2014 was a great year for electronic music (or at least for the kind that I like). From noise, to experimental, to pop remixes, to hip hop, to shoegaze, and witch house; there were great examples of all kinds of knob twiddlers this year across a ton of genres. These are the ten “electronic” releases that I enjoyed the most this year. As with my Baltimore list, I included a link to Mixcloud that features a mix that I made highlighting one song per release.
That Was Then This is Now – Fables: This duo (producer BLVCK CEILING and vocalist Moon Mirror) make dark electronic music heavy on the beats and the melodies. They make music that could be described as haunting, and beautiful. This full length by them was in heavy rotation for me this year.
Screen Vinyl Image/Bloody Knives – Split: This was one that could have either gone on this list (it does feature synths) or on my next list, for “rock” releases (it does feature guitar/bass guitar). I am a huge fan of both bands, and am glad they were brought together for this twelve track release by the ever excellent Accidental Guest Records. RIYL Shoegaze.
Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes: Two things about this release. 1. It is minimal interesting little electronic ditties by Thom, RIYL Kid A. 2. He had an interesting way of releasing it, focusing on torrents (link is in the title).
clipping – clppng: Clipping might have been the most exciting act that I saw this year, (I am still working on my live list) and also dropped an album that is the perfect mash of noise and rap. The lyrics are tight and delivered with a fast flow, while the beats bang and hiss, just on the edge of being grating (in a good way).
Meth Dad – Remixes: This is the first ever non-Baltimore release that Friends Records has put out. And for good reason, Meth Dad slays the pop world and makes beautiful beats. This features his re-imaginings of such artists as Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry.
the Body – I shall die here: The Haxan Cloak plus the Body? Yes please. This eerie album pairs scary atmospherics with a relentless beat and pounding bass. Wailing is had. This is what pain sounds like.
Pharmakon – Bestial Burden: Pharmakon delivers another monster of an album. Seeing her live is quite the treat, and she is able to somehow capture the intensity of her live shows, in record form. I look forward to seeing her again (saw her at Hopscotch in 2013) next year.
Aphex Twin – Syro: I bought Drukqs while living in South Korea, and was quite disappointed by Aphex Twin’s (one of the first electronic musicians that I got into in high school) last album. That was a long 13 years ago. A lot has changed. Including the fact that their is now a new Aphex Twin album, and it is actually good. The tracks are all solid, beat driven affairs. The formula is followed: glitchy beats, distorted and twisted sound and synths, and weird track names.
††† (Crosses) – Crosses: Chino from Deftones side project that is a mix of shoegaze like guitars, electronic beats, and synth soundscapes. Prurient might be my favorite song of the year. I was really blown away by the tunes, and this one ranks up there for me for amounts of times I listened to it.
Zola Jesus – Taiga: Rounding out the list is Zola Jesus. I have been a fan for a couple years, but this album really caught my attention on first spin. Masterful electronic tracks that recall a handful of subgenres, her music could definitely blow up and become the next big thing. I could see this competing against some of the other heavy hitters making modern pop music.
Cover image of clipping is by me, taken at Metro Gallery in Baltimore in 2014.