Let me take you back to the beginnings of House music. Amongst the primordial soup of offerings from Detroit and Chicago, a theme developed. Difficult to pin down and list in fine minutia, artists as diverse as Larry Heard , Mark Farina and Kerri Chandler began to champion a particular strain of cerebral House music rich in musical detail; the Deep House genre was born. Artists and labels dedicated themselves to the genre — which was unheard of previously as DJs would always play a cross section of music. Peacefrog , Paper Recordings and Freerange became essential and DJs would regularly buy blind, safe in the knowledge that the tracks were of superior quality and exactly the right music for them to play. Step forward Kompakt. The German imprint has long been associated with the deeper, more experimental sounds of House and SCSI-9 are one of their more enigmatic acts. Anton Kubikov and Maxim Milutenko have been releasing for the better part of 20 years and their unique take on Deep House sets them apart from your average Discourse or Jamie Jones. Squares and Circles is their sixth studio album.
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Below, you'll find the 50 albums that defined the year in electronic music. Some years stand out for the bangers they produced, for the adrenaline-shot belters that shook festivals and club floors night after night, and never felt overplayed. While had no shortage of those, this year will be more easily remembered for its albums. From experimental masterpieces to punchy dancefloor efforts, was a year that saw deeply personal and boldly political work come to the fore in the long-player format. As we noted in our albums of the decade round up , turbulent times have found many artists making increasingly vigorous socio-political work, while others have found new ways of making introspective works with electronic instruments, and even Artificial Intelligence. As we look into and beyond, with no end to the turbulence in sight, the value of that energy cannot be understated. These LPs not only defined the past year in electronic and dance music, but will continue to inspire and invigorate as a new decade begins.
Listen to selections from this list on our Spotify playlist and Apple Music playlist. All releases featured here are independently selected by our editors. When you buy something through our retail links, however, Pitchfork may earn an affiliate commission. What does New York sound like? AceMo Adrian Mojica and MoMA Ready Wyatt Stevens bring their lightning-in-a-bottle energy to small clubs around the city, where Stevens will sometimes hop on the mic and hazily emcee, and their debut collaborative EP manages to capture the same spirit. Akasha System is the leading artist in the new subgenre I am calling Portland techno. Stereotypical, perhaps, but Echo Earth , with its raw sound and big sweeps, is so evocative of green terrain that it feels impossible that it came from anywhere urban.