20 Albums I Enjoyed a Lot in 2020

The year 2020 was a difficult year for most people in the world due to the pandemic. It was a hard year for me too, especially mentally. I listened to a lot less new music in 2020 than I did in the years before.

Nevertheless, on this last day of the year, I came up with a list of 20 albums that I enjoyed a lot this year. There are tons of albums that I missed when I look at the end-of-year lists that people post on social media. I will be interested to check them out and pick out a few albums that I haven’t heard yet.

For every album I included links where you can buy the albums, and a links to odesli that function as hubs to all big streaming services.

Enough with the introduction, and enough with 2020.
On to a new year and hopefully a better year!


25 Albums I Enjoyed a Lot in 2019

It’s the second day of Christmas, which I think is an excellent time to look back on the albums that I enjoyed in the year 2019. My music taste has shifted more towards the ambient music genre in the past year, so you will find a lot of ambient releases on the list. My most favorite albums are near the top, but the order of the albums is not a hard ranking. I liked every single album in this list.

Where available I included a link to the artist’s Bandcamp page. If the artist did not use Bandcamp, I linked to their official store, shop or to their album on Amazon as a last resort. All streaming links were made with Odesli (previously song.link) that generates a hub with links to all popular streaming services.

Of course I won’t mention my own ambient album in this list, that was also released in 2019 (which you can check out on Bandcamp over here and stream over here. 😉 ) That would be too narcissistic, right? 🙂

So without further ado, here is my list of 25 albums that I enjoyed a lot in 2019.

The 25 Albums I Enjoyed the Most in 2018

The year is nearly over and Christmas Eve knocks on the door. I think I’ve waited long enough now to publish my list of the 25 albums that I enjoyed the most in 2018. The list is somewhat ranked to show the albums that I enjoyed the most near the top of the list, but it’s definitely not a definitive ranking of these 25 releases.

I have included links to the music using the marvelous song.link website, so you’ll have a hub for every album that shows you links to your available music buying/streaming websites.

Happy listening and happy holidays!

  • Lydian Collective – Adventure (song.link)
  • Roine Stolt’s The Flower King – Manifesto of an Alchemist (song.link)
  • Field Music – Open Here (song.link)
  • Saariselka – Ceres (song.link)
  • Alasca – Plea For Peace (song.link)
  • Flying Horsemen – Rooms / Ruins (song.link)
  • Juha-Matti Rautiainen – Above Me Weeps The Sky (song.link)
  • Telomere – Supergiant (song.link)
  • William Basinski & Lawrence English – Selva Oscura (song.link)
  • Chris Weeks – Journey to Mars (song.link)
  • 36 – Ego Death (song.link)
  • James Murray – Falling Backwards (song.link)
  • Mount Shrine – Winter Restlessness (song.link)
  • Kenji Kihara – 点 線 面 – ten sen men (song.link)
  • Spock’s Beard – Noise Floor (song.link)
  • Ryley Walker – The Lilleywhite Sessions (song.link)
  • The Pineapple Thief – Dissolution (song.link)
  • Gazpacho – Soyuz (song.link)
  • Biosphere – The Hilvarenbeek Recordings (song.link)
  • Manuel Guimarães – Bloom : Synopsis of Generative Compositions (song.link)
  • Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society – Wow and Flutter (song.link)
  • Clown Core – Toilet (song.link)
  • Audio Wallpaper – Inlets (song.link)
  • Wolfgang Merx – Triptychon II (song.link)
  • Oak – False Memory Archive (song.link)

My 25 Favorite Albums of 2013

For the first time in my life I have taken the time to compile a best-of-the-year album list. When you browse through the list you may notice that there are quite a number of indie artists among them. Most of these I discovered through Bandcamp: a website where artists can showcase and sell their music. I use Bandcamp myself too for my ambient project Crows Labyrinth. Bandcamp is a real treasure trove for discovering new music and new artists.

  1. David Bowie – The Next Day
  2. Spock’s Beard – Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
  3. Yellowjackets – A Rise in the Road
  4. Udo Pannekeet – On
  5. Grey Frequency – When Do We Dream?
  6. Ulver with the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra – Messe I.X-VI.X
  7. Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories)
  8. April Larson – Tempête
  9. Grey Frequency – Cold Geometry
  10. Microvolt – Peacedrifts
    Continue reading My 25 Favorite Albums of 2013

Trevor Rabin’s New Album “Jacaranda” Scheduled for January Release

Update February 6th, 2012: The album has been rescheduled for an April release. Check out this post on the Facebook page of “Notes From The Edge” for more details.

The following news update was posted on the Facebook page of “Notes From The Edge”, a leading Internet resource of news and information on present and former Yes band members:

Trevor told us that his new album of instrumentals titled “Jacaranda” is scheduled to be released in early January, and features Tal Wilkenfeld, Vinnie Colaiuta, Lou Molina, and Ryan Rabin (Trevor’s son).

The post on Facebook contains a link to the cover of the new album which can also be viewed in a smaller size in this post.

What really excites me is the rhythm section of the new album. Vinnie Colaiuta and Tal Wilkenfeld are both amazing players. I am especially a big fan of Tal, which may not surprise you since I love playing the bass guitar. Her playing style and great tone remind me of Jaco Pastorius.

After the break you’ll find two YouTube movies of Tal Wilkenfeld showing of her bass chops and her great tone.

Continue reading Trevor Rabin’s New Album “Jacaranda” Scheduled for January Release

Interesting Times for Yes Fans

A lot is going on in the world of Yes and their current and former band members this year. A few months ago I discussed the excellent Yes Union deluxe box-set. But that was only the beginning. Check out this round-up of releases that I am looking forward to hear and have been released lately or can be expected in the next few months.

Yes – Fly From Here

Of course there is the new Yes album titled “Fly From Here” that was announced end March. The album was co-written and produced by Trevor Horn, who also produced their hit album “90125” and their less successful “Big Generator”. The new album won’t feature Jon Anderson on vocals but their new singer Benoît David. This release also marks the comeback of Geoff Downes (The Buggles, Asia) behind the keyboards who has been a part of the band together with Horn when they recorded, released and toured with the “Drama” album.

Continue reading Interesting Times for Yes Fans

The Flower Kings’ New DVD Available for Pre-order

Great news for fans of The Flower Kings: the new DVD which has been announced a few months ago is now available for pre-order from Reingold Records.

The DVD has been titled “Tour Kaputt” and contains the live show that was recorded in 2007 at the Boerderij in Zoetermeer in The Netherlands. The show features drum maestro Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson, Mr. Mister) and has a running time of 142 minutes.

Continue reading The Flower Kings’ New DVD Available for Pre-order

CD Review: KC levert kwaliteitsalbum met naamloos debuut

Promo-CD van KC's komende debuutplaat

Het overkomt mij slechts een aantal keren per jaar dat ik een plaat opzet waarbij ik na een paar seconden eigenlijk al weet dat ik de hele plaat goed ga vinden. Een plaat die onmiddellijk bij de eerste luisterbeurt al op zijn plek valt en je daarna niet meer loslaat. Een plaat die vervolgens na meerdere luistersessies stukje bij beetje zijn geheimen aan je prijsgeeft en een plaatsje krijgt in het lijstje van je favoriete albums van dat betreffende jaar.

Dit overkwam mij nota bene op de allereerste dag van dit nieuwe jaar toen ik de promo-CD van KC’s komende debuutplaat in mijn brievenbus aantrof en deze plaat op de eerste middag van het jaar aanzette. Een betere muzikale start van 2011 had ik mij niet kunnen voorstellen.

Continue reading CD Review: KC levert kwaliteitsalbum met naamloos debuut

Yes Union Live DVD, 2CD and Box Set Announced

Update February 14th, 2011: I wrote an extensive review of the Deluxe Edition box set which can be found here.

Update January 12th, 2011: The Special Limited Edition with 2 DVDs and 2 CDs is now available on Gonzo Media Group’s website. Pick it up while it’s still available! 🙂

YesWorld mentions on its website that VoicePrint will release a live DVD and live album that was recorded during the Yes Union tour. Especially the DVD release is possibly the most anticipated Yes release from the past 20 years. At least for me it is.

The Yes Union tour united nearly every band member from the seventies and eighties renditions of the band on stage: Jon Anderson (vocals), Chris Squire (bass), Steve Howe and Trevor Rabin (guitars), Rick Wakeman and Tony Kaye (keyboards) and finally the two drummers: Bill Bruford and Alan White.

Continue reading Yes Union Live DVD, 2CD and Box Set Announced

CD Review: Gungfly – Please Be Quiet

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you mister Rikard Sjöblom. People who prefer listening to progressive rock may recognize this name as the 28 year-old singer, guitar player, keyboardist and writer of the band Beardfish.

Now please, ladies and gentlemen, don’t be scared and walk away because I mentioned the words “progressive rock” and “Beardfish” in one sentence. Mister Sjöblom does not deserve that. At all. Certainly not if you took the time and opportunity to listen to the album “Please Be Quiet” that he released under the name Gungfly.

Musical phenomenon

Rikard Sjöblom is a musical phenomenon. He is a master on every instrument he touches. He played practically all the instruments on the album except for a few drum and bass parts on a couple of tracks. An absolute joy to listen to. Except for the standard instruments like guitars, keys, bass and drums, he even gets away with incorporating the accordion on a few tracks.

Continue reading CD Review: Gungfly – Please Be Quiet

Recommended Listening: “To Infinity” by missFlag

In the “Recommended Listening” series on this blog I will write about bands and albums that are not too well-known but deserve more attention. Don’t expect elaborate reviews but short and to-the-point descriptions and characteristics of the bands and their music.

The first album I would like to present to you is the album “To Infinity” by missFlag: an alternative-rock-pop band from Jerusalem, Israel. I stumbled upon this band when browsing artists on MySpace and I immediately liked their sound. I ordered their album “To Infinity” right away and it has been a keeper ever since. Their style is related to Coldplay and Keane but these guys have definitely their own sound and quality that distinguishes them easily from both bands.

Continue reading Recommended Listening: “To Infinity” by missFlag

CD Review: Moongarden Opens the Gates to Great Music

Moongarden – The Gates of Omega (2001)

As you could have read in one of my previous journal entries I was having quite some trouble getting Moongarden‘s album “Round Midnight”. Because I got a gift coupon for my favorite local record store I decided to let them try and get an other album of this great band called “The Gates of Omega”.

This almost turned out to become a disaster! It took them more than two months to get a hold of a copy. But the good news is that they did succeed! And I am a happy camper now!  🙂

Continue reading CD Review: Moongarden Opens the Gates to Great Music

CD Review: The Sum of Too Much Flower Kings

The Flower Kings – The Sum of No Evil (2007)

Yep, this record is definitely Flower Kings! The fantastic guitar playing, the great keyboard sounds, the magnificent bass chops, it’s all there!

There is only one problem: it’s too much. Far too much! At least in my humble opinion. One epic song I can handle, but not four. It’s just too much prog, too bombastic, arranged too death with yet another section added and another section, and another. Structure is totally lost at some places. It’s just too much.

Continue reading CD Review: The Sum of Too Much Flower Kings

Best Order Confirmation Message Ever

Yesterday I ordered the CD “Round Midnight” from an Italian band called Moongarden. I can recommend this band to anyone who likes progressive rock in the style of bands like Marilion and Carptree.

I started looking for the album at the web stores I usually visit when I order albums on the Internet, but I had a hard time finding it. In the end I had to use Google to find a site that had the album in stock. The search led me to a site called CD Baby where I could finally place my order.

Today I received an e-mail from CD Baby to confirm that my order has been dispatched. While reading the message I almost fell from my chair with laughter! This is by far the most amusing order confirmation I have ever received in my life!

For your reading pleasure I have included the mail in this journal entry.


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Saturday, July 28th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Year.”  We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
the little store with the best new independent music

(Originally posted on my Last.fm journal)

Coincidence or the Law of Attraction at Work?

More than a week ago I got a message on my cellphone from a friend of mine: “Guess what’s in my CD player right now?!”

This could mean one of two things:
1) He bought the latest Rush album “Snakes and Ladders”
2) He bought the latest Dream Theater album “Systematic Chaos”

I called him back to find out which one was true. It turned out to be the second option. He was pretty enthusiastic about the new album. I did not know that the new Dream Theater was already for sale in Holland, so after work I drove to the nearest record store and picked up a copy of the special edition.

The new record is pretty good! I have played it a couple of times now and it is still growing on me. When I listened to it the first time, tracks 1 to 4 stuck immediately! Of course I heard their free single “Constant Motion” already and saw the video of “The Dark Eternal Night” already on YouTube, so that may have helped here. The second half of the album took more time to get into, but it’s getting better and better with each spin.

Continue reading Coincidence or the Law of Attraction at Work?