2019 was an incredible year for electronic music of all stripes. We realized that not many electronic albums made it on out Top 100 Albums of 2019 list because most of our contributors aren't interested in dance music but we thought this was a damn shame, and this is the result.
But we also know that a lot of the most innovative, exciting electronic music being released today shows up in mixes and sets but rarely on traditional albums - so we put together a Top 20 Sets / Mixes - 2019
Beyond these 25 albums we put together a playlist (available on Spotify or Apple) full of certified bangers, enjoy, and share it with your mates.
On ‘Ways Of Seeing’ Konx-om-Pax has switched up the mood and hit gold. He has made an album that is filled with joy and sunshine, saturated with the classic feel of Berlin Techno.
Tom Scholefield has moved on from the dark ambient and brittle rave of the first two Konx-om-Pax albums, which were a reflection of his hometown Glasgow's electronic music scenes. After a recent move to Berlin, the textures of Glasgow's musical strains have fused into an accessible and friendly mix of poppy melodic electronica built from a stricter 'less is more' sound pallete, closer in spirit to the music of his adopted city. It is also a record which was made in opposition to recent music he has been hearing, in particular the troubled, dark and noisy experimental music coming out of Berlin. Tom wanted to focus on more joyful qualities, making this a record imbued with warmth and happiness, a panacea to the darkness and disorientation all around in 2019. [bandcamp]
Tangerine serves as a coda to the qualities that have established Celeste as one of the most instinctive and generous underground DJs in the current landscape of dance music. Beginning as a record store assistant at Idle Hands in Bristol and now a fixture of some of the world’s most acclaimed clubs and festivals, Celeste’s instincts and curiosity have forged a musical space that is very much her own. Here, whether in sweat-drenched basements or to vast numbers, she strikes a common cause between the melodic richness of the legacy of the music of Detroit, alongside the natural ease with which she carries across tempos that embody UK Soundsystem traditions. Tangerine is Celeste’s most fully-realised contribution thus far to this continuum of musical culture. [bandcamp]
The title ‘ATAXIA’ means 'the loss of full control of bodily movements' and relates to Rian's music which is “intended to make people’s bodies move in unpredictable ways.” He adds “the angles in the letters, the phonetics seem to mirror the geometry and idiosyncratic patterns in the music.” Rian explains that components of the tracks were made by generating a series of irregular events and re-structuring them, or by destabilising a pattern that is constant.
When asked how the album compares with his previous releases, he says “My earlier EPs share a similar interest in angular and asymmetrical rhythms that are designed for club sound systems,” adding “they were more improvised, focusing on sequencing and pattern modulation, using standard drum sounds and synthesiser patches. ATAXIA is more focused and stricter, it’s more co-ordinated in terms of the track selection and the rhythmic structures. [bandcamp]
low pass on the synth atoms kick hit hat bish bags bosh [bandcamp]
See also Voam Club Archive Volume 1 [the first in a series of records made up of live tracks cut from our archive of club recordings from over the years.] and Kind of Green both also released in 2019.
Experimental artist Kai Whiston may have just pulled off the most stunning and unexpected twist of 2019. The 20 year-old UK producer typically makes bangers. Bangers known for teeth-cutting bass, unearthly distorted textures and fractured yet charming sampling. All of this had cemented Whiston’s sound as one that managed to pull from simultaneously none and all genres of electronic music. This aesthetic is what spurred the success of his debut album ‘Kai Whiston Bitch’ in 2018; a fury of catchy and painterly abrasion -- as well as leaving his fingerprints all over collaborative record ‘XYZ’, with fellow GLOO artists Iglooghost and BABii this past September.
Inspired by ‘’the unprecedented beauty/horror of the natural world’ [bandcamp]
With roots in the Detroit techno scene in which Hood first emerged, Floorplan’s sound is embellished with the heartfelt emotions and unbridled passions of Chicago house music. It is heavy and analogue and filled with vigour thanks to the expert drum programming and ever rising sense of euphoria that comes from the well sculpted synths.
Another new album is due on Aus Music in winter 2019 and once again distills the power of techno and feelings of house music with a certain sense of studio magic that emerges when this iconic father-daughter duo come together. It is rare to make music as stripped back yet emotionally enriched as Floorplan, but this pair do it with ease and a firm focus on durable grooves. Functional but full of form, tense but atmospheric, loopy but ever evolving, Floorplan truly transcend the dance music spectrum. [bandcamp]
Nathan Micay returns to LuckyMe for his debut album. Four tracks from the forthcoming Blue Spring have become viral videos on the private facebook group IOM (Identification Of Music). The group exists for young fans of new dance music to share videos of their favourite DJs playing out big records at clubs or festivals. The album was sent to a select handful of DJs in 2018 and without any public track IDs, the uncredited clips of this record have risen to over a million plays with thousands of comments speculating the names of the songs. We continue to share clips from Nathan’s friends playing out the release to close DJ sets every weekend in front of large audiences. [bandcamp]
His new album feels similarly instantaneous – and vital. It’s the sound of the many sides of Floating Points finally fusing together. It draws from the "explosive" moments during his sets, the moments that usually occur when he throws together unexpected genres, for the very simple reason that he gets excited about wanting to "hear this record, really loud, now!" and then puts the needle on. It’s "just like what happens when you’re at home playing music with your friends and it's going all over the place," he says. [bandcamp]
Fog FM is a house music transmission filtered through fluorescent static, from a station out of place and time. [bandcamp]
A non stop booty bumpin dance party [Alek]
A thrilling album dedicated to his late father, Ted.
Buttechno explores minimal techno via a psychedelic filter of his own design. Gently modulating, dubwise, fun-spirited and most of all, funky bangers from deep inside MCK. [bandcamp]
Over eight tracks, New Atlantis oscillates between fast, kaleidoscopic techno, multilayered drones and acoustic instrumentation, fusing for the first time Sollmann’s deep dancefloor productions as Efdemin with his sound art and experimental music projects.
Long drawn to utopian musical traditions, Sollmann took inspiration for New Atlantis from Francis Bacon’s unfinished 17th century novel of the same name, which describes a fictional island devoted to social progress through the synthesis of art, science, technology and fashion. In the story, Bacon imagines futuristic ‘sound houses’, which contain musical instruments capable of recreating the entirety of the sounds of the universe; a 400-year-old prophesy of today’s digital sonic reality.
Through Sollmann’s lens, Bacon’s vision ebbs and flows over 50 minutes in varying speeds and colors, emerging as a tapestry of different utopian musical traditions – through billowing synth lines, early Detroit techno, resonant wooden percussion, trance, droning organs, dulcimer, electric guitars, hurdy-gurdy, just intonation, poetry, hymns and murmuring voices.
Transsexual Rave Hymns is Bored Lord’s upcoming release from Knightwerk. As evoked from the title, this full album is a meditative, spiritual approach to dance music, specifically situated within Daria’s experience. Amongst the dissonance there is melody, and amongst the resilience there is despair. This duality allows for Daria to present a complex and honest portrait of what it means to exist as a trans woman, all within the context of highly danceable club tracks.
Pairing distorted pop with acid house, Rave Hymns blends genres to create a hypnotic club sound. The album moves between her signature energized sound (“Spit in Your Mouth,” “My Loneliness Is Killing Me”), to tracks that channel a contemporary take on classic rave sounds (“Broken Heart Broken Hearted,” "You Make Me Feel So Good”), to reflective, melodic trans anthems (“No More Hiding Who I Want To Be,” “Keep Your Hands Off My Body”). Rave Hymns firmly reflects Daria's position not only within the tradition of other trans DJs, but at the forefront of a growing movement and sound.
Through a misty, nostalgic lens of long days and nights lost in front of sound systems, Soundbwoy Killah delivers his much anticipated debut album to Sneaker Social Club. True to previous drops on this and other labels, this is rave romanticism with a bite, as much viewing the good old days with a wry smile as longing for their return. Just listen to the opening strains of “Escape Velocity,” as the MC manages a sticky situation and tries to keep cool while sending the crowd on their way “in an orderly fashion.”
As much as hardcore, jungle, acid, techno and house inform Halcyon Daze, the sonic signifiers of that ‘golden era’ of rave culture are bedded in a poignant, reflective shroud. From lingering pads to distant, reverb drenched vocal snatches, a hint of melancholy hovers over these scattered but vivid memory triggers. Reese bass has never reverberated so deep, sirens never sounded so lost at sea.
This album was recorded between 2016 - 2019and features some wild edits and some big tunes to party to until the end of time. take great care with these. they go.special shout out to my brother Mitchell Tuckette W. for his beautiful work on the keys.shoutout to my brother Acemoand shout out to HAUS of ALTRand Weapons+
the cover art was shot by photographer Ciro Paoillo
2019 - infinity.
A mixtape from RAP, which is the duo comprised of Guy Gormley and Thomas Bush. See also Enchante - Mind In Camden 2 another incredible dub techno release from Guy Gormley.
Caterina Barbieri is an Italian composer who explores themes related to machine intelligence and object oriented perception in sound through a focus on minimalism.
The album revolves around the creative use of complex sequencing techniques and pattern-based operations to explore the artefacts of human perception and memory processes by ultimately inducing a sense of ecstasy and contemplation. Computation is turned from being a formal, automatic writing technique into a creative, psychedelic practice to generate temporal hallucinations. A state of trance and wonder where the perception of time is distorted and challenged.
Equally nervous and ecstatic, the fast permutation of patterns can create a state where time stands still whilst simultaneously being in motion. Is this propulsive music moving forward or backward? As long as the perception of the present is constantly enhanced and refreshed in an endless sense of loss, re-discovery and the search for self-orientation this question lies mute aside the thrilling and perplexing moment of the matter at hand.
Special Request returns from hibernation with four albums he made in his underpants.
Of the new material, he tells us:
"I had a right fucking doss making this. Fuck all that conceptual guff m888"
Strictly bowel-evacuating bangers. Those of a nervous disposition should also watch out for incontinence.
Many people think you can't do anything truly NEW in electronic music.
Special request disagrees. He elaborates:
"nah, that's bollocks"
Upon playing some of the new tracks to a friend, the question "are u alright m8?" was asked. Now you, the avid listener, can answer for yourself.
"My body is resonant; it has the capacity to radiate power and love.
My body is energy; it pulses every moment as it ebbs and flows.
My body is forever; it has a form now and will hold new patterns in the future."
Resonant Body, the third studio album by Octo Octa (Maya Bouldry-Morrison), is her most spiritual and nature--connected work. Maya recorded the songs at her cabin in New Hampshire in order to channel the resonance of the forest, the beauty of the river, and the energy from the rituals she conducts within it. The album was written and produced at the end of December 2018—after a year of near constant touring—in order to process through art an intense and magical year of change.
he question "are u alright m8?" was asked.
Now you, the avid listener, can answer for yourself.
"Part of For You and I explores the complexities of being in a queer relationship in London, and the ups and downs that come with that. “I’m in love and wanted to share that in some way. I wanted to make songs that reflect layers of my relationship. Reflected in the song titles and mood of songs like So Scared and Hand Drops she says "A lot of the time I’m really scared in displaying any kind of affection in public…This album is more about feeling than about using certain production skills.” Of her process, James says she aimed to make something that wasn’t overthought. For You and I is rhythmically free flowing and sprawling, with melodies that evolve into rippling keys. It feels like a live jam session with a jazz mentality, contrasting the delicate and abrasive."