11 Must-Buy Albums For April 2016


April gets a bad rap since the first of the month is known for hijinks and hoaxes. When it comes to new music, however, we’re stone-cold serious when we say April 2016’s lineup is no joke.

During the past few weeks we’ve spent countless hours listening to promos and wholeheartedly attest that the list below includes the most essential dance and electronic albums and compilations of the month. Enjoy.

The Field – The Follower (Kompakt)
Swedish technocrat Axel Willner is a musical visionary. Scraping and sampling from the world of pop to form the foundation of his repetitive, often punishing tracks, he’s ventured down musical trails that many few would dare to tread. His fifth album is everything you’d expect from the master: challenging, compelling and creative. The loops he uses on “Pink Sun” are epic and pristine; they serve as a bookend to the somber glitch of “Monte Verità.” Are we the only ones who see the irony in the album’s title?
Release date: April 1

V/A – 10 Years Stil vor Talent (Stil vor Talent)
Oliver Koletzki launched Stil for Talent a decade ago in order to shine the spotlight on new producers. By all accounts he’s achieved his goal tenfold but continues to use his label to give the next generation of producers a leg up. The dozen tracks on this 10th anniversary compilation straddle the line between deep house and tech-house in the most agile of ways. Joachim Pastor’s emotionally wrenching “Clean Slate” goes to a place many producers would fear to tread. It’s emblematic of a label whose modus operandi is making music to be played with the lights down low.
Release date: April 1

MGUN – Gentium (Don’t Be Afraid)
After a two-year production hiatus Detroit native MGUN (a.k.a. Manuel Gonzales) presents an album of material that was produced in his childhood home between 2007 and 2010 and his current project studio. While he doesn’t reveal which tracks were produced when, it’s not entirely necessary to the narrative on Gentium. Drawing from his roots in the Motor City, Gonzales flaunts a wide artistic palette: “Past Due” channels a haunting, experimental vibe; “Don’t Hurt Yosef” is a raw, hypnotic slow burn; and “Bed & Breakfast” makes a beeline to the dance floor. He’s clearly taken in the teachings of the Detroit masters who’ve come before him while thinking about his work with a world view.
Release date: April 8

Satin Jackets – Panorama Pacifico (Eskimo Recordings)
ISIS. The refugee crisis. Donald Trump. With the world in such an awful, dire state the timing of electro-pop duo Satin Jackets’ feel-good debut album couldn’t be any better. Featuring a stable of vocalists from LA, Berlin, London, Brussels and Melbourne, the grooves are steady, vibes locked on positivity and energy is at full power. Tracks like “Feel Good,” “Shine on You” and “Keep Moving” shine like rays of sunshine burning through dark, stormy clouds.
Release date: April 8

V/A – Permanent Vacation: Selected Label Works 5 (Permanent Vacation)
Often times label compilations are ensconced in a specific agenda, but this compendium from Munich-based Permanent Vacation is rooted in discovery, diversity, musical exploration and — dare we say it — fun. The 22-track affair includes a pair of romps from Lord Of The Isles and Lake People, experimental house from Drvg Cvltvre and proper Detroit-inspired techno by Tuff City Kids. It’s a tasty musical smorgasbord that has something for everyone.
Release date: April 8

Logan Takahashi – NoGeo (Ghostly International)
Stepping outside his musical responsibilities in New York City duo Teengirl Fantasy, Logan Takahashi presents an inspired debut solo album. From the pristine digi-funk of “Coral D” to the glitchy charm of “Dizz,” Takahashi forges a singular, elegant sound that nonchalantly channels big-room rave and avant-garde for thoroughly satisfying results.
Release date: April 15

V/A – fabric87 mixed by Alan Fitzpatrick (Fabric)
After an incredible 2015 filled with choice releases and gigs galore at all of the finest clubs and festivals, man of the moment Alan Fitzpatrick continues along his upward trajectory to top of the techno stratosphere. What’s set him aside, and won him a legion of followers, is his discerning ear and a certain je ne sais qui. With his star on the rise it’s perfect timing for Fitzpatrick to contribute his mixing touch to Fabric’s long-running mix series. Recorded in one take, his 23-track mix features cuts from the likes of Roberto, Truncate & Jimmy Edgar, Mike Dehnert and an unreleased track from the man himself. Bottom line: fabric87 is easily one of the series’ best releases in its long and revered history.
Release date: April 15

V/A – EPM Selected Vol. 4 (EPMMusic)
Currently in the midst of celebrating its 15th year, EPM takes a well-deserved victory lap with their fourth label sampler featuring contributions from house and techno stalwarts including Robert Hood, Dan Curtin, Ben Long, Esteban Adame and Paul Mac. The beats, grooves and attitude are underground and on point on all 11 tracks. After all, those who’ve come to know the quality of this label’s output would expect nothing less. In addition to the compilation, EPM 15 parties are slated for April 29 at Suicide Circus, London and April 30 at fabric, respectively. Happy anniversary, guys.
Release date: April 15

Kim Brown – Wisdom Is A Dancer (Just Another Beat)
The success of Kim Brown’s debut album, Somewhere Else It’s Going To Be Good, released at the end of 2013, helped raise the deep house duo’s profile and paved the way for opportunities including more DJs gigs and remixes. For their follow-up full-length Ji-Hun Kim and Julian Braun took their time. Their patience has paid off in dividends. “Optimism” is as elegant a house track as you’ll ever hear, while “Transparent” is a masterclass in downtempo simplicity that’s mandatory 6am listening. Wise beyond their years, these guys are the Yodas of house music.
Release date: April 22

V/A – Strictly Roger Sanchez (Strictly Rhythm)
When New Yorkers like Todd Terry and Masters at Work were jet setting around the world in the late ’80s/early ’90s, Roger Sanchez was coming into his own, making music his mark from his home base of Queens. Hard work, determination and talent not only catapulted him to the top rung of the international DJ ladder but his earnestness, passion and tenacity didn’t hurt the cause. This massive 33-track collection — which includes a bonus DJ mix — documents the S-man’s gradual rise under a string of monikers. On early classics like Underground Solution’s “Luv Dancin’”” to his Kathy Sledge fronted cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Another Star,” this collection documents how Sanchez has stayed a step ahead of the pack.
Release date: April 22

Matador – Ructions (Rukus)
When wildly talented Irish producer Gavin Lynch delivered his sublime remix of Depeche Mode’s “Soothe My Soul” he had arrived. True, getting the nod from Richie Hawtin to record for Minus and perform live at Enter are also important career milestones, but it seemed that everything he had done to date was the dress rehearsal for his brilliant interpretation. Now that he’s up his own Ruckus label to release his own material, Lynch approaches his debut album, Ructions, with the sophistication we’ve come to expect from this rising technocrat. He presents a variety of styles, and there’s a wonderful ebb and flow to the album. Though he’s joined on “The Enemy” by Felix Da Housecat the collaboration, like Ructions, is modest, sincere and entirely understated.
Release date: April 25

Darren Ressler

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