Electronic-Dance

All Visible Objects (CD)

Moby’s new dance-heavy album was made in the legendary EastWest Studios in Studio 3 where Pet Sounds was recorded, using the same board that was used in the making of Ziggy Stardust and the same piano that Sinatra used to record some of his most notable hits. With a pedigree as royal (and diverse) as that, and including a collaboration with Dead Kennedys’ drummer D. H. Peligro and rapper Boogie, Moby’s 17th studio album is as unique as he is.

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R.Y.C. (CD)

British artist Mura Masa (a.k.a. Alex Crossan) presents a conceptual sophomore album focusing on nostalgia and regression, namely the longing to recapture past excitement and innocence…even if it never existed in the first place. Musically, Alex sources from influences of his childhood, including upbeat club music and other late ‘90’s sounds.

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Symphonik (CD)

On May 15, 2017, Thievery Corporation’s Eric Hilton and Rob Garza held a performance at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, with the center’s own National Symphony Orchestra accompanying. The premise behind the show was a complete reimagining of some of Thievery Corporation’s past discography with full orchestral arrangements. Gradually, this idea went from a one-off performance to the impetus behind Symphonik. Culling 11 of the duo’s most popular and acclaimed songs, Symphonik features brand new recordings of each song, all augmented in a grand, ornate fashion courtesy of the Prague’s FILMharmonic Orchestra, and captured here on these lush recordings.

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Necroscape (CD)

Mike Patton, he of Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, and about a million other projects teams up with electronic artist Anthony Pateras to form tētēma, an experimental quartet rounded out by violinist Erkki Veltheim and Will Guthrie on drums. Necroscape is their second release and, while it's comprised of 13 separate tracks, functions less of a collection of traditional songs and more as an extended suite of nightmarish moods and atmospheres. Though there are undeniable rock elements throughout, the band pulls from all sorts of peculiar sounds and textures to create a disconcerting, overwhelming experience. Pateras himself frames a few of the influences as “Peter Gunn on methamphetamine with RD Burman as co-pilot, being pursued by Madlib through an early '80s London industrial estate.” And that’s just describing one song! A track like “Soliloquy” features what sounds like a malfunctioning synthesizer overlaid with hyperactive jazz drumming. “Haunted” approximates John Zorn conducting a hardcore band. During this sonic maelstrom, Patton unleashes hell with all manner of various howls, screams, grunts, bellows, and chants. It might not be a candidate for easy listening album of the year, but the chaos of Necroscape is a fitting companion to the frightening world outside.

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Heaven To A Tortured Mind (CD)

Yves Tumor’s existence is something of a paradox: cloaked in mystery and with a vague musical past, yet emerging as viable of a capital-R “rockstar” as we’ve seen in the past decade or so - you know, those iconoclastic figures who dominated the spotlight and airwaves ‘til shortly into ‘00s. With every music video his visual presence becomes more striking and akin to something out of The Fifth Element, and with every album his musical ambition grows grander. Following 2018’s Safe in the Hands of Love, which found the artist broadening his sound palate considerably, Heaven to a Tortured Mind does not disappoint as the next phase in this evolution. There are plenty of reference points in this dark subversion of pop and rock music tropes; David Bowie’s Scary Monsters material comes to mind, as does Prince, especially on a power-ballad like “Kerosene.” Squint and the magnificently named “Gospel For A New Century” sort of resembles a demented Lenny Kravitz rocker. While Yves Tumor undeniably draws upon the larger-than-life persona of superstars past, you’ll never forget whose record you’re listening to. With an admittedly limited, untrained voice, the sheer range of sounds and genres that Yves Tumor is able to remake as his own are astounding. Good albums are often those that give the listener some good songs. Great albums give them something to explore. Heaven to a Tortured Mind is worth getting lost in.

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Through Water (CD)

Young singer/songwriter Låpsley creates a coming-of-age album of sorts in Through Water. Allegedly paired down from over 100 songs to 10, Through Water marries rich lyricism and vivid, personal narratives to sparse, futuristic pop music. Aside from lead single “Womxn,” which features a driving beat and bassline, a lot of the arrangements on the album could almost be considered ambient. There’s the laconic piano and multitracked vocals of “Speaking of the End,” a 21st century update of the Joni Mitchell songwriting school. Or the poetic “My Love Was Like The Rain," where Låpsley vamps over a few synth chords and skeletal drum beat. As a whole, Through Water does more with less, emphasizing the fascinating storytelling at the heart of these 10 songs.

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MAGDALENE (CD)

MAGDALENE is a triumph for FKA Twigs. It’s her most expansive, cinematic work yet, featuring lush strings, church choirs, and poignant soundscapes. It may also be her most vulnerable, with FKA facing up to heartbreak on the sweeping, grand scale such an intense experience requires. If FKA Twig’s work before this made you stop in your tracks, MAGDALENE is guaranteed to be the album that pulls the rug out from under you. Gorgeous, raw, and deeply resonant.

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Our Pathetic Age (CD)

DJ Shadow’s new double album Our Pathetic Age is urgent, pleasurably menacing, and smart. The first half is instrumental and the second half features Nas, Run The Jewels, Sam Herring of Future Islands, Paul Banks of Interpol, and more. The atmosphere is generally dystopian, with moments of light accentuating the shadows, and glimpses of beauty peeking through the intensity of Shadow’s subject matter. Raekwon, Dave East, Pusha T, and Pharoahe Monch provide intelligent flows with unsettling lyrics as Shadow sets the vibe through moody synths and seamless sampling. If it sounds like a downer, worry not. Our Pathetic Age is perfectly suited for, well, our tumultuous age, in all its simultaneous fear and hope.

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Radiant Dawn (CD)

The new album from Montreal’s Operators meld raw analog hardware with Dan Boeckner’s (Wolf Parade) distinct voice to create an immersive cinematic sound. Interspersed between the tracks are instrumental intertitles that amplify the album’s 1970s sci-fi dystopian feel.

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