Some of my favourite albums of 2014. I wouldn't call this a best of 2014 by any means; I don't follow current music with the kind of depth and intensity I used to and wouldn't consider myself qualified to draw up that kind of list. It's merely the ones I most enjoyed. Order is alphabetical.
All Hallows' Eve - The Dreaming
All Hallows' Eve are a kind of 'goth supergroup', though you'd need to be intimately acquainted with the contemporary goth scene to know who most of its members are. Don't let that put you off; this is fantastic stuff. What The Eden House want to be, but much better.
Jon Hopkins - Asleep Versions
Perhaps this shouldn't make the list, since it's more of an EP and chiefly consists of remixes of tracks from the 2013 album Immunity, but it is rather lovely.
Jo Johnson - Weaving
I've been listening to a lot of this sort of music in the last few months; long trippy instrumental tracks with a retro, analog synth feel, what was once called 'space music' but which prefer to call 'synthedelia'. I'm very fond of inventing terms for musical genres. It's been an inspiration to the new Logos music (our in-progress fifth album At The Core Of Each Star), although Logos sounds nothing like it. Lots of people do this kind of music very badly, but this is brilliant.
Logos - Santa Susana Blues
I admit it could be considered arrogant of me to include this here, since I solely created it, but for the most part I'm still pleased with it and consider it the best Logos album so far. Though most of these tracks were created back in 2012, all of them were re-worked to some degree during the mixing stage in July and August 2014, and some were completely rebuilt from scratch, utilising only a handful of elements from the original drafts. I heard these tracks so often as I was creating them that the album became by default the soundtrack to my summer.
Merciful Nuns - Meteora
Artaud Seth's previous band Garden Of Delight made a career out of sounding like Fields Of The Nephilim. His current band, Merciful Nuns, make a career out of sounding like The Sisters Of Mercy (even their name, when you think about it, is another way of saying 'Sisters Of Mercy'). That said, if you like this iconic mid to late 80s goth sound, and I like it a lot, nobody else at the moment does it better. Sure, they're a pastiche, but they do it brilliantly and - at times - with a sly humour and intelligence that elevates them beyond the level of mere parody. And since it looks like we're not getting another Sisters album any time soon if ever, this is a decent enough satisfier.
Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Soused
Ah Scott Walker. What is there to say? It seems one either finds his recent output, from Tilt through The Drift to Bish Bosch to this, pretentious twaddle or brilliance. I dither between the two, and I suspect Scott does too. Overall I prefer this album to Bish Bosch - it seems a lot more focussed for a start - but Tilt and The Drift (which - though I don't think I've ever mentioned it before - were a significant influence on God Thing) still have the edge for me.
Swans - To Be Kind
It'll come as no surprise to anybody who knows me well that this album made the list. I've followed Swans since the late 80s, and their music has had a profounder impact on me than I could ever hope to put into words. It's astounding that more than 30 years into their career - and with Michael Gira now 60 - they can still produce music this vibrant, immediate, and alive.
Currently reading: Hengeworld, Mike Pitts
Currently listing: see above