The Best of 2023

A subjective list of the best releases in 2023. Take this, brother, may it serve you well.

time artist title
3:14 Kaliyuga Express Behind The Veil
11:13 Volksempfänger Attack Of Sound
14:27 Sons of Zöku Earth Chant
18:03 Worn Robot Meet Again
20:23 Los Tabanos Experience I Cugini del Caos
30:11 Nepaal Innoxial Talent Parade
39:53 Family of Light Band Thumb
43:29 Crayola Eyes Grass Lick
47:58 Self-Immolation Music Drugged/Nervous Breakdown
53:49 The Black Delta Movement Fourth Pass Over The Graveyard
59:44 Goat Golden Dawn
1:05:27 Hibushibire Orangesunshine of Your Lovemachine
1:09:36 Gnob Altar & The Sacrifice
1:19:56 Mirror Revelations El Portal
1:25:14 Tō Yō Soaring
1:30:19 Chino Burga Landing
1:37:45 Slizz Acid
1:41:33 The Baudelaires Gordon
1:48:06 Smote Genog
1:57:29 The Savage Blush Incantations
2:00:40 Giobia Consciousness Equals Evergy
2:05:13 White Canyon & The 5th Dimension Gardeners Of The Earth
2:10:31 Helicon Flume
2:15:55 Rough Image Lunar Embassy Pt.2
2:24:10 Moon Goose 2023 AD

A couple of caveats to go along with the list of tracks in the playlist and the list of albums included here: first, I’m sorry to say that I don’t hear everything that comes out. I often miss great releases, and much later when I happen to hear them, I wonder, “where was I when this came out?” so I’m sure I’ve missed worthy records here and there. Second, after I listen to music enough that it works it’s way into brain I lose some ability to listen to it critically. For example, is this track good enough to be on a best of list? is this track better than that track? While I can still be critical, it just gets more difficult. I was thinking as I was putting together this playlist that even though there a few tracks that I know I would include, on any given day this playlist might be very different. Having said all that, I put together a playlist that reflects the music released in 2023 that made a big impression on me.

2023 was a big year for me. I taught a class in the classroom for the first time in several years. I’ve been teaching Geography courses remotely for South Dakota State University for the past decade and this year I taught Population Geography for George Washington University here in Washington DC. It was a great experience but also time-consuming so I’m sure I missed some releases while I was focused on that.

Also, as I’ve been doing the last few years, I’ve been taking my health seriously and I’ve been exercising more, especially running. I ran over 1400 miles this year and during the Washington DC Cherry Blossom festival I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, which is farther than I had run in years. With all the running I’ve been doing I got a pair of sports earbuds. For a while I was listening to news podcasts, but gradually I listened to more and more music while I was running, and how much motivation each track gave me became one of the factors I considered in deciding what tracks to include in each episode.

As far as the music in the playlist goes, one thing I noticed is that several of the tracks are built around a drone. Bono repeated that famous quote that all you need are three chords and the truth, but I’m thinking that if you find the right resonant frequency and throw in a bunch of effects like distortion, reverb, and tremolo, all you really need is one chord. Once you’ve got that you can just hang on it, letting it do its hypnotic work, and I’m all in.

One of the masters of this is Mike Vest, who continued to be prolific in 2023. His collaboration with the Finnish band Nolla called Kaliyuga Express was one of my favorite albums of the year. Also, Los Tabanos Experience, Vago Sagrado and K Linh, as well as Chino Burga from Chile are excellent at this, as well. And, of course, psychedelic source records from Paty, Hungary continued to crank out remarkable album after album.

Not all of the tracks in this playlist are drone tracks, though. I haven’t lost my taste for well written songs or good melodies and harmonies. All of those elements are in abundance on the playlist, as well.

Best Albums of 2023
(in order of release date)

London Odense Ensemble – Jaiyede Sessions Volume 2 [El Paraiso]
Orchestra Gold – Medicine [self-release]
Crayola Eyes – Gushing [Fuzz Club]
Smote – Genog [Rocket Recordings]
Firefriend – Decreation Facts [Little Cloud, Cardinal Fuzz]
Satorinaut / Planet Harakiri – The Hidden Tar-Black Monasteries / the Beauty of Infinite Sand [psychedelic source records]
The Savage Blush – Ether Dome [Wolf Bunny Records]
Elkhorn – On the Whole Universe in All Directions [Centripidal Force]
Rough Image – Rough Image [WV Sorcerer Productions]
:nepaal – Protoaeolianism [psychedelic source records]
The Black Delta Movement – Recovery Effects [Fuzz Club]
Helicon – God Intentions [Fuzz Club]
Giobia – Acid Disorder [Heavy Psych Sounds]
Kanaan – Downpour [Jansen Records]
Dead Sea Apes – Rewilding [Cardinal Fuzz, Feeding Tube]
Tombstones in Their Eyes – Sea of Sorrow [Kitten Robot Records]
Mirror Revelations – Aura [Cardinal Fuzz, Little Cloud]
Self-Immolation Music – Infinity Trip [Delicious Clam Records]
Some Pills For Ayala – Sleep Walkers [3147199 Records DK]
Chino Burga – Landing [Echodelick, We, Here & Now!, Worst Bassist, Ramble Records]
Space Shepherds – What Fabric [self-release]
Gnob – GNOB II [Drone Rock Records]
White Canyon & The 5th Dimension – Gardeners of the Earth [Fuzzed Up & Astromoon]
Sonic Moon – Return Without Any Memory [Olde Magick Records]
Pilot voyager – The structure is still under construction [psychedelic source records]
To Yo – Stray Birds From the Far East [self-release]
Acid Rooster – Flowers & Dead Souls [Tonzonen (EU) / Cardinal Fuzz (UK) / Little Cloud Records (US)]
Frankie & The Witch Fingers – Data Doom [Reverb Appreciation Society]
The Silver Linings – Pink Fish [Echodelick, Spinda records]
Goat – Medicine [Rocket Recordings]
Melody FIelds – 1901 [Coop Records Gotland]
Kaliyuga Express – Warriors & Masters [Riot Season]
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – Fronzoli [What Reality? Records]
Los Tabanos Experience – Sons of Ether [Clostridium Records]
Volksempfänger – Attack of Sound [Cardinal Fuzz, Feeding Tube]
Hibushibire – Magical Metamorphosis Third Eye [Riot Season]
Edena Gardens – Dens [El Paraiso]
Oslo Tapes – Staring at the Sun before goin’ blind [Echodelick Records]
Los Tabanos Experience / Domboshawa – Split LP [Clostridium, Echodelick, Drone Rock Records]
Cosmic Shadows – Cosmic Shadows [Echodelick]

One thought on “The Best of 2023

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.