On Faith In Strangers Andy Stott continued to tread his singular path into the murk, taking another step away from the dancefloor but remaining as beguiling as ever. His blend of fathomless atmospheres, brutalist meditations and even a title track that vaguely resembles a pop song resulted in his most memorable, rewarding LP to date.
The Bug has never been one to rush, yet the 6 years he took to follow up the hi-def dread of London Zoo was more than worth the wait. Here he returns to those unique dancehall / bass hybrids, with an album of startling contrast, the first half loaded with woozy menace, the raucous final run going right for the jugular.
One of the key players in Giegling’s world-beating year was Edward, whose heady sophomore album introduced accomplished deep house to structures and sounds from as far afield as punk, new age, hardcore and disco. Whichever left-turn he took, we were more than eager to follow Edward thanks to the detail and finesse of his productions.
Eglo’s resident songstress exploded our (already high) expectations with her sterling debut, a masterclass in modern RnB. With one foot planted firmly in the history of soul, Yellow Memories never shied from experimentalism and forward-thinking composition. Perhaps the greatest credit that can be given is that with production duties assigned to the likes of Theo Parrish, Floating Points, and Flako, Fatima’s indomitable voice was never overshadowed.
Mosse’s fullest release to date on the superb Workshop imprint was a collection of pure dancefloor fire. His articulated grooves rattle and writhe, welded to strikingly bright melodies and bound by sudden left turns. The work of a true original.
Who cares if it’s technically an album? After a couple of years at the fringes threatening to break out, 2014 was the year of Vynehall as he burst joyously onto the scene. On this wonderful collection he came up with his best work yet, delightfully organic house compositions drenched in warmth with groove to spare, always hitting that soulful sweet spot.
Lnrdcroy’s lauded cassette debut was the best in a strong year for new imprint 1080p, his engrossing melodies making for one of the year’s most beautifully nostalgic listens, drawing us inexorably onwards with a longing, heartsick glance over the shoulder.
Max Graef’s debut album fuses house and hip hop so well that you can’t see the joins: crisp drums, smoky melodies and a healthy dose of funk, all cut together with imaginative samples, superb interludes and that cover. It’s a classic case of an album being greater than the sum of its parts, but bear in mind that those are some damn fine parts to begin with.
Andy Stott and Miles Whittaker (of Demdike Stare) return to their experimental pairing on this searing LP, combining fresh cuts and a couple of their best past releases. The world of these tunes is a hostile one, their distorted rhythms occupying the black space between techno, jungle and trap, where melodies like shards of glass lie glistening in the wreckage.
If Kenny Dixon Jr auditioned for the Greek pantheon, he’d get the part of Dionysus without even trying. His latest offering is hedonism in musical form, from its bloated tracklisting to the subject of its lyrics, not forgetting the gluttonous funk of his grooves; always sultry, often playful. When you want even the interludes on a 27-track album to be longer, you know you’re onto something special.
With his run of warped techno singles, Objekt had the bar unfeasibly high for his debut album. Yet Flatland exceeded all expectations, an LP of immaculately produced mutants that kept swerving but never sacrificed their groove. Flatland hits that sweet spot between techno, electro and experimentalism in glorious high definition; a jewel that shirks a singular approach, perplexing but always gleaming.
We were big fans of Session Victim’s debut LP, and it was the greatest pleasure to get our hands on a follow-up that bettered it in every single way. Those sumptuous melodies are richer, brighter and more addictive than ever; their rhythms are looser and more confident, and the duo continue to equal, if not better, the warm US house sound they love so much. We challenge you to stay still to this one.
The space occupied by Vril’s stunning debut Torus (on Giegling offshoot Forum) is a strange one: dub techno with a house crunch, galactic exploration with an unexpected emotive pull. Yet it is from this unusual middle ground that Vril draws his unique appeal: an album of otherwordly music that seems to only bring us home.