Top 25 Instrumental Albums of 2012

15. Shag – Revolution

shag-revolutionCalls Home: Denton, TX

Standout Track: “What It’s Worth”

“Shag is still young, but you’d never know it listening to Revolution (his third stellar release this year), and the kid is clearly on track to make major moves for some time to come.” –Graham Major

14. Ohbliv – Up

ohblivCalls Home: Richmond, VA

Standout Track: “Gawdhour”

Up dropped earlier this week and, yeah, if you have loved his crate-diggin’ tunes in the past, you are going to absolutely adore this.” –Andrew Martin

13. MAGGZ – Fragments of Mind

maggz-fragments-of-mindCalls Home: Columbus, OH

Standout Track: “Soul Funk Brother”

“…right at home on the block of downtempo future sounds and left-field instrumentals…” –Mallory Pickard

“…the combination of the sacred (earthy atmospherics) with the profane (late-night space-funk) works surprisingly well…” –Graham Major

12. XXYYXX – XXYYXX

xxyyxx-self-titledCalls Home: Orlando, FL

Standout Track: “About You”

“What do you do when you get bored? Sometimes, I just stare out the window or at the ceiling. Other times, I’ll write about how much I hate David Guetta’s music. But apparently producer wunderkind xxyyxx doesn’t just doze off or get angry about worthless nonsense. He makes killer new music instead.” –Andrew Martin

11. Simbrula Nox – Lying Floaters

lying-floatersCalls Home: Bradford, UK

Standout Track: “The Imaginary One”

Lying Floaters finds Nox embracing his love for acts like Flying Lotus, Zero 7, and Bonobo. It makes for a woozy, moody release perfect for blunted afternoons and evenings, especially those of the weekend variety. You should also be sure to throw this on while wearing your best pair of headphones, otherwise you might miss out on the subtle nuances.” –Andrew Martin

13 thoughts on “Top 25 Instrumental Albums of 2012

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  1. That’s awesome you’ve been marinating on the list, and I love your taste/appreciate your feedback. We left out a lot of solid EPs as well as mixtapes/compilations of previous work– otherwise artists like Clams and Skywlkr would have been included no doubt. I also really loved Vanilla Soft Focus, and I’ll be sure to check out Thrupence as I haven’t yet heard that EP. Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂 I hope you found something new on the list to explore. x

  2. I’ve been coming back to this list every night to find something new as I unwind my day.
    I’d like to add a few artists and albums that I would have on my top releases

    Thrupence: Voyages EP** Awesome
    Beat Culture: Tokyo Dreamer
    Clams Casino: Instrumental Mixtape 2
    ElyonBeats: Nocturnal Creature
    Mecca:83: D A Y B R E A K & Sketchbook Pieces **Mecca is awesome
    Melodiesinfonie: Ja$$ (nice jazz instrumentals)
    Ryan Hemsworth: Last Words (Heavy)
    Shag: Beats About People
    Vanilla: Soft Focus

  3. Frederick Greene|

    How the hell did Ben Jamin get past me? He’s got some incredible talent.

  4. Good list, and can’t wait to explore some of these sounds. With that said, I wish Daisuke Tanabe and Kidkanevil’s collaborative effort, Kidsuke, had been mentioned.

  5. Great selection of music.. Some old favourites from the last year.. and plenty of new discoveries for me to wrap my ears around, big up!

  6. Great list! I know a lot of people will think there are some albums that are missing from this list but 2012 was a great year for releases and it seems almost impossible to have mentioned all of the great ones

  7. Kinda sad I didn’t see Roku’s Oyasumi here. That’s probably my favorite instrumental album this year.

  8. This is an awesome list. Really glad to see Karriem Riggins in there, that album is so excellent.

  9. BUN -BIRDS. HONOR MENTION

  10. AudioSuede|

    It was a hell of a year for instrumental music. I’m a little disappointed not to see Big Cats’ “For My Mother,” Paper Tiger’s “Summer EP” or “Beat Tape,” or Delicate Steve’s “Positive Force” on this list.

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