Music ain’t what it used to be, am I right? Of course I’m right, in part because that’s just the nature of time itself, ever flowing like a river from source to sea and causing not just music but anything that exists today to be subject to some degree of change in comparison to its original state. But mostly the opening statement is correct in the sense that music, on the whole, just isn’t of the quality it used to be, and the presence of such talentless pillars of garbage like Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris, and this mysterious “Ft.” fellow that seems to be in so many tracks these days in the charts is undeniable proof of the aforementioned statement’s correctness.
There is still hope however, and though some may disagree this comes in the form of electronic music, an umbrella label that encompasses a variety of sub-genres; electronic music still has some hope in the modern day, and the following albums only serve to prove this second point I’ve made (I’m on a roll today).
Jon Hopkins – Immunity
Immunity is quite simply one of the finest examples of music writing and production, and analogue is the primary method by which sounds are synthesised here. This is quite the rarity these days as many electronic music fans will know, and Jon Hopkins has pulled off in Immunity what he didn’t quite manage on Insides. For a start you can check out the Jon Hopkins website to discover more of this innovative artist, but purchasing any one of his records would be quite the correct thing to do, that is if you claim to like and understand true electronic music that is.
Aphex Twin – Syro
Had it not been for the recent release of Syro on Warp Records, Aphex Twin would have been confined to the ‘Notable Old-School Ambient Electronic Music Albums‘ list exclusively. But Richard D. James, the charmingly reclusive genius that is behind – but is by no means exclusively known as -Aphex Twin decided to tease people with a mysterious-yet-covert promotional campaign (involving the Aphex Twin logo appearing in various places around London) indicated an imminent release of a new album; Syro (pronounced SIGH-ro) is the subject of this promo tactic that is typical of James’ style.
Syro isn’t the most innovative of James’ albums by any means. In fact, one could argue that Syro is a relatively tame record, relatively speaking that is, but tame for Aphex Twin is like a regular person’s brazenly outlandish, a fact you will soon discover if you go ahead and invest in the album. Old-school Aphex Twin fans will hugely enjoy the opening track, which has a sound that is reminiscent of the Aphex Twin of old. Also present is the eclectic mix of styles we’ve come to expect from James: drum and bass/break beats are frequent and heavy, there’s an excursion into funk in the track produk 29, and a fine demonstration of some of James’ technical abilities in the time stretches, distortions, frequency manipulations, and general audio acrobatics found in many of the tracks.
To not support James by purchasing his music would be a crime to music itself, so I implore you to consider going to buy Syro at Amazon whilst you despair over the fact that the Syro Limited Edition vinyl has sold out already.
Deadmau5 – while(1<2)
Joel Thomas Zimmerman, or Deadmau5 as he’s known when he’s donning his iconic mask, has been known to get involved in a fair bit of banter and sometimes flat-out feuds with various celebrities and music artists. I always feel compelled to root for him however because firstly, he seems like the kind of computer game nerd that would be fun to know, and secondly, he knows what he’s damn well talking about when it comes to music.
Enter his latest album, while 1<2), a record that displays mau5′s talents across two discs of wobbly electro-house brilliance. Shining through in this album is Zimmerman’s love for the cinematic style, epic in nature but as well-refined as ever, and oh so deliberate in every note and beat. The album’s length allows Zimmerman to explore a progression through the tracks that is often only seen in concept albums, and the relaxing piano interludes of Acedia and Invidia make for a depature from the mau5 norm. You can get while(1<2) on iTunes, or you check out the vinyl package if you’re on of those record purists that always likes to be fun at parties by telling everyone how vinyl is absolutely the best medium for music, ever.
My Nu Leng – Time Goes By
Ok, so this isn’t an album at all, but rather a fantastically relaxing yet pleasantly wobbly and bass-heavy single from up-and-coming Bristol duo My Nu Leng. Many of their songs sound like a pleasant mix of dub, dubstep (if you can even call it that anymore), and sample-heavy ambient music but with a house-tempo beat underlying many of the tracks. Time Goes By is a departure from the usual driving beats of My Nu Leng’s sound and allows you to take break from the decidedly undulating and oscillating bass of tracks like Knowing and Masterplan.
My Nu Leng are signed to Black Butter Records and are set to make quite the mark on the current electronic music scene. You can help them along their way by checking out the My Nu Leng Beatport page.