Continuing our look back over 2013, we now switch our attention to this year’s best dance/electronica long players. Featuring albums by artists as diverse as a superstar DJ Mormon, an Anglo-Sri Lankan pop provocateur and a reclusive laptop wizard, here’s a look at numbers 20-16.
20) Kaskade – Atmosphere
One of the oldest superstar DJs on the block, 42-year-old Kaskade proved that age is no barrier to invention with an unexpectedly eclectic eighth studio effort which took in everything from brooding post-rock to high-pitched trap music while also roping in the likes of dream-pop duo School Of Seven Bells and Russian house producers Swanky Tunes. Far and away this year’s best full-length EDM release.
19) Cut Copy – Free Your Mind
One of several Australian outfits to have developed an unlikely love affair with the 1988 Second Summer Of Love, Melbourne quartet Cut Copy delivered arguably the most convincing pastiche with a vibrant indie-disco affair which managed to evoke all the scene’s key players, from the baggy pop of The Stone Roses (“Take Me Higher”), to the Hacienda-friendly floorfillers of New Order (“Footsteps”) to the gospel-tinged psychedelia of Primal Scream (“Walking In The Sky”).
18) M.I.A. – Gatangi
Remaining as provocative as ever, M.I.A. lent her support to the Wikileaks movement, claimed that the whole furore surrounding her middle-finger salute at the Super Bowl was orchestrated by the government and also poked fun at Drake’s ‘YOLO’ mantra on a wonderfully schizophrenic record which lurched from twisted dancehall to mystical R&B in a typically senses-assaulting manner.
17) OneOhTrix Point Never – R Plus Seven
A brush with Hollywood on the soundtrack to Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring certainly didn’t inspire Brooklyn producer Daniel Lopatin to embrace the mainstream on a baffling but admirably ambitious collection of sound collages which threw in everything but the kitchen sink. R Plus Seven certainly wasn’t for the faint-hearted, but few albums this year have displayed as much originality.
16) Four Tet – Beautiful Rewind
Shunning all modern promotional tools, Four Tet’s seventh album arrived without any fanfare but would easily have merited any hype. Inspired by London’s pirate radio scene, the grimey techno of “Kool FM,” the jittery old-school jungle of “Gong” and the ethereal post-dubstep of “Our Navigation” were all thrilling ventures into the capital’s underground culture. But the glitchy IDM of “Crush” and the space-age jazz of “Ba Teaches Yoga” ensured that Beautiful Rewind was just as mesmerising when it abandoned its urban leanings.