Offie Mag's Music of the Year 2022
And what a year it was, full of ups, downs, highs 'n' lows.
And what a struggle it was to compile a list that best shows of our favourites from 2022, so much so in fact, that instead of choosing 20, we decided to tenuously choose 22, as that was the year, smart, eh?
The fact remains though, it was an incredible year for music.
So here are our favourites (make sure you're buying and supporting where you can):
Binker & Moses - Feeding the Machine
In February Binker & Moses let 'Feeding the Machine' into the world via Gearbox Records. Binker Golding's sax and Moses Boyd's drums meet Max Luthert's synths to create raw, spiritual jazz that changes temperature and time. From baking hot sunsets to bitterly cold nights.
cktrl - yield
It was yet another great year for cktrl, who gave us 'yield,' a timeless, stripped-back EP that pulls baroque and classical into jazz. cktrl wanted to show that beautiful things can be made from scratch, with raw orchestration and instrumentation as opposed to sampling old records. He did it.
Contour - Onwards!
Released on vinyl with a lyric and photography book, Contour's ‘Onwards!' via Touching Bass is a deeply personal project. Every word feels like it's been carefully picked, and yet its grooves sound like the product of pure instinct.
Ebi Soda - Honk If You're Sad
Exploding onto Tru Thoughts with their first release on the label, Ebi Soda's ‘Honk If You're Sad' is as surreal as its artwork. The band revels in the weird as the "UK Jazz Outsiders" that they are but always reign it in to create entire narrative arcs on each track.
Fatima and Joe Armon-Jones - Tinted Shades
An unmissable release for avid listeners of Fatima's radio shows and Joe Armon-Jones' infectious, free jazz keys. ‘Tinted Shades' sits in the middle of that Venn diagram, with Fatima's personality and melty vocals so present on the Aquarii Records release.
Fly Anakin - Frank
'Frank' is one of Hip Hop's most-listed albums of the year. The Lex Records release got attention from little blogs and big fat magazines. Biographical lyrics over production that samples sounds from his childhood, Fly Anakin put out one of the realest records of the year too.
George Riley - Running In Waves
Rising star George Riley has well and truly risen. As you'll hear on 'Running In Waves,' the multi-talented Londoner is shining right now. The record has an ambience for solo listening and up-tempo cuts fit for clubs, sometimes on the same track.
Guohan - City of the Moon and Sun
Nottingham-based producer-beatmaker Guohan released his second full project this summer, as 'City of the Moon and Sun' picked up where 'Lost Sound Book' left off. This record is a little more up-tempo than the previous and like the artwork, this thing is textures on textures.
Jadasea - LOOKALIVE!
With production that sounds likes walking on crunchy, frosty pavements, and delivery that creates condensation on air, Jadasea’s 'LOOKALIVE!' is another cold addition to the growing discography of one of the UK's most-understated rap artists.
Jaydonclover - room service? vol 1
Birmingham's jaydonclover says that she makes sad songs. But it's more like healing music. There's always something positive to take away if you really listen. On 'room service? vol 1,' fire features and dylantheinfamous beats combine on Jaydon's most complete project yet.
Jianbo - Yellow Peril
London artist Jianbo took flight in 2022, with his acclaimed ‘Yellow Peril' EP harnessing his love for his city's Chinese-Vietnamese community to tell stories only he only could have written. Grime-tinged flows in places and Henry-Wu production credits. Mad.
Lord Apex and Cookin' Soul - Off the Strength
In 2018 Lord Apex told us that he wants to drop over a hundred projects in his lifetime. Now, by 2023 we've lost count of how many he's on, but he'll make it. That's for certain. The quality hasn't slipped for a single bar, let alone a project, and 'Off The Strength' with Cookin' Soul is case in point.
NAPPYNAPPA - ONDAMICUNDERDACOZMICLYTZ
On some tapes, you hear the first song, and you gotta hit the bookmark thingy real quick, so you don't lose it. That's NAPPYNAPPA's Bad Taste release this year. Gems that are so unique you just need to capture them and keep checking them, finding new details each time.
Northaze - collectALL&SAVE, We're Leaving Dark Times
In 2019, Leeds' Northaze told us they don't feel slept on cos the supporters they've got are 'die hard'. 'collectALL&SAVE, We're Leaving Dark Times' has the lightsaber sound their listeners already love, and contagious flows that will only help that fanbase grow.
Novelist - 4 THA HOMIES (unavailable on Bandcamp)
When Novelist dropped '4 THA HOMIES' this year, the UK summer was just sneaking through the clouds. In the sun, it was an instant hit. That G-funk influence genuinely feels like it was made for Nov and his friends to enjoy, first and foremost. That integrity is success itself.
Ojerime - Bad Influence (unavailable on Bandcamp)
‘Bad Influence' by Ojerime is another exceptional project that cements this artist's cult-like status in UK music. We caught Ojerime at a festival this year, and you really realise the impact her music has when crowds of people sing those hazy hooks as one.
Sam Gendel - blueblue
Sam Gendel, an artist with no social media, let’s the music and music alone speak for them. Released on Leaving Records, ‘blueblue’ is a minimal jazz/ambient record best served after an anxious day at the office. Pair it with shutting your eyes and lying down on the floor.
J Words and Semiratruth - Loading...
New Jersey raised J Words has had a ridiculous year. Their production found Semiratruth's rhymes to create ‘Loading…’, a self-released tape exclusive to Bandcamp that brings Hip Hop into post-modern, electronic realms.
Sofie Royer - Harlequin
Via Vienna and LA, Sofie Royer's 'Harlequin' on Stones Throw is a great example of creative freedom blossoming into something beautiful. Genre-wise this one's hard to plant. Shoots of left-field pop and even some rays of Euro-Disco. Multi-lingual lyrics are used to shed many moods.
Scuti - Intoxication EP (unavailable on Bandcamp)
The track 'KitKat' on this Scuti Intoxication EP deserves an award of its own. Skoo's self-assuredness and beat choices are a good match, allowing the artist to sit between the gaps of the UK's segregated rap sounds and make something that genuinely sounds unique. Easier said than done.
Wiki and Subjxct 5 - Cold Cuts
'Cold Cuts' by Wiki and Subjxct 5 is an ode to the mixtape era, with the latter's adlibs all over this record making it feel like you bought this project from the man himself on a street corner. As ever with Wiki, the bond with the producer he works with always feels so real.
OUR WINNER, AS VOTED FOR BY YOU, OUR LISTENERS, VIEWERS AND READERS...
The Purist & Sonnyjim - WHITE GIRL WASTED
The Purist & Sonnyjim collab 'WHITE GIRL WASTED' is a record fitting of each of these artists' ongoing legacies. A Madlib beat and a DOOM verse add the cherry on top of a cake that was fucking delicious already. The Purist tees Sonny up and he never misses. Good luck finding this one in stock...
- BuyBinker and Moses -Gearbox Records
Feeding The Machine
- Buycktrl -one-house
- BuyContour -Touching Bass
- BuyEbi Soda -Tru Thoughts
Honk If You're Sad
- BuyFatima & Joe Armon-Jones -Aquarii Records
- BuyFly Anakin -Lex Records
- BuyGeorge Riley -PLZ Make It Ruins
Running In Waves
- BuyGuohan -Darker Than Wax
City of the Sun and Moon
- BuyJadasea -
- Buyjaydonclover -[NOSPACES]
room service? volume one
- BuyJianbo -
- BuyCookin Soul & Lord Apex -
OFF THE STRENGTH
- BuyNAPPYNAPPA -Bad Taste
- BuyThe Northaze -
collectALL&SAVE, We're Leaving Dark Times.
- BuySam Gendel -LEAVING RECORDS
- BuySemiratruth & JWords -
- BuySofie Royer -Stones Throw
- BuyWhite Girl Wasted -
White Girl Wasted
- BuyWiki & Subjxct 5 -Wikset Enterprise