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.