It arrived in 2021, but I heard about it in 2022: this world-spanning tour of electronica and found sound is a thrill to listen to.

5. Andrew Yarovenko – Start Somewhere. A distinctive blend of flamenco, electronica, chamber pop, and acoustic guitar powers Yarovenko’s lovely compositions.

4. Brian Harnetty – Words and Silences. Dense without being overbearing, thought-provoking without sacrificing enjoyment, philosophical without being esoteric (usually); Harnetty’s compositions providing grounding for Thomas Merton’s tape-recorded thoughts is one of the most unusual and yet effective concepts I’ve listened to this year.

3. The Bogie Band featuring Joe Russo – The Prophets in the City. The soul of a marching band, the heart of a funk outfit, and the theatrics of a jazz combo. I’ve never heard anything like it.

2. Aaron Fisher and Rob Stevenson – Sightseeing. Brilliant acoustic Americana with a deft command of mood, an impressive fusion of dual viewpoints, and can’t-get-it-out-of-my-head melodies.

1. Airport People – From Nine Mornings. Exquisitely elegant solo piano work that transports me to a calmed space.12