Most impactful albums, 2010-2019

even more than an average november/december, the end of this year has been flooded not just with top albums of the year lists but top albums of the decade lists as well. as if ranking the ‘best’ albums that came out in the past 12 months wasn’t ridiculous enough! i am generally apprehensive of these lists but invariably end up browsing through a lot of them, and it has been impossible to avoid thinking about the most important albums of my decade. in particular i’ve been thinking a lot about the albums that got me from where/who i was in 2010 to where/who i am now - two very different places/people.

:cd: this thread is a place to share and discuss the most influential albums of your personal decade :cd:


i’ll start! in 2010 i was a freshman in college, living in philadelphia in a dorm. in 2019 i am married, living and working in an apartment in chicago. it’s been a heck of a decade. it was actually pretty easy to pull together a short list of the albums that got me here. i’m trying not to be self-conscious about how ‘entry level’ most of these albums are; i guess that’s kinda why they’re on here - because they pointed me in a new direction. in no particular order:

  • velvet underground - white light/white heat | this album taught me to love chaos.
  • alex g - beach music | this album taught me that the weird and the not-weird, the nostalgic and the futuristic should all live together on the same track. alex is my favorite contemporary songwriter, no question.
  • brian eno - discreet music | the first time i heard this in 2014 was when i decided to try experimenting with synthesizers, tapes, etc. so simple and beautiful.
  • grateful dead - american beauty | this album taught me that there’s more to the dead than deadheads.
  • grouper - alien observer | tough to pick a single grouper album to put on here, but i think this one is my favorite. i think this was the first ‘ambient’ album i ever heard, and i still hear it in a lot of music made today.
  • lil b - white flame | it’s a real challenge to explain lil b’s enduring appeal. imho he is the quinessential outsider rapper of the last decade.
  • steve reich - music for 18 musicians | probably the first ‘minimal’ album i ever heard - i was immediately put under this album’s spell. i listened to it constantly for several months before even considering listening to any other reich or any of the other gods of minimalism.
  • lil ugly mane - mista thug isolation | this was a gateway to all of the people who influenced it. also a modern classic in it’s own right imho.

My highlight of the past decade is probably

  • A Hawk & A Hacksaw - You Have Already Gone To The Other World(2013)

Great thread idea.

Is it possible to have a formative experience in your thirties? No music had a bigger impact on where I am musically than Alessandro Cortini’s Forse albums.

That was how I discovered my appreciation for how much can be done with how little. I’ve pored over the albums, the Easel manual, listened to them for hours trying to recreate the patches in my mind. One piece of gear with one fancy reverb pedal has created some of the most impactful music I’ve listened to, modular or not. These albums really steered where I ended up.


Looks like my scrobbler stopped working about halfway through the decade, but here’s my greatest hits from the first part of the decade:

Robert Rich - Ylang - February 2010
Bonobo - Black Sands - March 2010
Gold Panda - Companion - April 2010
Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma - May 2010
Mono/Poly - Paramatma - May 2010
Kode9 - DJ-Kicks - June 2010
Lorn - Nothing Else - June 2010
Mount Kimbie - Crooks & Lovers - July 2010
Shigeto - Full Circle - August 2010
Beats Antique - Blind Threshold - September 2010
Teebs - Ardour - October 2010
Raquy and the Cavemen - Release the Green Lover - November 2010
ISAM - Amon Tobin - April 2011
Bowser - Bowser - April 2011
Shlomo - Shlo-Fi - May 2011
Bassnectar - Divergent Spectrum - July 2011
Robert Rich - Medicine Box - October 2011
Beats Antique - Elektrafone - October 2011
ill.Gates - The Ill.Methodology - October 2011
Orbital - Wonky - February 2012
Bassnectar - Vava Voom - April 2012
Filastine - Loot - April 2012
Kid Koala - 12 bit Blues - September 2012
The Gaslamp Killer - Breakthrough - September 2012
Bonobo - The North Borders - February 2013
Bibio - Silver Wilkinson - May 2013
Filastine - Looted - May 2013
Boards of Canada - Tomorrow’s Harvest - June 2013
Beats Antique - A Thousand Faces - Act 1 - October 2013
Four Tet - Beautiful Rewind - October 2013
Dorian Concept - Joined Ends - October 2014
Flying Lotus - You’re Dead! - October 2014


love going deep into stuff like this- reflecting on how albums changed us, shaped us. perspective can be a very powerful thing. (borrowing from @barnjazz 's excellent formatting!) in 2010 I was a sophomore/junior in high school.

  • noah and the whale - first days of spring | this more than any album in my life has serious emotional and memory attachment. it was there for my first experiences of heartbreak has been with me ever since for those that came after. it remains my favorite complete album of all time- nothing has ever come close for me in honestly capturing that feeling of complete loss and isolation.

  • u2 - achtung baby | I was an enormous U2 fan throughout middle school and into high school, but as I got older this one really started to stick out to me as their best work, and no doubt influenced my slow progression towards getting into more experimental/electronic music.

  • muse - origin of symmetry | oh, muse…they’ve since become a complete joke in my opinion, but the music they released around this time was fantastic. “citizen erased” is a masterpiece of the genre for me. fond memories of seeing them live in high school, just an incredible live band.

  • bon iver - bon iver | another one that I listened to a LOT around my senior year of high school, instantly takes me back to the excitement I had leading up into going to college- it was an emotional time for sure.

  • radiohead - kid a | (no youtube link available…) don’t need to say much here- and I’m sure I’ve said this on this forum before, but I’m not sure I would have ever touched a synthesizer had I not heard this album. it changed everything for me.

  • rachmaninoff - piano concerto no.2 | certainly not a hot take here, but one of the best classical pieces ever written. forever changed the way I play and write piano- I still use those big spread Rachmaninoff voicings in so much of my music, and probably always will.

  • nils frahm - spaces | if kid a convinced me to experiment with synthesizers, Nils and this album convinced me to actually really pursue being an artist in the genre, and to play live. before this I had zero intentions of ever playing this kind of music outside of my film scores, and certainly never as an actual live performer. I just didn’t think there was a real place or demand for this kind of music- but hearing this and seeing how people responded, it was like a whole world of possibility opened up.


I’d find it too hard to rank individual albums, but my greatest (albeit very extended) listening experience of the decade was probably listening through at least one album from almost everybody on the Nurse with Wound List. For better or worse, nothing sounded weird to me after that.


Let’s see. In 2010 I just finishing college. I was in Eau Claire, WI, hometown to Justin Vernon, who I was very lucky to see live in smalls settings some years earlier. But when the Bon Iver self titled album came out, it was another one of those shifts in how I understood what you could do with music and how it could be composed.

Around the same time, Hey Rosetta! released their album, Seeds, which resonated with my compositional dispositions.

I spent some time playing Bluegrass and Old Timey music over the last decade too, so LOTS of Chris Thiele, Noam Pikelny, and Punch Brothers/other side projects. After The Phosphorescent Blues album was released, I was re-introduced to electronic music by Alessandro Cortini, via the Forse albums and Avanti album.

I regularly find myself listening to all these albums probably once a month. But I think the connection I have to the Bon Iver Bon Iver album speaks to me most. It was released as I entered a post-collegiate world, a change in understanding of what’s ahead of me, both in musical possibilities and in life!


(discogs links)


AE_LIVE_DUBLIN really appealed to me, along with several bootlegs from their US tour in 2015. I mean, I was floored by the AE_LIVE releases (especially Dublin & Utrecht, and several of the North America recordings) … saw them play the Bluebird theater in Denver, during Autumn 2015. It was truly awesome. Elseq (as a whole) is great… all of the mp3s fit on a CD-r, too

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Some words about a few things from the past ten years:

Nicholas Szczepanik’s Ante Algo Azul subscription series ( from 2011, along with many other pieces of his discography, have been hugely impactful for me. I don’t think I would’ve ever attempted my own subscription series had I not experienced Nicholas’ work first, and it was the very first release in this series which led me to Eliane Radigue (specifically, L’île re-sonante) and led my musical journey to places I never expected it to go. Sharing a bill with Nicholas earlier this year was an honor after spending more than a decade listening to his work.

The Caretaker’s An empty bliss beyond this world and discovering most of William Basinski’s discography in the early '10s helped me develop a greater appreciation for loop-based recordings and found / archival sound recordings. This also influenced the visual work I was doing for my BFA senior thesis project in 2013, which had explored themes of loss, disintegration, memory, and image archives in my personal life.

Synth-based records like Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s EARS (, Caterina Barbieri’s Patterns of Consciousness (, Keith Fullerton Whitman’s Generator ( — technically a 2009 record but released digitally in 2010), Alessandro Cortini’s Forse series (hopefully Important Records puts these up on Bandcamp one of these days…), and Coil’s Time Machines album ( — released in 1998 and officially remastered and reissued in 2017) have all had profound effects on how I think about synthesizers and how I approach my own work with modular synths.

The Weeknd’s mixtape trilogy and Kiss Land records and Carly Rae Jepsen’s E-MO-TION got me back into R&B and pop music in huge way and got a lot of repeat play from me after their releases, but I haven’t really connected with much that they’ve done since.


I’ll bite. Not sure if it’s only personally impactful during the period, or released during the period, so I’ll go for both:

Metronomy - The English Riviera
Powell - 11-14
Raime - Quarter Turns Over a Living Line
Tal National - Kaani
Toro Y Moi - Causers of This
75 Dollar Bill - Wood/Metal/Plastic
Highlife World Series (not really an album)
Kamasi Washington - Heaven and Earth
Colleen - The Weighing of the Heart
Andy Stott - Luxury Problems
Actress - RIP
Mourning A Blkstar - Reckoning


Sia - 1000 Forms of Fear
Kanye West - Yeezus

edit: @Rodrigo and I are wondering why @instantjuggler hasn’t liked my post…we’re 1 hour in!


I’m sure I’m missing a few but here are some standouts for me:

Earth – Angels of Darkness Demons of Light (Part 2)
Boards of Canada – “Tomorrow’s Harvest”
Oneohtrix Point Never – “R Plus Seven”
Tim Hecker – Discography
Queens of the Stone Age – “Like Clockwork”
Brian Eno – “The Ship”
Radiohead – “A Moon Shaped Pool”
Chris Walla – “Tape Loops”
Max Richter – “From Sleep"
Bing and Ruth - “No Home of the Mind”
Federico Durand – “La Niña Junca”
Caterina Barbieri – Patterns of Consciousness
Alessandro Cortini - Forse 1 - 3
Marcus Fischer - Loss
Felicia Atkinson - Discography
Visible Cloaks - Discography
Aphex Twin – “Syro”
Sharon Van Etten – “Are We There”
Mica Levi – “Under the Skin (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)”
Low - Double Negative
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Suzanne Ciani - Sunergy
Sunn O))) - Monoliths and Dimensions
Sugai Ken - UkabazUmorezU
A Winged Victory for the Sullen - Self Titled
Grouper - AIA
William Basinski - Discography


love this perspective, not the best albums, but who was I during the last decade showed by music. thanks :slight_smile:
my decade starts with an important change, after years I separated from my wife. I don’t know if this situation got me to be more introspective and to try a reboot of my life, but after years of hardcore punk, post punk and indie I restarted to hear and play my first love, experimental, nu jazz and electronic music.
so… just a sample
Kraftwerk - Radio-Activity
Pan*American - For Waiting For Chasing
Nils Petter Molvær - Khmer
William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops
The Orb - UFOrb
Mira Calix - One On One
Various - Early Modulations Vintage Volts
Neu - Neu2
Boards Of Canada - Hi Scores
Bill Laswell - Oscillations


oh man! i can’t even hardly talk about it… kanye went full into his new era and i don’t think i can follow!! i’ve built my entire life around him… don’t know what to do now! can’t even engage the thought. he’s said now he regrets yeezus and everything about it. i don’t know who i am anymore… (i’m half joking??)



  • Blond - Frank Ocean


  • 'Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! - GY!BE

edit: also, Soft Airplane - Chad VanGaalen


In 2010 I was a Junior/Senior in high school, and 2011-2015 I was in Philadelphia in college (@n-So @barnjazz too bad we didn’t bump into each other!)

It was a decade with a lot of changes (moving! learning! death!) and it was an interesting experiencing delving back and remembering the soundtracks to those experiences… thanks :slight_smile: on the other hand i also combed thru my old tumblr and that was a horrifying and humbling experience so no thanks for that…

  • My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Kanye West (& Co) This album is so textural and rich and the “Good Friday” demo drops that he did every friday through Fall 2010 was so important to my group of friends and especially something that me and my current partner would get excited about together before we started dating ^___^ Also I say “& co” because the collaborative nature of this album was so essential to it, in the way that it probably is for many contemporary pop albums, but Kanye relishes in it in a way that I find inspiring.

  • God’s Father - Lil B For me, this is THE lil b tape. Turned Me Cold remains one of my favorite songs of all time, but I’m gonna resist the urge to analyze it here :stuck_out_tongue: This was his best era though IMO. A few years later I skipped a final for “personal reasons” and went to see lil b live. I got to meet him and cried. He told me he loved me. It was honestly a near religious experience—I was in a very particular emotional state…

  • Beyoncé - Beyoncé I was in Amman, Jordan when Beyonce surprise dropped this album. The family I was living with had limited wifi so I immediately went to school and downloaded all the videos on the school wifi. I don’t know how many times I watched those videos… This was obviously a huge popular music moment and all that, but it felt very much like one I was a part of and while I loved Beyoncé before, this experience brought it to whole new levels. Beyond just this album, she constantly inspires me in her work ethic, dedication, and perfectionism. The platonic ideal of a virgo. 4 and Lemonade both came out this decade too so I can’t pretend like she might not have 3 albums in my top 10 :open_mouth:

  • To Pimp A Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar I liked GKMC but this album stuck in my ear like no other. The construction of the sonic palette and story/world in which this album exists is exquisitely done. I don’t know if the aesthetics of it are an influence, but the approach certainly is.

  • A Seat at the Table - Solange This albums combination delicious delicateness and hard-hitting politics is one of the best representations of the personal is political in music that I’ve heard. God all the videos are so good too <3

  • Masseducation - St Vincent Marry Me is still my favorite St Vincent album but I really enjoyed this more poppy entry in her catalog and it came at a good time for me.

  • Matangi - MIA Love all MIA’s stuff, this album in particular got me more into electronic music though feels like it should have a mention here :stuck_out_tongue:

  • Odd Future this is cheating but all of Tyler the Creator’s albums, Frank Ocean’s albums, and the Internet’s albums, have been important to me this decade, and a few of the other member’s work too. Coming out of West LA at the same age as these guys this was the soundtrack for me from the end of high school through college.

  • Ghosteen - Nick Cave This is the one that’s hit me hardest this year, listen if you want to cry.


DJ Rashad’s perfect run of Rollin, I Don’t Give a Fuck and Double Cup still continue to blow my mind, and are made all the more impactful by his untimely death.


Blond is unreal, I’m forever coming back to that album