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Amoeba Electronic's 2013 Best of LPs

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, December 19, 2013 02:58pm | Post a Comment


Thanks for supporting Amoeba and reading the Amoeba Electronic blog in 2013. Like us on Facebook for daily updates and feel free to hit us up with any requests/feedback. Without further ado, here are our Best LPs of 2013, compiled by Oliver, Matt and Jordan. 

 

ADR - Chunky Monkey LP Cover20. ADR - Chunky Monkey

Hippos In Tanks

While visual artists have been quick to adapt to the internet's Babel of information, musicians have been slow to comment directly on the vast digital buzz. Hippos In Tanks, as a label, has admirably pushed this conversation forwards while also displaying a fierce devotion to the traditional mediums of CD and vInyl. James Ferraro's "Farside Virtual" (Hippos In Tanks, 2011) was seen as a comment on emerging personality types in the face of rampant technoconsumerism, but in retrospect, can be seen as Ferraro's first step out of the cassette underground into sleeker rnb/hip-hop influenced production Gatekeeper's "Exo" had them abandoning the Carpenter-esque VHS aesthetics of their previous releases, even hiring internet artist Tabor Robak to create a playable game for reach song. The most successful effort in creating a musical analog to endless internet-meme driven communication is ADR's "Chunky Monkey". 

The record succeeds first and foremost because Aaron David Ross (1/2 of the Gatekeeper) is a completely badass producer. I woudn't be suprised if legitimate pop production is in his future based off of the seemingly effortless genre tourism on display here. Opener "Casual Friday" places  samples of sitcom saxaphones against a loping 303 and eerie processed piano that could be lifted from a Prologue release. "Sumo" seems to be an oblique comment on 90s boom-bap, while "What It Takes" could be lifted from a sinister Sprite commercial. "Stray Dog Strut" could be seen as ADR's reading of Sly and Robbie digidub, but in this tune, the comment on internet culture is palpable. In the midst of innocuous and expertly produced genre-exercises, ADR is prone to interrupt with unsettling samples (e.g. a screaming chorus of roller coaster riders) to fray the edges. The effect has an uncanny resemblance to cruising through life with 15 tabs open.

The record's absolute highlight is "Don't Fret", which plays a gorgeous Art of Noise/Badalamenti influenced pad against a trip-hop inspired beat. At the edge of the track, a sample that sounds like a paper cutter whittles away, creating digital scraps for the next visionary.

Buy Chunky Monkey
Download Chunky Monkey

 

 

GB - Within These Machines LP Cover19. GB  - Within These Machines 2xLP

Gifted and Blessed

Expertly paced full-length statement from Los Angeles' best kept secret. Well, that's not exactly true. FACT and Kyle Hall are fans, but it's obvious from this record that GB is underground because he's developing virtuosic studio skills. So many moods are contained within. Sol sounds like Steve Reich scoring a PBS documentary about hummingbirds. There are a number of tracks that approximate prog through modular experiments. Boogie and library music are also appropriate reference points. But then there is the more evocative, filmic work, such as the unclassifiable Rain Dance and the Carpenter-esque Tesla's Notebook. The album takes a welcome contemplative dip as it winds itself down, with GB burying the most dj friendly track, Made it Through, deep within the 57 minutes of music.

Buy Within These Machines 2xLP

Buy Within These Machines CD

 

 

Lawrence - Films & Windows LP Cover18. Lawrence - Films and Windows CD

Dial

Excellent full-length from the remarkably consistent Dial producer. Lawrence's trademark sound mixes Detroit influenced rhythms with crystalline melody and extreme attention to production detail. The combination feels somewhat anachronistic with the modern horde of lo-fi barbarians at the gate. Still, it works as well as it always has. The title track floats detuned synth over a sturdy rhythm before introducing a dueling set of synth/string chords. Similarly, Etoile Du Midi begins with a techno-influenced bassline and then uses an angelic combination of flute/harpsichord to move from body to mind music.

Buy Films and Windows CD

Download Films and Windows

 

 

 

Huerco S. - Colonial Patterns LP cover17. Huerco S. - Colonial Patterns LP

Software

Buy Colonial Patterns CD

Buy Colonial Patterns LP

 

 

 

 

 

Jessy Lanza - Pull My Hair Back LP Cover16. Jessy Lanza - Pull My Hair Back LP

Hyperdub 

Stately electropop from the Canadian chanteuse. Her running collaboration with Jeremy Greenspan seems to free the Junior Boys producer to explore odder aspects of his lush production. Against The Wall has  driving synth bass but buries the snare and drifts into ethereal synth wobble at points. Lanza shines. She typically chooses to provide hooky, ephemeral counterpart to the chilly base, yet when she flexes her soprano, as she does on the chorus of the album's title track, its apparent she would sit atop an alternate Top 40 for the lonely.

 

Buy Pull My Hair Back CD

Buy Pull My Hair Back LP

 

 

 

Kyle Hall - Boat Party LP Cover15. Kyle Hall - The Boat Party

Wild Oats

Assured full-length debut from the producer whom many expect to carry Detroit's legacy forwards. What's on display here is not a producer buckling under decades of dance music history, rather, a singular talent who began his career taking risks and continues to double-down. KMFH's use of isolators is unparalleled. The first half of this album holds skittering drum tracks, yet remains compelling due to Hall's nuanced filtering and effects work. "Flemmenup" welds the recent footwork fixation onto classic Detroit electro-styles, while "Crushed" shows the producer can cut a sample alongside legends like KDJ and Terrence Parker. "Finnapop" is a Dancemania tribute which ends in a solid 2:30 minutes of spooling noise, emphasizing the experimental nature of Hall's production and listening (Hall enjoys shopping for outre records at Windy and Carl's "Stormy" records). The final track, "Measure 2 Measure" shows Hall effortless skating around a pair of soul samples, juggling insane hi-hats and morphing the soaring female vocal into an endless, abstract delay trail. There is a perfect sloppiness to what Hall does on the record, light years away from marathon Ableton sculpting sessions.

Buy The Boat Party

 

 

Prince of Denmark - The Body LP Cover14. Prince of Denmark - The Body 3xLP
 
Buy The Body 3xLP
 
Forum
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Syclops - Blink of An Eye
13. Syclops - Blink of An Eye LP
 
Running Back
 
Buy Blink of An Eye CD
 
Buy Blink of An Eye LP
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Raudive - A System of Objects LP Cover12. Raudive - A System of Objects

Macro Recordings
 
Buy A System of Objects CD
Download A System of Objects
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
TM 40411. TM404 - S/T
 
Kontra Music
 
Buy TM404 CD
 
Buy TM404 LP
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

KWC92- Dream of the Walled City LP Cover10. KWC 92 - Dream of the Walled City OST LP

LIES

Brilliant imaginary Soundtrack by Samo DJ Max Stenerudh, which seems to score an imperialist drama. The sounds within are closer to the bamboo drums and razor sharp synths of 80s Japan - music that sounds otherworldly and futuristic 30 years later. One of LIES most adventurous and most musical releases, not much for the non warm-up set dj here, simply a beautiful concept album. 

Buy Dream of the Walled City OST LP

 

 

 

 

 

Axel Boman - Family Vacation9. Axel Boman - Family Vacation LP

Studio Barnhus

Outstanding full-length statement from the young Swedish producer. The record maintains a melancholic, bittersweet tone reminiscent of classic Kompakt releases, while maintaining the adroit, joyful sample work of Detroit house. The record's first single is the excellent Fantastic Piano, which bears out the Cologne/Detroit connection, yet the album's clever pacing and dynamics include moody Rhodes on Barcelona and the sad carnival music of Animal Lovers. A  fulfilling journey.

Buy Family Vacation LP
Download Family Vacation

 

 

 

 

Dj Koze - Amygdala8. DJ Koze - Amygdala

Pampa
 
Buy Amygdala CD
 
Buy Amygdala LP
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 
Jonsson & Alter - 27. Jonsson & Alter - 2
 
Kontra Music
 
Buy 2 LP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Knife - Shaking the Habitual6. The Knife - Shaking the Habitual CD

Mute
 
As always, The Knife mean to disturb and provoke you, and Shaking the Habitual represents their most adventurous statement to date. They begin the two-disc set with one of the more pop-oriented pieces — of course, The Knife’s defintion of pop involves alien distortion on Karin Dreijer Andersson’s vocals, which are growly and swoop in and out of conventional melodicism to begin with. On “A Tooth for an Eye,” it’s fairly typical, if highly accomplished, fare for The Knife, as Andersson’s warped vocals match her and Olaf Dreijer’s tribal beatwork and synths that bellow and squelch like steam machinery. This in no way prepares you for the set’s second song, the nine-minute “Full of Fire,” whose machine-gun beats are the accessible part of a demonic pop song in which synths bleep atonally like tea kettles and swirl like locusts, while Andersson’s vocals sound like they’ve been run over by tires full of syringes. Even with its mammoth run-time and demanding sound, it never falters in fascinating and keeping a fanged vice grip on the listener. You feel your hair stand on end and you start to sweat with each new turn. “A Cherry on Top” starts with five minutes of airy synths and clanging instrumentation before Andersson comes in with a digitally deepened voice in a sort of gender, culture, genre-bending near 10 minutes that’s both bewildering and bold. Of course The Knife’s freaky sounds can be grating or seemingly unusual for the sake of it sometimes — I opened a hotel website with a man singing in Hawaiian during the flute-laden “Without You My Life Would Be Boring” and didn’t notice for a full minute — and pieces like the nearly silent, nearly 20-minute “Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized” are more interesting in concept and as a breather than they are in actual sound. But Shaking the Habitual harkens back to a time when albums were meant to be an experience, something puzzled over, abandoned and returned to and studied, not streamed while searching for hotels. It’s anti-pop, but claims that it is “unlistenable” are unfounded. Even at nearly 10 minutes and with truly messed up sounds housed within in, “Raging Lung” is a pop song, with movements and parts that hit you and break through the din — when Andersson keeps coming in with her “that’s when it hurts” line ranks among the best pop moments on the album. “Networking” drops vocals almost entirely in favor of a Kraftwerkian cold synth rave-up, and it ends up one of the album’s catchiest songs in the process. “Stay Out Here” also features guest vocals from Light Asylum’s Shannon Funchess and artist Emily Roysdon that make the song a kind of horror house anthem as the singers’ vocals bounce off one another and come together in eerie harmony in a padded cell of wavelike synths and skittering beats. The Knife make many demands on you — of your time, of your patience and of your willingness to let go of preconceived notions of pop — on Shaking the Habitual. Trust them — you’ll emerge from the experience feeling as though you’ve gained a new understanding of what pop music can be. Few artists alive today can claim the same effect
 
Buy Shaking the Habitual CD
 
Buy Shaking the Habitual CD (Deluxe Edition)
 
Buy Shaking the Habitual (Deluxe 180g) LP

 

 

Donato Dozzy - Plays Bee Mask5. Donato Dozzy -  Plays Bee Mask LP

Spectrum Spools

On first impression, Italian deep techno master Donato Dozzy covering Philly neo-komische upstart Bee Mask doesn't make much sense. The pairing is more obvious when Dozzy's reverent Komische mix for mnml ssgs is taken into consideration. No kick drums, all synths set for transcendence. That said, this is no formless drone record. Vaporware 7 possesses an arpeggiated melodic theme reminiscent of Jurgen Muller's Science of the Sea, while also possessing the universally lauded depth of Dozzy and Neel's Voices from the Lake project.

 

Buy Plays Bee Mask LP

Buy Plays Bee Mask CD

 

 

 

Omar-S - Thank You4. Omar-S -   Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself Part 1 (LP) & Part 2 (LP)

FXHE

Vinyl release of the sprawling full-length from Omar-S. The collection of 13 previously unreleased tracks feel suitably epic, the producer flexing his ability to tackle a diversity of styles with a hat tip to the album form. "Be Yoself" emerges as the first in a number of tracks that will be included among past FXHE classics, and has the producer laying thoughtful synth ambience over an massive bass line. "Let It Ride" could be a mission statement for the album - Omar-S is that rare producer who leaves well enough alone, in this instance lacing a tough groove with some virtuosic piano playing for nearly seven minutes. "Helter Shelter" sounds as corroded as a Huerco S. track, while the lack of melody and subtle drums of "Tardigrade's" recall Omar's oft-quoted admonition to lazy djs: "Yeah bitch, that’s all the record do. Yep your lazy ass needs to do some other shit with it."

The title track has Omar-S indulging his sensitive side to stunning effect. A subtle Rhodes chord and brief synth figure bring in a mid-track melodic line of heartbreaking optimism. Closer "It's Money In the D" looks back to the moody piano nostalgia of "Just Ask The Lonely". Another winner.

Buy Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself Part 1 (LP)

Buy Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself Part 2 (LP)

 

 

 

Oneohtrix Point Never - R Plus Seven3. Onoehtrix Point Never - R Plus Seven (CD)

Warp

Daniel Lopatin's solo followup to the acclaimed Replica album is a feverish experience. Whereas Replica dealt in moods and atmospheres, at times calling to mind classic Brian Eno records, R Plus Seven jumps around in a surreal fashion—it's less dreamlike in the sense of the descriptor, yet more like an actual dream. The hilariously titled "Boring Angel" starts as demurely as its title might suggest, but its churchlike organ drones give way to Phillip Glass-style arpeggiated synths. "Americans" also calls to mind its namesake—it's at once idealistic, industrious and destructive. It's hard to pull out specific tracks from R Plus Seven since it jumps around so frequently within song, but "Zebra" is a likely highlight of anyone's listening experience, the album's "catchiest" song with a defined synth line leading the way and sparkling piano, cut up voice and ethereal washes cutting in periodically. Sometimes you wish R Plus Seven would congeal into a more cohesive statement—even the equipment and/or sounds Lopatin uses seem all over the map at times—but it doesn't sound random, either. It's more of an elusive quality that his work has that keeps you coming back to listen and figure it out, much like a cryptic dream you can't shake.

Buy R Plus Seven CD

 

 

 

James Holden - Inheritors2. James Holden -  Inheritors (LP)

Amazing new album from the Border Community boss. It's been seven years since Holden's last full-length statement, time the producer has spent immersing himself in krautrock and the american lo-fi underground. The resulting album is loose and heavy on one-take modular synth recordings. The album stands in contrast to a deluge deluge of predictable, compressed dance productions.

That said, Holden's made it clear that this is dance music, of a sort, and when the acoustic drums emerge on "Renata" (conveniently timed at 120 bpm), this assertion rings true. That said, there's nary a kick drum intro on this album, and the pool of influences is much deeper than your average club ready 12". "Inner-City 125" is a more ominous take on The Caretaker's ballroom ambience, "Rannoch Dawn" sounds like the Rune Grammofon camp's take on shambolic Krautrock, while "Seven Stars" sounds like a PBS Mystery!  soundtrack obscured by analog extrapolations. Only "Gone Feral" hints at the wooly pastoralism of Holden's previous productions. 

Buy Inheritors (CD)

Buy Inheritors (LP)

 
 
 

 

Vakula - You've Never Been to Konotop1. Vakula - You've Never Been to Konotop (Selected Works 2009-2012) (CD)

Firecracker

A massive set from the Ukranian purveyor of all things deep. As with most Vakula releases, the producer's adroit musicianship sits alongside an preternatural understanding of atmosphere. Jazz Mutants works a fusion bassline and comes off sounding like one of the instrumental asides from Eno's  Another Green World. The producer's piano chops are on full display on New Romantic, flexing neoclassical over a loping 303. In My Head sounds like early Theo Parrish and disintegrates into upward modular experiments. The impact of Amsterdam improv journeyman Juju and Jordash is felt, not least on which on the track dedicated to the duo. For Juju and Jordash reimagines the duo's  synth based psychedelia as a primetime detective show intro. A remarkably cohesive release in light of  the considerable time period covered.

Buy You've Never Been to Konotop (Selected Works 2009-2012) (CD)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
...And some of our favorite 12"s / EPs for 2013:
 

Jordan's Picks

1. Domenico Rosa - Shades Of Swing (Imprints)

2. The Mole - History of Dates EP (Buy) (Perlon)

3. Dreamboat - Special Kiss (Cosmic Chronic)
 
4. Ben Cenac - Cozmic House EP (Buy) (Thug)(re-issue)
 
5. Rhye - The Fall (Maurice Fulton remix) (Innovative Leisure)
 
6. Edward - Green Amber (Buy) (Giegling)
 
7. Cloudface - Devonian Garden (Buy) (Mood Hut)
 
8. The Mole - Could It Be, You And Me (Buy) (Maybe Tomorrow)
 
9. Moomin - A Day And A Night (Closer)
 
Reissues: 
 
Arthur Russell - Another Thoughts LP Cover1. Arthur Russell - Another Thought
 
Arc Light Editions
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Saada Bonaire2. Saâda Bonaire S/T
 
Captured Tracks/Fantasy Memory
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Matt’s Picks
 
1. Pye Corner Audio - Superstitious Century (Buy) (Boomkat Editions)
 
2. Terekke - YYYYYYYYYY (Buy) (LIES)
 
3The Mole - History of Dates EP (Buy) (Perlon)
 
4. Delroy Edwards - Untitled (Buy) (LA Club Resource)
 
5. Funkinevil - Ignorant EP (Buy) (Wild Oats)
 
Reissues:
 
1. Kevin Harrison - Fly EP
 
Emotional Recuse
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
spike - orange cloud nine
 
Golf Channel
 
Brilliant dig from Golf Channel. Orange Cloud Nine  compiles the best recordings from Spike Wolfers - a bedroom pop genius from the Netherlands who issued several holy grail private press records between 1981 and 1984. The difference between this record and most reissues is that it holds up against virtually anything released during that period. It's a clever combination of euro dub, classic rock striving and early, expansive new wave. Sometimes apes Eno's ambient triumphalism while Can You See Me sounds like a budget version of Pink Floyd's Fearless. Highly recommended. 
 

 

Relevant Tags

Syclops (1), Tm404 (1), Kwc 92 (1), Axel Boman (2), Dj Koze (6), Electronic (14), Jonsson & Alter (1), Best Of 2013 (24), The Knife (10), Donato Dozzy (5), Omar-s (1), Onehtrix Point Never (1), James Holden (5), Vakula (7), Prince Of Denmark (1), Kyle Hall (1), Raudive (1), Jessy Lanza (1), Huerco S (1), Lawrence (8), Gb (1), Adr (1)