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Top 20 Electronic Albums of 2012 – (15-11)

Continuing our countdown of the best offerings of electronic music for 2012, let’s pick it up at Number 15:

 

15) How To Dress Well – Total Loss

Bodies splashing into the sea, eulogies to lost loved ones, tales of anguish and heartbreak, Brooklyn producer Tom Krell’s second effort under the guise of How To Dress Well wasn’t exactly the most gleeful record of the year. But amidst its overwhelming misery, there were shades of Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake that lent his ghostly post-R&B a woozy pop sensibility and set him apart from the mountain of similarly eerie chillwave acts.

14) Loreen – Heal

Who was expecting this? Eurovision Song Contest winners aren’t supposed to be understated, haunting and melancholic. Yet just a few months after Swedish chanteuse Loreen stormed to victory with the aptly-titled dance-pop of “Euphoria,” she delivered an enchanting blend of lush trip-hop, shimmering synth-pop and brooding ballads that recalled the late 90s electronica of Bjork and Madonna. For whoever wins in Malmo 2013 – the bar has most definitely been raised.

13) Niki & The Dove – Instinct

Cementing Scandinavia’s reputation as the natural home of synth-pop, Swedish trio Niki & The Dove created their own unique soundtrack to The Wicker Man with this fusion of pagan chants, ethereal Kate Bush-esque pop and other-worldly electro. Malin Dahlstrom’s kooky Earth Mother vocals might be an acquired taste, but they were the perfect foil for Gustaf Karlof’s mystical production, particularly on “Tomorrow,” which contains arguably the most explosive and euphoric chorus of the year.

12) Dan Deacon – America

Featuring a hugely ambitious 21-minute four-part suite alongside several diatribes against the US government, Dan Deacon’s honest love letter to the land of the free proved that electronica’s biggest goofball had grown up. Jumping from distorted electro punk to minimalist chamber pop to warped techno, America is a typically challenging listen to say the least; but its wonderfully eclectic sound collages are undeniably worth persevering with.

11) Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Trouble

Proving that there was substance to his Jurassic style, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs’ Trouble was that rare beast – a club record that aims just as much for the heart as it does the feet. A combination of floor-filling house, melancholic synth-pop and quirky electronica, its fourteen quietly charming tracks almost made you forgive Orlando Higginbottom for his ridiculous moniker.

 


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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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