I hear so much music throughout the year its hard to keep a track of what came out and when it came out. One LP that got year long airplay in my house was Tangerine Dream's Poland, a 1984 live concert performed in Warsaw. Poland with its 4 long form electronic pieces is one of the great Tangerine Dream records, balancing Tangerine Dream's glorious run of 70's experimentation with the more commercial synth sound that band would be drawn to throughout the 80's. Poland may in fact be the last great, essential Tangerine Dream LP, and comes highly recommended, if only for the stunning title track.
Another great CD which I stumbled along this year was courtesy of Jeff Greinke, a US experimental sound artist. The shorthand description for Greinke's music is dark ambient, with its eerie abstract alien soundscapes. If Einstürzende Neubauten's music is the sound of collapsing buildings, Jeff Greinke's music is the sound of the building in ruins. His Cities In Fog collection is a landmark of sinister Isolationist electronica, but its his 1987 LP Places Of Motility which had me hooked in the last few months of this year, with its strange acoustic and electronic textures, Industrial rhythms, omnious rumblings and distorted spoken word samples. Fans of Lustmord, Final, Lull, Illusion of Safety and some of Robert Rich's more darker music should seek this one out right away.
As well as the usual raft of experimental and avant garde stuff I'm mostly listening to and terrorizing friends and loved ones with, I spent a good portion of the 2nd half of 2009 listening to The Grateful Dead, collecting al their studio LPs, all 36 volumes of their Dick's Pick's live shows (that's roughly 109 CDs!) and other Dead live albums. So, I am by now a fully fledged card-carrying Dead Head. Of their studio LPs, their run from the 1967 self-titled debut to 1973's History of the Grateful Dead, Vol. 1, spans a dizzying number of musical styles from West Coast acid rock, spacey psychedelia, musique concrète tape experiments, blues, folk and country rock. The albums made after that era are patchy admittedly, but their live shows remained as great as ever. Anyone curious about the Grateful Dead should seek out Warners' Golden Road boxset which collects all their classic albums plus some pre-Grateful Dead, Warlock material.