From the large selection of music I checked out this year, here's ten curated highlights. Apparently this was a big year for electronic EP's specifically, based on my picks.
The following are in alphabetical order.
Body Sync - BIG WOOF
Genre: Electronic, House
Nothing fun with a bit of fun, which is what the newly founded duo of soundcloud era electronic music stalwarts Body Sync seems to aim for. It's a nice pairing, Ryan Hemsworth and Giraffage work well together and bring back much nostalgia for my soundcloud edm obsession back in the early 2010's. This EP followed a similarly good album and more concisely provides a lot of the same sunny, bouncy forms of house music. Their aesthetic is silly and the music is similarly low-stakes party fodder, but sometimes that's all you need!
Braxe + Falcon - Step by Step EP
Pairing two French house veterans together for a quick burst of exciting music that is too good to pass off as a simple throwback. For the EP's namesake they team up with Animal Collective's Panda Bear, like their legendary French house peers Daft Punk also once did, to provide one of the most emotionally potent house songs of the year. Though their instrumental cuts that utilise vocal samples instead are also filled with passion.
††† (Crosses) - PERMANENT.RADIANT
Genre: Electronic, Synth/Dream Pop
††† is one side-project of Deftones frontman Chino Moreno, in which he teams with producer Shawn Lopez to make a soaring take on synthpop. After their debut album released back in 2014 the two had been focused on other projects, before returning to trickle out some covers, and then singles leading to this six track EP. Chino Moreno's always had an ear for this sort of music and provides typically strong lyrics over exciting production. It covers some bases that Deftones will never touch, such as a Britney Spears inspired hook on the track Vivien. It's a fun set of tracks for sure and a nice return for the band.
Cryalot - Icarus
Spinning off from the ever-evolving pop band Kero Kero Bonito is Cryalot, an alias for Sarah Bonito and Jennifer Walton who team to create some dark, bassy electronic music. Contrasting Sarah's sweet sounding vocals with warbling bass. Contains some of her more directly personal lyrics compared to her work as part of Kero Kero Bonito. It's a nice surprise for sure and makes the wait for the next Kero Kero Bonito project a lot smoother, not that it was particularly strenuous yet.
Fred again.. - USB
Genre: Electronic, House
Fred again.. hit the UK mainstream this year with a great boiler room set and he capitalized on his growing hype with his third installment in his 'musical journal' project Actual Life and a bunch of more directly club ready singles, of which this EP collects into a single package. Four massive tracks and two really worthwhile remixes, including a collab with Swedish House Mafia and Future which somehow doesn't disappoint with such a lineup. That's just the first track as then Jungle follows up on the monster with another monster. A banger of a collection.
Gleemer - Here At All
Genre: Shoegaze, Emo
Gleemer have put out three albums of solid shoegaze with an emo twinge in the lyrics. They have a unique problem in that their best song is the first track on their first album, but the rest of their work scratches the same itch to differing degrees. This new EP is not reinventing the wheel for the band, but it's five nice tracks that establish a nice bittersweet, melancholy atmosphere.
Omega Sapien - Wuga
Genre: Hip-hop, K-pop
This Korean artist is making oddball hip-hop with Neptunes inspired production and a big emphasis on hooks. His range is great and the production just sounds so slick. This EP features features from similarly oddball Irish-Scottish producer Sega Bodega and Vernon, a member of the popular k-pop band SEVENTEEN. He's got cosigns from other big names in k-pop, including RM from BTS as well. I'm eagerly awaiting Omega Sapien's next work. Extremely worth a look even if you're anti k-pop, this is surely the antidote given its oddball qualities.
Planet 1999 - This Is Our Music ♫
Genre: Electronic, Dream Pop
Initially Planet 1999 seemed like a weird Y2K aesthetic tribute act, but their electronic meets '90s era dream pop and shoegaze style was fresh. Now they return with their second EP which is treat for the ears. Very brief but it left an impression on me with its soft, lucious sounding electronic palette.
Two Shell - Icons
London based duo Two Shell go all over the place with their choice of electronic genre. Taking from the rich variety of UK electronic music and putting their own spin on things. This EP is fitted with a set of catchy and sometimes alien sounding music that could easily soundtrack an underground club. They have a fun boiler room set as well if you want to see this in action (cool costumes also).
Yunè Pinku - Bluff
It's early but to me yunè pinku sounds like she could be a star. While PinkPantheress brought back breakbeats to a new audience, yunè pinku could do the same by bringing back a different style of UK garage. With impressive vocals and a throwback sound to something not often touched on these days, she's sure to be a up and comer. She's already got a placement on the FIFA soundtrack, will be cool to see what's next.