[Year-End] – ‘The Ice’ (2019)




Stream the mix while you read; download at the bottom of this post.

The love of music has sustained us in 2019, and when we need it most, music has repaid our love immensely this year.  For the first time since I was a young teenager (roughly a quarter-century ago) I listened to more contemporary music than music from the history of recorded music.  As in 2017and 2018, new music provided the beauty, the thrills, the ideas, the heart equal to the great musical eras of the past, and happily Musicophilia’s mixes reflected the excitement of “now”, focusing for the first time on new music, largely through the ‘Old Souls‘ series; and also through the one-of-a-kind ‘Blade Runner‘ tribute ‘Like Tears, In Rain‘, which features all music made in our 2019 blended into the sounds of that film’s 2019.  I thought perhaps I’d made all the mixes I meant to of today’s music for this year–but listening back to 2018’s best-of ‘The Fire,’ I felt there was a counterpart to be made this year, and so I’m happy to present Musicophilia’s mix encapsulating what the music of 2019 meant to me: ‘The Ice‘.

Of course, ‘The Ice‘ presents the year as I heard it, not pretending any sort of exhaustive or comprehensive objective overview (I bought around 200 albums released in 2019, again reflecting my interests).  Moreover, as always, I wanted the mix to work as a mix, staking out a particular path and a coherent vision, and so not all of my favorite artists of the year is featured here.  Instead, ‘The Ice‘ focuses on a nocturnal, elegiac, contemplative sound-world where the supposed boundaries between genres fray and disappear, with a common thread of musical sophistication and emotional depth running through it all.  Which isn’t to say that the music neglects the mind and body: this music will move you in all ways, if you let it seep in.  Unexpectedly, the end result reminds me most of ‘The Dawning‘ and ‘Evensong,’ two of Musicophilia’s most well-loved mixes that have struck a chord with many listeners by exploring the sophisticated evolution of post-punk into other sounds through the late 80s and the 90s.  The fact that the seamless cumulative impact of those mixes could be matched by music from a single year–and not one from the past, for which time has allowed the cream to rise–is deeply heartening to me.  Music is truly as healthy and vital as it has ever been.

Like the ‘Old Souls‘ series, this music on this mix is mostly made by younger artists whose music and its wisdom and weight belie relative youth.  But perhaps the pressure of difficult days call artists to grow up fast and be their very best as soon as possible, to take risks and to be bold and to cast off boundaries, in order to make something that feels meaningful in a world of uncertainty.  This music feels integral to these times–but it also transcends today to become timeless.  It builds on the past without retreating to nostalgic comfort; and it builds bravely for a tomorrow that may not come, avoiding shallow fantasies of the “futuristic” for a much more substantial vision.  The musicians on this mix don’t have time for divisions between “popular” and “serious,” between “organic” and “electronic,” or between “political” and “personal”.  They only have time to be fully human, while there’s still time; and like their forebears, here they’ve given us music that fuels us for the fight, gives us respite and repose, gives us hope, and reminds us of why humanity is worth all its troubles.

Download/stream the mix below the tracklist. Now more than ever, it’s a struggle to make a living as an artist (even with another job).  This music is made by working artists who all deserve your financial support. So please, please, buy the music and merch, go to shows, and propagate the art to everyone who needs to hear it. I’ve included links to pages where you can buy the music in the tracklist below.  For more of Musicophilia’s favorite music of the year, check out our Top Seventy-Five LPs and EPs of the year. Thank you for listening, and please pass it on.

Various – ‘The Ice
Best of 2019
Part I

01 [0:00:00] Floating Points – “Falaise” (‘Crush’ 2019)
02 [0:03:35] Ed Balloon – “Dreamworld” (‘The Dubs’ 2019)
03 [0:07:40] Tony Njoku – “Confident” (‘Your Psyche’s Rainbow Panorama’ 2019)
04 [0:10:25] Hildur Gudnadottir – “Hours Before” (‘Chernobyl’ 2019)
05 [0:12:45] Corey King – “Size of the World” (‘A Loveless Sunken Sun’ 2019)
06 [0:18:45] Earthgang – “Swivel” (‘Mirrorland’ 2019)
07 [0:21:55] Sampa the Great – “Dare To Fly” (‘The Return’ 2019)
08 [0:26:15] Pete Sayke – “Heirs” (‘Gold & Rue’ 2019)

Part II

09 [0:30:45] Dave – “Black” (‘Psychodrama’ 2019)
10 [0:34:30] Solange – “I’m A Witness” (‘When I Get Home’ 2019)
11 [0:36:15] Rapsody – “Maya” (‘Eve’ 2019)
12 [0:39:55] Christian Scott – “Forevergirl” (‘Ancestral Recall’ 2019)
13 [0:45:20] K.Raydio – “Destiny” (‘2:22’ EP 2019)
14 [0:49:30] TheSymphny – “Back To You” (‘Moments’ EP 2019)
15 [0:52:55] Boogie – “Skydive II” (‘Everything’s For Sale’ 2019)
16 [0:55:45] Michael Kiwanuka – “Final Days” (‘Kiwanuka’ 2019)

Part III

17 [0:59:55] Hejira – “Ribs” (‘Thread of Gold’ 2019)
18 [1:05:30] Lafawndah – “Joseph” (‘Ancestor Boy’ 2019)
19 [1:09:30] Angel Olsen – “All Mirrors” (‘All Mirrors’ 2019)
20 [1:14:05] Sequoyah Murray – “Sublime” (‘Before You Begin’ 2019)
21 [1:18:30] Tyler, The Creator – “Earfquake” (‘Igor’ 2019)
22 [1:21:40] Tawiah – “Don’t Hold Your Breath” (‘Starts Again’ 2019)
23 [1:25:20] Fran & Flora – “Departures” (‘Unfurl’ 2019)
24 [1:29:50] Billy Woods – “A Day In A Week In A Year” (‘Hiding Places’ 2019)

Part IV

25 [1:34:50] Little Simz – “Selfish” (‘Grey Area’ 2019)
26 [1:38:35] Quelle Chris – “WYRM” (‘Guns’ 2019)
27 [1:41:25] These New Puritans – “Anti-Gravity” (‘Inside the Rose’ 2019)
28 [1:45:45] Husmo HAV – “East In North” (‘Ripples’ 2019)
29 [1:50:00] The Lasso – “Oscilations” (‘The Sound of Lasso’ 2019)
30 [1:53:45] FKA Twigs – “Sad Day” (‘Magdalene’ 2019)
31 [1:57:55] AhMerAhSu – “Little Bird” (‘Incandescent Body’ EP 2019)

[Total Time: 2:01:30]

Download ‘The Ice’ Here (282 MB)

Stream here:


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