My favourite album in 2021 was:
5AM - Pre Zz (Thinner Groove) 

Naps, snacks, weirdly late nights, internet stuff, zoning out, to and through long hours of idleness, but sometimes with friends, even just their essence, which makes everything better. 

This is an album about friendship and all of the beautifully weird forms of being that come about in its wake. Fostered, because friendship is open: a mesh of love and possibility and need heard here in 5AM's special breed of bedroom pop. 

This is not even one of the best albums of 2021 but of the decade and even the first-quarter century - I hope it will be included on any such-themed future lists. It captures something temporal and timeless, specific and random, emotional and global. We can hear trust here, ideas to try out and keep because whatever - let's have fun and be together in our own way, evens and odds.

These songs don't elicit anything specific for me, they're tangled hodge-rock and that's why I love them. Almost like a jam, but without jam trapping - see where it lands. Something or many to learn from this lyricism as I try to approach and process the day-to-day in an anti-abstract way - such little bits leech in on a line. It's to help, with this feeling of...I want to be with friends at 5AM.

Some other things I thought about a lot were:
"Blue" Gene Tyranny - Degrees Of Freedom Found (Unseen Worlds)
Overwhelming in every way while at the same time occupying space of set it and forget it avant-garde. A banquet, but to start:
Spirit, for piano, natural and artificial harmonics (Live at Roulette, New York, December 1, 2004)
Dreamtime: In the Outback (1980)
Sleeping Beauty in Camouflage (1992)
Barn Fever (Live at Jacob’s Pillow, July 14, 1984)
How To Swing A Dog (Live at Dance Theater Workshop, New York, Oct 3, 1984).

Bogdan Raczynski - Muzyka Dla Imigrantów (Mondoj reissue)
Co są, on.
Zielone mosty.
No to my.
"All proceeds from the sales of the cassette will be donated to Fundacja Ocalenie (Rescue Foundation), an active NGO striving to help refugee seekers currently held at the Polish-Belarusian border as well as supporting immigrant integration in Poland."

Bookworms - Alternative Group (Boomkat)
Sounds wet, badly damaged, i.e. tales of something untold. Always stunned by the way Bookworms manages to cut-off songs at this completely shattering moment - a reminder to never settle into a groove even while it's ok to long for more time, lost time. I'm thinking of grafts: soft cushions and sharp corners. The area where the page has been torn off or out and only a notion remains. How dry book bindings crack and let out a perfumed dust that carries the tolling bells of yester, yonder.

great area - hypocrite 21 (xquisite releases)
What I’d play if I still worked at the vintage clothing boutique in Prospect Heights where all I had to listen to was the Cocteau Twins Pandora station and the synths seemed to mesh with the dust puffing off of the dresses to settle into carpet and my infatuation. Fulfills upbeat quota for spaces where people gather while holding onto melancholy embedded in menial labour.

Hanne Lippard - PigeonPostParis (Boomkat)
I've been searching for something in Lippard’s "poem poems" and I think I found it in PigeonPostParis. Spun out, the parameters, concepts, rules, trends, slang, and cleverness from which she operates neatly became grand and messy, precisely. Very diary. Flawless qualities. Listening to this made me want to read my own writing completely differently. A 2021 highlight was running 9km around Błonia while looping this feeling completely strong and sore and giddy.

Loraine James - Reflection (Hyperdub)
The first thing I really loved in 2021. It reminded me that music is not just a receptacle to catch, reflect and pool my emotions, but something that creates new ones altogether. I feel like all the reviews I read about this went something along the lines of "it's fine but not as good as her previous work". This is a problem because to my mind it's her best to date.

Madalyn Merkey - Standards (self-released)
Madalyn Merkey has the best Bandcamp bio and covers might be the best form. We’ve got vocal ones. We’ve got instrumental ones. She sings and I can picture her voice - the words are heavy and she drops them like stones into a pond, wax from burning candle onto wooden table. Crystallized honey, made smooth again through singing, song - you get the picture, it's material.

Romance - A Kiss Is Just A Kiss (ECSTATIC)
I really keep returning to this album to hear the first 3 minutes of Side A. But it’s compelling to think about how a few minutes can hinge me to a whole work, like a line in a poem that makes me want to read and reread everything supporting, surrounding.

Tara Clerkin Trio - In Spring (World of Echo)
Velveteen. Custard. Percale sheets. Petal of water lily. Clairns Embellisseur Lèvres Mat. I’ve never made a soufflé but sounds like the way it would poof and deflate, magically. Gnocchi. Polenta with bacon, mushrooms, cream. It’s like a pudding I want to scrape little licks off of, over and over, until later.

v/a - heartland compilation (c-)
Remember meeting Filip for the first time back in April, shortly after I'd arrived in Kraków, bez planu. Many coincidences quite magical. Looking at what was inside our bags. Filip had this cassette while I had nothing so particular - just the essence of a swaying field. Thinking how funny to have a bag like a stone and the wide, empty roads of c- following me wherever I might go, gladly.

Then more and even probably more misplaced, unbeholden, to return at some later date:
5AM SHOW (13/07/21) w/5AM on LYL
7038634357 - My Way Out (self-released)
Angelo Harmsworth on HÖR Radio
Bug bus piano - Shadows In My Scrapbook (self-released)
Cartier God - "Don't Go"
Celes + 0-ip sets in Wrocław
Dean Blunt - "Dash Snow"
Everything by Celes, Nexcyia, perila, Theodore Cale Schafer, wi
Everything on CURL (+ Coby Sey 11.01.21 NTS show)
FAUZIA - "it's ok"
FF Radio 8 With Club Eat (on NTS)
frutto mixes
Kenji - Edge of the City (self-released)
Kito rabino - 18 y 11 (El cuarto elástico)
Lolina - Fast Fashion (Deathbomb Arc)
Loren Rush - Dans le Sable (Recital)
Montez Press Radio
NTsKi - "On Divination in Sleep feat. Dove"
Oli XL & Instupendo - "Ribbon Bone [Silk Chaser]"
orchidvial - "Product-code: -- (216)"
sheerdintofwill mixes
Tirzah - "Sink In"