Best of 2013

2013, Linn's fortieth anniversary year, has been full of fantastic new recordings.

As well as our special 'Linn 40th Anniversary Collection', highlights have included two spectacular recordings from Dunedin Consort - Six Brandenburg Concertos and John Passion - the final studio album from the late Sir Richard Rodney Bennett and Claire Martin, the chart-topping 'Dear River' from Emily Barker and The Red Clay Halo and a mesmerising recording of world-premiere arrangements by Kuniko.

We have also created a curated selection of over seven hundred Studio Master albums which features the bestsellers and new releases from out digital partners.

As usual, picking a 'best of' list when there are so many amazing albums to choose from is a really tough ask. Finally, we have settled on the following ten as our pick of 2013's releases:

 

Emily Barker1 Emily Barker - Dear River (Linn)

Full of contrasting dynamics and a broad cavalcade of emotions 'Dear River', the much-anticipated fourth studio album from Bafta and Ivor Novello award-winning Emily Barker, is a fascinating exploration of self, place and people. With producer Calum Malcolm (The Blue Nile) at the helm and the lush harmonies of her band The Red Clay Halo, the result is a beautiful, sensitive, provocative and at times surprising album.

'Ambitious and beautifully wrought, Dear River should mark Barker's entry into the big leagues.' 5 stars Q

 

Dunedin Consort Dunedin Consort - J.S.Bach: John Passion (Linn)

Nominated for a Gramophone Award, as well as being named 'Recording of the Month' by BBC Music, Gramophone and MusicWeb International, John Passion sees Bach specialist John Butt recreate a performance that never actually took place.

'Butt's contextualising demands to be heard: it's nothing short of a revelation.' 5 stars BBC Music

 

Jean-Michel Jarre Jean-Michel Jarre - Oxygene (Disques Dreyfus)

Oxygene is a lush combination of purring electronic beats and waves from the iconic French musician, Jean-Michel Jarre. With over 14 million copies sold so far, Oxygene has been described as leading the 'synthesizer revolution of the Seventies' and is the best selling French album of all time.

 

 

Belcea Quartet 4 Belcea Quartet - Beethoven: The Complete String Quartets, Vol. 2 (Zig Zag Territoires)

The Belcea Quartet's second volume of Beethoven String Quartets was named ‘Recording of the Month' by Gramophone. Recorded live, like its predecessor, in the superb concert hall conceived by Britten at Aldeburgh, this volume completes this brilliant cycle.

'Tuning remains pristine throughout, while tone, expressivity and attack is bolder...Faultless and unsettling.' 5 stars The Independent

 

Kuniko 5 Kuniko - Cantus (Linn)

Kuniko's eagerly awaited second album includes spellbinding world premiere recordings of the percussionist's new arrangements of popular works by contemporary composers Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich and Hywel Davies.

'Listening to these marimba rhythms is just right for a hot day, in fact it's as refreshing as standing inside Niagara.' 4 stars The Times

 

Eric Clapton6 Eric Clapton - Old Sock (Universal)

The humorously named 'Old Sock is a heartfelt, autobiographical work which presents Clapton's favourite numbers from childhood to present day. Additionally, it includes two new songs and a charismatic duet with the unforgettable Paul McCartney!

‘The album is full of surprises, one notable one being Ray Charles' "Born to Lose," which Clapton delivers with the most traditional-sounding country sound you've ever heard a bluesman dabble in.' 4 stars Blues Rock Review 

 

Amy Duncan7 Amy Duncan - Cycles of Life (Linn)

Amy Duncan's new album is a powerfully motivating work of art, given force by her strength of character which shines through in each track. With a stunning combination of captivating melodies and masterful storytelling, ‘Cycles of Life' has all the makings of a true classic.

'... the sheer range and power of Duncan's vocal apparatus are breathtaking. Duncan's voice evolves through her songs literally before your ears.' Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

 

Robin Ticciati8 Robin Ticciati - Berlioz: Les nuits d'ete (Linn)

Robin Ticciati cements his reputation as an outstanding Berliozian with his latest recording with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.  Ticciati coaxes immense expressiveness and subtle turns of phrase from the orchestra and prize-winning mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, with a familiarity and effortlessness that is thoroughly irresistible.

'...a performance of extraordinary musical delicacy, poetic sensitivity and emotional range...simply divine.' 5 Stars The Independent

 

Edgar Knecht 9 Edgar Knecht - Dance On Deep Waters (Ozella)

In a showstopping performance brimming with musical depth and compositional elegance, Edgar Knecht takes the listener on an inspirational journey through the highs and lows of the human experience: love, death and freedom. Firmly rooted in traditional German folk music, ‘Dance on Deep Waters' offers exciting interpretations of these songs.

'This music is simply stunning.' Jazzpodium

 

Maeve O'Boyle10 Maeve O'Boyle - Being Patient (Toy Town)

Recognised as being an astute lyricist and tunesmith, Maeve's second studio album reveals a matured songwriter and passionate observer; the politically tinged ‘Hero In The Sky' and heartfelt ‘Lamp' demonstrates her song-writing ability. It's a fantastic follow up to her debut 'All My Sins'.  

'[An] exceptional voice.' Daily Express