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As I prepared this year’s top 20 list, I discovered that several of my favorite releases this year were not full albums, but brief EPs. Including them in the top 20 albums list felt a bit like trying to compare novels and short stories, so I decided to list them separately. These were my top 5 favorite EPs of 2016:

pjusk-syklus#1. Pjusk – Syklus
A wonderful surprise at the end of the year: three Pjusk collaborations. Loscil, Porya Hatami, and SHAO add their musical perspectives, and the distinctive sound of Pjusk remains present in each track. Brilliant stuff.



bolton-lichen#2. Wil Bolton – Lichen

Fifteen minutes of warm, spacious, crackly, resonant, luxuriant sound. My favorite of Wil Bolton’s several releases this year. Check out his Maemi EP and the full-length February Dawn as well.





kyoka-sh#3. Kyoka – SH
My list had its share of gentleness this year, but for moments when something more hard-edged fit the bill, this short collection of rumbling minimalist techno in the classic raster-noton vein was an excellent stand-by.



murcof-ep01#4. Murcof and Vanessa Wagner – EP01

By turns darkly brooding and gently melancholy, this turbulent-electronics-meets-Satie release stuck with me even after the full-length album that followed it.





jazzdefector#5. Jazzdefector – Miniatures

Finally, something more relaxing. A series of very short pieces of effects-laden guitar offer a summery interlude, warm and pretty.

David Smith currently lives in the Midwestern United States, where he teaches, writes, and enjoys a very wide range of music, with regard to which he claims no expertise whatsoever beyond that of a dedicated and appreciative listener.
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