10. Lubomyr Melnyk — Rivers and Streams
The Ukrainian wizard strikes again with a somehow simultaneously chaotic and cathartic blanket of piano virtuosity that sounds a lot like, well... rivers and streams.
9. HVOB — Trialog
It's hard to make a deep house album that can actually be called an album, not just a bunch of tracks. Trialog is an album—an energetic, nuanced, haunting and exemplary album.
8. Colleen — Captain of None
Right when you think the upper reaches of looping potential have been reached in music, Colleen raises the bar with a perfectly minimal, perfectly layered piece of novel beauty.
7. Four Tet — Morning/Evening
No one in electronic music is as consistently themselves and consistently fresh every year. God bless Four Tet. That's all.
6. Nils Frahm — Solo
This album was created from nine hours of improvisation on a twelve foot high piano. The sound quality of the recording is as brilliant as the playing.
5. Vince Staples — Summertime '06
There are those that make meandering hip-hop records too long to get through, there are those that make hip-hop records deserving of two disks to be complete.
4. Shigeto — Intermission
The sounds, the rhythms, the challenges, the releases: Intermission is a victory for Shigeto and an inspiration for the forward progress of electronic music.
3. Leon Bridges — Coming Home
It's really just impossible.
2. Jenny Hval — Apocalypse, Girl
Jenny Hval is a writer whose understatedness simply can't last much longer. This is a visionary album, it's a poem whose honesty and clarity shines on top of a transcendent musicality.
1. Kendrick Lamar — To Pimp A Butterfly
Album of the decade. Seriously. Who knew that Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and Tupac had a love child? This album is sharp, soft, desperate, and triumphant. I still can't believe how good it is.
Honorable Mention Blond:ish — Welcome to the Present, A$AP Rocky — At Long Last A$AP, Freddie Gibbs — Shadow of a Doubt, Tame Impala — Currents, FKA Twigs — M3LL155X, Thundercat — The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam, Bob Moses — Days Gone By.