Top 20 Electronic Albums, February 2014
For dance music fans, the biggest news this month is the eponymous album from Moodymann, Detroit's sly purveyor of funk. It's his first major release in a decade, and while it reprises key tracks from recent EPs, it's the first time any of them have been available digitally. Its mixtape-like sequencing, meanwhile, lends to the impression of experiencing one of his roller-disco DJ sets. You won't be doing much roller skating to Actress, meanwhile, but his fourth album, Ghettoville, wouldn't have existed without Moodymann's influence. Like the rest of his work, it's modeled on the murkiest, moodiest aspects of the Detroit producer's cut-up soul.
The Midwest looms large in this month's batch of albums. Hardcore Traxx: Dance Mania 1986-1997 surveys one of Chicago's pioneering house labels, Dance Mania -- home, in its day, to everything from deep to jacking, but known especially as the birthplace of ghetto house, an uptempo, stripped-down variant of the form. (You'll find a latter-day tribute to ghetto house on Sound Pellegrino's SND.PE compilation, along with a slew of less traditionalist techno/electro/grime hybrids.) Ghetto house begat juke and footwork, both of which echo in fractured form through Supreme Cuts' Divine Ecstasy and White Rainbow's Thru.u.
The rest of our selections encompass techno (Boys Noize, STL), bass music (Cashmere Cat), ambient (Mark McGuire, Mika Vainio), electro-pop (ceo, Poemss) and abstract sounds that are harder to classify (Bus, Illum Sphere, Bibio). Barcelona's Wooky, meanwhile, dedicates his debut album to the sound of '90s IDM -- think Autechre, Aphex Twin, Sun Electric -- at its warmest and most melodic.