My 2022 listening highlights

Happy New Year!!

This a part of my 2022 retrospective experimenting with various aspects of this website: logging some of my habits, keeping a personal wiki and overall choosing this website to be my main way of personal expression on the internet, rather than some walled garden. Here’s a more general retrospective:

This year I’ve listened to 195 new albums!! Not bad, I’d say. It came close to my guesstimate of 100 to 200 done at the start of the year. I added some sort of comment on 126 of those - as time passed by I got more and more verbose with the comments.

I had to take 5 breaks, the longest one early this year, when I was setting up this website. I attended 5 live concerts - not many, since the local scene is a bit lacking. My favourite live show was Karmakadabra + Bosco, because they put on a tremendous show and it was the first normal live show after Covid restrictions so it felt like coming back alive.

I received some recommendations from a couple friends - they always broadened my musical tastes, so thank you very much for sending them! Those are always the best additions to the log.

What did I listened to?

The artist I listened more albums from was J Dilla (if you count collaborations) or, strictly speaking, a tie between Miles Davis, Clutchy Hopkins, Idris Muhammad and Hiatus Kaiyote.

I did a quick genre analysis in python, using Spotify’s classifications, and here are the first 10 genres I’ve listened to most:

  1. hip hop
  2. alternative hip hop
  3. indie jazz
  4. uk contemporary jazz
  5. rap
  6. jazz fusion
  7. east coast hip hop
  8. jazz funk
  9. hardcore hip hop
  10. indie soul

Unsurprising results, considering the list, and lots of overlapping terms. I really did dive into classic and contemporary hip hop this year. I like how my listening habits got influenced by my readings (Dilla Time, I’m looking at you). Jazz and funk is also unsurprising: they have been my main musical passions for year, and it’s true that the uk contemporary jazz scene is great. Indie soul is a weird tag though, but I can see how that happened. Interestingly, this top 10 analysis didn’t include noise rock, which Spotify Wrapped somehow picked up as the 5th top genre.

Some of the labels are also very funny. Apparently, I’ve listened to four ninja artists (?), two scape room ones and at least a greek downtempo album. Ecm-style jazz,deconstructed club and braindance were also weird.

Any recomendations?

All of this is very personal, but here are my highlights:

Best albums released on 2022: Clearly, Makaya McCraven’s In These Times comes at the top for me. He’s opening a new way of dialog between jazz and hip hop, in turn shaping both. How many people can say that?
As for other jazz heavy-hitters: both Tigran Hamasyan’s StandArt and Mark Guiliana’s the sound of listening were extremely fun and lived up to my expectations, but I haven’t really spent as much time with them as I expected (yet). Jacob Mann and Louis Cole were as fun(ky) as always.
On the hip hop side of things, Danger Mouse’s Cheat Codes and Lupe Fiasco’s DRILL MUSIC IN ZION got better and better with each relisten, and I’m digging a lot Little Simz’s latest album.

Most surprising and unexpected: Skylla, by Ruth Gollers. I wasn’t expecting a microtonal album, and it’s very easy to go off rails with one of these, but I think it holds very well. A special album, if you ask me. A second close contender would be Dewa Alit’s unique approach to contemporary gamelan. Also worth mentioning Fire-Toolz. I’m still processing that - very unique blend.

Oldie but goldie: Life on Mars - Dexter Wansel, Aretha - Aretha Franklin (1980), Joni Mitchell’s live album with Metheny and Pastorius.

This deserves more listens: The fact that Meddy Gerville’s Fo Kronm La Vi has only ~10k listens per song blows me away considering the quality of the recording. One Be Lo’s Evil of Self, a great song, somehow has 50k listens. Noxagt’s unique approach to noise metal with violas has a low count as well (~10k). Sadly predictably, most songs in Salar Salman’s album don’t even reach a thousand listens either.

Favourite song: probably Mos Def’s Ms. Fat Booty (I know I know - but it’s an amazing Aretha Franklin sample!)

I totally don’t remember listening to: Lope and Antilope - Get the Blessing, Nothing else - Lorn and Voyage - Tapioca. Sorry! Maybe I was distracted while listening to these, or too much time has passed. For all of the rest of albums I can remember at the very least a sensation, but these three didn’t leave a trace in my memory. I actually skimmed over the songs and felt like I could get into Tapioca very easily.

Distribution over time

I ran some analysis with plots, but it’s very boring so I won’t share it here.

The conclussions are that I listen to music mostly on weekdays. I’ve never listened to music for 14 straight days, but sometimes I’ve listened to 14 albums in the span of 14 days, particularly when I listen to several albums a day.

The days I’ve listened to more music coincided with train trips, and the day I listened to less, with COVID or heavy-duty working weeks.

Valoration

I think I’ll keep doing it - maybe at a different pace, or commenting less, depending on my other projects and time, but in general I feel I’ve learned a lot, I’ve dived into things I didn’t know I would like and I’d recommend the practice.

Goals for next year?

I’d like to listen to more metal. A deep dive into Messiaen, Bartók and 9th Wonder would be cool. I want to listen to more The Roots as well. Other than that, who knows - maybe I should get into flamenco.