Dec 31, 2021

The number one best electronic music album of 2021: Koreless – Agor

Fat Roland's Best Electronic Music Albums of 2021 presents one final brilliant album:

Koreless – Agor (Young) 

The best electronic album of 2021 is Koreless's Agor. That's it. Decision made. Even Bleep agree with me. Please write this in your books because the decision cannot be changed.

Who am I kidding. My annual number one list over the years is full of albums that I wouldn't make number one now. Why didn't I make Luke Abbott number one in 2010? Or Kiasmos the best album of 2014? I'm such a little fickle douche.

Anyhoo. Let's double down. This is definitely the number one bestest long-player of the year, and if you disagree with me, you are a poopy poop-head.

Listening back to Lewis 'Koreless' Roberts's older releases is revealing. 2011's 4D is rooted in bass music, but the 'woooah' vocals are somewhat post-dubstep, and try so hard to be Hyph Mngo. It doesn't entirely work. What's curious about that is that vocals are such a central part of Agor.

Here's a moodboard for the first two tracks on Agor. An electrical burst. A splash of static. Lilting ambience. Images of the sea on a sunny day. Frequencies tighten and suddenly the synth is a rhythm. My tongue waters. I imagine clouds sweeping the sky above me. A honky siren kicks me in the face. I lose my balance. The sweeping ambience darkens. A fog lifts me into the air. I can see nothing but I know I'm weightless. The noise drops out guillotine-quick. I fall flat on my face into a dumpster.

THANKS for that, Koreless. Later on, on White Picket Fence, come the voices. A harpsichord-soft melody accompanies a crystalline chorister. I'm briefly confused. The choral voice fractals into scattered samples, echoing with the ever-more shining ambience. I momentarily forget how to breathe.

And so it goes. Loud, quiet. Chorister, ambience. Bursting dynamics, resonant silence. A stuttering vowel takes the place of a synth on Joy Squad, and suddenly we're in a beatless rave at the end of the universe. Shellshock is as close as the second half of the album comes to a straight house rhythm, complete with crowd-teasing EDM-style drops – and there isn't a drum in earshot.

We've been edging towards this kind of drum-free trance-ish classic for some time. Lorenzo Senni comes to mind, as does Nathan Micay. I think you have to get used to the vocals – it's all a bit Kyrie Eleison / liturgical at times. But embrace that and you have the most stunning album of 2021. As Bleep's far superior write up says, "Forget cinematic — this is the sound of waking up on an alien planet and coming to terms with an entirely different ecosystem."

So there we go. A Bangor beatmaker turned Glasgow producer pops out a debut album of shiny techno, and quite rightly has been bigged up by Caribou and Jamie xx. It's remarkable audio feat after remarkable audio feat: incredible to hear an experiment in sound design that is so entertaining. Quite rightly, it's a the top of my pile of 90 albums.

Thank you for reading my blog gubbins in 2021. It has been a less bloggy year than usual, but that's okay. I've been busy building a lifesize blue-tac sculpture of H from Steps or building a lifesize sculpture of Ronan Keating using only cardboard, sellotape and dozen dead octopuses or building a lifesize model of the universe from Plumber's Mait putty. Ah such original and varied content.

See you in 2022.

No comments: