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In 2016 the musical climate, much like the wider world, underwent many changes: from the peak of experimental-flavoured house and techno and the quietly forming rise of ambient, through to the influx of street-level politics within electronica, and the rejuvenation of traditional indie sounds moving deeper into more uncharted and underground-facing channels. We feel the following ten albums perfectly capture these dramatic shifts and styles that have highlighted 2016, and we will be listening to them for the years to come.
Purchase 3 or more of these vinyl albums before the 25th of November and we will email you a £5 digital gift voucher
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Vinyl, CDs, and digital available for all albums, plus the Albums of the Year CD bundle.
Bleep Exclusive hand-stamped Hopelessness 12"
Anohni enlists the stadium-sized production talents of Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke to realize her vision of Hopelessness. A startlingly widescreen viewpoint of social injustice laid bare, marking it as one of the most visionary yet politically charged pop records to emerge in 2016.
Having previously recorded with the group-name Antony And The Johnsons, Hopelessness is her debut album under the Anohni name; continuing the tradition of haunting vocal chamber-music but now set with a "glossy, plastic sound” to confront issues of surveillance, drone warfare, capital punishment, and the environment.
Following countless seminal releases that have seen Mark Pritchard through his various groups and pseudonyms, constantly propel himself forward into new areas of experimentation, Under The Sun marks his return to the production limelight by weaving traces from his vast array of previous projects together to produce a record that pushes his sound forward, into something that sounds quite unlike anything he has put his name (or alias) to before.
Widely regarded as one of the chief ambient producers the world has ever seen, Biosphere follows up his Deathprod collab with new LP Departed Glories on his home country Norway's Smalltown Supersound imprint.
Having emerged onto the post-rave/club scene in the early 90s with a string of mind-blowing records that really took the album format and extended the journey from two sides of vinyl to whole evenings lost in the hypnotic sounds he produced.
Huerco S. strips back the drums in favour of a fully ambient journey beyond the ultraworld for Proibito. Much like the highly valuable slow-burner 2012 Opal Tapes issue, his second long player dives deep into the hazy early morning hours and digital fuzz of the post-rave generations' spliff in hand penchant towards inner escapism, that also acts as 2016's most perfectly exulted introduction to ambient in 2016 for those of you who haven't yet taken the trip (and also those who have).
Mica Levi & Oliver Coates debut Remain Calm, an album born out of improvised library rooted jams that developed into one of the most special recordings of 2016.
Bringing together thirteen tracks that have been chopped and screwed to produce a crossbreed of their collective tastes, before being passed to long time allies Slip to release. From Oliver's training as a classical cellist and his work as part of the London Contemporary Orchestra. To Mica's work as part of the Rough Trade group Micachu and The Shapes, and of course the breathtaking Under The Skin soundtrack.
The latest entry of far flung library rooted machine-led psychedelia from Cavern Of Anti-Matter, for the longstanding and freshly revised Duophonic Ultra High Frequency Disks. You may well know Tim Gane and Joe Dilworth from shoegaze indie group Stereolab so for fans lookin' for a bit of that magic we are pleased to say have come to the right place, but! by enlisting the talents of Holger Zapf they have moved further afield into new avenues with the vintage library styled sci-fi sounds of void beats/invocation trex. With an all star line up of guest spots including Bradford Cox (Deerhunter) Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3) and Jan St. Werner (Mouse on Mars) they have crafted a modern classic of indie-electronica that’s sure to stay close to many turntables for years to come.
In a year that has seen the world turned upside down, Babyfather's "BBF" Hosted By DJ Escrow is, alongside Anohni’s Hopelessnes a vastly focused on 2016 politically charged, yet life-affirming albums. Donning a brilliant cover design of a Union Jack-clad hoverboard on the edge of the city of London. Beyond the noise excursions, ringtones and the comedic DJ Escrow bars, "BBF" carries a strong and serious message in its undercurrent that does a lot to get across the feelings of social unease and unrest that is bubbling just under the surface of the disaffected youth to which "BBF" goes a long way towards representing.
Steven Julien aka FunkinEven presents the long awaited debut album Fallen on his Apron imprint. Following a string of highly esteemed singles and collaborations with Kyle Hall, Delroy Edwards, Shanti Celeste and more, Fallen presents twelve perfectly sculpted tracks that perfectly draw parallels between club rooted house, jacking acid and eyes down funk. Now this is an album we are really excited about, ever since Kleer back in 2009, Bleep has been a fan of FunkinEven, and finally we are presented with his debut album under his name Steven Julien on his own label Apron Records.
Ash Koosha is an incredible young producer originally from Iran, who after years of classical training at the Tehran Conservatory of Music and a stint in jail for making music, relocated to London. In 2015 we were introduced to him through his debut album called GUUD, initially released on Bandcamp before being granted a re-release on Olde English Spelling Bee. GUUD was a unique electronic record, managing to sound both clean and high definition yet at the same time displaying a very animated and physical sound, promising an exciting direction for the future.
Livity Sound present Utility, the keenly anticipated album debut from Kowton. Emerging onto the underground circuit back in '09 with a UKG-indebted roller for Keysound that blended Berlin dub techno with an OG dubstep sensibility. Kowton has consistently pushed FWD his sound with choice cuts on labels such as Idle Hands, Hessle Audio and Whities. But it's on Livity Sound that he has cut his best dubs.