Dec 30, 2021

60 best electronic music albums of 2021: Jon Hopkins, Kasper Marott, Leon Vynehall, Loscil & Maxwell Sterling

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

Jon Hopkins – Music For Psychedelic Therapy (Domino Recording Co) 

Everyone’s favourite piano raver came up with this album of beatless meditation after spending time in an Ecuadorian cave. An Ecuadorian cave! Do you know the most interesting place I've been this past week? Sheffield. Who's the winner now, Jon Hopkins? This is all very nice and ambient and epic and perfectly suited to playing in big churches. An inbetween album for the electronic master. Lights down, sit back, take in all the beautiful Hopkins production. Full of caves, it is, Sheffield. Can't move for 'em.

Kasper Marott: Full Circle (Axces Recordings) 

Marott is a Copenhagen techno producer whose first EP Keflavik, released a few years ago on Modeselektor's Seilscheibenpfeiler label, created a bit of a fuss. This debut album of euphoric club cuts takes us through breezy electronic jams, breakneck acid techno, cheerfully skippy breakbeats, urgent drum and bass and every other electronic music genre you could possibly pull out of a bag. I demand more fuss be made about Marott and his easily distracted but totally celebratory approach to dance music culture.

Leon Vynehall – Rare, Forever (Ninja Tune) 

Pitchfork calls him a "master craftsman". Mixmag calls him "an artist of distinct talent". Ethel from number 32 calls him "who? Never heard of him. Are you going to return my circular saw or what?" Jeez, Ethel, that the last time I borrow power tools from you. Where was I? Oh yes. This second album of dynamic downtempo techno-noise is essential listening. Such a mix of influences, from rave to classical to techno to jazz. It's a heady mixture and may possibly make you woozy. In a good way, of course.

Loscil – Clara (Kranky)

It's funny what people get obsessed with. Loscil took a short recording of a Hungarian orchestra, lathe-cut it to 7-inch, then scratched the heck out of it. He then used that final messed-up recording as a sample-base for the whole of Clara. I've not been that occupied with one thing since I built a lifesize blue-tac sculpture of H from Steps. The orchestra is all but excised from this unhurried ambience, as vast swathes of widescreen chords hover in the air, their shadows strangely bright.

Maxwell Sterling – Turn of Phrase (AD 93)

I read somewhere that double bassist Sterling took inspiration for this album from Los Angeles, London and Morecambe. In only one of those places have I played crazy golf. What we have here is a sonic palate that ranges from glooming ambience to wonky half-rave. It's difficult to categorise: in turn it sounds like hippos with an arpeggiator, wasps on a playground swing, and a jazz band populated entirely by insects. It was Morecambe, by the way. It had a windmill and everything.

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

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