1 – Shygirl – ALIAS EP, NUXXE
Every outcome of the South East London artist Shygirl is a new confirmation, no wonder though she quickly evolved as one of the focal point of the avantgarde scene, collecting important featuring with artists like Sophie and Arca. Her debut EP, Cruel Practice, was a perfect marriage of the anxious and hectic productions of the NUXXE’ deus ex machina Sega Bodega and her tough and hypersexual attitude on the microphone, but her last ALIAS EP is an accurate covering letter which shows how Shygirl can turn any beat in an absolute banger. A very heterogenous outcome, where the same Sega Bodega is joined by a lot of different producers, each one with different stylistic background. The alias concept as well, along with the animated videos for the singles “Slime” and “Freak”, fits perfectly in a year when everyone has to come to terms not only with a sometimes forced virtual sex life, but even with a picture of itself dancing and singing in a virtual rave or live concert.
(Giovanni De Scisciolo)
2 – E-Saggila – Corporate Cross, Hospital Productions
Corporate Cross is a masterpiece made of sonic juxtapositions. Combining with unique taste natural soundscapes, hardcore beats, spacey synths ad industrial textures, E-Saggila establishes a majestic relationship between these diverse elements, as they can be perceived both together and individually. The mutations that this relationship goes through in each track and in the album as a whole, translate in an amazing narrative experience that seems to reflect on the meaning of diversity and contrast, as concepts, in life, nature and sound.
3 – The Bug Ft Dis Fig – In Blue, Hyperdub
The legendary Kevin Richard Martin strikes back to his main project, The Bug, joined by the Berlin based Dis Fig, whose debut album Purge last year projected her as one of the most interesting noise/industrial artists. Needless to say, the combination is awesome, with the powerful, post-apocalyptic landscapes shaped by The Bug haunted by the ghostly vocal interpretation of Dis Fig which, if on the one hand softens the harshness of the British producer, on the other makes it sounds even more sick and perverse, creating a full immersive spiritual and cathartic experience.
(Giovanni De Scisciolo)
4 – VA – Sharpen, Moving, TIMEDANCE
Among the rich and bustling UK techno-non-techno underground, Batu’s TIMEDANCE has found its privileged spot over the last five years. To celebrate its half decade of sonic explorations, the label’s second compilation takes off from where its predecessor Patina Echoes left: Sharpen, Moving is collection of oblique, inventive tracks reasserting and invigorating the UK bass continuum heritage. The Bristol label sound is sharpened and moving, indeed.
5 – VA – Sub Rosa, Dominio
Sub Rosa is the first compilation from Dominio, a Valencia-based collective that promotes experimental music and audiovisual art. Spanning from ambient to deconstructed club, this album draws a fine picture of the Valencia underground music scene.
6 – William Basinski – Lamentations, Temporary Residence Ltd.
In a year sadly plagued by a pandemic and social upheaval – not to mention climatic disasters and covid-related economic crisis – William Basinski’s latest album, aptly named Lamentations, feels all but perfectly timed. Digging through tape loops and studies that stretch back to 1979, the master of haunting-yet-beautiful compositions serves one of his best works to date.
7 – Nazar – Territorial EP, self-released
Rough Koduro’s master Nazar surprisingly delivers his third release this year, a collective EP with three tracks and three remixes from outstanding guests including Slikback and Scratcha DVA: a concentrate of energy and raw beats, evoking good memories of crowded dance floors.
8 – Varg2™ – Norrskensflamman, Northern Electronics
Dramatic string textures, spoken word alternating with voices from another dimension and rap on a soul beat ending with a desolate ambient in the two long suite dedicated to the Norrskensflamman, a Swedish communist newspaper which in 1940 suffered an arson attack set by a conspiracy of a part of the state. As a radio transmitting from melancholy land, this is a beautiful piece of art and consciousness.
(Giovanni De Scisciolo)
9 – Ani Klang – Burn the Empire, Hyperboloid Records
Ironic and unapologetic, Burn the Empire is a sonic statement of authenticity delivered at 160BPM to dismantle a system of “exhausted empowerment” which validates womxn’s art only if outspoken, “lazily assuming our artistic motivations” and therefore neglecting womxn true artistic freedom. What Ani Klang demands with her brilliant blend of footwork, industrial and hardcore, is the creation of a new artistic domain for womxn that abolishes any pre-imposed expectations and normalisation on womxn’s art from the outside.
10 – Ana Roxanne – Because of a Flower, Kranky
The latest addition to Kranky’s glorious catalogue comes from Ana Roxanne, an Oakland-raised, LA-based artist operating at the intersections of ambient, modern classical and that kind of elusive songwriting which makes Kranky the perfect match for Because of a Flower. Across seven tracks, Ana Roxanne paints crystalline landscapes, enriched by the heart-warming brush strokes of her voice.