Our guide to the best new electronic albums, EPs, compilations, and mixes released in 2020 so far. If there’s one thing we miss more than anything it’s the release of the dancefloor and we hope some of these selections can help you find that, if only in your bedroom.
Zoom, upsammy’s first official album, dropped on Dekmantel in June. The Dutch producer and DJ has been evolving her sound over the years with releases on Nous’klaer Audio, Die Orakel and Whities (now AD 93). upsammy is known to deliver variable sets without any genre tying down her sound. Zoom holds a similar weight, a cumulation of sounds captured in field recordings, some hardware kit and Ableton, the album is full of lush tracks that are equitably set for daydreaming or deep listening. An intricate record with many layers that maintains elements of simplicity and light-heartedness.
“I feel that not knowing what you’re doing is better than mastering a piece of gear,” Beatrice Dillon stated to Music Radar earlier this year. Workaround is full of playful bits, syncopated rhythms and jittered melodies. A fusion of many sounds and genres, the album sticks out in the fact that there’s always something new. Dillon creates a base for dub techno, breakbeat and rolling grooves. One of the most forward-thinking albums to come out this year.
Accomplished and notable Berlin producer Ellen Allien released one of the better full-length techno albums of the year. It is somehow both fast-paced melodic techno that also has elements of gradual hypnotism while incorporating sounds of trance, darkwave, and acid. Allien released this project on her label BPitch, which claims to seek a sound that ‘caters for diversity for what matters in music that moves: bodies, spirits, emotions.’ Allien certainly achieves this with her album in AurAA.
The Dutch producer, nthng, returns to Lobster Theramin for his second album, Hypnotherapy. The record is well balanced between spaced out techno and ambient textures. The production is encapsulating switching from driving club rhythms to lofty, vocal samples. A fantastic album that flew under the radar for many this year.
French industrial producer Crystal Geometry released his heavy-hitting techno album earlier this year. This project is meant to conceptualize ‘rebellion ygainst oppressive powers.’ Senestre is successful with this as it incorporates aspects of EBM, post-punk, and industrial sounds into an album that would serve great as a revolutionary soundtrack.
Roza Terenzi returns to Planet Euphorique and releases the first full length LP on the label, Modern Bliss. Delicate melodies and hard-pressed drums fill this LP that spans across house, techno and electro. The record is distinct, but maintains the dreamy sound that is home at Planet Euphorique.
The debut album finally arrives from Minor Science on AD 93 and it’s a treat. Eclectic, jumpy, and variable - this album is without a standout this year. A wide array of tempos can be heard, as the record unveils itself in both light and dark. Each track is woven together with complex production and diligent layering. Bouncy drums, quick pans and fantastic samples - Second Language is rewarding on each listen.
Caribou comes back with Suddenly after his previous, well-received album Our Love released in 2015. The five year wait was well worth it, as Dan Snaith comes back with dance tracks layered in vocals and ecstatic rhythms. The album holds crisp sound design that is distinctly Caribou. A lovely album that dazzles with excellent sampling and catchy melodies.
Rhythmanalyst DeForrest Brown Jr.’s second release for Planet Mu as Speaker Music channels the modernist Black tradition of rhythm and soul music as an intellectual site and sound of generational trauma, bursting through the frames of Western music and thought.
Quick cuts and bouncy tracks, MoMa Ready & AceMo return with a stellar 4 track EP.
Munich’s very own, Skee Mask, returned to Ilian Tape with two EPs in mid-June. ISS005 is club-focused, quick and highly rhythmic. While tracks draw influence from breakbeat and dubstep, all 5 tracks retain peak-time energy with deep layers and jumbled percussive elements.
Mama told ya is a record label based out of Paris created by French producer Anetha. The label’s second EP offers a set of techno tracks that are dark yet hypnotic. The powerful and rolling sound of Copenhagen techno proves to be a good pairing with melody and groove that Anetha and Hadone bring to create one charming tracklist.
Following a successful string of seemingly effortless dance cuts and extended plays, UK producer India Jordan returns with their most refined effort yet. These fast-paced, woozy house tracks are constructed as one part pure euphoria, one part thoughtful introspection. Being the titular “You” India brings to the table a daring combination of careful cogitation and care-free movement. We must think everything and nothing all at once.
Speed kills and DJ SWISHA & Kush Jones just lapped you. Expect quick hits melded with funky bass and vocals. The EP is influenced by juke and footwork, with a splash of acid to top it off. The percussion is fantastic and this project is a must listen from two great producers in the New York scene.
Fast paced, layered techno from Pariah and Blawan’s collaborative project. Squirming synths and hard kicks, both tracks are stellar albeit and deserve to be played loud.
From beginning to end each track seems to form and follow its own narrative, drawing you in with its dark melodic progressions. The EP incorporates eerie electro sounds, distorted vocals and rhythmic kicks to feel like you’re being carried through a journey in a digital wormhole. While the tracklist is short and sweet, no song will leave you disappointed.
At its brightest, Fluids Of Emotion feels transcendent, an experience only the most gifted artists can offer.
Living up to the title, this EP is full of burning 160 bangers. The title track is elusive and relentless, while “KOOVER IN ‘92” delivers with dub punches and quick hits. A release that went beyond my expectations off NAINA & SHERELLE’s Hooversound Recordings.
UK producer Blawan recently shocked the techno community with the surprise release of his new EP Immulsion. The tracklist seemingly transcends dimensions through Blawan’s unique masterful sound design. The use of distorted vocals and dark rolling techno come together to give the album a sci-fi theme that pushes the boundaries for techno music released today.
VIPER DIVA is a project formed by Shlømo and Hadone, who are arguably two of the hottest techno producers working in the genre. With this release, the French duo highlights some of the most notable sounds taking over the dance floor. What you’ll hear in this EP is forward-thrusting club music which features dark and hard kicks, rolling rhythms, and fresh melodic sounds.
In letting it all hang out, Schacke challenges pretension and generates energy.
Special Request turns out tracks like no one else, and this EP is special. Coming out on R&S Records, the title track is blazing with a seemingly never-ending peak. The rest of the EP is outfitted by an inverse of the first track and the remaining two show the true assortment and range of Paul Woolford.
Five years after the striking In Colour, he’s returned with “Idontknow,” a single that charts a new course for the producer, yet seems to lack some of the subtlety of his previous work.
The world is about to explode. Cut off from humanity, Loods looks within, recalling echoes from an alternate reality: Pure energy, pure ecstasy, pure joy, pure freedom. Amid an atmosphere of uncertainty, only a balance of nostalgia for yesterday and hope for tomorrow can save us. When the world begins to spin again, we will convert this chaos into our very own... Pure Bliss Meltdown.