Tag Archives: Alice Coltrane

The Best Albums of 2017: #20 – 1

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The wait is over. These are the 20 Best Albums of the year.

Last year, the Bandcamp Daily staff put together our first “Best Albums of the Year List,” 100 albums we felt defined 2016 for us. At the time I remember thinking, “This is tough, but it will probably get easier as the years go on.” Now, one year later, I’m realizing that I was wrong. The truth is, the world of Bandcamp is enormous, and it contains artists from all over the world, in every conceivable genre (including a few who exist in genres of their own invention), and at every stage of their career. The fact of the matter is, any list like this is going to fall short because, on Bandcamp, there is always more to discover. Right now, there’s probably someone in their bedroom in Buenos Aires, making a record on their computer that is going to end up on next year’s list. So as comprehensive as we’ve tried to make this list, we realize that, even at 100 albums, we’re only scratching the surface of what’s available. The albums that made this list, though, were the ones that stayed with us long after they were released—the ones we returned to again and again and found their pleasures undimmed, and their songs still rewarding. These are Bandcamp’s Best Albums of 2017.

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Big Ups: Helado Negro Picks His Favorite Albums on Bandcamp

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Photo by Chona Kasinger.

A few years ago, Roberto Carlos Lange, who writes and performs as Helado Negro, lost faith in music. Not performing it—the Brooklyn-based artist describes playing his bubbly bilingual electro-pop live as a “meditation and a beautiful point of release.” That much is apparent in his recently released singles, “Young, Latin and Proud” and “Come Be Me” (recorded for Adult Swim’s singles series). In both, Lange tackles the idea of identity (looking out from a recently ended relationship and from within a thriving culture, respectively) with a light touch, using electronic textures, live percussion, and a lithe sing/speak vocal to tease a sense of joy out of these thorny topics. But offstage, he wasn’t happy.

“I became very cynical,” Lange confesses, leaning in conspiratorially as he admits a feeling of loss when music started losing its appeal to him. “Last year, I started listening to it again and falling into music as a refuge, and not as something that [was] practical like, ‘Maybe I should listen to this band, maybe we can tour.’ I was falling back on things I had already listened to, or labels I cared about a lot. But it was hard.”

As Lange describes it, there was no one moment that led to his musical renaissance. Instead it took time. And making ambient soundscapes with friends. Embracing the form’s inherent spirituality. And digging into the past. These are all elements represented in five of Lange’s five picks for our ongoing Big Ups series.

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The Best Albums of Spring 2017

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Every three months, the Bandcamp Daily editorial staff combs through the stacks to present our favorite records of the year to date. This edition runs the stylistic spectrum, everything from jazz to pop to gospel to everything in between. And if you want to see our picks for the first three months of 2017, you can check them out here.

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This Week’s Essential Releases: Mystical Folk, Spiritual Jazz, & Ambient

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Welcome to Seven Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend six new albums, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

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