Here is my greatly belated list of 2016 records. In no particular order, these are a few musical highlights from an otherwise bleak year.
- Babyfather – BBF Hosted by DJ Escrow Hip-hop, harsh noise, and an overarching sense of unease compose the first full-length release from Dean Blunt’s new collective Babyfather. It’s a perfect compliment to 2016. Check it out for apocolypse vibes.
- Amnesia Scanner – ASAfter a series of scattershot, but truly innovative mixtapes, the Berlin-based duo Amnesia Scanner released their first proper EP. It takes the aesthetics of trap, electronica, and dubstep, puts them through a meat grinder, and rebuilds them into an unrecognizable Frankenstein’s monster of cultural detritus. Essential listening.
- Dedekind Cut – $uccessor (ded 004) Operating between the realms of ambient and progresive sound, Dedekind Cut’s LP gets the best of both. Using smooth pads, synthetic strings, and digital choirs, this record fuses a number of popular electronic tropes and integrates them into a more calm context, while still maintaining a mysterious and sometimes disorienting air.
- James Ferraro – Human Story 3A definite personal highlight of the year, Human Story 3 saw James Ferraro taking a sharp turn from the cryptic, heavily referential patterns of his previous albums. Instead, he has created eleven meticulously crafted modern classical compositions, calling to mind everyone from Steve Reich to Stravinsky. The mix of genuine optimism and the more covert uncanniness of its depiction of a techno-utopia make for a unique, pensive listening experience. Disclaimer: there are many robot voices.