Essential Dance/Electronic Albums for February 2015


Music is everything. It’s what helps many of us find the strength to keep on keeping’ on and it has the power to touch us in a meaningful way, send chills down our spine or simply make us smile, dance or go freakin’ mental. February is a seriously great month for electronic music. Sure, The Prodigy are dropping a new album, but there’s so much more to explore beneath the radar. It’s all documented here on our curated list of essential releases presented in no particular order. While you’re reading it feel free to smile, dance or go freakin’ mental.

Michna – Thousand Thursday (Ghostly)
New York City DJ/producer/sonic adventurer Adrian Yin Michna approaches his second full-length album with the same fervor, tenacity and wonder for electronic music as he did his 2008 Ghostly debut, Magic Monday. The glitchy beats, IDM noodling and bombast are all in tow, though Michna’s sound and moxie is entirely on a higher plateau. Opening with an ambient wash, deep chords and a bassline that tickles the g-spot in your inner ear, “Jace The Mind Sculptor” is perhaps one of Michna’s most epic and cinematic offerings. Likewise, he achieves an even higher state of euphoria with “Increasing Ambition.” It’s all rounded out by a nifty collaboration with MNDR (“Solid Gold”) and trumpets peppering some of the cuts (“Cherry 2000,” “Nuroq Legacy”).
Essential Track: “Believe In It Pt. II”
Release Date: February 3

SCNTST – Puffer (Boysnoize)
The next time someone complains that youth is wasted on the young, point them in the direction of Bryan Müller. Growing up in Munich on a diet of hip-hop and rock, Müller made his entrée into music at the tender age of 17. After releasing his acclaimed full-length debut, Self Therapy, the now 21-year-old wunderkind steps out with his second long-player. Puffer is a wash of lavish soundscapes and apocalyptically deep excursions aided by quixotic beats and nuance. Wise beyond his years, his production touch is patient and unhurried. Puffer is an album for techno fans looking for something that transcends the futurism and explores an altogether new world.
Essential Track: “Sers”
Release Date: February 16

John Carpenter – Lost Themes (Sacred Bones)
His reputation as a trailblazing creative force within movies, particularly in the genre of quirky thrillers, is legendary. But what many might not know is that John Carpenter, who is (in)famous for directing classics such as Halloween, Escape From New York, The Fog, The Thing and Big Trouble In Little China, composed and performed himself many of the soundtracks of the aforementioned flicks. Carpenter steps out from behind the camera with his son Cody Carpenter and godson Daniel Davies and delivers a truly original, thoughtful and improvised full-length that’s brimming with austere, synth-fueled soundscapes (“Fallen,” “Mystery”) and rousing uptempo numbers bordering on the edge of prog-rock. (“Obsidian,” “Abyss”). Watch your back, Giorgio Moroder.
Essential Track: “Fallen”
Release Date: February 3

Dan Deacon – Gliss Riffer (Domino)
Nothing makes me happier than a new album from Baltimore’s Dan Deacon. A mad scientist known for large-scale audience participation and interaction, Deacon always brings substantial ideas with each album. Where 2012’s America was more grandiose in the sense that it featured live instruments, orchestration and political themes, Deacon returns to a more stripped down modus operandi on Gliss Riffer. “Sheathed Wings” is a giddy ride full of psychedelic sampling of the tallest order, while Deacon turns in one of his finest vocal performances on “When I Was Done Dying.” Music criticism is arguably prone to hyperbole, but I can say with conviction that Gliss Riffer is one of the best and most important albums of 2015.
Essential Track: “Meme Generator”
Release Date: February 24

Egyptrixx – Transfer of Energy (Feelings of Power) (Halocline Trance)
A byproduct of the punk scene, Toronto DJ/producer/musician David Psutka first caught our attention when he released Bible Eyes on Night Slugs in 2011. Psutka has continued to explore the underbelly of electronic music, and it’s come to an interesting plateau with his third album as Egyptrixx (and first for his brand-new imprint). Transfer of Energy (Feelings of Power) is experimental and thoroughly uncompromising. “Body II Body” feat. Nyssa brandishes metallic percussion, flourishes of synths and a wicked groove, while “Discipline 1982” is an industrial romp which punishes indiscriminately. This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no rolling around.
Essential Track: “Conduit”
Release Date: February 9

Hot Sugar – God’s Hand (Break World Records)
Those who follow Nick Koenig’s sonic excursions know that the New York City-based producer crafts his grooves through found sounds. Though many others create music in the same way, Koenig presents an album’s worth of fresh ideas on God’s Hand. The drips on “Raining Blood” — please don’t confuse it with Slayer’s same-named heavy metal anthem — build into a clever, dubby headnodder, and speaks to Koenig’s impeccable aptitude for paying attention to subtle sonic details. Listen with really good headphones to get the most out of his wizardry.
Essential Track: “Beer Cans and Bubblegum”
Release Date: February 24

Rone – Creatures (Infiné)
Visionary French electronic musician Rone (a.k.a. Erwan Castex) manages to top the eloquence of his previous releases with Creatures, a transformative, career-defining artistic statement. With a sound falling between home listening and the dance floor, Rone follows his musical bliss to the end of the horizon, connecting with a variety of collaborators — Bryce Dessner of The National, Francois & the Atlas Mountains, Etienne Daho, Bachar Mar Khalifé, Sea Olenna and Toshinori Kondo — for spectacular results. With its warm bass and hypnotic soundscape of horns and strings, “Mortelle” featuring Étienne Daho and Bryce Dessner is an epic, cinematic track. Conversely, on “Sing Song” he crafts a big, bumping beat and transcends the track into a post-glitch/IDM masterpiece. Creatures reminds us of the limitless potential of electronic music.
Essential Track: “Quitter La Ville”
Release Date: February 10

Lake People – Purposely Uncertain Field (Permanent Vacation)
Leipzig, Germany’s Martin Enke produces the type of atmospheric electronic music that is packed with emotion and soul. After issuing a selection of tracks, remixes and an EP, Enke lets it all hang out on a captivating album which eschews hype and sticks to the topic at hand: making gorgeous dance music. Inspiration from some of the best ’90s electronica bands can be heard throughout the 11-track affair, but the album isn’t derivative in the least. His deep instrumentation is poignant and untouched by fleeting fads and trends. In an age where dance music is all too often created by those with a fast-food mentality, Purposely Uncertain Field is a majestic album achieved through innovative ideas realized through patience and steadfast integrity.
Essential Track: “Illuminated”
Release Date: February 6

Mumdance & Logos – Proto (Tectonic)
The story goes that the red-hot producers teamed up to craft this diverse collection of tracks over the course of many months last year. Somewhat of a concept album, Proto‘s cuts are based upon notable moments in the annals of electronic music. The intriguing concept has given rise to an adventurous full-length bearing many moods and textures that’s difficult to pigeonhole. One minute Mumdance and Logos are paying homage to Joey Beltram’s “Energy Flash” with “Dance Energy (89 Mix),” and the next they’re rinsing some seriously ill beats on “Hall of Mirrors.”
Essential Track: “Move Your Body”
Release Date: February 16

Various Artists – Fabric 80: Joseph Capriati (Fabric)
In an interview last year before his debut gig at Fabric, Toronto’s Nathan Barrato, who is a resident DJ at Marco Carola’s Music On party in Ibiza, mused, “I’ve learned that the Italians are so on point musically! They know their shit!” Indeed, while many a truth is said in jest, Barrato’s comment was dead on. Joseph Capriati, who is also associated with Carola’s Music On events, is one of a legion of emerging Italian techno talent who Barrato indirectly referred to. Since releasing his Self-Portrait album on Adam Beyer’s hallowed Drumcode label in 2013, Capriatti’s global profile has skyrocketed with his Fabric 80 mix confirming his arrival on the international stage. Championing a sleek style tinged with elements of house, his flawless session features excellent programming and choice cuts from Alex Mine, Joel Mull and Shlomi Abe. When Capriatti drops Hinz & Ruhmhardt’s mind-blowing “Doch,” which was Pig&Dan’s song of the year in 2014, and mixes it into Alan Fitzpatrick’s “Organic,” it’s game, set, match, Capriati.
Essential Track: Hinz & Ruhmhardt’s Doch
Release Date: February 16

Various Artists – Butch: Watergate 18 (Watergate)
Knowing full well the ubiquity of DJ mixes in 2015, Butch comes out with guns blazing on this excellent mix session for Watergate’s revered mix series. He demonstrates his patience from the onset by building the vibe into a rousing state of intensity by way of lush tracks from Jonas Kopp (“55 Dias”) and Octex (“Liagon”), throwing off the gloves and dropping raunchy floor movers such as The Horrorist’s “One Night In NYC” (Ricardo Villalobos Remix) with a toothy grin. Butch incorporates two of his own productions crafted with Hohberg (“The Spirit” and “Thai Cubensis”), closing out his house/techno journey with a beautiful comedown courtesy of Weltwirtschaft’s “Maud.”
Essential Track: Alland Byallo’s “Blindsided”
Release Date: February 16

Various Artists – Mobilee Back To Back Vol. 9 presented by Re.You (Mobilee)
Anja Schneider’s Mobilee label celebrates ten years of cultivating righteous dance music with a double-disc compendium. Before you hit the snooze button, hang on. For this release Re.You revisited 18 tunes from the imprint’s back catalogue — tracks from a host of dance floor luminaries including Sebo K, Rodriguez Jr., Maya Jane Coles and Lee Van Dowski — and forged them into a brilliant journey. On a second disc Re.You sums up some of the label’s 2014 stormers with a mix featuring exclusive remixes by the aforementioned producers as well as a new Ninetoes collaboration, “Union.” Happy birthday, Mobilee.
Essential Track: William Kouam Djoko’s “Satisfied” (Original Mix)
Release Date: February 27

Darren Ressler

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