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.

nthng – Hypnotherapy

Subsea trip with thumping, soft dub techno and ethereal ambient. Good for chilling, brilliant for work.

On a sidenote: when will this album cover trend stop, I wonder… Photos of parts of stuff so that it looks disturbing. It may have started around Dumb Flesh, but I wouldn’t mind if it stopped.

Nicolas Jaar – Cenizas

I still have a hard time to slap a label on Nicolas Jaar. But this record is pure gold, again. Overall I can call it modern classical, although that’s not because of its use of traditional instruments and orchestration, but because it sounds like my idea of a perfect, meticulously crafted classical music today. Genrewise it’s some kind of ambient with a very wide range of intruments and sounds (drums, chimes, keys, strings, experimental textures, and voice), using inspiration from all over the world, and melting it into a introvert mind trip. As advertised on the cover. And an amazing cover art it is, too.

Update: the totally ethereal sounds of Hello, Chain gives me the goose bumps. I’m in awe.

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.

Holy Fuck – Deleter

Either punk electronics or electronics-infused indie rock. I usually read about them as the previous but for me it’s more like the latter. Anyhow, it’s with a live band sound but packed with electronic elements, part dreamy and part jump around, part blue and part joyful, still consistent, and always smart and elaborate.

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.

JASSS – Whities 027

Two very distinct tracks on this record. The liner notes are pretty accurate for Turbo Olé: “fucking rocket fuel” with “giddy jibber-jaw trance lead”, “electro breaks” and “a ‘90s cyber-trance riff”. Correct, it’s a rave scene in a sci-fi movie. The B side starts off as an IDM rhythmic noise piece but also ends up in with some broken beat trance vibe. Wow. My current favorite music for reading the setting book for the new Cyberpunk Red RPG.