PAN M 360’s Top 100 Albums of 2022 (Part 1)

· by Rédaction PAN M 360

With the pandemic seemingly winding down, there was a lot of music in 2022. We at PAN M 360 believe ourselves to not only be music reviewers and journalists, but music curators in this era where finding great sounds is much more complicated than ever.

So ? Here is the first part of our Top 100 albums Part 1 of 4. You will notice that there is no rating in this list, no order of style, no hierarchy of sounds, even no alphabetical order.

Why ? Because we sincerely think that music lovers do not need an hierarchical structure in our proposals and make up their own mind after trusting us. Hopefully you find some new great music to bring into the New Year… Happy Holidays !

Hatis Noit
Aura (June)
Erased Tapes
A Capella, Experimental, Ambient
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Originally from Japan and based in London, Hatis Noit became a vocal artist after being deeply moved by the song of a Buddhist monk during a trip to Nepal. Self-taught, she will develop her voice inspired by the gagaku, opera, Bulgarian and Gregorian chants, as well as avant-garde and pop. Composing music that could be described as both dignified and savage, this half-human, half-animal voice sings with ecstasy: sometimes in choirs composed of her own voice, elsewhere in a solitary voice, lulled by ambient noises. Wonderful. (Isabelle Marceau)

Denzel Curry
Melt My Eyez See Your Future (March)
Loma Vista
Hip Hop

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Having benefited from the contributions of a particularly eclectic team of collaborators—Robert Glasper, A-Track, JPEGMafia, Saul Williams, Kenny Beats, Thundercat, Slowthai and several others—Denzel Curry’s most recent opus is nevertheless surprisingly homogeneous. It is also his most introspective work to date. More solid than ever, the Floridian mc is inspired by the nu-soul of the nineties while having the eyes well directed towards the future. (Steve Naud)

Wilco
Cruel Country (May)
dBPM Records
Americana, Country, Indie

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I’m rarely, if ever, disappointed by a new Wilco album. And when they returned to their country roots with their latest release, I was chomping at the bit for it.

A sprawling and solid album. “A Lifetime to Find”, “Many Worlds”, and “Country Song Upside-Down” stand out for me. (Thomas Moultrie)

Carbon 96 (Peder Mannerfelt)
Carbonated (July)
Peder Mannerfelt Produktion
Electronic, Techno

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Sublimely dark, Carbon 96 is simply prophetic. Peder, in collaboration, here, with Ciarra Black, explore the limits of symphonic experimentation with Hyper Hunter and Club Soda. An avant-garde approach to so-called techno contemporary, in constant search of sounds to come out of his laboratory offering new perspectives, he gave us a two-part story. The first episode is cavernous and earthy. In an almost religious repetition to sink into a trance state, the industrial intensity develops a bewitching atmosphere. The second returns a completely different image. Spicy with jolts of shakers, dubstep beats and other sounds blunt, Zoë McPherson, revolutionizes techno, from Sweden. The Messiah PEDER MANNERFELT paves the way for a new era of sound. (Salima Bouaraour)

Tomáš Král, Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra, Jarosław Thiel
Kings in the North (October)
Aparté
Classical, Baroque, Opera

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Czech baritone Tomáš Král adorns himself with various crowns on this album with accents by putting forward the lyrical music of composers who took as inspiration monarchs from the history of the Old Continent. The incarnation of the various characters endorsed by Král captures our attention in a striking way with its round and woody timbre, sometimes full of rage and sometimes full of tenderness: a performance that inspires reverence. (Alexandre Villemaire)

Tim Bernardes
Mil Coisas Invis​í​veis (June)
Psychic Hotline
Brazilian, Freak Folk, Alternative

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Tim Bernardes, a São Paulo native, is an artist writing music in this lineage of Brazilian singer-songwriters, and his sophomore effort, Mil coisas invisíveis, is a strong showcase for his personable and compelling songwriting The album has a real laid-back vibe to it with the primary texture being voice and guitar. The opening number, “Nascer, Viver, Morrer,” sets the tone; a soft and pensive song about living and dying that Bernardes sings with the coolness of a poet.  It is a rewarding listen and feels somehow both timeless and of its time, a rare feat. (Varun Swarup)

Haru Nemuri
Shunka Ryougen (April)
TO3S Records
Punk, hardcore, J-pop, prog, jazz-fusion

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Known under the pseudonym Haru Nemuri, the Japanese gifted Haruna Kimishima has all the assets of the greatest avant-pop figures, those capable of changing the course of things. We took in her incredible emotional charge at Pop MTL last September, coming modestly with a single beatmaker. If she had been known in the West, she would be touring with the excellent musicians she invites to her studio in this second album, a work that is both dark and solar, both visceral and cerebral. Mixed with punk poetry, J-Pop, rap, soul-pop, hardcore rock, electro, choral singing, western classical or even jazz-fusion, Shunka Ryougen‘ teaches us about todays Japanese culture… and turns us on. (Alain Brunet)

Moor Mother
Jazz Codes (August)
ANTI
Electro, Brutalism, Jazz, Ambient

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The “jazz codes” (and also those of soul or hip hop) are here brilliantly digested by the producer and Afro-American Moor Mother and thus reinjected into her noisy and radical art, giving it a voluptuousness and a depth that are not, after all, incompatible with its apparent roughness. The great ones of yesterday and today are evoked, from Jason Moran to Mary Lou Williams through Sun Ra and Jelly Roll Morton, these quotations are interwoven in a perfectly singular art. Moor Mother has established herself as an artist of immense culture whose works are also solid reflections on the creative process and the cultural legacy of her ancestors and contemporaries. (Alain Brunet)

Ezra Collective
Where I’m Meant to Be
(November)
Partisan
Jazz, afrobeat, grime, latin jazz, dancehall, reggae

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Ezra Collective is a fixture on the London groove jazz scene, and this album is digging deeply in the vocabulary of Afrobeat, dub, Latin jazz, grime/hip hop, reggae, dancehall and electro sounds that are meant to feed the legacy of previous generations. Nigeria and the West Indies are invited to this jazzy feast to which are invited high-flying Englishmen such as the rappers Kojey Radical and Sampa the Great, the filmmaker and artist Steve McQueen or the singers Nao and Emely Sandé. This music could not grow anywhere else than in London, at
the confluence of Anglo-West Africa, the West Indies and the West, where jazz was born from the mixing of cultures. (Alain Brunet)

The Smile
A Light For Attracting Attention (May)
XL Recordings
Rock, Electro, Prog Rock

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The two main heads of Radiohead were not used to working together in their parallel projects, hence the interest of The Smile which reunites them with Tom Skinner of Sons of Kemet. A Light For Attracting Attention indeed attracts our attention and informs us of their recent works. Thom Yorke (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard), Jonny Greenwood (guitar, bass, keyboard) and Tom Skinner (drums). The realization of the album is of Nigel Godrich who is to Radiohead what George Martin was to the Beatles: external member, essential member. One recognizes Thom Yorke’s touch, his favorite themes and chords, one contemplates the vast palette of Jonny Greenwood, one appreciates the excellent drummer… and one cannot avoid seeing in it an extension of Radiohead. (Alain Brunet)

Fresh Pepper
Fresh Pepper (June)
Telephone Explosion Records
Alternative, Adult Contemporary, Cooking Jazz

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It was just weird enough. Just interesting enough. And just cool enough. The musicianship was great, and it paid homage to an industry I both love and hate.

Yes, there was something about Fresh Pepper. Ever since I first heard and reviewed it this past summer, I haven’t been able to forget about it. It still kicks around in the back of my brain. (Thomas Moultrie)

Denise Rabe
Blame Me (September)
Cri Du Coeur
Electro, Techno, Industrial

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The uniqueness of Denise Rabe’s work is illustrated through the subtle blurring of lines between experimental and purely dancefloor-oriented techno, as evidenced by her latest EP ‘Blame Me’ – featuring remixes by The Advent, TWR72 and Cri Du Coeur. DJ and producer, the German has played in the most famous clubs in her country and has collaborated with atmospheric industrial and abstract techno figures such as producer Rrose and Shxcxchcxsh. (Elsa Fortant)

Lydia Képinski
Depuis (April)
Chivi Chivi
Pop, Art-pop

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A true autobiographical account, Depuis, the second studio album of the author composer and performer explodes with intensity and originality. Only by listening carefully the album that we can honor the rich texts full of poetry and self-mockery of the author.On the other hand, it is undeniably in spectacle that one can really appreciate the real talent as a performer of Lydia Képinski and the intoxicating and dancing power of different synth-pop sounds explored on the album.(Genevieve Gauthier)

Rebecca Delle Piane
Soltera EP (July)
mord
Electronic, Techno

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After a remarkable EP on Symbolism (Ben Sims) the Italian continues his rise with the release of a six titles (+ three in digital) at MORD, must-have European techno label of the last ten years.

The DJ unveils powerful dark techno productions where the effects of dissonance create a feeling of liberating oppression, enough to bring out the evil one who lies dormant in each of us. (Elsa Fortant)

Loraine James
Building Something Beautiful For Me
Phantom Limb
Électro, ambient, experimental, psychedelic, minimalist contemporary music

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Among the revelations of the last MUTEK festival in MTL, the Afro-British producer and composer Loraine James has created a superb album at the crossroads of American minimalism, ambient and electronic psychedelia. She pays tribute here to the African-American composer Julius Eastman (1940-1990), who died of premature wear and tear, in material and psychological misery, in poverty and drug addiction. This comprehensive rereading of his little-known work indirectly reminds us that Steve Reich was inspired by the drums of Burundi to imagine his famous rhythmic shifts… and that he was not the only one to think that way. Loraine James underlines this in broad strokes and relaunches the work of hisancestor to the tragic destiny of the misunderstood artist to the point of self-destruction. (Alain Brunet)

The Weeknd
Dawn FM (January)
XO / Republic Records
Hip Hop, Dance-pop, Synth-pop

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Nearly two years after the release of After Hours, the pop and R&B star has returned to the charge with Dawn FM, a somewhat less dark opus than its predecessor. In this album infused with retro sounds, The Weeknd immerses its listeners in the heart of 103.5 Dawn FM, a fictional radio station hosted by the famous Jim Carrey. This project is without any doubt (another) superb display of the Torontonian’s immense talent. (Jacob Langlois-Pelletier)

The 1975
Being Funny in a Foreign Language (October)
Dirty Hit
Pop-rock, Indie Rock, Funk, Alternative

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Manchester alt-pop darlings The 1975 returned in 2022 with their fifth studio album. Being Funny is The 1975 at their very best, with refined compositions and gleaming production.

Despite connecting with an immortal sense of youth, The 1975 continues to adapt, shape shift, and grow alongside their audience—not for soundbites and trending audio, but for the love of being part of the band. (Lyle Hendriks)

Miriodor
Elements (October)
Cuneifrom Records
Experimental, art rock

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The 10th studio album for the group, originally from Quebec, which rhymes progressive rock and contemporary music. In trio format (Bernard Falaise on guitars, Pascal Globensky on keyboards and Rémi Leclerc on percussion). Five years after Signal 9, the group maintains the form admirably and digs the vein that has earned them so much of success internationally (Réjean Beaucage)

Wand
Spiders in the Rain (October)
Drag City
Psych rock, Alternative

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If there’s one show you’ve definitely missed, it’s Wand’s coming to Montreal. It’s a shame because the band is simply excellent live. Composed of a clever mix of post-rock, long periods of jamming and just a little Syd Barret psychedelic, this is an act that must be seen in concert. Spiders In The Rain, the group’s first live collection allows an acceptable compromise mixing an excellent recording with the energy of a crazy show! (Louis Garneau-Pilon)

Yaadcore
Reggaeland (March)
Delicious Vinyl Island
Trap, R&B, Hip-hop, Jazz

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Rory Cha, aka DJ Yaadcore, producer of the Reggae Aroma mixtapes and founder of the platform Dubwise Jamaica, shows an unexpected progression with this first album, or he vocally shares the limelight with collaborators Pressure Busspipe, I Wayne, Jah9, the Subatomic Sound System—with which he takes over the monumental “Police In Helicopter” from John Holt- Richie Spice, Sarah Couch and the late Lee Scratch Perry, sampled on “Play God.” His texts, already more thought out than many of his contemporaries ring true, on rhythms by well-informed German, Swiss, American and Jamaican directors current roots sounds. And unlike the many DJs and dancers who recently improvise singers, Yaadcore has a real vocal talent that makes this first album one of the most remarkable of 2022. (Richard Lafrance)

November Ultra
bedroom walls (April
Universal Music, Virgin Records
RnB/Soul, French Indie Pop

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This trilingual balance – enriching in that the sounds of different languages ​​bring to the song – punctuated by muted piano, discreet electronic sounds and stripped folk guitar (where the magic happens), between opera and lullaby, and a few digressions with oriental accents, brings just the right amount of poetry, candor, pain, perhaps too, and flavor to our little world. (Anne-Sophie Rassolo)

FKJ
V I N C E N T (June)
Mom + Pop
RnB/Soul, Alternative

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FKJ’s latest is a rich and vibrant project, with deep and complex arrangements blending seamlessly into irresistible musical tapestries. Every piece feels like it was placed lovingly and with the utmost thought, and yet V I N C E N T never becomes too complicated for its own good.

FKJ brings his distinctive style into the modern age with V I N C E N T, and it’s a beautiful thing to behold. (Lyle Hendriks)

Wiz Khalifa
Multiverse (July)
Taylor Gang, Asylum
Hip-hop, R&B

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Multiverse as a whole is way funkier and poppy than anything else Wiz Khalifa has ever done. Including lots of guitar strings and old-school synth sounds and drums throughout the production, the album is not shy in sharing Wiz’s delicious rhymes and flows either. Falling deeper into the throwback funk riffs and 90’s style hip-hop noises, Wiz is truly the Snoop Dogg of our generation. (CCJ Gabriel)

Burna Boy
Love, Damini (July)
Atlantic Records
Afrobeats, Hip-hop
, juju, soul/R&B
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Burna Boy’s success on the world’s stages is certainly no accident. The music of the Nigerian is simply excellent! Master of Afrobeats, the singer-songwriter and great performer offers a composite music of juju, hip-hop, dancehall, soul/R&B, superb orchestral mix with keyboards, guitars, horns, reeds and everything, an approach that stands out from the clichés of the Afrobeats movement. A brilliant and sensual artist, the magnetic Burna Boy is already a dominant figure in Africa, especially since his art naturally links with the Americas, the Caribbean and the West. We want more! (Alain Brunet)

Les Louanges
Crash (January)
Bonsound
French rap, Indie rock, Hip-hop

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Les Louanges aka Vincent Roberge released his second album Crash last January. A mix of electro-pop and R&B that demonstrates that her is one of the most talented artists of his generation in French speaking America.

The 15 songs of “Crash” are as moving as they are catchy and bear witness to the singer’s ability to create an album without weak points, or even flaws (Arielle Caron)

Gone Girl (May)

Bonsound

Neo soul / R&B

Listen HERE

Gone Girl reveals Magi Merlin, the strongest neo soul singer to emerge from the Montreal scene, this recording has only 7 tracks but here, quality far outweighs quantity. The composer and beatmaker Funkywhat did a great job for the young soul/R&B singer, who is also open to other sounds, such as house or even dance-punk. Most observers applaud her extraordinary progress since her breakthrough two years ago. International success in the near future? It is allowed to believe it. (Djazia Idir)

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