Music

2017 best Albums

23/12/2017
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Here are favourite albums from this year.

    • Jlin - Black Origami
    • Jlin
      Black Origami
      Planet Mu

      “You made something ’cause it sounds good?” Jlin said in an interview this year. “For real? You’re not doing enough.” Her second album lives up to that ethos: Jlin completely rewrites footwork’s DNA into something complex and sinister. Through singular rhythms and stark soundscapes, the American artist shows the kind raw power you can harness with drums, samples and an incredible imagination.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Equiknoxx - Colón Man
    • Equiknoxx
      Colón Man
      DDS

      Here’s an example of how to make radically weird music that still rocks a party. Since their first album last year, the Jamaican duo have sharpened their sound down to a dangerous point, arriving at a style that is menacing, psychedelic and even silly at times.

      Listen: Apple Music / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Lee Gamble - Mnestic Pressure
    • Lee Gamble
      Mnestic Pressure
      Hyperdub

      Among many other subjects, Lee Gamble was wrestling with artistic development, premodern musical notation, politics and soundsystem culture when he wrote Mnestic Pressure. This makes sense. The record achieves an incredible collision, where complex themes and ideas meet the raw immediacy of the dance floor.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Kelela - Take Me Apart
    • Kelela
      Take Me Apart
      Warp Records

      With Take Me Apart, Kelela did what few artists can in following up a standout debut: she transformed while also getting to the heart of what makes her unique. Though she recruited a number of star producers for the album, what emerged from those sessions was an R&B masterwork that’s saturated with her personality. It mixes sex, sadness, vulnerability and empowerment in a way that captures the beautiful, messy essence of real life.

      Listen: Apple Music / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Four Tet - New Energy
    • Four Tet
      New Energy
      Text Records

      Four Tet showed us his range in 2017. There was “Question,” a simple yet insanely catchy club cut, followed by New Energy, a gorgeous, elaborate record that swings from Rounds-era sounds to lush house and quasi-trance. If his recent run of dance floor singles were lost on any of his original fans, then this album will have won them straight back.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / Spotify

    • DJ Sports - Modern Species
    • DJ Sports
      Modern Species
      Firecracker Recordings

      Was there a more assured debut album in 2017 than Modern Species? With its humid atmospheres, light-footed percussion and wafting melodies, is the perfect soundtrack for an introspective summer’s journey. In a year of great records from Aarhus’s blossoming Regelbau crew, this is the standout.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Sublee - Ideepsum
    • Sublee
      Ideepsum
      Metereze

      Ideepsum captures an artist looking to the past for inspiration. Made up of six club tracks for the body and mind, this double-pack is a breakout release from a little-known Romanian producer with a cosmic touch. Tech house might be a dirty term in 2017, but Sublee reaffirms its potential for enchanting dance floor moments.

      Listen: Bandcamp / SoundCloud

    • Young Marco - Selectors 002
    • Young Marco
      Selectors 002
      Dekmantel

      Young Marco worked old-school rap, digi-dub and all manner of global oddities into his sets this year, and his Selectors compilation for Dekmantel feels like a trip around the world at 80 BPM. On this journey, we take in Wolf Müller’s tropical drums, Dutch cosmic music from The Force Dimension, and new age house from Larry Heard.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • JASSS - Weightless
    • JASSS
      Weightless
      iDEAL Recordings

      Weightless? This was one of the heaviest experimental electronic records we heard this year. The Spanish artist confirmed her status as one of the scene’s most interesting newcomers, releasing this dense, industrial-infused full-length on the one hand, and tearing up Berghain’s new Säule venue with her DJs sets on the other hand.

      Listen: SoundCloud

    • Fever Ray - Plunge
    • Fever Ray
      Plunge
      Rabid Records

      On Fever Ray’s 2009 debut, Karin Dreijer, appearing on her own for the first time, kept her cards close to her chest, with a sound still wedded to The Knife’s Silent Shout. Arriving eight years later, Plunge is an altogether different proposition, a tour-de-force that explores sexuality and politics with lyrics so blunt they can feel like rallying cries (“Free abortions! And clean water!”). Paired with characteristically alien sounds, produced together with Peder Mannerfelt, the album confirms Dreijer as one of the visionary musicians of our time.

      Listen: Apple Music / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • John Maus - Screen Memories
    • John Maus
      Screen Memories
      Ribbon Music

      Screen Memories is the result of five years spent alone in a house in rural Minnesota, where John Maus not only wrote and recorded these odd bits of synth pop, but also built the synthesizers he played them on. This gives you an idea of the eccentric mind behind Screen Memories, a record that, like all of Maus’s work, is made from baroque synth melodies, post-punk rhythms and inscrutable lyrics, this time touching on subjects like the apocalypse, pets dying and football.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Visible Cloaks - Reassemblage
    • Visible Cloaks
      Reassemblage
      Rvng Intl.

      Reassemblage synthesises some of 2017’s most recognizable crate-digger trends—Japanese ambient, fourth world music, new age—into startlingly modern music. Using complex processing and production techniques, the American duo pay a respectful homage to their influences. It’s music that hints at various cultural traditions without directly touching on them, like folk music from an alternate reality.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Laurel Halo - Dust
    • Laurel Halo
      Dust
      Hyperdub

      Laurel Halo calls her third solo album, Dust, the happiest album she’s made. Of course, it’s not that simple—the LP’s sunny dub motifs, cryptic lyrics and scattershot percussion make for a journey that’s both beguiling and distant. This intricate dreamworld—constructed with help from collaborators like Klein, Lafawndah and Eli Keszler—is alien, yet intimate, with moments of warmth that draw us in again and again.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / Spotify

    • LCD Soundsystem - American Dream
    • LCD Soundsystem
      American Dream
      DFA Records

      Well, they pulled it off. One of this year’s big talking points was how LCD Soundsystem wrote a comeback record that exceeded expectations. American Dream doesn’t soar to the anthemic highs of its predecessors, but as a front-to-back listening experience it’s arguably the best record they’ve ever written.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Tzusing - 東方不敗
    • Tzusing
      東方不敗
      L.I.E.S.

      Tzusing’s debut album is inspired by a literary character who castrates himself in order to become a more nimble martial artist. The Malaysian-Chinese producer’s approach to techno is similarly concerned with agile attacks. With broken beats and exotic instrumentation borrowed from industrial and EBM, 東方不敗 is techno cut with the supple strokes of a master swordsman.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Arca - Arca
    • Arca
      Arca
      XL Recordings

      On the afternoon of Wednesday 22nd February, lots of people simultaneously gasped, “Oh, shit.” That was the day Arca announced his third album with “Piel,” the first taste of his new vocal-led music. Exactly ten months later, it feels like the record, along with its accompanying live show and videos, is the boldest artistic statement made in electronic music this year.

      Listen: Apple Music / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Pessimist - Pessimist
    • Pessimist
      Pessimist
      Blackest Ever Black

      On his debut album, Bristol producer Kristian Jabs pulls a striking range of ideas from a limited palette. He blends drum & bass, techno and trip-hop with a touch that’s so technical it’s a little scary, while immersing the listener in a bleak miasma that sticks to you. It’s fitting that it came out on Blackest Ever Black: the album is draped in only the darkest hues.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Bicep - Bicep
    • Bicep
      Bicep
      Ninja Tune

      Genres like trance and progressive house are popular for a reason: they’re often produced with maximum pleasure in mind. Bicep know this. On their long-awaited debut album, they siphon the best elements of those genres into something that fits with contemporary house and techno, making for some of the best dance floor moments of the year.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Jana Rush - Pariah
    • Jana Rush
      Pariah
      Objects Limited

      Last year, Chicago native Jana Rush quietly emerged from an almost 20-year hiatus with a wild-eyed footwork EP called MPC 7635. It reintroduced her as one of this year’s artists to watch, and she made good on that promise with Pariah, a rhythmic rollercoaster that proves her remarkable versatility, taking in soul samples, erratic acid lines and next-level rhythmic manoeuvres.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Call Super - fabric 92
    • Call Super
      fabric 92
      Fabric Records

      Dresvn into Objekt, Photek into Don’t DJ, Walter Brown into Yves Tumor—fabric 92 is perhaps the finest example yet of Joe Seaton’s fearless and idiosyncratic DJ style. But more than that, it’s a monument to DJing itself, showing how, with the right combination of taste, skill and daring, mixing records can have transcendental results.

    • Various artists: Visceral Minds 2
    • Various
      Visceral Minds 2
      Fractal Fantasy

      The Visceral Minds 2 compilation is exemplary in two ways. Firstly, it makes a coherent body of work out of 20 different collaborations between the label’s founders, Zora Jones and Sinjin Hawke, and others artists. Secondly, and crucially, its tracks are impressively experimental without losing a connection to the dance floor.

      Listen: Apple Music / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Porter Ricks - Anguilla Electrica
    • Porter Ricks
      Anguilla Electrica
      Tresor

      The full-length return of a techno and sound design dream team, Anguilla Electrica is a perfect blend of form and function. There are hints of dub techno in its six tracks, which modulate and morph while staying tethered to a steady 4/4 pulse. Abstract yet accessible, this is 2017’s most evocative techno album.

      Listen: Apple Music / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Octo Octa - Where Are We Going?
    • Octo Octa
      Where Are We Going?
      HNYTRX

      Where Are We Going? is that rare thing: a club-ready album that grips you all the way through. Its secret is its stylistic range, subtly guiding the listener through sublime deep house, uplifting garage and brooding techno in a way that feels intuitive. As anyone who saw Octo Octa’s brilliant live show can attest, hearing these tracks on a big system was a treat.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Special Request - Fabriclive 91
    • Special Request
      Fabriclive 91
      Fabric Records

      The average mix CD can get across a DJ’s style and taste, but they’re less common as a medium that shows artistic growth. Special Request’s Fabriclive 91 is a spectacular exception. By absorbing electro and ambient into the hardcore continuum that, over the years, Paul Woolford’s alias has refreshed with such style, the mix moves with a devil-may-care freedom and energy, summoning the spirit of one of dance music’s most celebrated eras.

    • Various - Outro Tempo: Electronic And Contemporary Music From Brazil 1978-1992
    • Various
      Outro Tempo: Electronic And Contemporary Music From Brazil 1978-1992
      Music From Memory

      A golden rule of crate digging is to root around sections that others are ignoring. Madrid-born, London-based selector John Gómez went one further, following a hunch and unearthing a little-known scene of visionary experimental electronic music from Brazil. Outro Tempo introduces us to singular artists like Andréa Daltro, Maria Rita and Priscilla Ermel, and shows an important bridge between their techniques and fourth world theory.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Burnt Friedman - Pestle
    • Burnt Friedman
      The Pestle
      Latency

      In a way Burnt Friedman’s music is destined to be overlooked—the Berlin artist does his best to defy all existing musical traditions, essentially ensuring he has no comfortable place in today’s musical landscape. Some of his records are so good, though, that they simply demand to be heard. Enter The Pestle, a striking and hypnotic collection that presents six of Friedman’s compositions in reverse chronological order, offering a tantalizing starting point for one of electronic music’s most creatively ambitious artists.

      Listen: Bandcamp / SoundCloud

    • Varg - Nordic Flora Pt. 3: Gore-Tex City
    • Varg
      Nordic Flora Pt. 3: Gore-Tex City
      Northern Electronics

      If you couldn’t already tell from his takeover of our Instagram account this year, Varg’s relationship with techno is a little different from most artist’s. Also see this singular album, on which, among other twists, AnnaMelina drops autotuned R&B vocals over a techno-meets-trap beat and, on a heady techno track, Yung Lean sings about killing his landlord. But don’t mistake these creative decisions for gimmicks: Varg’s best asset is how natural he makes breaking the rules sound.

      Listen: Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Steffi - World Of The Waking State
    • Steffi
      World Of The Waking State
      Ostgut Ton

      Unlike her past work, Steffi’s third album doesn’t feature any vocals, but it still feels like her most personal release yet. Delicate and deeply evocative, it explores a nocturnal blend of IDM, electro and techno, the culmination of years spent collecting records and tinkering with synths. Recalling the alien sound of Ostgut Ton’s early years, it’s a refined LP from a veteran artist with more facets than most.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Juju & Jordash - Sis-boom-bah!
    • Juju & Jordash
      Sis-boom-bah!
      Dekmantel

      On Sis-boom-bah!, Jordan Czamanski and Gal Aner break open electronic music’s rigid grid by bringing a jam-band method to the table. By framing delicate keys and guitar licks within the language of psychedelic techno, they drift elegantly between driving dance tracks, ethereal electronica and transcendent ambient moments.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Actress - AZD
    • Actress
      AZD
      Ninja Tune

      Darren Cunningham seemed inspired in 2017. In between travelling around India and collaborating with the world-renowned London Contemporary Orchestra, he put out AZD, an album full of the kind of woozy club music that made us fall in love with him to begin with. It contained, among other strange jams, “X22RME,” one of the year’s underrated club tracks.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Karen Gwyer - Rembo
    • Karen Gwyer
      Rembo
      Don’t Be Afraid

      Rembo is everything you’d want of a house and techno album. Its eight tracks are loaded with personality, conveyed through wild synth melodies, uptempo drums and amusing track titles. You’d dance all night to this music—the opportunities for which are increasing—yet its mist-in-the-woods atmosphere gives it a subtly mysterious pull.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / Spotify

    • DB1 - Zwischenwelt
    • DB1
      Zwischenwelt
      Hidden Hawaii

      In comparing Zwischenwelt to a “mysterious obelisk,” Mark Smith aptly summarised the album’s enigmatic sound. It draws equally from dub techno and drum & bass, but resembles neither style. That’s partly down to its use of Euclidean rhythms, each one taking turns to draw the ear. Not that much of this would cross your mind on a dance floor—you’d probably just ask, awestruck, “What the hell is this?”

      Listen: Apple Music / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Thundercat - Drunk
    • Thundercat
      Drunk
      Brainfeeder

      Thundercat is a virtuoso bassist who uses his powers for good—Drunk weaves tangled basslines through a psychedelic smear of funk, R&B and hip-hop, as catchy as it is complicated. It’s dazed like a Saturday morning spent getting high and watching adult cartoons, with a sense of humour and the odd social commentary to match.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Micronism - Inside A Quiet Mind
    • Micronism
      Inside A Quiet Mind
      Loop Recordings (NZ)

      Inside A Quiet Mind collects music made in the midst of an extraordinary transformation: from techno artist to Hare Krishna. The Kiwi artist Denver McCarthy recorded these tracks in the second half of the ’90s—the final stretch of his life as an artist and, by his telling, a person with an ego. It’s hard not to hear this in the music itself: exquisitely reflective and atmospheric, these tracks seem to emanate from an elevated inner state.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • DJ Python - Dulce Compañia
    • DJ Python
      Dulce Compañia
      Incienso

      Out of all of Brian Piñeyro’s aliases, it’s the “deep reggaeton” of DJ Python that stands out the most, and Dulce Compañia is the best example of it The project’s formula—slow dancehall beats that swing with the heft of dub techno—is so satisfying that you wonder how no one else thought of it before.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Ron Trent Presents Prescription - Word, Sound & Power
    • Ron Trent
      Presents Prescription – Word, Sound & Power
      Rush Hour Music

      There’s a “can’t miss” appeal to Rush Hour’s Prescription retrospective. For a few magical years in the ’90s, house legends Ron Trent and Chez Damier focused on the spiritual, deep and healing aspects of dance music, crafting some of the genre’s all-time classics. This six LP box set contains a staggering amount of heat—you could mix an hour or two of perfect tracks using only Word, Sound & Power.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Colleen - A Flame My Love, A Frequency
    • Colleen
      A Flame My Love, A Frequency
      Thrill Jockey

      “Descending milky night”; “Rain, rain, rain”; “be like the bat that nearly flew into my room”: Cécile Schott’s music has a sense of poetry well beyond what we’d normally expect from electronic music, and not just in the lyrics. Her quivering synths, delicate and vivid, are at least as expressive as her breathy, self-trained singing voice. A Flame My Love, A Frequency is her first LP free of acoustic instruments, and it may well be her best.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / Spotify

    • NASW. - UntitledME
    • SW.
      Untitled
      Sued Records

      Until last year, SW. had been SUED’s more silent member, with a subtler sound and slimmer release count than the label’s cofounder, SVN. That all changed with Untitled, AKA The Album, a massive leap forward for both artist and label that came out on vinyl last November and then digitally this year on Apollo. A dreamlike swirl of fluttering rhythms and moonlit atmospheres, blending elements of house, ambient and drum & bass, it’s rich enough that we’re still picking it apart a full year later.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

    • Errorsmith - Superlative Fatigue
    • Errorsmith
      Superlative Fatigue
      PAN

      2017’s most fun and creatively unhinged dance record arrived after six torturous years of work. “Turning the potential into a finished track is very, very hard for me,” Erik Wiegand told Lisa Blanning. We’re glad he persevered. The neon blend of techno and dancehall on Superlative Fatigue was unlike anything else out there this year.

      Listen: Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud / Spotify

      RA Article

 

Festival

DJ dies and more injured after stage collapses at Brazil’s Atmosphere Festival

23/12/2017
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Kalleby Freitas da Rosa, 30, suffered fatal head trauma when extreme weather toppled the structure on Sunday afternoon.

A DJ has died and more were injured at a Brazilian dance music festival after a stage collapsed due to extreme weather conditions.

Kalleby Freitas da Rosa (AKA DJ Kaleb), 30, was standing behind the EDM event’s O Santuário Stage on Sunday afternoon when heavy rain and gale-force winds caused the huge metal structure to topple. (DJ duo Pura Vida were performing when it fell.) Da Rosa suffered head injuries and was immediately rushed to hospital, where he died on arrival. Three others were injured in the incident. The festival took place at Parque Estadual De Exposições Assis Brasil in Esteio, a municipality near Porto Alegre in the south.

Atmosphere Festival issued a statement via Facebook yesterday evening, which has been translated from the original Portuguese.

“We always cherish the security of our audience, following all the processes, reports and authorisations requested by the local authorities. And to our audience we will keep them informed of all our actions to keep the truth about the facts that have occurred. We’re sorry, we lost a friend, an artist. Our priority is to assist the wounded and their families. We thank the military brigade and the fire department for all their assistance.”

An attendee captured the moment the stage collapsed:

Events Festival

Dekmantel reveals lineup for Selectors festival 2018

07/12/2017
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The Dutch crew will return to Croatia for the event’s third edition next August.

Dekmantel has announced the lineup for next year’s Selectors festival, taking place at The Garden Tisno, Croatia, from August 23rd through 27th.

A number of DJs will make their Selectors festival debuts, including Donato Dozzy, DJ Harvey, Mr Scruff, Mafalda, Phillip Jondo, Elena Colombi, Zozo and Brilliant Corners’ Donna Leake. Return guests at the 2000-capacity event include Hunee, Lena Willikens, Antal, Sassy J, Gilb’R, I-F, Izabel, Orpheu The Wizard, Objekt and Marcel Dettmann.