2023 has been the year for artists to unload full-length albums or committing to doing so in the coming days, weeks and months ahead.
“Can’t see the stars anymore living here/Let’s go to the hills where the outlines are clear/Bring on the wonder, bring on the song.” – ‘Bring on the wonder’ by Susan Enan
If you’re wondering about the present shape of the music industry, a great deal has happened and is still happening. But more on that later.
The conversation about LPs versus EPs or releasing songs simply as singles is over.
If 2023 has taught us anything, it is the fact that more and more musicians are going back to releasing full-length albums and in doing so are creating a body of work.
What we might think of a record is not the point. Taste is subjective. Our views could be different and what I think is beautiful, others might find too grim.
However, whatever the mood of an album, it is palpable that either records have been released or they will be, in the near future.
Though the space doesn’t allow for us to discuss every record that has released, the ones that you should explore can certainly be pointed out.
The music scene has become so wide and varied that it is undeniable.
But some of the full-length records that deserve to be listened to - without procrastination of any kind - include a handful of names. Only after listening to said records can you gauge what sonic universe and aesthetic you find most compelling.
Love in Exile by Pakistani-American artist Arooj Aftab, Indian-American pianist Vijay Iyer, and multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily is at the top of our list. Equally (if not more) beautiful records that make for required listening include Talisman by Slowspin, Ronaq by Natasha Noorani, Ordinary Miracle by Natasha Humera Ejaz, Turbo by Talal Qureshi as well as Zindagi by Kashmir. Other LPs to drop this year include Dance Karein Saari Raat by Umair Jaswal and Azaan by Azaan Sami Khan.
Talha Anjum, one half of Young Stunners, also released a full-length LP called Open Letter.
There are others who are working on their first records such as Meesha Shafi.
It was Omran Shafique, one of the best guitarists on many seasons of Coke Studio, as well as singer-songwriter of the one and only album of Mauj and music producer, who once said that you can never be too cynical about the music scene, years ago. As it turns out, he was right.