LAist Robert's Top 10 Best Electronic Albums of 2006
In our never ending quest to squeeze in as many Top 10 lists as possible before the end of the January, we now present our highly subjective list of electronic albums from the past 350+ days. No prior knowledge of club music required. Consider this part of your education.
1. John Tejada "Cleaning Sounds is a Filthy Business" (Palette)
Though he's a local boy, Tejada has always managed to stay a couple steps ahead of the international set and stake out his own territory. His blend of minimal rhythms and emotional Orbital-esque melodies catapult him into the realm of super-producer in our book.
2. Jeff Samuel "Step" (Trapez)
Some of the best 'minimal' techno has to offer, Samuel's first full length release delivers the goods in a bouncy yet understated package that eclipses most of his 12" releases from the past few years. Techno that won't give you an Excedrin headache "This Big".
3. Isolée "Western Store" (Playhouse)
Rajko Müller's compilation of previously released singles for the Playhouse imprint still sounds fresher than most of what passes for "minimal techno" these days. There's a welcome warmth and variety in tone that overshadows even his own album of new material of a year ago. Proof that some artists get most their good ideas out early in their career.
4. Herbert "Scale" (!K7, Accidental)
Not quite a full on dance album, more a living room listener, Matthew Herbert yet again pushes the boundaries of the genre by constructing another grower that combines political rants with fresh textures and rhythms. Utilizing sampled sounds alongside (gasp!) actual instruments, Herbert adheres to his own personal musical manifesto while meeting the listener more than half way. Challenging yet rewarding.
5. Nightmares on Wax "In a Space, Outta Sound" (Warp)
DJ E.A.S.E.' namesake has never been one for radical innovation. What he does well is dish out wonderfully stoned grooves and flavorful downtempo beats with a heavy Jamaican dub-meets-the-60's soul vibe. The result is a collection of DJ tools for the average listener.
DJ Shadow only wishes he could be this loose.
6. Jan Jelinek "Tierbeobachtungen" (~scape)
Like much of his work, Jan Jelinek's genius lies in his willingness to let the sound do the work. This time around, he has stripped his tracks naked of their rhythm, leaving the ambient foundations exposed for all to hear. This one may leave some of Jelinek's fans out in the cold, but for others it's a welcome evolution.
7. Jimmy Edgar "Color Strip" (Warp)
Furthering the queering of the Detroit Techno sound, Jimmy Edgar has been only getting better with each release. A sweaty blend of sex and circuitry, it's Kraftwerk meets Outkast in a dark Detroit alley.
8. Tiga "Sexor" (Different)
Since blowing up the charts with his rendition of "Sunglasses at Night", Tiga has been putting his own synthed-up spin on the 1980's, infused with an ambiguous sexual identity that appeals to, well just about everyone. Here, Tiga gets to stretch out a bit. As a result, he covers just about every bit of territory on the dance map. Check his cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Down In It" for further evidence.
9. Coldcut "Sound Mirrors" (Ninja Tune)
Truly masters of their sound domain, Coldcut managed to out-diversify the Chemical Brothers with their collection of collaborations for this album. Roots Manuva. Annette Peacock. Robert Owens. Saul Williams. Jon Spencer. The result is an inconsistent yet compelling mix of big beats of all stripes, ranging from torch song (Walk a Mile in My Shoes) to jacking house (Just for the Kick) to Middle Eastern inflected hip hop (True Skool). You want an album with nearly every genre on it? It's right here.
10. I:Cube "Live at the Planetarium" (Versatile)
The album most likely to remind you of your childhood. France's Nicolas Chaix commits his live show to disc in a comfortable mix of ambient soundscapes and expanded versions of his established classics. Pure dreamy bliss, I:Cube single-handedly resurrects the early 90's chillout scene's endless optimism for a new generation.