Unto Others – Mana

Last year my number one music was Unto Others – Strength, and now I’m listening to their first album, wanted to make an entry for this, too. I consider their second record the better one, but they are pretty close, this first one is also amazing. I’m still trying to crack why I am so much obsessed with this band’s music. They share some DNA with an old Hungarian goth rock band, F.O.System, which is also one of my all-time favorite bands, so that may play a part.

Alex Banks – Beneath The Surface

Intimate electronic music (think Moderat) with down to mid tempo and glitchy broken beats. Not the kind of intimate that makes you turn inside and feel blue, but the one that gives a push and inspires.

Years of Denial – Suicide Disco

This is easily one of my most influential albums that I came across in 2020. Modern technoid EBM with bubbling analog synths and tight industrial beats. It has all the dark beauty of any oldschool EBM but without the spotlight mainstreamism of some retro abusing modern electronic music. They are to EBM what Led Er Est was to post-punk goth rock—something new that understands the roots and fully lives in the present. Wonderful, fantastic music, soundtrack of my life material.

6th Circle – The Third Estate

Actually there’s nothing too special about this album, good old sounding EBM and aggrotech. Still somehow it managed to gain quite a few plays recently. It just has everything ideally put together that I want from a hellectro record, and well, nowadays I don’t really remember to dig up old Hocico albums. (Maybe I should.)

Kontravoid – Too Deep

Absolutely classic EBM. Some tracks are more on the rhythmic noise side with raw and metallic synths, while some are more about vocals and melodic futurepop. But all in all it has most that I love about electornic body music. Fantastic cover photo, too.

Only Child Tyrant – Time to Run

Funny story, I haven’t known this is an Amon Tobin alias up until the point I got to writing this post and looked up info about this album. And already having listened to the full thing a couple of times. And I was already amazed. And now I’m double amazed. If I listen to the track Long Down now, I have this “what were you thinking” moment, like, of course it’s him.

It’s a super massive, amazing record. All the best of Tobin’s smart mid-tempo electronics spiced up with this rock and roll attitude, dragging heavy beats, all coming together for some heist movie chase scene atmosphere. And full-on surf rock in King of Kong – whaaat? I love this so much. It’s a silly ride and all over the place but sounds fresh for him and feels like a free spirit. Very well done.

Footnote: another artist who chose to be someone else for a bit to be able to work freely, like what I mentioned before.

Electric Sewer Age – Contemplating Nothingness

Electronic ambient with some oriental instrumentation and spoken words, but the most powerful bit and its most unique voice is at the end in the last two tracks, which are totally detached fromt he arc of the album by the way. Actually I’d rather have those two separately as an EP and be happy with it.

Self Doubting Trip is a cinematic-atmospheric soundscape with a tight beat and tense tune, like when the big reveal of an exciting movie is just being unfolded. Then in Dekotur this continues with some chiming sounds and a whole lot of layers building up very slowly. This latter bit actually feels a lot like the beginning of Johnny Jewel’s Vapor, the two could nicely play after one another. (It’s like the end of Terminator and the beginning of the Matrix.)