As we take this month to look back over 2014, there were a number of long-players in the dance/electronica vein this year that are definitely worth a second look. Let’s start counting them down now, beginning with numbers 20-16.
20) Andy Stott – Faith in Strangers
Nine months after teaming up with Miles Whitaker for Andrea & Millie’s similarly doom-laden debut album, Mancunian Andy Stott cemented his status as one of today’s most distinctive techno producers with a beautiful but bleak blend of eerie ghostly melodies, foreboding synth drones and fractured nervy beats.
19) Bright Light Bright Light – Life Is Easy
Rod Thomas’ second record under his Gremlins-inspired moniker wasn’t quite as majestic as his first. But accompanied by the likes of hitmakers The Invisible Men, Scissor Sisters’ Del Marquis and his new mentor Sir Elton John, the Welshman’s melodic brand of bittersweet electro-pop still proved that few can work the whole “crying at the discotheque” better than he.
18) Matthewdavid – In My World
Abandoning the “one long broken jam” approach of his debut, Los Angeles producer Matthewdavid moved tentatively towards the fringes of the mainstream with a venture into the hipster world of PBR&B which showcased his credentials as an unlikely neo-soul crooner just as much as his talents as an abstract beatmaker.
17) Chet Faker – Built On Glass
After first attracting attention with his inspired cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity,” Australia’s latest electronica export then fulfilled his early potential with one of this year’s ultimate after-hours soundtracks. Influenced by both his mother’s Motown and his father’s Ibiza chillout record collection, Built on Glass’ lush blend of the analogue and digital consistently intrigued and engaged us, but without ever losing that laid-back three-in-the-morning vibe.
16) La Roux – Trouble In Paradise
Recorded amidst a bout of anxiety attacks and the acrimonious departure of Ben Langmaid, La Roux’s criminally-ignored sophomore couldn’t have been more aptly-titled. Despite all the behind-the-scenes chaos, one woman-show Trouble In Paradise proved to be a far more harmonious, warmer and sexier affair than its globe-conquering predecessor, channelling everything from the bubbling electro of Giorgio Moroder to the new wave pop of Blondie and David Bowie in immaculate style.