It was an extraordinary year of experimentation in electronic music. Dubstep expanded its horizons exponentially, juxtaposing brown note anticipation with high-pitched Legend of Zelda samples and aggressive loudness warfare with Bromst. Dan Deacon marched on in his defense of loudness war with Bromst and made them all take notice with his marathon methodology.
1. Two Suns – Two Suns
Two Suns marks British singer Natasha Khan’s captivating sophomore effort as Bat For Lashes. After an impressive debut with Fur and Gold, Two Suns pushes further into subterranean lullabies, spacey timbres, and ghostly beauty. Comparations to Kate Bush, Bjork and Enya have often been made but with this record she creates her own indelible musical identity without further appeals to sentimentality.
“Pearl’s Dream” and “Siren Song” provide soothing opening third sounds, yet some of the record’s finest tracks reside in its second half – such as piano ballad “Moon and Moon”, haunting “Daniel” and haunting “Sleep Alone” are both memorable offerings.
Two Suns stands apart from recent full-lengths that have succumbed to listener attention span issues; instead offering an immersive, deep experience that’s rewarding both to dissect and absorb. A remarkable achievement and one of 2009’s most engaging full-lengths.
2. Galantis – Runaway
Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklow, more popularly known as Galantis, were able to capture the world with their smash hit Runaway (U & I). Not only was this catchy dance track great club banger material; but its deeper meaning resonated emotionally with people worldwide. Additionally, its music video showcased stunning imagery.
Pharmacy, the duo’s 2014 debut album, showcases their production talents beautifully. While tracks such as Forever Tonight and Gold Dust make use of vocal sample pitch bending technology and other experimental production practices to set themselves apart from typical progressive house bangers, most other songs on this record seem rather monotonous in comparison.
Raiden has just unleashed an outstanding remix of this track that’s sure to get festival crowds dancing and ensure its place on our Top 20 Electronic Music list for 2017. Check out its music video below:
3. RL Grime – Who Do The Shit That I Do?
In 2009, RL Grime’s distinctive blend of electronic dance was a seminal moment in music history, marking not only crowd-pleasing live music but also as the primary language spoken on Top 40 radio.
Henry Steinway, better known by his stage name RL Grime, first ventured into big room house under the Clockwork moniker before transitioning into heavy bass music under his alter ego name RL Grime. Following Internet uploads that garnered significant notoriety, in July 2009 on WeDidIt, his debut album entitled NOVA was released with guest appearances by Tory Lanez and Chief Keef (respectively), number one status on Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart and two volumes of remixes – all hallmarks of success for any musician!
Since his initial success with NOVA, Sable Valley label owner Juelz has taken a more subtle role. However, his collaboration with Juelz “Scylla,” our current favorite track is sure to stand the test of time as it features playful vocal samples that quickly escalate into a powerful synth explosion – perfect for opening any RL Grime set or even appearing in Space Jam trailer! – so clearly something must be working here!
4. Tinie Tempeh – QVC
This album stood out in a year that seemed headed toward darkness. At its apex was what was then termed “hypnagogic pop”, yet still managed to reinvent pop music with exciting, thought-provoking new material (Weird Tapes’ Legend of Zelda sample; Joker’s brown note anticipating wobble; Black Moth Super Rainbow song which later went on to receive praise for its hedonistic moroseness) while challenging old notions about genre music in an exciting manner.
After years of being an underground and overseas concern and lapsing rock music, dance music suddenly emerged as a cultural touchstone among young people. Though this might be embarrassing to admit, this phenomenon remains true. These albums show how, even amid its widespread acceptance, original works could still resonate with a broad audience.
We had so many incredible albums to select this year that it was hard to choose just ten! For consideration, an album must be melodically and lyrically strong, memorable, and be able to stand out from its peers – therefore excluding dance flirtations by established pop stars from our list as this list primarily caters to beatmakers.
5. Alesso – Street Dancer
Alesso’s album was an unparalleled source of pure musical fun during this decade, seamlessly merging rock and electronic elements for an album that exuded excitement like only EDM singles could. Every track oozed awesomeness – even those that initially appear disjointed turned out to be excellent on repeated listens.
Tove Lo-assisted mega-collab may have won critical acclaim with its catchy chorus and inspirational lyrics, making it an instantaneous hit across genres, yet its rest of album was just as captivating. Smudgy machine rhythms, rubbery synth bass lines, and plucked chords set an energetic atmosphere perfect for tech conferences.
Once upon a time, piano chanteuse Polly Scattergood was an unassuming pop singer with songs full of pretentious lyrics about prostitutes and romantic heartbreak. On this album she made the transition into full-fledged electronic artist with productions that range from smart but minimal recordings to those packed full of synths and lush melodies; an exceptional debut that shows an artist capable of reinvigorating alternative notions of pop music that have become lost due to postmodernism’s overwhelming information glut.
6. Avicii – Clarity
Avicii’s laser-strafed EDM anthems used to be festival fireworks, but after 2014’s “Clarity”, he revealed his passion for melody and songwriting as the producer’s musical persona shifted toward more mellifluous tunes like 2017’s “Stay,” featuring trap drums with silky vocoders flipped around to become bewitchingly skeletal yet poignantly melancholic forms; 2018’s “Happy Now,” however, showed off his songwriting abilities as this pop-EDM tribute that took us back into nature’s wild woods of starry skies while celebrating starry skies and forests!