2018 Top 10: Progressive Electronic

Top 10 Progressive Electronic

  1. OneOhTrix Point Never - Age Of (Warp)

  2. Remember - City is my Friend (Dream Catalogue)

  3. Jonas Reinhardt - Conclave Surge (Deep Distance)

  4. Caterina Barbieri - Born Again in the Voltage (Important)

  5. Ricardo Donoso - Calibrate (Denovali)

  6. Abul Mogard - Above All Dreams (Ecstatic)

  7. Vakula - Metaphors (Leleka)

  8. Forma - Semblance (Kranky)

  9. Byron Westbrook - Confluence Patterns (Umor)

  10. Croatian Amor & Varg - Body of Water (Posh Isolation)

This has to be the list with the greatest disparity between how much I care about it and how much everyone else cares about it. That's more true than ever this year, which finds me nerding out about releases on labels that people actually do care about, but not one seems to even really like these particular releases. This is exemplified by the OPN record best, but is basically true of all of the other artists, since they're all artists that I'd already been listening to and the internet seems to agree that these releases are not their best. For each, I'll tell you what people actually like and why this one is still interesting and maybe actually better or maybe: recency fallacy.

OneOhTrix Point Never - Age Of (Warp)

People actually like: literally everything else, especially 2010 and on. 

I like this because: I love the vocals and the weird structure. Lopatin's universe is expanding into pop music and it's scary and exciting. There are hooks and pleasant sounds! It's so weird. 

Remember - City is my Friend (Dream Catalogue)

People actually like: ルートバックホーム from 2015 

I like this because: It's way less vaporwave, and therefore less Dream Cat, but much better in terms of music! Kind of like Lopatin, this anonymous artist is paving the way for the future of music from the deep net.

Jonas Reinhardt - Conclave Surge (Deep Distance)

People actually like: most other things but only maybe a little more

I like this because: I get lost in it every time I listen. I still don't have a good mental map of it after a dozen listens, and each new movement is well-formed and fits into the whole well. Reinhardt is a proper band and sounds like they're operating as a tight one on this record

Caterina Barbieri - Born Again in the Voltage (Important)

People actually like: Patterns of Consciousness from 2017

I like this because: It's four well-scoped ideas that are executed very well. It's so much more manageable than her previous work and the sounds are all so thick and well chosen. It's a huge step forward for this young artist.

Ricardo Donoso - Calibrate (Denovali)

People actually like: Everything else

I like this because: It's the heaviest album on this list and one of the heaviest albums that I've listened to this year. It's sequenced to perfection and just hits in all the right places, moreso than his other work. It's somehow lighter and just as dark as Donoso's previous releases

Abul Mogard - Above All Dreams (Ecstatic)

People actually like: Actually people like this but Circular Forms from 2016 too

I like this because: I actually like this about the same as his other work. It's longer and more difficult than either of his previous LPs, but it's every bit as good. It has brief moments where I think he's straying from the ideas that make these drones so convincing, but they're few and far between on this epic release. 

Vakula - Metaphors (Leleka)

People actually like: Someone liked Cyclicality Between Procyon and Gomeisa, right?

I like this because: Vakula is an awesome artist who maybe bewilders himself as much as everyone with his stylistic shifts. He puts out music by himself and for himself, and apparently, for me.

Forma - Semblance (Kranky)

People actually like: Physicalist from 2016

I like this because: It sounds like a band operating together and all with the same affinity for old german synth music. I'd love to get the chance to see them perform these songs live.

Byron Westbrook - Confluence Patterns (Umor)

People actually like: Body Consonance, though not that much

I like this because: Confluence Patterns is just some little unheralded tape of well scoped abstract synth ideas, kind of like the Barbieri record. 

Croatian Amor & Varg - Body of Water (Posh Isolation)

People actually like: A lot of things Varg does

I like this because: It's slight but it's nicer than anything that either artist does.