1 – aya – im hole, Hyperdub Records
One of the most interesting release of the year so far, able to give life to an extremely disturbing and claustrophobic sonic world, where obsessive noises and basses blend perfectly with the voice and the lyrics of aya to bear the sickest union. Derailed drill tracks like “what if i should fall asleep and slipp under” are followed by rants and inhuman voices talking endlessly with a desiring attitude on deconstructed beats that take their shapes from reggaeton to ambient as much us absolute absence of form.
(Giovanni De Scisciolo)
2 – JPEGMAFIA – LP!, self-released
If every new release from JPEGMAFIA brings everyone on their toes is because he’s always able to convey a sense of fun in the making of his music, and this album proves it. Even if the result is not linear as it was for Veteran, this release shows in the first part, his avantgarde attitude toward noisy and sophisticated beats, that take a more traditional shape in the second part of the album to give a pure proof of his flow and ability on the mic.
(Giovanni De Scisciolo)
3 – Giant Claw – Millennium Bug Live 2018 – 2021, Genot Centre
It is pretty uncommon for an electronic musician to release a live compilation, but in this case the result is more than noteworthy. As Giant Claw himself told us in a recent chat with our website, Millennium Bug Live 2018-2021 comes from the live set he used to play over the past years, recorded and released during the forced standby of the pandemic period. The Orange Milk label co-founder travels through frenetic melodies and synthetic sounds, delivering beautiful, minimalistic, schizophrenic compositions that move towards unpredictable directions, and even though most of the tracks have been previously released, they assume a new shape and meaning in this album.
4 – LIL UGLY MANE – VOLCANIC BIRD ENEMY AND THE VOICED
Travis Miller is an extremely polyhedric figure: rapper, producer and songwriter, he blew up as an internet phenomenon in the early 2010s and, under the Lil Ugly Mane moniker, he has released stunning cloud rap tracks with a strong southern US and experimental vibe. After a six-year hiatus (in which he has worked on other musical projects), VOLCANIC BIRD ENEMY AND THE VOICED
CONCERN marks the return of Lil Ugly Mane with a terrific extravaganza that combines genres from rock and pop to trip-hop and psychedelic jazz with a lo-fi coating that holds everything together.
5 – APEAK -After The Rains, Changeless
A unique blend of drone, noise, techno and drill, APEAK’s After The Rains, is the soundtrack of that aftermath. A post-accelerationist record that challenges you with the idea of being born again, rather than extinct, and does so with both sonic tenderness and violence.
6 – AJA – SLUG, Opal Tapes
AJA’s SLUG is a mourning record that tells through a restless sequence of mutant industrial beats the fight (and recovery) against addiction, the grief felt from losing your spiritual guide, the struggle in rebuilding yourself after trauma. An intense listening experience that engages sonically as much as it does emotionally, to the point of physical fatigue.
7 – ouri – Frame of a Fauna, self-released
Bold and intimate, Frame of a Fauna is probably ouri’s most accomplished record to date. Avant-garde production and R&B grooves flirt with each other for the entirety of the album, always kept in an exquisite balance by ouri’s vocal performance, able to act both as a lead and as a layer.
8 – DJH – Revealer, self-released
If there is an album this year that managed to impress me for its incredible balance between brilliant sound design and composition sensibility is Revealer by DJH. Stretched sound, organic lasers, blips and clicks, create a raw texture that blends perfectly with the high-energy, post-dubstep beats and the trance-infused, witch (drained, we would say these days) synths DJH is known for. The end result is a record that asks to be listened in loop, sometimes loosing yourself in the melancholic ecstasy it conveys, sometimes focusing over the amazing details you could feel, and love, yet not name during your first plays.
9 – Sangre Nueva – Goteo EP , Worlwide Unimited
A dream come true for every dembow lover, Sangre Nueva is the holy trinity formed by DJ Python, Florentino and Kelman Duran. Across the four tracks of Goteo, they join forces and contribute with their own peculiar production traits. The result is an explosive blend, equally clubby and dreamy, in which DJ Python’s deepness, Florentino’s catchiness, and Kelman Duran’s atmospherics bring the best out of each other.
10 – Grouper – Shade, Kranky
Every Grouper release is a jewel to cherish and contemplate in order to grasp all of its nuances, refractions, its sparkling grace. Shade is by no means less than another pearl in a spellbinding discography. Made of songs composed over a fifteen years span, it is an almost exclusive voice and guitar affair, plus the foggy ambiance we love Grouper so much for. Should you need something to keep you warm during winter, just press play and let Liz Harris’ voice cuddle you.
AJA ambient Apeak Avant-garde aya Bubblegum Bass Changeless Deconstructed club Dembow DJ Phyton DJH Dubestep Experimental rap Florentino Genot Centre Giant Claw Grouper Hyperdub Hyperpop Jazz JPEGMAFIA kelman duran Kranky LIL UGLY MANE Minimalism Opal Tapes Ouri SOPHIE Trip Hop UK Bass Worldwide United
Last modified: November 24, 2021