Welcome to day 23 in my ‘Album of the Year 2016’ top 30 countdown. It seems like only yesterday that I began this series and already we’re at number 8. Cor blimey!
I know I’ve said it before but because of the quality of the music this year, this has been the toughest top 10 that I’ve ever had to put together. In fact, it has been the toughest top 30 altogether. I hope you all agree with the choices that I have made, but if you don’t, oh well, I’m sure I’ll live with it. This is just my own personal opinion, not a popularity contest and so the choices I make are mine alone.
As always, each post delivers a link to the full review I wrote earlier in the year, as well as my more up-to-date thoughts on the records. In addition, these posts feature alternative photos and, where possible, a different sample track to try to help explain why I think the album is worthy of inclusion in this list. If you’ve missed any of the previous posts, links are at the bottom of this post as always.
And now, here’s my choice at number 8…
“…‘Kodama’, the fifth release from French duo Alcest, is utterly, jaw-droppingly beautiful. I am thoroughly addicted and transfixed by it, almost to the point of being obsessed.
With ‘Kodama’, like most of their output, Alcest challenge us again but in a positive way. This time, the metal elements make a return and it is most definitely a welcome return as far as I’m concerned. But that doesn’t mean that ‘Kodama’ is any less subtle, beautiful, cerebral, or deep than anything that has gone before.
The result is an album that is melancholy and positive, poignant and uplifting, bold and subtle. And what’s more, all of these elements are placed perfectly; creating a dramatic and scintillating journey through aural textures and tones with a thrilling ebb and flow that means the listener is fully absorbed and entirely invested in the music from the first moment to the very last.
‘Kodama’ truly is one of the most bewitching and beautiful albums I have heard in quite a while, full of sublime melodies, juxtaposing musical ideas and rich textures, pulled together through powerful themes that touch on the conflicting emotions of sorrow and joy. ‘Kodama’ is stunning.”
I’ve not left an awful lot of room to say much more about ‘Kodama’ given the quotes above. However, they sum up my thoughts and feelings towards this magnificent album perfectly, even after a few months has passed. There are very few superlatives that could be left unused when describing this latest opus from the French duo of Neige and Winterhalter. It really is that good and, had it not been one of the most insanely strong years for music that I can remember, it might well have found itself even higher on my list. It certainly puts forward an eloquent case that it should.
Nevertheless, don’t let the 8th spot put you off in any way. In many ways, the ordering of these records is a touch abstract and merely a vehicle to enable me to countdown my choices every day. What is more important is what I have written in my review and here, in the body of this article.
I find ‘Kodama’ to be one of the more emotional and deep albums that has been released in 2016; you’d have to have a heart of stone to not be affected in some way or another by Alcest’ music. It’s more than music alone, it’s an experience that once experienced, enriches your life and for me, is quite a cathartic experience, cleansing my mind and soul in the process. Sound pretentious? Just have a listen and decide for yourself…
In case you’ve missed any of the other posts in the 2016 series, here they are for you to explore and enjoy:
Album of the Year 2016 – number 9
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 10
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 11
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 12
Album of the Year 2016 – number 13
Album of the Year 2016 – number 14
Album of the Year 2016 – number 15
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 16
Album of the Year 2016 – number 17
Album of the Year 2016 – number 18
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 19
Album of the Year 2016 – number 20
Album of the Year 2016 – number 21
Album of the Year 2016 – number 22
Album of the Year 2016 – number 23
Album of the Year 2016 – number 24
Album of the Year 2016 – number 25
Album of the Year 2016 – number 26
Album of the Year 2016 – number 27
Album of the Year 2016 – number 28
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 29
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 30
And from previous years: