Here is my list of music recommendation based on what I perceived being the most interesting albums that I have listened to in 2006. This time, it is not a "best of" list, like last year, but a more careful breakdown.
First of all, the best albums that were released this year are as follows.
1. The Knife - Silent Shout.
It took me a while to get into this album. I had seen recommendations in a few places that I check every now and then, and since they are on Mute Records in the US they caught my attention. However, listening to clips of this album didn't help me at first. The first track, "Silent Shout", sounded to me like a uninspired copy of Kraftwerk, and the second one, "Neverland", like an uninspired piece of electronic punk. However, when I have seen the video clip for "We Share Our Mother's Health" in Kevin Holy's Ten Best Music Videos of 2006, I got it. I bought the album, and since then I almost exclusively listen to it. I can strongly recommend "The Captain", "We Share Our Mother's Health" and "Marble House".
2. Kate Havnevik - Melankton.
Another act from Sweden. I have listened to this a lot and considered this to be the best album of 2006 until very recently. This one is especially interesting because it is the very first album I have bought just because of a recommendation at the iTunes Music Store - I have never heard of this singer before. I can especially recommend the following tracks: "Unlike Me", "Nowhere Warm" and "Suckerlove".
3. Motor - Klunk.
I have already discussed this album before. They have supported Nitzer Ebb on their reunion tour, and Motor have been fabulous.
4. Lou Rhodes - Beloved One.
The first solo album from the singer of Lamb. Recommended tracks: "Treat Her Gently", "No Re-Run" and "Beloved One".
There were also new releases Laibach ("Volk") and Tanya Tagaq (Sinaa - I haven't heard of her before, but she was mentioned at Björk's website). Both are quite interesting and impressive, but I still have to make up my mind before final judgment.
Underworld have already started the "RiverRun Project" in 2005, but I only heard about it in 2006. It is a series of mp3 files (together with comprehensive artwork) that you can buy at their website. Since these are not commercially released on CD, they are quite free-form, which is good. I can especially recommend Lovely Broken Thing, which is part 1 in that series.
Apart from these albums, I have finally managed to get a better overview of Swans. Love of Life has always been one of my favorite albums for about ten years now, but I never took the time to take a look at their other releases (which are quite numerous). I have now listened to quite a few of their albums during this year, and I can recommend Children of God / World of Skin as a good starting point because it captures the different musical styles of Swans quite well.
Two good "best of" collections that were released in 2006 are Collected by Massive Attack and "Body of Work" by Nitzer Ebb. Apart from that, I currently listen to Tekel, who capture the sensibilities of 80's electronic pop music quite well.
That's it for now. Looking forward to new releases by Skinny Puppy, Komputer, Nine Inch Nails and Recoil in 2007...