As the terminal frost of 2021 bites at our windshields and attacks our fingers, toes and temperaments it makes it all the easier to say good bye to what has been a trial for many and a chance to make good for the few. In our own little Prog community and music in general it is all to easy to focus on tragedy. I refer of course to the untimely demise within days of each other of Big Big Train’s David Longdon, The multi-talented John Miles and BBC radio DJ Janice Long.
As devastating as these catastrophic events have been I have managed to avoid them overshadowing the magnificent music that’s been recorded under adverse conditions. In fact, with usual recording, mastering and production facilities being well and truly out of bounds for many of the all but mega bands/artists 2021 has been a steep learning curve. It astounds be that given the present situation the standard of the music and recording quality sets new standards and placed the bar far higher than it was for professional recording studios, engineers and producers.
I was fortunate to have one of my fellow presenters at Progzilla Radio Alan Krazzlow stay with me at the close of summer this year all the way from Los Angeles. We discussed many aspects of the current music scene Prog or otherwise. When I played him some UK based artists of whom Alan had little prior knowledge he concurred at the standard of the music and all related elements of the production even down to the art work. Hey, I’ve been an Englishman in New York so I know what Krazz must have felt like being a Los Angelino in Teesside. This all made the choice of my top ten albums even more difficult. In fact, I would say there was at least three of the albums I would have considered joint first. However, when one sticks ones neck out and formulates a list one has to be brutal because someone is always top and someone is at the bottom of the list. Interestingly, there were so many fantastic albums released this year I decided to post my top 20 instead of my usual ten. It must me understood that there are no losers here, to be simply in the Progmeister’s top 20 indicates that you have achieved such a high standard of musicality and excellence giving listeners the ultimate in musical enjoyment. It only remains for me to say thank you to so many people not least the bands and artists who kept me personally sane as well as taking my mind off the present global situation and those in places of power sucking the life breath out of the arts. Here then is the Progmeister’s top 20 albums of 2021. Peace, love and light to you all and a very safe and happy new year.
- Allium Un Storia – Tillison-Reingold-Tirante
- Altitude – Lifesigns
- For King And Country – Cyan
- Island In The Sky – Glacier
- Dark Horizons – Illuminae
- Bigger On The Inside – Rachel Flowers
- The Future Bites – Steven Wilson
- Fragments – Trifecta
- Loves Lost Property – Three Colours Dark
- To Touch The Sky – The Emerald Dawn
- Innocence And Illusion – Amanda Lehmann
- It’s None Of Your Business – Caravan
- Under A Spell – Richard Barbieri
- The Blue Elephant – Matt Berry
- Songs From The Apricot Tree – Theo Travis
- Cycles Of Behaviour – Nick Fletcher
- The Most Dangerous Women In America – Laura Meade
- On Common Ground – Big Big Train
- Rattrapante – Cosmagraf
- Lost Themes III – John Carpenter