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Top 10 Albums of the Year 2018

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2018 was an exceptional year for music within our Bleep world, and with our top 10 albums, we have compiled what we consider to be the most important releases from across the board.

Taking the top spot is Tirzah's Devotion. No other album this year dominated our listening habits as much as the London-based singer-songwriter's, Mica Levi-produced, debut. Its universal appeal just can't fail to capture both your ears and your heart. Ilian Tape Soundboy Skee Mask delivered his most vital and concise depiction of jungle, techno, and ambient yet with Compro. While SOPHIE knocked us sideways with some very rubbery and experimental latex-clad ideas of what makes her brand of pop such an addictive pill to swallow. Another album from a post-genre world was Yves Tumor melting moments of skinny-jeaned indie, heartfelt romance, soulful RNB and harsh n0!se on Safe In The Hands Of Love, his Warp debut.

Chris Carter's first solo album in two decades offers a textbook lesson in how to craft innovative, mind-blowing electronic music. Kamaal Williams spun a rich tapestry of visionary jazz as filtered through the sounds and signals of South London Streets. Paper Dollhouse's The Sky Looks Different Here portrayed a spidery Lynchian electronica, beamed in direct from the rain-soaked streets of East London via Suffolk. Marie Davidson's Working Class Woman offered up crucial commentary on the night after night, club culture, setting the pace to an incredibly strong new beat/EBM-techno workout. While Pariah marked his first new material in over half a decade with the tranquil landscape of his ambient oeuvre Here From Where We Are. To round it off, Khruangbin’s dazzling fuzz guitar and heavy drums on Con Todo El Mundo, was easily the year's most heady soundtrack of classic soul, dub, and psychedelia.

  • Devotion
    Artist
    Tirzah
    ReleaseProduct
    Devotion
    Label
    Domino Recording Co
    Catalogue Number
    WIG394D
    Release Date
    August 2018

    Tirzah – Devotion

    In 2018, no other album dominated our listening habits as much as London-based singer-songwriter Tirzah's debut album Devotion. Having been instantly set out as one of this year's most anticipated albums, it naturally lives up to the hype and so much more.

    Produced entirely by Mica Levi, Tirzah wraps her tender vocals up in Mica's blurry-edged beats that build upon the cornerstones of grime and RNB, yet exist entirely within their own practice. Devotion is a collection of downtempo love-songs laced with romance and lust, melancholy and desire, and while each one feels incredibly personal, its universal appeal just can't fail to capture both your ears and your heart.

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    Devotion - Heart Balloon
  • Compro
    Artist
    Skee Mask
    ReleaseProduct
    Compro
    Label
    Ilian Tape
    Catalogue Number
    ITLP04
    Release Date
    May 2018

    Skee Mask – Compro

    Compro sees Ilian Tape Soundboy Skee Mask re-writing the rulebook of what constitutes proper jungle, hip-hop, and techno in 2018. From AFX'ian ambient, stark Basic Channel dub and the most experimental breaks this side of A Guy Called Gerald's Juice Box label. Compro is a detailed, daringly experimental universe created by an artist who has not only found his voice but when he steps into club mode, shouts louder than anyone else.

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  • OIL OF EVERY PEARL'S UN-INSIDES
    Artist
    SOPHIE
    ReleaseProduct
    OIL OF EVERY PEARL'S UN-INSIDES
    Label
    Transgressive
    Catalogue Number
    TRANS368
    Release Date
    June 2018

    SOPHIE – OIL OF EVERY PEARL'S UN-INSIDES

    With her debut album OIL OF EVERY PEARL'S UN-INSIDES, SOPHIE very much achieved her unique aim of making music that sits perfectly on the radar of nationwide mainstream radio appeal, yet turned it on its head by smuggling in some very rubbery and experimental latex clad ideas of what makes commercial pop music something for people to fetishise to the nth degree. This is the sort of album we can see bursting any preconceptions and made up minds on what makes SOPHIE's music such an addictive pill to swallow.

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  • Safe In The Hands of Love
    Artist
    Yves Tumor
    ReleaseProduct
    Safe In The Hands of Love
    Label
    Warp
    Catalogue Number
    WARPCDD293
    Release Date
    September 2018

    Yves Tumor – Safe In The Hands of Love

    With his Warp debut, Yves Tumor showed that he wasn't afraid to immerse itself in the close running interests of skinny-jeans 'n' all indie, heartfelt romantic ballads and soulful RNB bangers, all while being a serious aficionado of harsh n0!se. The stadium-sized approach to crafting earworms sets Yves Tumor out as truly one of the most visionary and singular artists of 2018.

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  • Chemistry Lessons Volume 1
    Artist
    Chris Carter
    ReleaseProduct
    Chemistry Lessons Volume 1
    Label
    Mute
    Catalogue Number
    ISTUMM415
    Release Date
    March 2018

    Chris Carter – Chemistry Lessons Volume 1

    Drawing great influence from 60's radiophonic wonderment as well as the darker strains of traditional English folk music and wrapped up in an entire history textbook of industrial and electronic diaspora, Chris Carter’s first solo album in two decades Chemistry Lessons Volume 1 was a testament to his thirst and endless quest to craft innovative, mind-blowing electronic music.

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    Chemistry Lessons Volume 1.1 - Coursework
    Exclusive Green Coloured Vinyl Pressing
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  • The Return
    Artist
    Kamaal Williams
    ReleaseProduct
    The Return
    Label
    Black Focus Records
    Catalogue Number
    BFR001DL
    Release Date
    May 2018

    Kamaal Williams – The Return

    The Return is a rich tapestry of visionary jazz woven together with the sounds and signals of South London Streets. Known for his critically acclaimed project as Yussef Kamaal on Brownswood and his more dancefloor focused tracks as Henry Wu, Kamaal Williams debut album opened the door wide for everyone to follow in his footsteps and step through to experience one of the most exciting musical movements 2018 has witnessed.

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    Retail Exclusive - Catch The Loop 1 Cassette
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  • The Sky Looks Different Here
    Artist
    Paper Dollhouse
    ReleaseProduct
    The Sky Looks Different Here
    Label
    MoonDome Records
    Catalogue Number
    MOONDOME1
    Release Date
    February 2018

    Paper Dollhouse – The Sky Looks Different Here

    On The Sky Looks Different Here, Paper Dollhouse unveiled a freshly rendered, ambient pop sound that took in all manner of slow-motion dub, expansive synth-pop and time slip rave. Featuring production from a longtime associate of the group, Asher Levitas. The Sky Looks Different Here is a spidery electronica soundtrack to an imagined journey from East London to the deepest realms of Suffolk.

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    Exclusive Pink Vinyl Pressing
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  • Working Class Woman
    Artist
    Marie Davidson
    ReleaseProduct
    Working Class Woman
    Label
    Ninja Tune
    Catalogue Number
    ZENDNL250
    Release Date
    October 2018

    Marie Davidson – Working Class Woman

    Marie Davidson’s Ninja Tune debut, Working Class Woman offers a vividly important document that expresses both her state of mind and acts as a comment on the night after night, club culture of which her music has consistently expanded the horizon of, all cut to a pitch-perfect new beat/EBM-techno workout…

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    Exclusive Signed Print
  • Here From Where We Are
    Artist
    Pariah
    ReleaseProduct
    Here From Where We Are
    Label
    Houndstooth
    Catalogue Number
    HTH096D
    Release Date
    July 2018

    Pariah – Here From Where We Are

    Here From Where We Are is the long-awaited debut album from Pariah. Ever since cutting out the first half of our Bleep Green Series as Karenn with his sometime production partner Blawan, he has been one of the go-to producers for fully focused techno. Yet on his debut album, Pariah lets loose the mutant bass and techno sound of his earlier material in favour of a bold new, tranquil landscape that he explores through ambient experimentation.

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    Exclusive Green Colour 180g Vinyl Pressing
    Limited to 200
  • Con Todo El Mundo
    Artist
    Khruangbin
    ReleaseProduct
    Con Todo El Mundo
    Label
    Night Time Stories
    Catalogue Number
    ALN50
    Release Date
    January 2018

    Khruangbin – Con Todo El Mundo

    Con Todo El Mundo sees Khruangbin lifting inspiration from under-discovered funk and soul sounds of the Middle-East, particularly from Iran. Con Todo El Mundo is the sort of dazzling fuzz guitar and heavy drums mixtape that you wish someone would compile for you. For us, it is undoubtedly 2018s most heady soundtrack of classic soul, dub and psychedelia.

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