Last year was incredibly stale for me as far as albums go. Maybe it was due to the fact that less and less people are actually putting out full lengths these days, especially in dance music. I have never had this much difficulty putting together a best of list. I could hardly come up with 20 albums that I loved, and even less that I loved completely so we decided to combine our lists with Mr D. Most of the things I liked in 2015 were singles and EPs but it was only a handful albums that will stay with me. Here are some of them…
1. DAVE DK – VAL MARIA
How is this album not topping every single best of list out there, I’ll never know…Perhaps it is too intelligent, perhaps it needs too much of your attention…
After a string of impressive remixes, Kompakt artist Dave DK has offered a gorgeous album with Val Maria, which I can only describe as pure heaven for your ears. If intricate broidery could be a sound, it would be this. It is a gorgeously textural and organic headphone album, one that you need to experience in full force without the disruption of outside noise. I am normally a minimal girl but if maximalists will sound this good, I’m all for it. This is the album both Mr. D and I listened to the most this year, soaking in all the little details that Dave DK has put in it. If you love electronica, then this is something you should not miss.
Download: Everything. If you must, We Me At Six, Halma, Smukke Lyde…
2. STEPHAN BODZIN – POWERS OF TEN
Techno is often accused of being devoid of feeling, only serving the visceral needs of the clubbing crowd. But then, there is another kind of techno that is emotional, melodic, very technical but also incredibly sensual. And no one does it better than the techno institution that is Stephan Bodzin. The aptly titled Powers of Ten is an incredibly powerful album, packed with emotion, pain and angst while showing Bodzin’s skill to carve a very distinct sound in a sea of washy beats.
Download: Blue Giant, Singularity, Lila…
3. JOHN TEJADA – SIGNS UNDER TEST
John Tejada is one beast of a remixer. (Remember the Field’s No.No… remix anyone??? ) But I had never been able to immerse myself in one of his albums before. That is, until Signs Under Test came out. As Mr D points out, this record has a bit of Aphex Twin simmered over it. Yet, it is still a great combination of techno, electronica, even a bit of IDM and a bit of electro…So good!
Download: Two O One, y 0 why, Beacht…
4. LAUER – BORNDOM
I have blogged about this album before, I will blog about it again. Borndom is an extremely pleasant retro disco/house journey that gets your heart warm, your ears hooked and your feet moving! Via the guys who brought you John Talabot’s fIN. Nough said.
Download: Gammelan, Mausback
5. AMBASSADEURS – PATTERNS
Patterns opens with Crimson, indisputably one of the best tracks of the year. Then it never stops offering twists and turns, exploring quite a few different subgenres of electronic music and even an absolute nutter of a track that changes time signatures. It can only be described as an incredibly intelligent, impeccably produced, fairly eclectic and on the whole, a very worthy debut.
Download: Crimson, My Way, No More
6. RIVAL CONSOLES – HOWL
Mr. D is not with me on this one. He believes the album is good but not great. I agree to the extent that Howl does not have a track in it that has the shock value of Recovery. It sounds like an ode to Jon Hopkins at times, leaving you with the feeling that you have heard it all before. But similarities do not decrease its value or the fact that I haven’t had many other albums that I went back to as much I went back to this. Rival Consoles is one of the best things on Erased Tapes at the moment.
Download: Howl, Afterglow
7. LEFTFIELD – Alternative Light Source
Minus one half of the duo, Leftfield has returned with an album after more than a decade. I put the needle on it and the matter was pretty much settled halfway into Universal Everything. While this is an album with good and not so good moments, the former are great enough to leave a good taste in your mouth. And extra points to Neil Barnes for featuring Channy Leaneagh, probably the most exciting singer out there at the moment.
Download: Universal Everything, Little Fish, Bilocation
8. RUEDE HAGELSTEIN – Apophenia
Watergate resident Ruede Hagelstein surprised me this year with an album that wasn’t made strictly for the dancefloor. Apophenia is intelligent, dark, melodic and feels a bit retro at times. Great poppy techno. I loved it.
Download: Footprints, Moon Rabbit
9. KELPE – The Curved Line
Outstanding experimental electronics dabbling in classical sounds one minute and playing at a melodic Holly Herndon the next from Brighton producer Kelpe.
Download: Doubles of Everything, Calumet, Valerian
10. JAMIE XX – In Colour
It is not the masterpiece I was expecting from Jamie XX, but it is warm, organic, soulful electronica that manages to keep you interested despite its inoffensiveness. He should stop featuring his bandmates on his solo LPs to play it safe though (we can happily take the gorgeous girlfriend Okay Kaya instead)! He is talented enough to surprise us the next time that Jamie.
Download: I Know There’s Gonna Be…
11. SARAH NEUFELD & COLIN STETSON – Never Were We The Way She Was
12. ONEOHTHRIX POINT NEVER – Garden of Delete
13. APHEX TWIN – Syro
14. FLAKO – Natureboy
15. DJ KOZE – DJ Kicks
16. NILS FRAHM – Solo
17. MAX RICHTER – From Sleep
18. HOLLY HERNDON – Platform
19. FLOATING POINTS – Elaenia
20. AH! KOSMOS – Bastards