March saw my music library blessed with some unexplored electronic music for me, the new Kendrick Lamar album, and a Little Dragon record that was love at first listen.
Actress – AZD (2017)
Wolverhampton’s own Daniel J. Cunningham offers a collection of bleak, dystopian sonic tableaus on this year’s AZD. Jittery micro-house beats obscured by smoky synthesisers, this record evokes a dark, metropolitan future, while the incessant repetition of many of the tracks finds Actress creating this series of bleak, automated vignettes. Though it can sometimes find itself progressing without a clear direction, the material on AZD nonetheless creates an oddly innate sense of unease in its artificiality.
Floating Points – Shadows EP (2011)
Prior to April I was not familiar with house music at all, but I feel like Floating Points has finally sated my curiosity for it. This selection of tasteful, jazzy electronic music accompanying subtle percussion makes for 40 minutes of lush, head-bobbing electronica.
Four Tet – Pink (2012)
“Alright, here’s the 4-11, folks.” Four Tet’s Pink compilation contains some elegant, crisp tech house that is equal parts floor-filler and downtempo. Many of these rather understated tracks have provided an ample soundtrack for this month’s studying, with ‘Pinnacles’ being a clear standout with its cool, jazzy bass line and light, twinkly keys.
Kendrick Lamar – DAMN. (2017)
There’s nothing for me to say about the new Kendrick Lamar album that hasn’t already been said better by other, more qualified reviewers this month. Listeners fond of good kid, m.A.A.d city‘s bassier trap beats will find solace in DAMN.‘s return to this style, while Kendrick’s masterful lyricism will no doubt satisfy anyone with a hankering for his signature storytelling. An album with such status can be difficult to unpack, and as with all of Kendrick’s music this status often precedes the album release itself, but make no mistake; DAMN. is an album worth your time.
Little Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband (2014)
An album I felt ashamed for not having listened to sooner. Eclectically produced and smoothly performed synthpop with a moody soulfulness to it, Nabuma Rubberband takes us from one earworm hook to the next. Though not all songs hit with quite the same force as tracks like ‘Klapp Klapp’ or ‘Paris’, the bright, vibrant instrumentation lends the entirety of Nabuma Rubberband a certain richness; each track is like a bite of the most bittersweet ear-candy.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to talk at length about everything I’d been listening to this month, so for any curious readers I’ve created a Spotify playlist for you: