My Verse

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place
What is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
PSALM 8:3-4

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Top 10 Electronica Albums of 2011

Hey guys, and welcome to the Top 10s of 2011! To kick it off, the Top 10 Electronica albums.

Now, this is only of albums that I have heard over the year. I plan to expand my horizons more in 2012, so hopefully the Top 10s of 2012 will be more expansive.

Links to some songs from each album included.

10. X Rated by Excision

Excision is a electro-dubstep artist on Deadmau5's Mau5trap label. I was first made aware of his music by a song called "8 Bit Superhero", a remix of the Opening Theme from Mega Man 2 and the Storm Eagle stage theme from Mega Man X. I was immediately addicted and got the song (and another of his, "Execute") on iTunes. I'm quite impressed by these songs and the rest of the album. If you're not into the more popular aggressive style of dubstep, you probably won't like this, but it is a good album all in all.

"8 Bit Superhero", Excision

9. TRON: Legacy Reconfigured by Daft Punk

I do love the soundtrack from TRON: Legacy. The two French House musicians that make up Daft Punk really did well. It's got the epic orchestral bits and the tasty synth licks throughout. Even so, I love the remix album even more. Grabbing some big names like Kaskade, Boyz Noize and Pretty Lights to remix, and showing off some good new names that I hadn't heard of before, like Teddybears and Com Truise. While not all the mixes are great, it's a really fun album with a lot of variation.

"Solar Sailor (Pretty Lights Remix)", Daft Punk

8. Groundislava by Groundislava

I learned about Friends of Friends through Dubspot, a NYC music school that has a Youtube channel with a lot of tutorials and DJ interviews. One of the things they covered was the Friends of Friends live show in LA, which introduced me to artists like Baths, Jonwayne and Groundislava. Groundislava's debut LP (after a free EP called The Book of Tech) has a lot of chiptune influences and is really fun to listen to. I love "Pregaming the Rapture" and "Young Lava", and enjoyed listening to "Animal".

"Pregaming the Rapture", Groundislava

7. More Monsters and Sprites by Skrillex

If this had more than three songs and some remixes, it would be SO much higher on the list. But it isn't. I haven't listened to all the tracks on Bangarang yet, but if they're all like "Breakin' A Sweat" (which they probably aren't), I don't know if I'll like it. Anywho, Skrillex is the nom de plume of Sonny Moore, who went from being a metal singer to a dubstep DJ, and a very popular one at that. His music is aggressive, in-your-face, and loud. I fell in love with "First of the Year (Equinox)" as soon as I heard it, and the music video for "Ruffneck" is hilarious in a very twisted way. I do love these songs, and look forward to much more Skrillex music in the future.

"Equinox (First of the Year)". Skrillex

6. Space Traitor Vol. 2 by Starkey

I got hooked on Planet Mu/Ninja Tune's Philadelphia DJ Starkey through the song "Starting Gates", a beautiful space-filled dubstep mix. His music is both ethereal and spacey and grimy and wobbly. He melds ambient ethereal chords and giant wobble basses for some amazing music. And while the stuff on Space Traitor Vol. 2 may not be his greatest work, it's still really good.

"Street Rockers", Starkey

(Starkey actually released his debut on Ninja Tune last year too, I just wasn't aware of it. I shall review Open The Pod Bay Doors EP, but it won't be on this list, sadly.)

5. Sun Too Bright Turn It Off by Slugabed

I love Slugabed. The British DJ has his own, completely unique sound that I have never heard anyone replicate. It's got this dreamy, trippy quality that makes you feel warm and safe in its grasp. As soon as I heard "Sun Too Bright Turn It Off", I was in love with it. And the two minute video teaser that Ninja Tune released with it, a trippy dreamtastic montage of who-knows-what, just made me want it more. While not all the songs on Sun Too Bright are classics (I'm not a huge fan of "Dragon Drums"), it's still a winner in my book.

"Sun Too Bright Turn It Off", Slugabed

4. Whip It Up Remixes by Ital Tek

Ital Tek's ethereal beats are so beautiful. I'm a big fan of his second album Midnight Colour, and was taken aback by the beauty of Whip It Up when it came out. The remix album came out a little bit later, with remixes by some good underground artists like Om Unit and Young Montana?. The tracks are chill and so relaxing all the way through.

"Particle Zoo (Young Montana Remix)", Ital Tek

3. Whip It Up by Ital Tek

How odd is that, eh? The remix album at #4 and the actual album at #3. The British DJ's amazing EP is one of the albums in my library that I can listen to over and over for a long time. It just doesn't get old. With rain-like glissandi sweeping over driving basslines, there's not much about this album I don't like. Every song is a gem.

"Whip It Up", Ital Tek

2. Severant by Kuedo

My story in electronic music has very tight connections to Kuedo. I started off by getting into some dance-rock, and from there found Daft Punk, and then started to investigate iTunes' vast library of electronic music and, somehow, I stumbled upon a little gem called Starfox... the debut EP by Kuedo. That, along with some other songs (including tracks from Midnight Colour by Ital Tek and Ultra Heat Treated by Slugabed) really got me started into the underground DJ scene's music. As soon as I heard Kuedo was dropping a full length, I was pumped. When I got it, I loved it. And I still love it. While the music on here isn't really single-material, lacking in songs that really imprint on your memory, the music is so beautiful and relaxing and dreamy you just don't care when you listen to it, you just let it float you away.

"Salt Lake Cuts", Kuedo

1. Moonbeam Rider by Slugabed

It did not take long for Moonbeam Rider to become my favorite EP of 2011. I've covered the basics of why I like Slugabed's sound back at #5, but Moonbeam Rider's tracklist is just a bit more solid than Sun Too Bright's. I can say with confidence that there isn't a weak track on the entirety of Moonbeam Rider. The title track is great, "My Sense of Smell Comes and Goes" is stunning, and I love the atmosphere of "Tomorrow Morning". This album is easily my favorite of 2011.

"Moonbeam Rider", Slugabed

Well, that concludes my list of my Top 10 Electronica albums of 2011. Now, I realized after I announced this series that Electronica was the only genre I had enough albums in to actually make a top 10 (great job at checking your ideas, Zero), so I'm going to do the Top list of Electronica songs and then the list of best albums and songs of all genres from 2011. Also, I plan to start reviewing some songs and albums as well, so I hope you all look forward to that.


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