Yes, it's december already. Time for pointless "Best of 2012" lists of video games, music, and more such nonsense. Here is a list of albums I particularly enjoyed in 2012, ordered by release date (though I include a couple of albums released before 2012 which I discovered this year).

Kubus & Sticks
Microphone Colossus 2

A free downloadable album only 24 minutes long? That sounds like a quick side project, and yet it turned out to be the most interesting release out of the dutch hiphop scene this year. Sticks clearly feels at home on Kubus' electronic beats, which makes this a joy to listen to. download

Ana Tijoux
La Bala

While looking for resources to learn spanish I came across Ana Tijoux, who released "La Bala" this year. Parts of La Bala do not sound like hip hop at all, a large chunk of the album is sounds very calm and relaxed. It suits Ana's voice, but I think I prefer the proper hip hop beats of her previous solo album, 1977. One song on La Bala stands out, "Shock" is very powerful, especially if you see the accompanying video. Shock (youtube)

De Avonduren

A dutch "hiphop" album with stories and fairy tales told through rap and spoken word. The accompanying music sounds more like jazz and funk than hiphop beats. A beautiful album, but listen to it as you would an audio book. Sjakie Schildpad en de Kreupele Haas (youtube)

J Alvarez
Otro nivel de música reloaded

2012 is the year that I discovered reggaeton. It rivals eurobeat for being the worst genre ever. But, uptempo repetitive music is great background music for programming. My favourite artist is J Alvarez, four albums so far which all sound exactly the same — good stuff. La Pregunta (youtube)


This is a great album, but I haven't listened to it as much as I expected. This kind of electronica isn't suitable anymore as background music when working, I guess it needs a bit more focus to appreciate it. Overall Ufabulum sounds like familiar, fast-paced Squarepusher stuff, though some of the sounds do remind me of his Shobaleader One album. Dark Steering (youtube)

Chiptunes = WIN \m|♥|m/

One of two massive compilations I listened to this year. A few tracks just are not chiptunes, but in general this is a great collection of tracks — but can you survive three hours of chiptunes in one sitting? :) download (bandcamp)

EE Compilation

I generally listen to an album from start to finish, but that is a challenge with this compilation as it is almost 6 hours long! I'm not sure if I've ever made it to the end, I feel sorry for the artists who ended up at the end of this release, I may never get to their tracks. If you've never heard of electronic explorations, check out the podcast at electronicexplorations.org. download (bandcamp)

Perfume Global Compilation “LOVE THE WORLD”

I love "FAKE IT", when I first listened to it it just seemed to drone on endlessly with barely any change to the rythm and pitch of the vocals. Perfume provides a refreshingly electronic flavour which I have not heard in other j-pop. FAKE IT (youtube)

Final Fantasy VIII Chips

As part of the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary celebrations Square Enix has released five albums with chiptune remakes of tracks from the Final Fantasy games. Out of the five (VII, VIII, IX, X, XI) albums my favourite is probably VIII. Final Fantasy VIII Chips promo (youtube)

War of the Worlds (a dubstep mix)

I grew up with Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, after two decades of listening to it with some frequency I am quite familiar with it. And that may be a prerequisite for appreciating this mix. When you consider only its parts, this is simply a DJ Mix of dubstep music with some samples from "War of the Worlds" thrown in. But the outcome is surprisingly effective, I downloaded this because it seemed like an interesting novelty, but I ended up listening to it a great deal. download (soundcloud)


Obviously deadmau5 is a fairly well-known name, however I never listened to any of his music until this year. Friendly, predictable house music, good for coding. some chords (youtube)

Scar Symmetry
The Unseen Empire

I haven't listened to much metal this year, but I did catch up on what Scar Symmetry have been doing in recent years. Apparantly the music on Unseen Empire consists of ideas from a whole a bunch of metal genres, but I don't know anything about metal, so I don't notice any of that. I just come here for the nice contrast between the singing and growling, which is still as much a feature here as it was on their first two albums. Extinction Mantra (soundcloud)