December 22, 2012

The Great Filter theory suggests humans have already conquered the threat of extinction

It's difficult to not be pessimistic when considering humanity's future prospects. Many people would agree that it's more likely than not that we'll eventually do ourselves in. And in fact, some astrobiologists theorize that all advanced civilizations hit the same insurmountable developmental wall we have. They call it the Great Filter. It's a notion that's often invoked to explain why we've never been visited by extraterrestrials.

But there is another possible reason for the celestial silence. Yes, the Great Filter exists, but we've already passed it. Here's what this would mean.

Before we can get to the Great Filter hypothesis we have to appreciate what the Fermi Paradox is telling us.

The Fermi Paradox and the Great Silence

The so-called "Great Silence" is the contradictory and counter-intuitive observation that we have yet to see any evidence for the existence of aliens. The size and age of the Universe suggests that many technologically advanced extraterrestrial intelligences (ETIs) ought to exist -- but this hypothesis seems inconsistent with the lack of observational evidence to support it.

Despite much of what popular culture and sci-fi would lead us to believe, the fact that we haven't been visited by ETIs is disturbing. Our galaxy is so ancient that it could have been colonized hundreds, if not thousands, of times over by now. Even the most conservative estimates show that we should have already made contact either directly or indirectly (such as from dormant Bracewell communication probes).

Some skeptics dismiss the Fermi Paradox by suggesting that ETI's have come and gone, or that they wouldn't find us interesting.

Unfortunately, most solutions to the FP don't hold for a number of reasons, including the realization that a colonization wave of superintelligent aliens would likely rework the fabric of all life in the cosmos (e.g. uplifting), or that these solutions are sociological in nature (i.e. they lack scientific rigor and don't necessarily apply to the actions of all advanced civilizations; all it would take is just one to think and behave differently -- what astrobiologists refer to as the non-exclusivity problem).

There have been many attempts to resolve the Fermi Paradox, including the herculean attempt by Stephen Webb in his book, Fifty Solutions to Fermi's Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life.

But one solution stands out from the others, mostly on account of its brute elegance: The Great Filter.

The Great Filter

Conceived in 1998 by Robin Hanson, the GF is the disturbing suggestion that there is some kind of absurdly difficult step in the evolution of life -- one that precludes it from becoming interstellar.

And like the immutable laws of the universe, the GF is a stumbling block that holds true across the board; if it applies here on Earth, it applies everywhere.

Many look upon the GF as evidence that we'll destroy ourselves in the future. The basic idea is that every civilization destroys itself before developing space-faring technologies. Hence the empty cosmos. Given our own trajectory and the ominous presence of apocalyptic weapons, this scenario certainly seems plausible. We're not even close to going interstellar, yet we're certainly capable of self-annihilation.

But that doesn't mean this interpretation of the GF is the correct one. Rather, it's quite possible that human civilization has already passed the Great Filter. Should this be the case, it would be exceptionally good news. Assuming there's no other filter awaiting us in the future, it means we might be the first and only intelligent civilization in the Milky Way.

It's a possibility, however, that demands explanation. If the filter is behind us, what was it? And how did we manage to get past it? Interestingly, there are some excellent candidates.

Rare Earth

First and foremost there's the Rare Earth Hypothesis (REH), the suggestion that the emergence of life was extremely improbable for a confluence of reasons. The theory essentially suggests that we hit the jackpot here on Earth.

This argument, which was first articulated by geologist Peter Ward and astrobiologist Donald E. Brownlee, turns the whole Copernican Principle on its head. Instead of saying that we're nothing special or unique, the REH implies the exact opposite -- that we are freakishly special and unique. What we see here on Earth in this solar system and in this part of the Galaxy may be a remarkable convergence of highly unlikely factors -- factors that have resulted in a perfect storm of conditions suitable for the emergence of complex life.

It's important to note that Ward and Brownlee are not implying that it's one or two conditions that can explain habitability, but rather an entire array of happy accidents. For example, stars might have to be of the right kind (including adequate metallicity and safe distance from dangerous celestial objects), and planets must be in a stable orbit with a large moon. Other factors include the presence of gas giants, plate tectonics, and many others.

But even with all the right conditions, life was by no means guaranteed. It's quite possible that the Great Filter involved the next set of steps: the emergence of life and its ongoing evolution.

The improbability of life

Indeed, in addition to all the cosmological and chemical prerequisites for life, there were at least three critical stages that could all be considered candidates for the Great Filter: (1) the emergence of reproductive molecules (abiogenesis and the emergence of RNA), (2) simple single-celled life (prokaryotes), and (3) complex single-celled life (eukaryotes).

Chemists and biologists are still not entirely sure how the first self-replicating molecules came into existence. Unlike its big brother, DNA, RNA is a single-stranded molecule that has a much shorter chain of nucleotides. Moreover, it usually needs DNA to reproduce itself -- which would have been a problem given the absence of DNA in those early days.

That said, scientists know that RNA is capable of reproducing through autocatalysis. It does this by storing information similar to DNA, which allows it to become its own catalyst (a ribosome). This so-called RNA World Model suggests that RNA can function as both a gene and an enzyme -- a pre-DNA configuration that eventually became the basis for all life.

Given that we've never detected life elsewhere, it's difficult to know how difficult this initial step was. But that said, this form of life emerged super-early in the Earth's history -- about a billion years after its formation, and immediately after the cooling of rocks and the emergence of oceans.

But what we do know is that the next few steps -- the leap from single-celled life to complex single-celled life -- was exceedingly difficult, if not highly improbable. The process of copying a genetic molecule is extremely complex, involving the perfect configuration of proteins and other cellular components.

Here's how it likely happened: Once a self-replicating molecule emerged, the presence of RNA allowed for the formation of protobionts, a theoretic precursor to prokaryotic cells. These tightly bound bundles of organic molecules contained RNA within their membranes -- which could have evolved into proper prokaryotic cells.

And here's where it gets interesting. After the formation of prokaryotes -- about 3.5 billion years ago -- nothing changed in the biological landscape for the next 1.8 billion years. Life in this primitive form was completely stuck. Imagine that -- no evolution for almost two billion years. It was only after the endosymbiosis of multiple prokaryotes that complex single-cell life finally emerged -- a change that was by no means guaranteed, and possibly unlikely.

And it's this highly improbable step, say some scientists, that's the Great Filter. Everything that happened afterward is a complete bonus.

Now that said, there may have been other filters as well. These could include the emergence of terrestrial organisms, hominids, and various civilizational stages, like the transition from stone age culture to agricultural to industrial. But unlike the first primordial stages already discussed, these are porous filters and not terribly unlikely.

More filters ahead?

So, if the GF is behind us, it would do much to explain the Fermi Paradox and the absence of extraterrestrial influence on the cosmos. Should that be the case, we may very well have a bright future ahead of us. The Milky Way Galaxy is literally ours for the taking, our future completely open-ended.

But before we jump to conclusions, it's only fair to point out that we're not out of the woods yet. There could very well be another GF in the future -- one just as stingy as the filters of our past. The universe, while giving the appearance of bio-friendliness, may in reality be extremely hostile to intelligent life.

This article originally appeared at io9.

Image: Top via; NASA, Igor Zh./shutterstock, Ron Miller, primordial soup.

When will we finally have a world government?

Political scientists and science fiction writers alike have long been taken with the idea that humans would one day form a global government. Yet few of us take this prospect very seriously, often dismissing it as an outright impossibility or very far off in the future. Given the rapid pace of globalization, however, it would seem that humanity is inexorably headed in this direction. So how long will it take us to build a world government? We talked to an expert to find out.

Top image of Star Trek's United Federation of Planets council chamber courtesy CBS.

To help us better understand this issue, we contacted sociologist James Hughes from Trinity College in Connecticut. Hughes, an ardent supporter of global government, feels that it's an idea whose time has come.

"We need world government for the same reason that we need government in general," he told us. "There are a number of things -- what we can agree are collective goods -- that individuals, markets, voluntary organizations, and local governments aren't able to produce -- and which can only be provided through the collective action of states."

Hughes, whose thinking was significantly influenced by the Star Trekian vision of a global-scale liberal democracy, argues that there a number of things that only a world government is capable of doing -- like ending nuclear proliferation, ensuring global security, intervening to end genocide, and defending human rights. He also believes that it will take a global regime to finally deal with climate change, and that it's the best chance we have to launch civilization-scale projects, including the peaceful and controlled colonization of the solar system.

The trick, he says, is to get there. But by all accounts, it appears that we're on our way.

The thrust of history

Indeed, it certainly looks as if humanity is naturally headed in this direction; the prospect of a global government has been on the political radar for centuries.

The ancient Greeks and Romans prophesied of a single common political authority for all of humanity, as did many philosophers of the European Enlightenment, especially Immanuel Kant.

More recently, the urge has manifest in the form of international organizations like the League of Nations, which later re-emerged as the United Nations -- efforts that were seen as a way to bind the international community together and prevent wars from occurring.

But today, cynicism rules. The great powers, countries like the United States, Russia, and China, feel they have the most to lose by deferring to a higher, more global-scale authority. It's for this and other reasons that the UN has been completely undermined.

But as Hughes points out, opposition or not, the thrust of history certainly points to the achievement of a world government. Citing the work of Robert Wright and Steven Pinker, Hughes argues that our units of government are increasingly expanding to cover larger numbers of people and larger territories -- a trend that has encouraged the flourishing of commerce and the suppression of violence.

A quick survey shows that the world is undergoing a kind of political consolidation. In addition to cultural and economic globalization, human societies are also bringing their political entities together. Various regions of the world have already undergone successful unions, the most prominent being China. The United States has already done it, but it took a hundred years and a civil war that killed 2% of its citizens.

And of course, there's Europe. It's currently undergoing a well-earned and peaceful political unification process. But like Americans, Europeans didn't take the easy path. The two World Wars of the twentieth century are often seen as a part of the same overarching conflict -- a European civil war in which various colonial, political, and ideological interests fought to force the direction of the consolidation process.

"The process is messy and fitful, but inexorable," says Hughes. "Every time Europe seems ready to unravel, the logic of a tighter union pushes them forward -- as it did just last week into the new European banking union agreements."

But as Hughes notes, the problems Europe faces in convincing states to give up sovereignty to transnational authorities are precisely the same problems that are faced at the global level -- but with a hundred times the difficulty.

"That is if this century doesn't create new economic, cultural and communication forces for political globalization, and then new catastrophic threats to make the need for global governance inescapable, which it is very likely to do," says Hughes. And by "catastrophic threats," he's referring to the ongoing perils of climate change, terrorism, and emerging technologies.

And indeed, there are other examples of political consolidation outside of Europe. Africa is slowly but surely moving towards an African Union, as is South America. North America is currently bound by NAFTA, and Canada has even considered forging an agreement with the EU.

The end of isolationism

As Hughes is quick to point out, the threat of being shunned and outcast by the larger international community is a powerful motivator for a country to adopt more beneficent policies.

"This has provided an ecological advantage to larger governments and federal structures so that holdouts like Burma eventually give up their isolation," he says. "The irony of the process is that the creation of federal transnational structures supports the political independence of local groups."

Without the political pressure and direct military intervention of NATO, the European Union, and the United Nations, says Hughes, we would have never realized an independent Kosovo, South Sudan, or East Timor. Moreover, he argues, if Turks weren't anxious to remain on good terms with Europe and other international actors, they would likely be far more repressive to the Kurds -- and the same is probably true vis-à-vis Israelis and Palestinians, and other conflicts.

"Transnational governance already puts pressure on the nation-states that limit how much repression they can enact against minorities, but it is obviously inadequate when we are still powerless to help Tutsis, Tibetans, Chinese Muslims, or Chechens," says Hughes. "The stronger our transnational judiciaries, legislatures, and military and economic enforcement of world law gets, the more effectively we can protect minority rights."

Moreover, the withering away of the sovereign nation-state could be seen as a good thing. As Kenneth Waltz noted in his seminal 1959 book, Man, the State, and War, the ongoing presence of the traditional nation-state will only continue to heighten the possibility of armed conflict.

Hughes agrees. He sees political globalization as a developmental path that will eventually limit government powers.

"As George Orwell graphically depicted in 1984, the endless pitting of nation-states against one another is the most powerful rationale for the power of oppressive government," he told us.

A danger of global repression?

There is, of course, a dark side to having a global government. There's the potential, for example, for a singular and all-powerful regime to take hold, one that could be brutally oppressive -- and with no other nation states to counter its actions.

It's well known, for example, that the Nazis envisioned a global government, what the democracies correctly assessed as a threat to liberal values, democracy, freedom of thought -- and the lives of millions (if not billions) of innocent people. As a result of the ensuing tragedy, some critics of global government warn that we shouldn't put all our eggs in one political basket. Having sovereign and politically disparate nation-states is a safeguard against the rise of a monolithic and all-encompassing regime.

But Hughes contends that political expansion has helped to suppress despotism and the defense of individual and minority rights -- from the establishing of voting rights for black Americans to the European Court of Justice's decisions on reproductive and sexual minority rights.

"That was not, of course, the case with the Soviet Union, so the anxiety that a powerful United Nations full of undemocratic states would be an anti-democratic force in the world was entirely justified during the Cold War," he told io9. "While the spread of democracy has made a liberal democratic global federalism increasingly likely, progressives will nonetheless sometimes face issues where global policy would be reactionary, and local autonomy needs to be defended until the balance of forces change."

Indeed, should a global governance arise, it would be prudent to enshrine fundamental constitutional rights and freedoms to prevent an authoritarian or totalitarian catastrophe. And at the same time, charters should be implemented to guarantee the rights of minority groups.

Global government when?

It's obviously difficult to predict when a global government can be achieved given that there's no guarantee that it will ever happen. As noted, the great powers will be very reluctant to give up what they consider to be sovereignty rights. And in the case of China and other countries, there are other potential deal-breakers, such as the ongoing isolationist urge, xenophobia, and incompatible political/ideological beliefs.

But given the pace of accelerating change across virtually all human domains, it may happen sooner than we think. It's not unreasonable to predict some manner of global governance taking shape in the latter half of the 21st century.

At the same time, however, a global government won't happen merely because it's deemed desirable.

"Without a vision the people perish," says Hughes. "If we want to see democratic globalization we have to openly point towards it as the goal."

He recommends that supporters join world federalist organizations like the Citizens for Global Solutions, the Union of European Federalists, or the World Federalist Movement.

"Advocates should put global federalist solutions forward as the most obvious way to address global problems -- even if such solutions appear currently chimerical. The world is changing quickly and what appears utopian today may appear obvious tomorrow," he says.

We asked Hughes if he thinks that global governance can actually be achieved.

"I do believe it is possible to eventually achieve a global directly-elected legislature, complemented by global referenda and a global judiciary, controlling a global law enforcement military, and supported by global taxes like the Tobin Tax," he responded.

But there are a lot of other ways that political globalization can provide peace and prosperity short of that.

For example, progress could be measured by the incremental strengthening of all the agencies of transnational governance, from regional bodies like the EU and African Union, to treaty enforcement mechanisms like the WTO, IAEA and ITU, to the United Nations.

"I believe all those bodies will grow in importance and clout over the coming century," he told us, "propelled by the growth of transnational political movements, such as the world federalist movement, NGOs, the Socialist International, and other social movements."

This article originally appeared at io9.

Other images: Makaristos, Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah / Reuters, PBS, CBS.

December 9, 2012

Best Songs of 2012

Here's my second annual best songs of the year list. This was a particularly strong year as far as songs go; the first 20 tracks listed below are all monsters. Here are the top 100 tracks of 2012:

                                                   1. Cloud Nothings: “Wasted Days”                  
                "I thought I would be more than this! I thought I would be more than this!!"

2. School of Seven Bells: “Lafaye”

3. Mykki Blanco: “Wavvy”
"I'm the muthafuckin' rookie of the year..."

4. El-P: “The Full Retard”
"Pump this shit like they do in the future!"

5. Beach House: “Lazuli”

6. Laurel Halo: ""Light + Space”
"Words are just words, words are just words, that you soon forget..."

7. Sharon Van Etten: “Give Out”

8. Death Grips: “Hacker”
"I know the first three numbers..."

9. DIIV: “How Long Have You Known”

10. Father John Misty: “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”
"Jesus Christ, girl."
"Someone's gotta help me dig..."

11. iamamiwhoami: “Sever”

12. Tame Impala: “Apocalypse Dreams”

13. Bear in Heaven: “Sinful Nature”

14. Grimes: “Genesis”

15. Rose Cousins: “One Way”

16. Unicorn Kid: “Pure Space”

17. Cloud Nothings: “No Sentiment"
"We started a war!!"

18. Frank Ocean: “Pyramids”

19. Miike Snow: “The Wave”

20. Purity Ring: “Fineshrine”
"My little ribs around you"
The entire list:
  1. Cloud Nothings: “Wasted Days”
  2. School of Seven Bells: “Lafaye”
  3. Mykki Blanco: “Wavvy”
  4. El-P: “The Full Retard”
  5. Beach House: “Lazuli”
  6. Laurel Halo: ""Light + Space”
  7. Sharon Van Etten: “Give Out”
  8. Death Grips: “Hacker”
  9. DIIV: “How Long Have You Known”
  10. Father John Misty: “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”
  11. iamamiwhoami: “Sever”
  12. Tame Impala: “Apocalypse Dreams”
  13. Bear in Heaven: “Sinful Nature”
  14. Grimes: “Genesis”
  15. Rose Cousins: “One Way”
  16. Unicorn Kid: “Pure Space”
  17. Cloud Nothings: “No Sentiment"
  18. Frank Ocean: “Pyramids”
  19. Miike Snow: “The Wave”
  20. Purity Ring: “Fineshrine”
  21. Pallbearer: "Devoid of Redemption"
  22. Blut Aus Nord: "Epitome XIV"
  23. Black Moth Super Rainbow: “Spraypaint”
  24. Chairlift: “Met Before”
  25. DIIV: “Doused”
  26. Dirty Projectors: “Gun Has No Trigger”
  27. Django Django: ""Default”
  28. Father John Misty: “Nancy From Now On”
  29. Frankie Rose: “Know Me”
  30. Jessie Ware: “Wildest Moments”
  31. Lambchop: “Gone Tomorrow”
  32. Mister Lies: “I Walk”
  33. Porcelain Raft: “Drifting In and Out”
  34. Purity Ring: “Lofticries”
  35. Ramona Falls: “Spore”
  36. Blut Aus Nord: "Epitome XVI"
  37. Swans: “A Piece of the Sky”
  38. Pallbearer: "An Offering of Grief"
  39. Thee Oh Sees: “Lupine Dominus”
  40. Ty Segall Band: “I Bought My Eyes”
  41. The Walkmen: “Heaven”
  42. Baroness: "Board Up the House"
  43. Perfume Genius: “Hood”
  44. The Shins: “Simple Song”
  45. Ty Segall & White Fence: “Time”
  46. Ty Segall Band: “Wave Goodbye”
  47. White Fence: “It Will Never Be”
  48. Burial: “Ashtray Wasp”
  49. David Byrne & St. Vincent: “Who"
  50. Frankie Rose: “Interstellar"
  51. Japandroids: “The House That Heaven Built”
  52. Nas: “Accident Murderers”
  53. Chromatics: “Kill For Love”
  54. The Shins: “Bait And Switch”
  55. Sky Ferreira: “Everything is Embarassing”
  56. Tame Impala: “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”
  57. Ty Segall & White Fence: “I Am Not A Game”
  58. Beach House: “Myth”
  59. Frank Ocean: “Bad Religion”
  60. Baroness: "Stretchmarker"
  61. Lotus Plaza: “Strangers”
  62. Lower Dens: ""Brains”
  63. The Men: “Open Your Heart”
  64. Ty Segall & White Fence: “Scissor People”
  65. Four Tet: “Ocoras”
  66. Grimes: Oblivion”
  67. Twin Shadow: “Five Seconds”
  68. Django Django: ""Love’s Dart”
  69. Death Grips: “I’ve Seen Footage”
  70. Nicholas Jaar: “And I Say”
  71. Thee Oh Sees: “Floods New Light”
  72. Wild Nothing: “Through the Grass”
  73. Bobby Womack: “Please Forgive My Heart”
  74. Chairlift: “I Belong in Your Arms”
  75. Chromatics: “Back From the Grave”
  76. El-P: “Tougher Colder”
  77. Frank Ocean: “Sweet Life”
  78. Kendrick Lamar: “Backstreet Freestyle”
  79. Laurel Halo: ""MK Ultra”
  80. Spiritualized: “Hey Jane”
  81. The Walkmen: “Song for Leigh”
  82. Hot Chip: “Flutes”
  83. The Men: “Candy”
  84. Eternal Summers: “Millions”
  85. Baauer: “Harlem Shake”
  86. Cloud Nothings: “Stay Useless"
  87. Flying Lotus: “Between Friends”
  88. Frankie Rose: “Night Swim”
  89. Killer Mike: “Reagan”
  90. Tame Impala: “Elephant”
  91. Torche: “Kicking”
  92. Death Grips: “Get Got”
  93. Kendrick Lamar: “The Art of Peer Pressure”
  94. Lotus Plaza: “Monoliths”
  95. Alcest: ""Faiseurs De Mondes"
  96. Chairlift: “Amanaemonesia”
  97. Dirty Projectors: “Dance For You”
  98. Grimes: “Circumambient”
  99. Kendrick Lamar: “Swimming Pools”
  100. Beach House: “Wild”

Best Albums of 2012

As is the annual tradition here at Sentient Developments, I have put together a list of my favorite albums from the past year. Here are the best albums of 2012.

1. Cloud Nothings: Attack on Memory

2. Father John Misty: Fear Fun

3. Death Grips: The Money Store

4. Ty Segall & White Fence: Hair

5. Pallbearer: Sorrow And Extinction

6. Laurel Halo: Quarantine

7. El-P Cancer for Cure

8. Beach House: Bloom

9. Grimes: Visions

10. Blut Aus Nord: Cosmosophy

11. Tame Impala: Lonerism

12. Ty Segall Band: Slaughterhouse

13. Japandroids: Celebration Rock

14. Frankie Rose: Interstellar

15. DIIV: Oshin

16. iamamiwhoami: Kin

17. Django Django: Django Django

18. Grizzly Bear: Shields

19. The Men: Open Your Heart

20. Swans: The Seer

Here's the entire list:

  1. Cloud Nothings: Attack on Memory
  2. Father John Misty: Fear Fun
  3. Death Grips: The Money Store
  4. Ty Segall & White Fence: Hair
  5. Pallbearer: Sorrow And Extinction
  6. Laurel Halo: Quarantine
  7. El-P Cancer for Cure
  8. Beach House: Bloom
  9. Grimes: Visions
  10. Blut Aus Nord: Cosmosophy
  11. Tame Impala: Lonerism
  12. Ty Segall Band: Slaughterhouse
  13. Japandroids: Celebration Rock
  14. Frankie Rose: Interstellar
  15. DIIV: Oshin
  16. iamamiwhoami: Kin
  17. Django Django: Django Django
  18. Grizzly Bear: Shields
  19. The Men: Open Your Heart
  20. Swans: The Seer
  21. Purity Ring: Shrines
  22. Thee Oh Sees: Putrifiers II
  23. White Fence: Family Perfume
  24. Perfume Genius: Put Your Back N 2 It
  25. Chromatics: Kill for Love
  26. Baroness: Yellow & Green
  27. Shins: Port of Morrow
  28. Burial: Street Halo/Kindred
  29. Patrick Watson: Adventures In Your Own Backyard
  30. Ty Segall: Twins
  31. Bear in Heaven: I Love You, It’s Cool
  32. Chairlift: Something
  33. Wild Nothing: Nocturne
  34. Converge: All We Love We Leave Behind
  35. Andy Stott: Luxury Problems
  36. Modeselektor: Monkeytown
  37. Frank Ocean: channel ORANGE
  38. Four Tet: Pink
  39. Lower Dens: Nootropics
  40. Sharon Van Etten: Tramp
  41. Spiritualized: Sweet Heart Sweet Light
  42. Nas: Life is Good
  43. The Walkmen: Heaven
  44. Orbital: Wonky
  45. School of Seven Bells: Ghostory
  46. Dirty Projectors: Swing Lo Magellan
  47. Jessie Ware: Devotion
  48. ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead: Lost Songs
  49. High on Fire: De Vermis Mysteriis
  50. Hot Chip: In Our Heads
  51. Bat For Lashes: The Haunted Man
  52. Deftones: Koi No Yokan
  53. Lotus Plaza: Spooky Action at a Distance
  54. Killer Mike: R.A.P. Music
  55. Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin: Instrumental Tourist
  56. Twin Shadow: Confess
  57. Ramona Falls: Prophet
  58. Woods: Bend Beyond
  59. Dr. John: Locked Down
  60. Alcest: Les Voyages De L’Ame
  61. Kendrick Lamar: Good Kid, m.A.A.d city
  62. Porcelain Raft: Strange Weekend
  63. Actress: R.I.P.
  64. Torche: Harmonicraft
  65. Flying Lotus: Until the Quiet Comes
  66. Now, Now: Threads
  67. Godspeed You Black Emperor!: Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
  68. Conan: Monnos
  69. Tallest Man on Earth: There’s No Leaving Now
  70. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs: Trouble
  71. Squarepusher: Ufabulum
  72. Violens: True
  73. First Aid Kit: Lion’s Roar
  74. The Soft Moon: Zeros
  75. Lambchop: Mr. M