20 Best Avant Albums of 2014

The year's best in noise, out-jazz, contemporary classical, ambient, drone and more

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Craig Leon, 'Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music, Vol. 1: Nommos/Visiting'
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2. Craig Leon, 'Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music, Vol. 1: Nommos/Visiting'

A beautiful work of fan fiction in which synthesizer bliss-crafter Craig Leon imagines the music of extraterrestrials believed to have communication with a Malian tribe. It was recorded between 1980 and 1982, but was partially re-recorded and remastered for this edition. So what is this record exactly when it re-lands in 2014 with its bubbling, talkative textures, sky-filling drones and primitive drum machines? A lost incubation moment for minimal techno? An ambient record with sharp edges? A peak release for the unexpected new age revival? A cosmic response to John Fahey-style ecstatic country blues? Suicide having a Tangerine Dream?

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