Dec 30, 2021

60 best electronic music albums of 2021: Daniel Avery, Danny L Harle, DJ Seinfeld, Don Zilla & Eli Keszler

Fat Roland's Best Electronic Music Albums of 2021 presents five more brilliant albums:

Daniel Avery – Together In Static (Phantasy Sound) 

This album accompanied an especially written socially-distanced performance at Hackney Church in late May 2021. The last time I went to Hackney, I stayed in a miniature pod with black walls, and I've still not recovered. Nothing claustrophobic about this album though, despite Avery's knack for hot buzzy techno. Shaking techno rhythms lead to wandering analogue meanderings lead to, as the album progresses, genuinely optimistic IDM instrumentals. It's like a flower gradually opening: the release is glorious.

Danny L Harle – Harlecore (Mad Decent)

This album sees London producer Harle take on the personas of four people: DJ Danny, MC Boing, DJ Mayhem and DJ Ocean. Boing is the hyper one, Ocean is the chilled one... look, I haven't got time to introduce them all now. Just grab a Carling from the fridge and mingle with them in your own time. Harlecore is massive fun. There's banging euphoric rave, Scooter-style stadium crowd-pleasers, breezy 1990s drum and bass, hyper Italo piano house, and even a happy hardcore Golden Brown. Super daft. 

DJ Seinfeld – Mirrors (Ninja Tune)

This is a second album of Barcelona-sun drenched vintage house from a Swedish producer previously best known for his "lo-fi" vibes. Recorded in Berlin and Malmo, this feels like a much more polished Seinfeld, all very sharp and snappy and Bicep-y. He filters UK garage into something much more sultry, and ain't afraid of a big fat French disco slam-down. One of those albums which is bound to be on lots of end-of-year lists. And yes, he named himself after the US sitcom. Better than DJ Everybody Loves Raymond, I suppose.

Don Zilla – Ekizikiza Mubwengula (Hakuna Kulala)

This is the debut solo album from Don Zilla, from Uganda's Nyege Nyege collective. The collective's name refers to the urge to dance. However, those expecting a party feeling will only be partially sated. A party, yes, but soundtracked by pummelling thuds, growling mechanics and machinery assaults. At points it sounds like it's taking arms against its listener, but it also sounds every concrete basement club in every techno city. Uncompromising, and all the better for it. Take your coat off, this party's just getting started.

Eli Keszler – Icons (LuckyMe)

This hugely proficient percussionist and Oneohtrix Point Never collaborator brings us his tenth album. The tracks are jazzy and laced with complex beats, often tumbling into scattered ambient mood boards. The drums are perfectly poised, and know when to withdraw when the atmosphere needs it. Nice work. Apparently you can buy Eli Keszler candle too. It's got top notes of mandarin, black pepper and carrot. That might be the most interesting thing I've learned about a percussionist all day.

This is part of a series of the Best Electronic Music Albums of 2021. Read it all here.

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