Culture Villain’s Top Picks of 2016

As we once again find ourselves with both feet firmly into the New Year, for some 2016 seemed a year to forget, while here at CV we apparently forgot that New Year was a thing and have been off grid all together. On the other hand, we thought it was worth taking a brief look back on what was by any standards a great year for music, as we reminisce and pick out some of our highlights from the last twelve months.


Ethyéne – Obsessions EP

Co-founder of label Moonrise Hill Material, we have seen some big releases from the likes of Ethyéne and Folamour this year. It was his first release for newly formed Australian label Kyoku Records that really caught our ears, everything we’ve come to expect from the French producer, tight grooves, carefully selected samples and some tidy artwork to top it off.

David & Hjalti – RVK Moods EP

Another new label cropped up out of the cold of Iceland this year. David & Hjalti’s ‘RVK Moods’ took us on a cosmic journey through jazz and house, drawing inspiration from the likes of Moodymann and Theo Parrish, closing track ‘Whatever You Want’ provides us with the funkiest of bass lines certain to keep your feet stomping into the new year.

Tiger & Woods – On The Green Again

It has been a while since the disco re-edit duo provided us with a full length release, christening their new label T&W Records at the start of the year with ‘Scoring Clubs Pt 2’. Staying firm with their signature style, cutting an pasting their way to perfection, ‘No More Talking’ brings us the kind of crescendo that hasn’t been heard since ‘Gin Nation’ was released.

Spirit Of Love – The Power Of Your Love

As much as we’re willing to admit that this number isn’t strictly 2016 material, it couldn’t not be included on the list considering the repressing from Edinburgh label Athens Of The North a few months back. Going from a must in the bag for the eclecticism and soul lover party scene to having it’s status cemented among wider conscious being the final song that Floating Points played through the system at Plastic People. The track provides gospel and disco crossover sounds from Calvin Bridges with gospel vocals that take it to another world of holy.

Leon Vynehall – Rojus (Designed To Dance)

After touring in Lithuania the idea for a concept album came to Leon Vynehall, created with the idea of sequencing a club night from doors to closing. Taking inspiration from his travels and a book on birds of paradise he picked up along the way, ‘Rojus’ never veers too far away from Vynehall’s signature style. Another long play form the producer that defies what a dance record can be, moving through downtempo moods and stomping grooves, perfect to listen to at home or to be heard out in the club.

Avalon Emerson – The Frontier / 2000 Species of Cacti / The Frontier (High Desert Synthapella)

Perhaps we’re just suckers for some spaced out synths floating over the top of a chugging track rhythm here at CV, but a-side track The Frontier hasn’t lost it’s spot on the stereo at this end sounding like a juggernaut interstellar train pulsing it’s way through the galaxy. Of course we get carried away in the dream of it all – though Avalon’s release through Nic Tasker’s ‘Whities’ label is indicative of the material that was coming from the label throughout 2016, with a special mention out to Quirke which was another in contention for the list.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – EARS

Much acclaimed and even making it to the nosebleed inducing heights of an end of year favourites list of a man in a studio marked BBC Radio 3, you are almost certainly aware of Kaitlyn’s EARS album release of 2016. Recorded with the help of her Buchla Music Easel synth and blending acoustic instrumental recordings and her own vocals, Kaitlyn achieves an organic sound that creates an electronic landscape of a composer that is in tune and at peace with the instrument to hand. A must listen.

Pastor T.L. Barrett – Do Not Pass Me By LP

Another LP that originally saw the light of day back in 1976, however was brought back to our attention for two reasons last year. The Gospel Roots record label served up a re-issue back in October, not too long after Kanye sliced and diced the final track on the a-side “Father Stretch My Hands”, on his latest album ‘The Life Of Pablo”. The LP showcases a crossover of gospel and soul tied together with a chorus of choir singers, it was perhaps  described best in the recent press release as, “eight tracks of resplendent hands in the air rejoicement” – amen.

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