I figured I would offer this page to share some albums that I think are a great listen, though a lot of that is going to depend on personal taste and what-not. I’ll try to give a heads up in terms of the type of genre for each recommendation in case you’re only interested in certain types of music. While I will not say that these albums are definitively the best albums ever made, they are ones that I have a personal connection to.
Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence
Genre: Progressive Metal
It’s really difficult to describe the feelings that I feel when listening to this album given that it both relaxes me and invigorates me. The opening track “Truth” is such a brilliant song and does a great job of setting the tone for it. Compared to his other works, this album is not quite as heavy, but it finds itself floating somewhere in the middle when compared to some of his lightest works and his “Strapping Young Lad” works.
Favorite Track: Failure
Devin Townsend – Ocean Machine: Biomech
Genre: Progressive Metal
Ocean Machine: Biomech has aged quite a bit since it was first released. Despite that, it has a ton of great tracks that really give the full Devin Townsend experience. A number of the tracks on this album are still staples of his performance and he has even recently re-recorded the entire album at a live show in order to celebrate it. Compared to Transcendence, this one is heavier, but not consistently heavier across the board. Very solid album that shows how he progressed from being that very very “Heavy Devy” into the more spiritual side he has shown in recent years.
Favorite Track: Night
Nujabes – Modal Soul
Genre: Nu Jazz
Modal Soul is a spiritual journey created by someone who is unfortunately no longer with us. My first experience with Nujabes and his style of music and collaborations came through his work in the popular Anime “Samurai Champloo” which has a very thrilling and enticing soundtrack that really styles itself around the art style in the show. It’s hard to label down a single genre for his music, but calling it either “Hip-Hop” or “Nu Jazz” is probably the simplest way to define it. The album consists of both instrumentals and collaborations with a number of different artists.
Favorite Track: Feather (featuring Cise Starr&Akin from CYNE)
Nick Johnston – Remarkably Human
Genre: Prog Metal / Rock
This is an astounding album that has its own unique identity. I’ve never heard an album that invokes the same emotions or the same unsettling feeling that I feel when visualizing this album in my head. It really does a great job of invoking this sort of foreign feeling to it as if there is something out of place, yet so familiar. Nick Johnston has a great vision with his album. His earlier works are great, but this sticks out for me. I got a chance to hear this live before I had really dug into his stuff, and it was a life changing experience. I would highly recommend it.
Favorite Track: Either “Remarkably Human” or “A Sick and Injured Brain”
Snail’s House – Snö
Genre: Future Bass
This album is one of the most relaxing and intriguing pieces of music I have ever listened to. Keitaro Ujiie is a popular producer of the future bass genre of music, but also delves a bit into other areas of music. I was first introduced to his music when searching for Future Bass music after the track “Cosmic Cat” from IIDX got stuck in my head. Finding the genre led me to Snail’s House and a whole set of albums that I found to be incredibly enjoyable.
Snö itself is a unique album in my opinion as, to me, it captures the very essence of winter. Each track has a distinct feel to it and helps me really paint a picture of the feelings I have both now and have had in the past with snow, the bitter cold, and being able to relax indoors while the world outside is freezing over. Every little sound and each melody is just nice and vivid.
I would also recommend giving Pixel Galaxy a try as well.
Favorite Track: 雪の降る街で、あなたを待っている。
All Hail the Silence – ‡ (Daggers)
Genre: Synthpop / New Wave
BT and Christian Burns created something completely different and yet surprisingly familiar in their “All Hail the Silence” project. It’s an emotional journey that takes old sounds and breathes some new life into it with great yet simple lyricism and some very powerful vocal performances. While I can safely say this is not something that everyone will enjoy, if you’re a fan of synth, this is something you should give a try. If you’re familiar with either artist, it is also something I would recommend.
Favorite Track: The Alarm