Published: December 30, 2013
By: Jordan Calvano
Let’s face it. 2013 was a monumental year for fans of electronic music. Sure, there will always be a steady stream of bullshit beefs and overrated trends, but the music is what matters most. This year, we saw countless artists in every genre releasing jaw-dropping albums like there was no tomorrow. The tunes just didn’t stop. Keeping up with every release became a task, but we were not complaining. Having only 10 spots seemed criminal, but we wanted to focus on the best of the best. The crème de la crème of dance music compiled in one neat list, complete with all the crucial information you need to know. The only thing missing is The Glitch Mob’s new album, but we’ve got a feeling they’ll be making our 2014 list. Thank you to all the artists and fans that made 2013 such a badass year.
10. Bonobo - The North Borders
One of the most crucial weapons a musician must possess in his or her arsenal is consistency. Countless artists have released a few good albums, but continually bringing something fresh to the table for decades is how legends are built. The North Borders isn’t just another alluring album in Bonobo’s illustrious career; it’s one more chapter contributed to an unforgettable story. This musical journey started in 2001 with Animal Magic, and with each successive release we see Simon Green growing as a producer and musician in general. Thoroughly potent and entirely emotive, but could you really expect anything less from the wizard himself?
Release Date/Label: March 21 - Ninja Tune
Must Hear: “First Fires,” “Emkay,” “Ten Tigers”
9. Feed Me - Calamari Tuesday
Feed Me is a hungry man. This shouldn’t surprise anyone in the slightest. Based off his moniker, recent album title, and dogged desire to succeed, it’s entirely evident that Jon Gooch will stop at nothing to push the boundaries of electronic music. Calamari Tuesday succeeds where other albums often fail. Juxtaposing melodic with heavy, pulsing with inviting, this natural “Ebb & Flow” gives listeners a look in Gooch’s mental state, highlighting the riveting struggles and joys of a ubiquitous producer curating his debut album. People were worried that Feed Me was headed towards pariah heaven with his comments about quitting the DJ world, but would you rather own a brilliant album or watch a man press buttons for an hour?
Release Date/Label: October 14th - Sotto Voce
Must Hear: “Death By Robot,” “Lonely Mountain,” “Ophelia”
8. GRiZ - Rebel Era
Anyone doubting the year Grant Kwiecinski had in 2013 needs to check themselves before they wreck themselves (imagine that line delivered with some attitude). The Michigan native soared towards success these past twelve months with more Drive than Ryan Gosling, becoming a must have selection on the main stage of every festival GRiZ conquered. Rebel Era utilizes hip-hop beats, nostalgic samples, and live instrumentations to create a palatably fresh and enjoyable release. Dance in place, head over to your local discotheque. Jump up and down; let people know what they’re missing. Rebel Era has soul for days, so why can’t you?
Release Date/Record: October 22 - Liberated Music
Must Hear: “Hard Times,” “Feel The Love,” “How It Ends”
7. Sub Focus - Torus
The last time Sub Focus released an album was 2009. Four years might not seem like an eternity, but in bass culture it’s everything. Just think of how many artists, trends, labels, and even genres have come and gone since than? Let that one sink in for a second. Torus is Nick Douwma’s all-inclusive return to the world of electronic music, dabbling in a pop-laden sound that ranges across a manifold of styles. Savvier production than his classic debut, and let’s talk about the album’s vocal features. Visceral harmonies from artists like MNEK, Alex Clare, Foxes, and Catherine Pockson (Alpines). And that’s just scratching the surface.
Release Date/Label: September 30 - RAM Records.
Must Hear: “Safe In Sound,” “Tidal Wave,” “Eclipse”
6. Emancipator - Dusk To Dawn
True greatness inspires greatness in others. Dusk To Dawn thrives on this mantra, creating a fiery sense of urgency amongst listeners to strive for perfection in themselves. Compose a symphony, write a novel, or even storm down the slopes of a massive mountain. Emancipator’s masterpiece is the definition of cohesive. Each individual detail fits together like a puzzle. The music itself, track titles, even the album cover. Nothing is out of place and nothing seems superfluous. Press play and watch time slip from your fingertips. 40 minutes will pass in the blink of the eye, and the only sensible solution worth pursuing is abusing the replay button from Dusk To Dawn. Fitting album title indeed.
Release Date/Label: January 29 - Loci Records
Must Hear: “Valhalla,” “The Way,” “Minor Cause”
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