A funny thing about making year end best-of lists is that there's inevitably tons of great shit that comes out in a given year that you don't hear until after the year's over. Here's some really good records that came out in 2008 that I didn't hear until the last couple months:
Nico Muhly - Mothertounge Muhly re-interprets the genre of the art-song to incorporate 21st Century production techniques. Farfisa, synth, rhythmic minimalism, a soprano singing numbers; up my alley for sure.
Maryanne Amacher - Sound Characters vol. 2 Finally another record of Amacher's painfully under-documented work. The hour long multi-part composition Teo! is a masterpiece of contemporary electronic composition. Amacher uses richly textured sounds and psycho-acoustic effects to work directly in the realm of perception.
Kemialliset Ystavat "s/t" - This is my new favorite song! It sounds like a parade of animals in a Miyazaki movie. Jan Anderzén fell in love with Brenna's art and sent us their two newest albums in the mail as a trade for letting him use her images on their website. A real win-win situation. The leaders of psychedelic Finnish folk seem to strive towards abolishing conceptual binaries: acoustic/electronic, traditional/progressive, improvised/composed, past/future.
Fennesz - Black Sea While glitch electronica currently occupies a place in terms of cultural cache almost analogous to that of grunge during the late 90's, several of the movement's most talented practitioners continue to put out good records. Fennesz's solo albums have always tried to challenge the notion that experimental music is incapable of denoting sentiment, and "Black Sea" skillfully and naturally incorporates emotive tropes into a meticulous and compelling listening experience.