Best of 2022: In Music
A collection of highlights from a year in sound.
It’s somewhat funny to think that it’s feasible to rank artistic endeavour in a numeric list. Let alone to rate an album, a project or a performance with a decimal.
“What does 7.8 mean anyway?”
However, around this time of year we do feel it important to reflect on those who have soundtracked another year around the sun – to remember those special moments we spent dancing and listening throughout 2022.
That is why we have collated this list, a celebration of a handful of people who we felt did good. To be honest, this list could probably go on and on.
“Why shouldn’t it?”
One thing’s for certain, we should sure as hell celebrate everyone who did something, contributed, helped out, made music, soundtracked a moment and strived to make life a little bit better through music. We salute you all..
Here’s a handful…
The return of Lil Silva
On his debut album a spoken word sample rings out atop a ponderous, emotional build up.
“You are important to the lineage of the UK club sound..”
This sentiment rings true. Lil Silva’s debut album was a triumphant exploration of the past, present and future of his sound – drawing upon the heady days of UK Funk, Bass Music and beyond it then weaves and wanders through ethereal Pop and into an enchanting future in which genres are blurred. Numerous collaborations and perspectives helped to galvanise this project but the end result is a testament to the individual sound and origins of one of the UK’s most innovative producers in recent times.
Hudson Mohawke’s Happy Hardcore
Some might not have known of Hudson Mohawke’s affinity for the genre before the release of “Cry Sugar” but they do now. Back in the days, it’s well rumoured that an innocent Hudson Mohawke entered the DMC World Turntable Championship only to be disqualified for banging out 160BPM Happy Hardcore tracks before Hip Hop turntablist royalty. Ah well – seems he had the last laugh.
Carla Dal Forno – Come Around
It’s been three years since the Aussie singer and multi-instrumentalist released any new material but her third album, Come Around, made up for the hiatus.
Wistful and brimming with nostalgia, Carla serves up a dose of gorgeous dream pop and eerie soundscapes all awash with DIY post-punk sensibilities. This has been on repeat since it came out last month and it truly gets better with every play.
A musician we’ve championed for a while now, who continues to impress with his sophisticated approach to instrumentation and sound design. His recent album was a triumph, demonstrating personal growth and progression as an artist. His use of field recordings and stylistic techniques as a pianist make for a remarkable, atmospheric journey which is highly emotive and pensive.
The return of the Sugababes
We don’t think Glasto had prepared for the sheer amount of millennials who were game for a serious dose of nostalgia this year. TLC’s set was slammed at the West Holts stage and when it came to the trio on everybody’s lips, well you couldn’t even get into the field, let alone the tent.
Sugababes made their triumphant return, and with all the OG members to boot. And then on stage they announced they’d be touring the UK in autumn – a blessing for all the fans who didn’t get a chance to catch them at Avalon Fields. They didn’t disappoint; there was a full band, they hit every note and those noughties dance moves (including chairs) were in full effect.
Decius – Decius Vol. I
Liam D May, Lias Saoudi, Luke E May and Quinn Whalley are Decius. November 2022 saw the release of their debut album and is something we didn’t realise we needed before the end of the year.
Feeling like a collage of 12” singles, it’s an album made for dancing and is the perfect soundtrack to your night out. It’s also one of those albums you find yourself constantly recommending to your mate ‘have you heard the Decius album?!?!? What!! You haven’t heard the new Decius album?! You should definitely check out the new Decius album! I’ll send you a link to listen to it when you get home.’
Know what we mean?
Beyoncé – Renaissance
The universally undisputed Queen Bey drops Renaissance – an immaculate dance record celebrating club culture with a nod to the Black and queer pioneers of disco and house. Repeat for the Donna Summer I Feel Love sample please. Beyonce gonna fuck up the night.
Alex Kassian – Strings of Eden feat. Miguel Atwood-Ferguson
This record will most probably come out as a top highlight of 2022 for many, so we guess this is no surprise this track is included in the list, but for those that are unaware, Alex Kassian steps away from the dance floor for a sensuous 8 minute balearic dreamscape – a fitting piece for the Adriatic.
Special, magic, whatever you want to call it. This record is superb.
Folly Group – I Raise You (The Price Of Your Head)
Folly Group’s catchy post-punk melodies caught the eye of Ninja Tune imprint, Technicolour for a 2022 EP straight off the back of last summers debut record ‘Awake And Hungry’, which is still on a 6 music loop.
The A2 on ‘Human And Kind’ titled, ‘I Raise You (The Price Of Your Head)’ – a track with an infectious lyric and bass-line produces one of our favourite videos of 2022. Director Bailey Tom Bailey has mentioned he took a literal interpretation of the lyrics – betting on fights between heads.
Have a watch, see what you think and enjoy it.
This year showed why Manami is and remains one to watch. Her hard work has seen some tasteful singles on the likes of Semi Delicious, Rhythm Section and her debut EP on Viscera Transmissions, all of which are well deserved and promote her signature sound.
Her growth is testament to her infectious DJing style which has been showcased across Europe, supporting the likes of Bicep and of course in that Mixmag Lab. We’re sure you already know by now.
Lord Of The Isles
Not one to succumb to hype – Lord of the Isles remains an understated presence yet consistently releases some of the most beautiful, exciting music which transcends genre and preconception. This year he released two albums, one on ESP Institute and another on Lapsus. They are both remarkably different and yet each very special in their own right. It’s always a pleasure to watch a musician work quietly away from the bravado and grandeur of “the industry”.
Deadcorp might just be the coolest thing to happen to Hip Hop for a while. Casisdead is pushing a futuristic version of the genre which touches upon influences rooted in 80’s culture. Think David Bowie, Erasure and Bobby Brown meet Giggs. His song ‘Traction Control’ was on repeat for the later half of this year and was a statement of intent – we expect more in 2023.
Loraine James – Building Something Beautiful For Me
2022 marked the release of Loraine’s most accomplished album to date – a record which feels deeply personal and somewhat elevated from the material which has came before. Whilst slightly softer in tone – the record marks a left turn away from abstract club experimentation and offers real insight into the character and emotional reasoning of one of the UK’s most exciting up and coming musicians.
It’s hard to think of a producer who’s had as much of an impact on Hip Hop as of late. The Alchemist has been making beats for time, however his recent output and collaborations have elevated his status significantly having worked on some of the most exciting Hip Hop records of the year. Projects alongside the likes of Roc Marciano, Boldy James, Freddie Gibbs and Earl Sweatshirt all rank highly and according to the man himself he “feels like we’re just getting started”.
If you’ve seen this South London-based brother and sister duo in action before, you probably haven’t forgotten it in a hurry. Uh are one of those bands whose music truly translates to the live stage, it’s theatrical, infectious, beguiling – if you see them once, you’ll be seeing them again. Trust us.
Think a little dose of weirdo synth-pop, tough, frenetic rhythms and acid-soaked hardware jams, all matched with stirring vocals – what more can you want? Next year they’re releasing their debut LP humanus on PRAH Recordings, keep a keen eye out.
Kendrick Lamar at Glasto
We all knew it was going to be great, but that great?
Kendrick knocked our socks (and pants) off at this year’s Glastonbury Festival. The entire weekend was really special but to end it with the sounds of King Kendrick was something else.
It was more than just a festival set, it was a concert – the performance; the production; the dancers. We’d go as far as saying it was art…
Working Men’s Club – Fear Fear
Back in summer Yorkshire synth-pop band Working Men’s Club released their second album on Heavenly Records – and what an album it was…
A fusion of post-punk, new wave, synth pop and club music, the LP perfectly balanced dark lyricism with uplifting, bright sounds. That contrast is in the words too that ruminate on life and death, on reality and digital worlds, and on hope and despair.