My favourite records of the year are always usually incomparable to anything else.
Arroj Aftab’s Vulture Prince is an incredibly beautiful record and my favourite of the year. It is gorgeously performed, arranged, I love the use of harp and it sounds unlike anything else I have heard this year.
The culture of music and other art forms for that matter often presents an issue where gatekeepers and curators require the status quo, music that is generic and averse to risk, but every time, the truly outstanding work often comes from the outsiders.
There is something to be said for the solipsistic nature that artists sometimes pursue their work and there is much to be admired from this process. To only zone in that which is what you truly want to do for your own vision oddly often manifests in itself the best results, because you are pushing your ideas forward in a way that is pure and uninhibited. It is also courageous and brave.
I love the later Talk Talk records and it’s so obvious that Mark Hollis had a total disregard for audience and just stuck to his vision. Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock were commercial failures at the time but the legacy of the former record is especially enormous.
Sure, things need to be tailor made to an audience sometimes and as a result you need to quash some sense of authenticity in that situation, but my taste steers toward the roads less taken or formed entirely anew. There are opportunities aplenty with the resources and technology we now have and instead of playing it safe and the same as everything else, I welcome those who take risks because, in the long term, risk is what rewards you in the quality of being unique.