2022 was the year when… I turned my back on streaming services and got back into digital music curation; Bandcamp was acquired by Epic Games; I discovered brick stores that still sell CDs—you know, those shiny round things you hang in your Christmas tree; bought as much soundtracks accompanying the games I liked during Bandcamp Fridays as I could; noticed other bloggers paying more attention to supporting musicians as well; and attended a classical music symphony event in London equipped with a choir that chanted Final Fantasy tunes and Skyrim’s Dragonborn theme.
Navidrome has a “hidden feature” where the
ListenBrainz.BaseURL property can be set to a custom URL that’s not ListenBrainz but compatible with their API—for instance, Maloja. I haven’t tested it yet—sorry, no cool useless stats this time—but for those eager to replicate the much discussed Spotify Wrapped reports while owning your data, it’s there.
Here’s a collage of albums bought and listened to in 2022:
This excludes a re-buying spree of hip-hop albums (Deltron 3030, The Roots, Jurassic 5, …) and other classics (Pink Floyd, Genesis, Alphaville, …), eighties compilations and other stuff that I inherited from my parents.
You could break down the image in a few different categories such as:
- Flemish hip-hop (Bosbessen Marmelade, C Mij Da, Brutaal)
- International hip-hop, Wu spin-offs (Czarface, Kendrick Lamar, Wu-Chronicles, Looptroop Rockers, …)
- Groovy stuff (Toejam & Earl: Back in the Groove!, Cory & The Wongnotes, New Orleans Funk, Shredder’s Revenge)
- Classic game soundtracks (Apogee MIDI Soundtracks)
On second thought, that collage looks weird. Most albums I listened to aren’t even on there since they’re older and I tend to get in a flow-listen-state of repeat mode. These include: Quantic, The 5th Exotic; Castlevania, Portrait of Ruin Soundtrack; Diablo II, Soundtrack; GTA Vice City, All Radio Stations; Ancient Astronauts, Into Bass And Time; The Messenger, Soundtrack; Wu-Tang Clan, Enter The Wu-tang.
If there’s work to do—real, dont-interrupt-me work—then a game soundtrack or funky album without much voices such as RJD2 or Cory & The Wongnotes will be put on. If there’s more mundane cleanup-but-whatever kind of work to do, then a GTA Radio Station or one of the chattier hip-hop ones is put on.
I regret buying Zwangere Guy’s CDs (I prefer the West Coast influence of deep basses like in Into Bass And Time) and Wu-Chronicles Chapter II (it turned out to be a very mediocre compilation). I still have to listen to Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly and Looptroop’s Professional Dreamers a couple of times to make up my mind on those.
As for the best ofs of 2022, that’s easy:
- 💖 Cory & The Wongnotes (2021)—Simply a-ma-zing! Thank you Ruben. Watch the full recording session and tell me you’ve been able to sit still.
- 💖 Czarface, Czarmageddon! (2022)—Inspectah Deck is one of the only Wu members still rocking it. Just listen to Walk Thru Walls.
- 💖 Bosbessen Marmelade (2015)—a supergroup of young rappers within Limburg including the more well-known Don Luca that contains many hidden gems. Don’s In De Cités of C Mij Da is also great.
- 💖 Shredder’s Revenge (2022)—I already talked about that one.
A honorable mention goes to RJD2’s The Colossus (2010) which isn’t as good as 2002’s Deadringer or 2004’s Since We Last Spoke, and to Greg Johnson’s “refunkified” Toejam & Earl soundtrack. I didn’t play the latest game but remember SEGA Mega Drive game well enough to get back into the groove with this album.