"seven" does not escape this ritual, although we took our time to sort out the last offerings of the year with its usual before the holidays rush (apparently it affects even obscure electronic music genres).
these summaries seem to be a little pointless - on one hand, we are faced with the task of journalistic integrity - one needs to take into account everything that has been released in 2002, spend time analyzing and comparing, finally arriving at some conclusions. obviously, we could be reviewing and discovering gems released in 2002 for months an even years to come (take arbre noir meets polygon collaboration or telefon tel aviv's "fahrenheit not enough" that I got to hear only a year after their appearance).
on another hand, we keep going back and forth along the coils of a spiral that is music evolution; it would be unfair to limit my personal "year in music" just to the new material. missing persons and arvo pärt, xenakis and steve roach, drexciya and apoptose were some of the (re)discovered new names that have started obsessions illuminated by the gleeful glow of collector's eyes.
how does one "judge" the records? our impression is influenced by so many factors - there is no "pure" response - we are way past the idealistic claims of music as the absolute entity - we are influenced by artwork, the thought and the process behind the sound (sometimes the question is - do we really want to dig deeper into these, since it can destroy our initial fascination?), by innovation and references to various cultural contexts. all of the above is overlaid on top of our previous tastes and overall aesthetics. of course, one has to separate the format - how do you compare a brilliant 3" record and a double-cd that contains twice as much excellent material as well as plenty of spoilers? how do we evaluate the work of a label that often shapes and completes the creative vision of the artist (ant-zen being an example)?
the older we get, the more music we listen to, the more books we read, the more films we watch - the more we experience, not only widening (in purely quantitative terms), but also "deepening" the search. we always keep coming back again and again, to the core of our ideals, shaping and refining - whatever were the initial forces that drove us to energy of ebm, to idealism of industrial, to beauty of dark ambience, cold minimalism of glitch, drive of electro or radicalism of idm - all these genres that transcend the notion of "just music." we continuously refine, redefined, and cross-reference our impressions from these genres; new, radical, subversive, experimental, dark will always attract us, but those very definitions change as the time goes by.
we will not answer all of these questions here, we do not propose any solutions; instead we offer a compromise: what follows is an unordered list of albums that appeared in 2002 and caught our attention.