Ólafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen hail from two distinctive backgrounds, an Icelandic pianist/composer and a Faroese synth-pop producer, respectively. And while you couldn't necessarily call their collaboration, Kiasmos, a sum of those disparate parts, the duo's take on exploratory instrumental electronics does sound unafraid to wear the heritage on its sleeve.
nonkeen’s history has always been shaped by the mysterious convergence of coincidence with the band’s steady exploration of as yet unheard sounds. After all, ever since Frederic Gmeiner, Nils Frahm and Sepp Singwald discovered, in their childhood days, a shared passion for rudimentary tape machines, they’ve refused to shy away from letting their music respond to the erratic nature of their recording process. What started as a playground radio show in a suburb of Hamburg, where Gmeiner and Frahm experimented with their cassette players and the noises of their daily environment, soon developed into a long-lasting friendship, and eventually led to the foundation of nonkeen.
Rather than drift off into irrelevance in the 21st century, the Orb have become sturdy and workmanlike. Moonbuilding is, incredibly, the Orb's 10th album in the new century, and it reminds you of what once made them great.
The widescreen melancholia of their 2012 debut, Quarter Turns Over A Living Line, gives way to an urgent and focussed futurism, in the shape of eight fiercely uptempo, minimal, meticulously crafted electro-acoustic rhythm tracks. The DNA of dub-techno, garage/grime and post-hardcore rock music spliced into sleek and predatory new forms.
Kode9 applies an experienced DJ's knowledge of dancehall dynamics and post junglist theory, attempting to create a quietly euphoric torque of rampant breakbeat science, basically without the breakbeats...
Notions of place and displacement feature strongly in the works of Fatima Al Qadiri. The Brooklyn-based producer refers to her debut full-length as a “virtual road trip through ‘imagined China,’” refracting the skewed manner in which Asian motifs have sunk into Western pop culture.
Daft Punk's debut is pure synapse-tweaking brilliance. In the Nineties, when artists like the CHEMICAL BROTHERS and FATBOY SLIM were bringing in guest-star vocalists and sampling rock records, and ad executives were strip-mining club beats, French duo Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo proved that techno and house could be as elastic, catchy and, at times, as funny as the poppiest pop without diluting its hypnotically driving, acidic essence.
The dubstep artist follows his critically acclaimed debut with the even richer, more complex, and more enveloping Untrue, a record of reverb-heavy and mournful songs that feel almost like beautiful secrets being whispered to a listener.
So far, Arca is best known as a producer. He's already produced some of FKA twigs' best work, he's co-producing Björk's next album, and he had a hand in four songs on Kanye West's Yeezus. Despite his high profile collaborations, his excellent debut album Xen is doggedly experimental, perhaps the strangest music he's made.
Junk marks M83's first studio album in over four years, the last album being Hurry Up, We're Dreaming. Gonzalez noted that he was inspired by 1970s and 1980s television shows such as Punky Brewster and Who's the Boss?, stating, "I feel like TV shows are starting to sound and look the same. There's no more passion anymore. So this album is a tribute to those old-fashioned shows."