Having kept our opinion quiet over the past two years, we’ve compiled what we believe to be the best albums of 2018.
As we scanned back over 12 months worth of material, it became increasingly clear that 2018 was a standout year for electronic music. Artists both new and old released remarkable albums, and even resurfaced mothballed projects that we thought would never see the light of day again.
Unfortunately we cannot feature every album, but with the holiday season upon us, here’s a shortlist of the albums that we’ve grown to adore. Scroll down below for the best albums of 2018.
Yves Tumour ‘Safe In The Hands Of Love‘ – Demdike Stare ‘Passion‘ – Jensen Interceptor ‘Mother‘ – Oneohtrix Point Never ‘Age Of‘ – Vril ‘Anima Mundi’ – Vester Koza ‘loader mither‘ – Richard Devine ‘Sort\Lave‘ – System ‘Plus‘ – Forest Drive West ‘Apparitions‘ – Idealist ‘Mind Field‘ – Young Paint – Answer Code Request ‘Gens‘ – Tim Hecker ‘Konoyo‘ – Thomas Fehlmann ‘Los Lagos‘ – Lawrence ‘Illusion‘ – The Field ‘Infinite Moment‘ – Ron Morelli ‘Disappearer‘ – Ital Tek ‘Bodied‘ – Laurel Halo ‘Raw Silk Uncut Wood‘ – Galcher Lustwerk ‘200%’ – GAS ‘Rausch‘ – Martyn ‘Voids‘ – Jon Hassell ‘Listening To Pictures‘ – Losoul ‘Island Time‘ – Pom Pom – Surgeon ‘Luminosity Device‘ – Jan Jelinek ‘Zwischen‘ – Chevel ‘Always Yours‘ – Will Long ‘Long Trax 2‘, Dedekind Cut ‘Tahoe‘ – Ripperton ‘Sight Seeing‘ – Mark Pritchard ‘Four Worlds‘ – Dabrye ‘Three / Three‘ – John Tejada ‘Dead Start Program‘ – Anenon ‘Tongue‘.
10. Pariah – Here From Where We Are
Here From Where We Are is a richly textural, densely organic album, an absorbing venture into a sonic biosphere formed from the sounds of living matter. A record made with machines but spiritually rooted in the primeval muck from which we emerged.
Released: 13 July 2018
9. Tourist Kid – Crude Tracer
There’s a metallic sheen to almost every sound, a crystalline clarity and high-frequency resonance that sounds decidedly 4K – this may be ambient music, but there’s no nebulous clouds of fuzzed-out synthesis fogging up the stereo field.
Released: 11 May 2018
8. Shinichi Atobe – HEAT
Atobe certainly brought his A-game to the table on his most danceable record yet. Heat features all of the sonic touchstones that we’ve come to expect from his music and capitalizes on the best moments from the almost 20 years we’ve known him to exist.
Released: 6 September 2018
7. Oliver Coates – Shelley’s on Zenn-La
Shelley’s on Zenn-La is a deeply exploratory record borne from unorthodox methods and self-imposed ambitions: the production of the record found Oliver Coates delve deep into FM synthesis and the software package Renoise, composing “drum sequences in hexadecimal numbers and pencil-drawn waveforms” whilst exploring non-standard tunings and incorporating the experimental cello work he’s best known for.
Released: 7 September 2018
6. Djrum – Portrait with Firewood
Occasionally there’s an album that smacks you around the chops with its sheer brilliance. Not just a gentle slap engendering vague thoughts that you might listen to it again but rather a proper clump leaving you dizzy eyed and reaching for the replay.
Released: 17 August 2018
5. Prime Minister Of Doom: Mudshadow Propaganda
Pinning ‘Mudshadow Propaganda’ as merely a collection of club tools would be selling the album short. There is an art in doing a lot with very little, and a fine line that separates an engaging groove from a percussion stem. There is a certain amount of bravery required. Whether this is a by-product of an incredibly prolific output is another question. Holding your nerve and having the production mastery to enthral rather than alienate is a real skill.
Released: 1 April 2018
4. Objekt – Cocoon Crush
‘Cocoon Crush’ pushes the boundaries of experimentation even further than Objekt’s previous releases did, and that without ever falling in self-referentialism or redundancy. Speaking of what goes on across ‘Cocoon Crush’ may be quite a challenge at times for the reason that – as happens with the most futuristic forms of art – what’s on display here is new to the extent that a new lexicon would be required.
9 November 2018
3. Skee Mask – Compro
At its core, ‘Compro’ feels like an album of classic design, comprising twelve tracks of similar lengths, with no filler, half-baked ideas, or perfunctory concessions at any stage. It has been pitched as an evolution of the techno album and as an experimental electronic journey, the past perfected and a blueprint of the future.
Released: 15 May 2018
2. ZULI – Terminal
Patience is a virtue: or so Egyptian producer ZULI would have you believe. The latest cut from his forthcoming debut full-length on UIQ, ‘Terminal’, fizzles, pops and hisses like a misfired roman candle for almost two minutes before the beat kicks in. The track’s all the better for it, though – the buzzed-out noisescape acts as a fitting prelude for the astounding avant-grime depth-charge that follows.
Released: 2 November 2018
1. Kelly Moran – Ultraviolet
Up to now, Kelly Moran’s work has been largely borne from a lifetime of classical training and, what must be, relatively tedious notation based composition – writing each note down using staff paper and contemplating chord changes. The result has perhaps put technicality before emotion – the output of which she self-deprecatingly describes as sounding like she is “trying really, really hard“.
The genesis of ‘Ultraviolet’, her first album for Warp Records, begins in a different place. Rather than wrestling with the formal aspects of musical structure, Moran sought inspiration in nature and, following an epiphanic commune with our dear Mother during a hike in the woods, was struck that she wanted to make music as ‘connected, effortless and fluid’ as nature itself.
Released: 2 November 2018DjrumKelly MoranObjektOliver CoatesPariahShinichi AtobeSkee MaskTourist KidZULIDDSHoundstoothIlian TapeMelody As TruthPANR&S RecordsRvng Intl.UIQWarp RecordsAmbientBassBreakbeatDub TechnoElectronicExperimentalPianoTechno