Provided below is a list of my favorite cassettes that were released this year. These aren't in order of enjoyment or interest, and are rather in alphabetical order because there's no competition between these cassettes.
Colored Mushroom & The Medicine Rocks "At Red Frosting" c26 (Wagon): John Elliott's latest foray into synthesizers has expanded by adding two other members to the group. Not only does Elliott and co. put forth the as-expected shimmering tones heard from projects like Imaginary Softwoods and Emeralds, but also incorporate driving rhythms into the mix. At Red Frosting has led me to believe that this is the most accessible Emeralds side project, but I could be exaggerating.
Cyque-Sage "Woven Hare" c40 (Different Lands): Mike Pouw (who also records as Knit Prism) has created some great rainy-day/nighttime music with his moniker Cyque-Sage. Very subtle yet eerie tones begin to oscillate as shuffling, crackles, and clattering interjections weave in and out of the drones; it's hauntingly beautiful. - http://capri.firstpress.net/Differentlands/
Sean McCann "Fable Shop" c49 (Cylindrical Habitat Modules): This seems to be an anomaly within what I've heard from McCann: no sprawling, ambitious orchestrations; here we have murky hums emanating from (what I assume is) a synth engulfed in foggy room ambiance. In a similar league to Cyque-Sage's Woven Hare, Fable Shop has that hermit/claustrophobic quality to it that leaves me both alienated yet subdued.