8 Of 2014's Most Underrated Albums
4. DJ Phixion - Intermetropolitan
Perhaps the most criminally-overlooked album on this list, Intermetropolitan from DJ Phixion perfectly encapsulates the feelings of a late night drive. For fans of Bonobo and Nujabes, Intermetropolitan cuts pieces from classic hip-hop records and remodels the samples to fit the jazzy, gritty vision of DJ Phixion. Considering the immaculate production on the album, give DJ Phixion a few years and he could very well produce a masterpiece on the par of DJ Shadow's Entroducing... - the sky is the limit for this amazing producer.
5. Basment Jaxx - Junto
You probably know Basement Jaxx for their hit single "Where's Your Head At?," but their discography extends far beyond their radio classic. This year the duo released their seventh full-length album, Junto, which finds the two toning down their characteristically-explosive sound for something a bit more subdued. Fans of modern house music will love this album, as it shuffles guest appearances from the likes of Mykki Blanco, Shaka, and Nina Miranda. This album excels when incorporating world music, adding a unique touch to the unmistakable sound Basement Jaxx refined over their career.
6. Simian Mobile Disco - Whorl
Another pair of electronic music veterans, Simian Mobile Disco performed an innovative experiment for their latest album Whorl. The duo performed and recorded the entirety of Whorl at a small show in Pioneertown, California, back in April. They each used one synthesizer and one sequencer, creating Whorl live during a concert. It's possible the two had some ideas of what to play before the show, but the experiment ultimately contradicted the supposed limits of live electronic music. Filled with ambient soundscapes and head-bopping melodies, Whorl represents a game changer for all electronic music.
7. Joris Voorn - Nobody Knows
Known primarily for his astute DJing, Joris Voorn surprised everyone with his diverse album Nobody Knows. Beatport chart-topper "Ringo" led the release, but the entire album varies from ambient pieces to emotional showstoppers. Voorn could have easily compiled his DJing bangers and called it a day, but the Dutch producer took the risk in creative a cohesive work that changes our many assumptions of his style. Pulling everything from evironmental sound effects to intimate vocals, Nobody Knows dares to boldly explore the possibilites of electronic music. While most of the music won't find its way to Ibiza dancefloors, Voorn's work on his latest album will surely stand the test of time.
8. The 2 Bears - The Night Is Young
British dance duo The 2 Bears round off this list with their second full-length, the aptly-titled The Night Is Young. Composed of producers Joe Goddard (a member of electronica band Hot Chip) and Ran Rundell, The 2 Bears score one of the most creative albums of the year. With Goddard contributing his crisp vocals, each track off the LP bounces between genres. Reggae, deep house, and even electronic ska are explored as The Night Is Young runs its course. It's a breath of fresh air to hear famiiar electronic synths and kicks among pure instrumentals and unexpected genres, and The 2 Bears hit it out of the park in every respect.
Cover photo credit: Coachella
EDM.com posted a list of the best EDM albums of 2014, including deadmau5's while(1<2) and Calvin Harris's Motion. This list covered many albums our readers likely heard over the course of the year, but still left out a solid chunk of the lesser known albums to make waves this year. Electronic music extends far beyond what we consider EDM, and this year it contained a fair share of alternative and lesser-known electronic music albums. From Caribou's biggest effort yet to the criminally overlooked DJ Phixion, the albums released this year covered all of the bases. Read over our eight picks below:
1. Caribou - Our Love
We love Dan Snaith. His latest album Our Love steered the producer's sound into a more accessible direction, and unsurprisingly, it still held up the quality of his tracks. While this album made appearances on "Best Of" lists from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and Stereogum, many EDM publications failed to notice it. Caribou includes all sorts of electronic genres on this LP, from deep house synths on the eponymous "Our Love" to psychedelic soundscapes on "Silver." The mass success of this album inspired an appearance on BBC Radio One's Essential Mix, which later resulted in Caribou winning Pete Tong's "Essential Mix of the Year." This album will be remembered for years to come, a near-perfect assembly of dancefloor anthems and introspective tear-jerkers.
2. Duck Sauce - Quack
Duck Sauce made a huge splash in 2010 with their hit song "Barbra Streisand." Comprised of A-Trak and Armand van Helden, Duck Sauce waited until this year to release their debut album Quack. While Quack spawned no hit singles on the level of "Barbra Streisand", the album consists of a number of great tracks that bring back the warm feelings of the disco era. Parody radio commercials intercut the tracks on Quack, giving credence to the album's '70s spirit. While Daft Punk's Random Access Memories attempted to bring back disco, Quack sought to update the genre for a new era. We can see Duck Sauce's first LP gaining a cult following in the coming years.
3. ODESZA - In Return
ODESZA went from small-time producers to dance music sensations over the past year, and their album In Return contributed greatly to their new found success. Many publications failed to notice In Return, and we feel a dire need to honor its greatness. The album incorporates more vocals than any other ODESZA work, and it undoubtedly helps expand the duo's music to new heights. Their classic sound, full of high-pitched vocal splices and dreamy synths, still dominates the album, but the cohesiveness of In Return bears testament to ODESZA's mastery over their innovative sound. 2015 will launch these two even higher in the music world, but don't forget to listen to the album that helped get them there.