Best of 2010

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2011! It’s time we celebrate the best music of the past year! During the ten days of my winter vacation on the beach, I agonized about my favorite selections of the year. In fact, I couldn’t properly relax until I was done with the entire list. But now that it is out of my system, I feel like I can finally enjoy this drink and this sun, and start another year of music in 2011.

Once again, I couldn’t fathom a proper placing of my favorite releases from 12k, n5MD, Ad Noiseam, Warp, and Raster-Noton within the same list. Try as I might, I just couldn’t find an appropriate scale to rate ambient pieces next to bass-heavy dubstep and glitched IDM. So this year, just as the year before, I’m sticking with my own made-up categories. From the lists below, pick a section that best suits your mood, the weather, or the time of day, and you will surely find some of the best music in the appropriate genres. Call it a theme-centered playlist of our favorites, if you like. And if you are familiar with a few albums within that selection, you will surely enjoy others!

My best of the year choices are limited only to full length albums. There are tons of singles and EPs that, perhaps, I’ll get a chance to cover, not to mention a huge pile of 12″ from some of my favorite DJ-friendly genres. I’m also not listing re-mastered releases and reissues of previous years – those have already gained my recognition in the past, and may appear in a separate write up on these pages…

Since I don’t believe in rating music, all of the selections within each category are rated #1 – therefore I listed the entries in alphabetical order by artist’s name. They are all truly winners! This has been a tremendous year and I’m sure I’ve missed a ton of music! In fact, as soon as I’m done publishing this, I’ll probably scramble to pick up all of your recommendations…

Make sure to come back to this page on a daily basis until all of the lists are published! My reflections on the entire year will follow. And leave me a comment or two, will ya? I hope you enjoy…


Submit your votes for Readers’ Selections

More from 2010
Past Year Lists

16 thoughts on “Best of 2010

  1. You know, last year when I listened to the samples of the Dryft album “Ventricle”, I didn’t quite feel it, but now when I listen it sounds electrifying !

    Will have to buy it.

    I guess I should have put it in my list as well. : )

  2. You have a great thing going on here, it’s a really great site!

    Your best of 2010 list contains a lot of Good music. Some I already knew and bought, and some I will have to check out.

    I also really like your creative and refreshing way of listing your favorite albums. So much good music was released in 2010 and it’s impossible to pick only 10.

    You inspired me to invent some categories of my own. They are not as good as yours, but they are nice.

    My list also contains some compilations and one EP. I focused more on the vibes and atmospheres I get from the releases and put them in each category based on that.

    So in each category you will sometimes find releases from completely different genres, next to each other.

    Anyway, thanks for the great job you are doing here !

    Cheers !

    Here is my list:

    No Particular Order In All The Categories.

    Music For After The Rain Hours And Rainy Winter Nights:
    Carbon Based Lifeforms – Interloper ( Ultimae )
    Bitcrush – From Arcs To Embers ( n5MD )
    Nils Frahm & Anne Müller – 7 fingers ( Hush Records )
    Solar Fields [ Altered ] – Second Movements ( Ultimae )
    Another Electronic Musician – States Of Space ( n5MD )
    Hybrid Leisureland – Scroll Slide ( Ultimae )
    The Moving Dawn Orchestra – Dials ( Fluid Audio )
    Digitonal – Be Still My Bleeping Heart ( Just Music )
    mnemonic – hörsinn ( halbsicht records )
    Jumpel – Europa ( Hidden Shoal Recordings )
    SE – L36 ( Tympanik Audio )
    Subheim – No Land Called Home ( Ad Noiseam )
    Peter Broderick – How They Are ( Hush Records )

    Music For Trippy Lounges And Quirky Urban Atmospheres:
    Audiokonstrukte – City Echos ( Fürni records )
    Krusseldorf – Bohemian Groove ( Beats & Pieces )
    Tripswitch – Geometry ( Section Records )
    Bonobo – Black Sands – ( Ninja Tune )
    Boy Is Fiction – Broadcasts In Color ( Sun Sea Sky Productions )
    Nedry – Condors ( Monotreme Records )

    Music For Late Night Traveling And Strange Encounters:
    Undermathic – 10:10PM ( Tympanik Audio )
    Various Artists – Dark Room Beats ( Aleph Zero )
    Winter North Atlantic – A Memento for Dr Mori – Remixes ( Boltfish Recordings )
    The Flashbulb – Arboreal ( Alphabasic )
    Marconi Union – A Lost Connection ( Just Music ) – originally released in 2008 as a download, exclusively available from the MU website, but released on CD in 2010.
    Access To Arasaka – Void ( Tympanik Audio )

    Music For Immersing Yourself In Cutting Edge Psychedelic Flows And Uplifting Mother Earth Vibes:

    Eitan Reiter – Places I Miss That I Haven’t Been To ( Aleph Zero )
    Skytree – Hyphae ( Boltfish Recordings )
    Asura – 360 ( Ultimae )
    Sergio Walgood – Chill In Tribe ( Ajnavision Records )
    Sysyphe – Running Up That Hill ( Hadra Records )
    Tratosphere – Tea Time ( self release )

    Music For Groovy Space Floating And Fun Spiralling:
    Scann-Tec – Facial Memories ( Celestial Dragon )
    Galaxy – Everlasting Tone ( Chillcode Music )
    Various Artists – Vital Signs ( Celestial Dragon )
    The Orb feat. David Gilmour- Metallic Spheres ( Columbia )

    Music For Open Fields, Northern Lights, And Wonderful Sunsets:
    Slow Dancing Society – Under The Sodium Lights ( Hidden Shoal Recordings )
    Hammock – Chasing After Shadows…Living with the Ghosts ( Hammock Music
    Manual – Drowned In Light ( Darla )
    The Album Leaf – A Chorus of Storytellers ( Sub Pop )
    Northcape – Captured From Static ( Sun Sea Sky Productions )
    Dalot – Loop Over Latitudes ( n5MD )
    Harold Budd & Clive Wright – Little Windows ( Darla )
    Hummingbird – Our Fearful Symmetry ( Fluid Audio )
    Near The Parenthesis – Music For The Forest Concourse ( n5MD )
    The Soul’s Release – Where The Trees Are Painted White ( Dynamophone Records )

    1. I knew I forgot something. . .

      Here are two more:

      Music For Groovy Space Floating And Fun Spiralling:
      Maserati – Pyramid of the Sun ( Temporary Residence Limited )

      Music For Open Fields, Northern Lights, And Wonderful Sunsets:
      Lights Out Asia – In The Days Of Jupiter ( n5MD )

      Cheers for editing my post, looks better : )

  3. I like the way you posted the lists, best method I’ve seen so far. I don’t want to dig through endless lists. Here, I can just leave a playlist running in the background, and go look up the album name if I hear something I really like. Or stop the playlist if I don’t like its style. Thanks for the effort you put into it.

  4. All music in the HC 2010 lists that’s available through the Spotify service is featured in this playlist:

    Thanks to Headphone Commute for all great tips, reviews and interviews this year. The selection is pure gold and it’s great to know a blog/site that is so compatible with my taste.


  5. …these lists are stellar. anyone complaining about it just doesn’t get it. i listened to tons of albums last year and some made an impression and some didn’t. i know last year i found this site and found the category that fit my taste best and found a ton of albums that i have enjoyed throughout the last year. it pleases me very much to be able to come and see someones tastes grouped this way. there are so many genres and styles and sounds and etc. and sometimes you just need to be honest and say there isn’t a number one album for me for the year. when i made my list for the year i simply listed the albums that i enjoyed listening to for the year and gave a few comments on each. i really do enjoy these lists and i look forward to exploring the albums that i have not heard yet. keep up the good work.

  6. Although I really like Headphone Commute and keep on checking the site for nice insights & interviews I find it rather silly to publish a list/nonlist of what? 140 albums that would be…
    I mean come on, it’s about choosing. The Wire does it in 50, Boomkat in 100, and HC in 140, who’s gone do it in 500?
    Wasn’t it stated at one point that less is more?
    Take care.

    1. Believe me, I know exactly what you mean. I’ve struggled with this concept too… But at the end of the day, I just couldn’t bring myself to rate Venetian Snares next to Taylor Deupree or Alva Noto. I mean, how can VSnares be possibly better then Deupree? On the other hand, how can Deupree be ever better than VSnares? You know?

      I also didn’t want to create a “top ten tech-house” or “top ten ambient” or “top ten IDM” lists. Who am I to label the music? So instead I’ve bucketed my favorites into these categories. So pick one, or a few, but really think of it as just the Top Ten… Chances are that one person may not like my dubstep selections, while another person may not care for post-rock.

  7. Gonna look into this tonight. Check’m all out. Hopefully some gems like I found here last year (and kept on visiting after that :))

    Thanks :)

    1. I may do that after I get these out the door… I have a few candidates for that (don’t want to spoil)… I also made a list of re-masters and re-issues of the year. I hope to get through it all…

  8. ahhh, I’ve been waiting for your list. “lists” drive me mad. How can anyone possibly rate what is #1 out of X albums. You writing ‘since I don’t believe in rating music’ is what I have been wanting to see.
    I’ll enjoy working through these lists. Thanks a million for all yours words & posts over the year and the discoveries I have enjoyed due to many of these (and the resultant funds outlay !). I look forward to outlaying more in ’11 : ]


  9. Thanks for posting this year end list. I am enjoying the first part and looking forward to your insight into albums I might have missed through the year.
    Big love and blessings!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.