This year in music has seen a lot of ups and downs. Many beloved artists are no longer with us, and so many more have made themselves known. There’s been so much new music this year from so many different sources that it’s often hard to keep track. In the process of the past 12 months, over 100 notable albums in dance music have been released and so many of them are now favorites of fans new and old.
It was very difficult to choose our Top 10 Albums of 2018 with so many strong contenders, but we believe that this list is a fair representation of a broad range of styles and influences. Of course, not everyone will agree with our list, and that’s okay. However, there’s no denying that each of these albums has an importance in 2018. Each has influenced scores of fans and for that, they deserve recognition.
Here are Your EDM’s Top 10 Albums of 2018.
10. The Glitch Mob – See Without Eyes
Spanning eleven tracks, See Without Eyes exposes fans to supremely classic Glitch Mob vibes, courtesy of Boreta, Ooah and edIT. Not counting the singles that have already been released, the album is full of welcome surprises and familiar soundscapes. While it’s not an entirely different or updated Glitch Mob from the one we left in 2014, fans will no doubt be happy to add another batch of releases to their collection.
9. Rezz – Certain Kind Of Magic
I’d say that Certain Kind Of Magic feels more cohesive and put together than her first album, and that’s only to be expected after receiving feedback and working harder than ever before. Having 13 and Kotek come back for the second album also gives it a sense of continuity that’s rather interesting, and additions of collaboration with not one, but two mystery producers – 1788-L and Deathpact – gives this album an intense air of mystery, as well.
We’ve already spouted on about how much we love “H E X,” as has much of the EDM community as large, but other standouts on the album are “Teleportal” with Kotek and “Toxin” with Fytch. The latter actually happens to be our second favorite track on the whole album, as the combination of Fytch and Rezz is truly something of dreams. And since Rezz never plays out the drop in “Sirens Over Paris,” I feel like this is long overdue anyhow.
8. Golden Features – SECT
SECT is a wholly cohesive project, one that works well with each track by itself, but even better as a whole. Each track, from the dark “Medicate” to the comparatively brighter “Falling Out,” works in tandem with each other, building up a foundation upon which the whole project can securely rest.
7. Getter – Visceral
Where dubstep and riddim tend to play purely for the club, Visceral is a collection of songs that tell stories, stories of heartbreak, rejection, unhealthy relationships, struggles, and more. They’re not concepts new to music by any means, but Getter is certainly presenting them in a new context. He teams up with a number of featured artists on the album – Audio Opera, Allan Kingdom, nothing,nowhere., Sweetsound, Midoca, Name UL, Njomza, Party Nails and Joji, to name a few – in order to properly convey his thoughts and the result is nothing short of spectacular.
6. G Jones – The Ineffable Truth
To say that an album is a journey is often a crutch, a buzzword that we use when we want to say that tracks flow into each other and maybe tell a story. Or perhaps it’s a way to connect with readers using a word they easily understand to offload some of the burden on us writers. But in the case of The Ineffable Truth, it’s no exaggeration or crutch. In a lot of ways, this is probably the most important bass music album of the decade. There are no crowd pleasers, no features, just pure unadulterated sound and creativity.
5. Zhu – RINGOS DESERT
It’s hard to conceive a way in which ZHU could have created a more diverse and immersive experience within his own sound than what he did on this album. Each song is unmistakably ZHU, a result of a carefully crafted brand and soundscape that he’s developed ever since he dropped his remix of “Moves Like Ms. Jackson” four years ago. New to his sound are greater risks, more varied instrumentation, and a clearer sense of courage in the sound he chooses to present.
4. Steve Angello – HUMAN
Described as powerful, euphoric, haunting, and hypnotic — the producer expresses an array of musical styles over 21 incredible tracks your ears will worship. Familiar songs like “Rejoice” and “Breaking Kind” set the pace before venturing into the previously unheard sounds Angello has been perfecting all this time.
Heavy synth work, gospel choirs, eerie vibrations and bass-heavy undertones narrate the album throughout. There’s an ongoing battle between light and darkness and a constant struggle to find peace. But, overall, there’s an optimism heard with HUMAN that can only be explained through Angello’s own story.
3. San Holo – album1
The 12-track album is said to bridge progressive rock with dance music, utilizing a vastly different style of arrangement than most dance music fans are used to. In addition, San brings his soft and powerful guitar riffs into the mix for a deeply personalized production with his signature sound attached to each and every note.
There’s no doubt that the album takes a little getting used to. Taking into context the usual format of live electronic music – the DJ set – album1 doesn’t make much sense. Of course, it was never meant to be a purely DJ-centric project in the first place. San has been on stage using his guitar for months now, giving fans a taste of what was to come.
2. RL Grime – Nova
The wait for RL Grime’s second album NOVA began as soon as his first album, VOID, dropped. The widely recognized king of trap has always been about more than just his namesake, as he’s explored dubstep, future bass, and even drum & bass in many of his productions. But NOVA is truly peak RL, as the 27-year-old producer ventures into new sounds and personal expressions, many of which we’ve never heard from him before.
To say that VOID and NOVA are like night and day, respectively, isn’t an exaggeration. VOID carried with it an exceedingly dark undertone, exemplified in some of its bigger tracks like “Core” and “Scylla.” In contrast, NOVA is a brighter, purer expression of happiness if we’ve ever seen one.
1. Rüfüs Du Sol – Solace
One of the biggest explanations for this sound is the switch from major key in Bloom to majority minor keys in Solace. It immediately gives the record a more pained sound. At the same time, lead singer Tyrone Lindqvist provides a sense of dichotomy with his hopeful tone and lyrics. Rather than a monotone sound, this juxtaposition of sounds creates a swirling mass of noise that is all at once both upbeat and forlorn.
This dichotomy is unbelievably present in each and every track, weaving its way throughout. This balance of dance floor music and emotional ballad is perhaps no more obvious than on “No Place.” The undertone of horns and grim bass belies the otherwise happy drum rhythm and the backing vocals. It’s easy at one moment to be dancing and the next to be painfully cry-screaming the lyrics into a void.
Photo via Rukes.com