Best EDM Albums Of The Year 2018: EDM Sauce Critic’s Choice

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This year has been specifically special for album releases in the world of dance music. We saw the return of legends after decades-long hiatuses as well as brilliant debut efforts from both new and established artists. Over the last two months, we asked out staff to on their picks for the top honors in 2018.

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Alan Walker Releases Debut Album After Meteoric Rise To Fame: Does It Live Up To His Hype?

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I can see it now. Someone in the Pitchfork offices just finished listening to Alan Walker’s debut album. They are licking their lips, possibly even gently moaning as they plan how to systematically break down this album in the most brutal way possible. Seeing how they can produce the next viral sensation that was the

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ReOrder delivers his debut album – ‘IAMREADY’

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Biding his time, ReOrder hasn’t been hurried into sending his first album out there. It’s been ten years since the Slovakian studio head began making impressions on the scene, most recently through his outings on Black Hole, FSOE, Subculture, Monster and others. It was time well stayed: a period in which he honed his craft,

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Dirty South shows his dark side on brooding ‘darko’ LP [Album Review]

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Dirty South shows his dark side on brooding ‘darko’ LP [Album Review]Dirty South Darko Album Review

Dirty South is a man of his word. He promised fans two albums before the year was out, and suddenly darko arrived right in the nick of time. Just a month after releasing the stunning XVthe cinematic house titan submitted yet another chapter to his long player history – and it’s unlike any project the producer has helmed to date.

For some, it may have made sense to release both fall albums as a double LP. Yet Dirty South’s decision to separate the two projects makes perfect sense when listening. Both are worlds apart in feeling, tone, and flow. XV was brilliantly bouncy, often bursting with waves of elation; darko, on the other hand, is something different with a more anxious mindset all its own. The mournful synth swells of “Temps” announce the project’s ethos immediately, and the feeling of unrest permeates throughout the rest of the journey. On “Cassetta,” the intro burns slowly before ascending chords spread the tension on thick. “Piksi” follows directly behind, which is shaping up to be one of the darkest tracks in Dirty South’s repertoire.

Despite the unity of darko‘s world, trademark Dirty South touches abound. While the beaming brightness of past hits like “If It All Stops” is nowhere to be found, the “Kino” shuffles and grooves as undeniably as any of the artist’s dance floor weapons. “Lava” is a rhythmic tour-de-force, despite snarling horn-like synth blasts tethering it firmly into the album’s aesthetic. But despite Dirty South’s mastery of vocal-infused efforts show in past releases on labels like Anjunabeats, darko remains starkly instrumental. The move feels calculated as the arrangements ebb and flow freely, leaving the listener to wonder if any lyrics could speak single-handedly for the soul of the record.

The producer admitting the record is his favorite to date could indicate this new sonic direction — also showcased in songs like his recent remix of Lane 8’s “No Captain” — is settling in to stay awhile. The relentless cohesion of darko is something Dirty South had yet to do at this level. As “Corda” looms into sight to cap off the album, it sets the mind on fire. There’s a sense that the gravity of the sum of its parts has seeped in, and the effect after listening to the LP’s entirety is vivid. It’s gripped in an atmosphere of anxious and electric yearning, soundtracking a feeling of introspection and raw hunger. Beautiful but stark, dark but restrained, mournful but energized; whether or not these tracks invade the same playlists and dance floors Dirty South has presided over all these years is irrelevant. For a statement as nuanced and unified as darko is a triumphant highlight in and of itself.

Richard Durand Releases 1st Album In 6 Years With “The Air We Breathe”

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Allow us to catch you up… It’s been six years since Richard Durand sent us his boldly high-concept ‘Richard Durand Versus The World’ album. It’s reasonable to say that in the meantime his outlook on many aspects of life – both personal and professional – have shifted. Over that period he has circled the planet

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The Prodigy update the familiar on ‘No Tourists’ (Album Review)

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The Prodigy update the familiar on ‘No Tourists’ (Album Review)Notouristsmain

When an artist has released a vast body of work over multiple decades, engaged multiple generations of fanbases, and driven their genre forward for so long, it is hard to know what to expect from a new album. Was the genre-bending production just the music that came to them at the time, or is there a commitment to experimentation and subversion beyond the first few albums? For the Prodigy, lead by Liam Howlett the answer is somewhat clear. On the band’s seventh studio album, No Tourists, the Prodigy reach for the familiar and inject it with a dose of 2018.

A classic Prodigy record, No Tourists is jam-packed with energizing breakbeats, punk-leaning vocal hooks, and synth and guitar work that could fill the largest of warehouses. In this regard, the album is not a departure from anything the group has put out in the past. Big, high-energy sounds are what put the Prodigy on the map so many years ago. So as a listener with an array of old Prodigy tracks in my music library and a recently purchased vinyl single from 1991, what keeps bringing me back to this album? Why, when this album seems to be textbook Prodigy, do I not toss it to the side for the iconic originals? The answer lies in the production.

While the boisterous sound of Howlett’s production is nothing new, there is something cleaner and more refined about the entire sound of the album. Even compared to their 2015 offering The Day Is My Enemy, the samples are crisper, and the bass lines straddle that perfect line between distortion and clarity. Take the album’s lead single and opening track, “Need Some1.” With sloppier production, a track with a big, slow, hip-hop breakbeat, a variety of vocal samples, and explosive synths may have sounded cluttered and disorienting – but Howlett creates the perfect amount of space and depth to make the track work. And while an all out assault of noise may have been what drove the Prodigy’s success on Experience and The Fat of the Land, the musical landscape has changed. The Prodigy’s audience is no longer blasting tracks on massive speakers in their garage or at warehouse raves – this is an album for the headphone generation, exemplified greatly by tracks like “Boom Boom Tap” and “Light Up the Sky.” Sounds from every sector of the EQ spectrum shine through, with intricate synth work not feeling overpowered by the forceful low end. With the streaming economy making on-the-go listening more accessible, a crowded project full of distortion and a less precise mix could lead to an album that does not connect in this new era of music consumption.

While the album is sonically solid, No Tourists does not push the boundaries of what can be expected from the Prodigy. There is a small part of me that is disappointed that Howlett and the band did not take the group in any new direction. After seven albums, I (perhaps foolishly) expected a bit of deviation from the stylistic norm. However, a standard offering from the Prodigy is not anything to be scoffed at. I’d take No Tourists over ‘The Prodigy goes festival trap’ any day of the week. And when albums like Tom Morello’s feature-laden The Atlas Underground are missing the mark without a distinct sound or direction, a cohesive yet familiar project from the big beat progenitors may be what we needed. We are just lucky that, when it comes to the Prodigy, the familiar still hits hard.

Silk Music Releases A Melodic Slice Of Heaven With Their Only Silk 05 Compilation

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If you are a deep, progressive, melodic house lover, then you know that today is a special day in our scene. Silk Music has presented us with “Only Silk 05”, the fifth edition in their near-annual compilation series, inspired by the radio show and podcast of the same name. A two-part compilation of 31 brand

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Broken down and ReKontructed: Quivver is in his finest form in newest album [Exclusive]

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Broken down and ReKontructed: Quivver is in his finest form in newest album [Exclusive]Quivver

John Graham — most know him as the certified hitmaker, Quivver. He’s behind several dance anthems that have been permanently sealed into the music’s history, and a prime influencer of house and techno. But what is the true essence behind this prolific artist, who’s operated at juggernaut levels for nearly three decades? With a long overdue ReKonstrukt arriving at our doorstep via his experimental Controlled Substance imprint on October 5, Graham is finally ready to express who he is in cohesive, sonic form.

ReKonstrukt is the culmination of the “Quivver sound” so carefully built over the years: driving, techy in the right places, and moreover, progressive — not just in the sense of the genre, but in terms of the word itself, and how its definition applies to what John Graham has put forth. He’s done something akin to Sasha’s Involver series in that much of it is comprised of drastically re-molded pieces by others he admires, but ultimately advances this format to a whole new frontier. Four fresh originals are woven carefully into the mix, as well a special collaboration.

Graham begins his autobiographical aural narrative with an introduction that gently stirs the mind awake with eerie synths and cymbal clags before rolling into a hypnotic soundscape with minimal, yet well-placed notes and diverse instrumentation. Another strong and thoroughly-proven gift of this veteran DJ soon makes itself known: his ability to tell a story, and with seamless transitions at that. The second track seems to come out of nowhere, building upon the mystery of the introduction and adding a new, ethereal element in Lily Pita’s vocals. Titled “Summer,” it kicks the LP into full gear with strengthened percussion and more complex layering.

Technical, gritty, and focused — these hallmark motifs of Quivver’s aesthetic are prominent throughout ReKonstrukt, and can be heard loud and clear in its second re-edit target, “Something’s Not Right” by Dan Sieg. Quivver paints the original in aquatic arpeggios and full padding, making way for stabs of synth to add edge to the finished product. Other remixes like his glittering, yet futuristic and raw take on Beatamines’ “Omega,” his treatment of Khainz’ “Space Invader” and of course, his twisting of “Jack Mountain” by Mattia Saviolo into an utter stomper, also remind listeners of Quivver’s long hours spent in the studio honing his craft.

At this point, Graham is at work sneakily increasing the speed and drive to make way “Reaction,” by DNYO, which has been flipped entirely on its head. Monstrous as ever, roaring synthesizers and tense string edits ebb and flow throughout the track’s duration, whilst retro synth notes cut through the noise to add a bit of nostalgia. The tension continues as the LP’s official collaboration, “Aside” folds itself in, wielding darkness with hollow, running notes and spooky progressions. Such an awe-inducing, impactful display of sound is what one would expect to hear in a three-way between Quivver and his partners — in this case, the venerable Rick Pier O’Neil and D-Formation.

ReKonstrukt closes in perhaps the most appropriate way it could for someone as tenured as John Graham: with two brilliantly-crafted originals that pay homage to his roots while simultaneously manifesting the cliché, that, like a fine wine, he gets better with age. We see him traversing a stormy path through muddy synthesis and crisp drums in “Wait A Minute,” creating an intriguing, tech-based juxtaposition that only someone as skilled as him can pull off. We’re likely to hear plenty of as he moves into the future. Finally, at album’s end, “Eight Bit Eclipse” transports subjects to a Detroit warehouse with piano stabs and thundering percussion, wrapping his story up in a refined, timeless manner.

This is Quivver in his finest, most innovative form, and he’s certainly got a lot left to give.



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Flamingosis – “Flight Fantastic” LP

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Flamingosis is back again with yet another tasty LP. This dude is a monster behind the soundboard, with an deft sonic style that always captures that post-vaporware vibe that my ears live for. This 14 track album was only release earlier this month, but I’ve already spun it countless times. Taking diverse influences from the

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Getter Combines Years Of Production Experience For His Near Perfect New Album ‘Visceral’

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Getter has gone through countless transformations over the course of his career. He got his break in the bass world, producing heavy forward-thinking dubstep hits. Many of which continue to stand the test of time. The quality aging of Getter’s earlier work can be attributed to how the producer has always had a forward-thinking mindset.

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