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Top 5 Albums of 2013

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5. Chance The Rapper - Acid Rap

20 year old Chicagoan Chance The Rapper embraces the rules of hip hop but only after framing them in a background of pure jazz.  Acid Rap is sultry.  The album flows beautifully and its 13 tracks comprise the first rap album that's not too long since... well, forever.  Chance's cadence is entirely his own and his youthful sentiment is the perfect balance of the sacred and the profane.  Top Track: Favorite Song (Listen)

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4. Ludovico Einaudi - In A Time Lapse

Ludovico Einaudi returns in 2013 with his 11th full length release and has again somehow managed to sculpt another celebratory but haunting signature classical sound.  He is a true master of simplicity.  In A Time Lapse carries with it a great cohesion.  With a new but familiar palate of sounds Einaudi has again defined timelessness.  This is music you feel like you've heard a thousand times before.  Top Track: Brothers (Listen)

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3. Atoms For Peace - Amok

Thom Yorke is my religion.  Amok is a new and glorious glimpse into the vulnerable but unshakeable sonic world that lives inside his body.  It is intensely beautiful and full of an underlying angst that somehow makes perfect sense coming through the ethereal landscape of Yorke's voice.  A distinctly hypnotic and penetrating drum section dances with the driving roundedness of Flea's bassment and is all tied together masterfully by the '6th' member of Radiohead, Nigel Godrich.  Top Track: Dropped (Listen)

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2. Múm - Smilewound

Analoge sythesizers, picturesque female vocals, whirlingly hooky melodies and a depth of creative authenticity.  The ingredients of Smilewound fall together to make a startlingly captivating and playful trip around a diverse range of tempos, instruments and ideas. In all its striking dynamic, and even after keeping you on your toes the entire time, there is an honest feeling on this album from start to finish.  It is indeed one big smile.  Top Track: Girls Collide (Listen)

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1. James Blake - Overgrown

There is nothing like James Blake.  Overgrown is a complete masterpiece and marks the culmination of Blake's maturity into a sound that no one else could ever touch.  He sings from a volcano of love with a voice made of warm wet clouds.  His Electronic uniqueness takes the strides of dubstep and gives them root.  The rhythms stick to your bones and the melodies tie the earth to the heavens.  Overgrown is sharp and smart.  It goes best in dark candle-lit rooms with loud speakers.  Top Track: Retrograde (Listen)

Honorable Mention:

Nils Frahm - Spaces, Earl Sweatshirt - Doris, Maya Jane Coles - Comfort, Emancipator - Dusk To Dawn, Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City.