I’d like to get one thing straight. These are not “the best albums of all time” but just some spectacular pieces (i.e. great, weird, shocking, game-changing, etc.) solely according to my taste – that’s one reason why I’ll simply list them in alphabetical order. Just one album per every act. You’ll find some rather well-known ones, while some of them are quite obscure for the average listener (and would never be able to learn the other super stuff that I’ve just couldn’t remember before publishing). I hope this can give new directions to many readers. So here we go,
Arpanet – Wireless Internet (2002)
– Discovered it a decade after its release. I feel like I’ve wasted those years..
Art Pepper – Meets the Rhythm Section (1957)
– Older than half a century and still rocks.
Avishai Cohen – Seven Seas (2011)
– Having his roots in Israel, Spain, and Turkey, Cohen arguably produced “the album” in 2011.
Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe (2013)
– Dev Hynes’ most complete effort to date. Many songs will be “contemporary” even after decades.
Brian Eno and David Byrne – My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (1981)
– I own a first pressing LP of this one. Certainly my pride and joy.
Camaron de la Isla – La Leyenda del Tiempo (1979)
– Genre-defining, sick flamenco.
Chris Rea – Blue Guitars (2005)
– This is a colossal album (11 CDs and a DVD) but even the “Blues Ballads” disc would be enough.
Common – Be (2005)
– I listened it in its entirety for the first time in an Eastern European trip in 2009. Blew me away.
David Bowie – Outside (1995)
– That weird concept album that’s extremely underestimated.
Donato Wharton – Trabanten (2004)
– Opened up new possibilities for me back then.
Duke Ellington – The Far East Suite (1966)
– Real touring heritage we have here. Duke should be on all such lists.
Edward Artemyev – Solaris, The Mirror, Stalker (1990)
– How can one forget “Meditation”? A series of bold film scores in this one.
Erykah Badu – Baduizm (1997)
– Just bought this LP after all those years and listened to it over and over again. Still immaculate.
Frank Sinatra – In the Wee Small Hours (1955)
– The soundtrack of broken hearts since 1955. Leaves me speechless and blue every time.
George Michael – Older (1996)
– The name says it all. A man with a broken heart, drifted out of the industry.. Coming back big time.
George Winston – December (1982)
– Second installment in his seasons series. Strikingly simple.
Gil Scott-Heron – Free Will (1972)
– As a guy from the third world (almost), I can relate to him (almost).
Horace Silver – Blowin’ the Blues Away (1959)
– Blues in Baghdad and much, much more. His most flamboyant album, imho.
Jackson C. Frank – Jackson C. Frank (1965)
– Oh, Mr. Frank’s endless mythos.. and my name is carnival!
Jan Garbarek – Dis (1977)
– Allmusic’s two stars to this album are the most solid reasons why you should never visit it.
Jason Moran – Artist in Residence (2006)
– If he could stop hanging around with Charles Lloyd, he could rise to the top.
Joe Satriani – Flying in a Blue Dream (1989)
– He had hair back then. The hero of one certain high school guitar player.
Johann Johannsson – Englabörn (2002)
– Momentary silence, momentary epic.. Unforgettable moments.
John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman – John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (1963)
– Damn.. You’re not complete until you listen to “Lush Life” on this one.
John Frusciante – The Will to Death (2004)
– I always loved his solo releases. Had to select one.
Kate Bush – Hounds of Love (1985)
– Well, “50 Words for Snow” is more artistically-solid but nothing in her catalogue beats this classic.
Kraftwerk – Die Mensch-Machine (1978)
– It moves me, just like it has done millions for decades.
Krzysztof Penderecki and Jonny Greenwood – Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima / Popcorn Superhet Receiver / Polymorphia / 48 Responses to Polymorphia (2012)
– Just look at how long its name is and tell me that you’re not already impressed.
Kurt Elling – Close Your Eyes (1995)
– This is the Kurt Elling album that they should’ve given the Grammy to.
Loudon Wainwright III – Last Man on Earth (2001)
– A mature, minimalist piece, which sums up everything Loudon.
Luciana Souza – The New Bossa Nova (2007)
– A companion for darker days. Made me know the charismatic Mrs. Souza.
Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On (1973)
– Pure sex revolution.
Mathias Eick – Skala (2011)
– I’ll always remember it with that long train journey in Germany. Dark dark dark..
Max Richter – Vivaldi Recomposed (2012)
– It redefined everything about music for some people.. Including myself.
Miles Davis – Tutu (1986)
– Yes, I’m aware of his better albums but this one is my pick for certain reasons (i.e. Marcus Miller).
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Murder Ballads (1996)
– La la la la, la la li… Ballads for murder. Just unforgettable.
Nik Bartsch’s Ronin – Llyria (2010)
– Hard to follow, hard to forget.
Nils Petter Molvaer – Baboon Moon (2011)
– Maybe “Khmer” is better? No. Moreover, I have a signed copy of this one.
Prince – Dirty Mind (1980)
– How could somebody made an album that sounds like this as early as 1980? He’s an achiever.
Robert Glasper Experiment – Black Radio (2012)
– This album is a winner in many ways.
Robert Wyatt – Old Rottenhat (1985)
– Electronic working class anthems.
Salif Keita – Soro (1987)
– From the emperor of Afropop. Taking the genre to new heights with “Sina.”
Scott Walker – Bitsch Bosch (2012)
– The masterpiece of the veteran artist. Experience hell in a good, constructive fashion.
Sebastien Tellier – Sexuality (2008)
– French bomb. Background music from my England days.
Stephan Micus – Ocean (1986)
– He is a one-man army in terms of recording albums.
Tim Hecker and Daniel Lopatin – Instrumental Tourist (2012)
– Its amazing cover art! That name! That sound!
Tom Waits – Rain Dogs (1985)
– A new breed of Tom Waits on this one. I love that breed a lot.
Tony Overwater Trio and Calefax Reed Quartet – Far East Revisited (2008)
– Watched them having a modern take on Duke’s “Far East Suite” live – twice. What an experience.
Wayne Shorter – Speak No Evil (1965)
– So smooth, so flawless, so jazz..
Whitest Boy Alive – Rules (2009)
– “You only need to be more certain what it is you’re living for…” Sure, Mr. Erlend Øye, why not.
Yellow Magic Orchestra – Technodelic (1981)
– Compared to many albums of the era, this one still sounds fresh.