My parents had many great cassettes and this wonderfully haunting & ethereal piece from the Opera Sauvage soundtrack, along with Chariots of Fire, was one I remember as a little kid listening to for hours in headphones laying on the living room floor, getting washed away in splendid ambient waves. Digging back in to my mind’s vault for this top 10, I now see my very early childhood link to the expansive electronic world where I was destined to ultimately find my most blissful place.
Roger Waters – Mother [Columbia Records]
Heavily influenced by my older brother’s collection, encompassing some of the best classic & hard rock, classical, 80s pop, and 90s dance, I of course grew in to a pretty big Floyd & Roger Waters fan when I was old enough to truly appreciate them. I was fortunate to see Roger live a few times, including his legendary Wall tour in 2010. ‘Mother’ is without a doubt one of the most formative progressive rock songs ever written.
Shpongle – Stamen of the Shamen [TwistedMusicUK]
From the monumental album Nothing Lasts…But Nothing is Lost, Shpongle was introduced to me in 2005 not long after I first fell in love with electronic music via another UK duo, Hybrid. It came at precisely the moment it was meant to though nothing could have quite prepared me for the intensity of that experience nor the impact it would have still all these years later.
Right at the same time as Shpongle, the genius dutch duo of 16 Bit Lolitas quickly made an indelible mark, truly shaping much of my musical trajectory, and it was this remix where that epic affair began.
Henry Saiz – Spiricom (see you soon) [Natura Sonoris]
There are only a select few such timeless and poignant collections like that of Henry Saiz’s first full length album, ‘Reality is for Those Who are not Strong Enough to Confront Their Dreams’, which includes ‘Spiricom’, the real heavy hitter for me. 17 profoundly emotive cuts in a richly hypnotic blend of analog melodic tech & retro-futuristic pop that would serve as the backdrop for a major shift in my life…as I was about to move to Toronto to pursue my musical path.
Lorn – Acid Rain (Wednesday Sound)
Unquestionably a mega tune, the video is equally if not more impressive and in fact, won best dance video in Milano Film Festival Showcase, UK in 2015. This whole album ‘Maze to Nowhere’ is phenomenal.
Like with most of the selections here, it was nearly impossible to choose one track from an artist whose entire discography is so brilliant. I first heard Locked Groove about 6 years ago but it was early 2018 when I really took notice with releases like From Beyond & Oscillate. ‘The Gate’ was next, a veritable bomb and the track I was originally going to feature here. By this point I was fully hooked on this simply sublime fusion of techno & trance. While it forever remains one of his best & top picks of mine, I felt compelled to share this latest melter, Hyperdrive, from his new Beam me Up EP, as I believe it may very well have creeped in to first place. In my opinion, it is the truest definition of that beautiful, dark, visceral point of letting go in pure ecstasy on the dance floor.
Jbel Ayachi – Tatry [JBEL]
Relentlessly seeking & discovering new & obscure artists has always been my happy place and even more so this year. Back in January, Tatry happened upon my ears on one of my many all- night scavenger hunts, with only a few seconds of play time to know I had struck gold. Its massive rumbling sub bass paired with tweaky cosmic synth blips and an addictive lead … simply amazing.
Echaskech – Slipstich [VLSI Records]
Another recent mind blowing encounter, thanks to the introduction by my friend Audioglider to Dom of VLSI records, a close cohort the Max Cooper camp. Having been greatly influenced by Max’s work and all the stellar artists I’ve since discovered through him like Alex Banks & Rob Clouth, I knew I’d be in for a treat. The email that came in early November with the link to this official video premiere did not disappoint and I am anxiously awaiting Echaskech’s full album ‘Invisible City’ on Dec.11th.
Alexander Church – State Shifting [Configurations of Self]
State Shifting was my initiation in to Alexander Church’s luxurious & futuristic world of synth wizardry and the beginning of a fruitful new connection. If you listen to as much music as I do on a daily basis, you know when you hear something special. This oozes lushness, with hypnotic warping synthesizers, twinkling xylo tones, and a warm dubby groove that just pulls you in. So grateful for this discovery as Alex and I have now collaborated on my first EP release with Configurations 12.
Alexander Church & juSt b – Configurations 12 (Configurations of Self)
juSt b makes her debut on the always high concept Configurations of Self label with a stunning new EP alongside label boss Alexander Church. Toronto-based artist juSt b has developed into a highly accomplished DJ, producer, industry ambassador, and multi-faceted curator of sound over the last seven years. She has an upcoming EP in the new year featuring a remix by fellow Configurations cohort, James Welsh, but first up we’re treated to her fusion of smooth, thought provoking vocals with Church’s always avant-garde productions on this stunning new offering. The release features mindful vocals inspired by humanistic view points that both artists share, delivered as life-affirming musings that add a fantastic layer of emotional depth and positivity to this futurist music. Opener ‘In The Field’ swirls with spoken word vocals that place you in a dream-like state as harmonica pads ripple all around and deep, smooth beats move you onwards. An instrumental is included which makes for just as celestial and cathartic listening as you are suspended in the lush production. Second superb offering ‘Curious Paradox’ is another post-rave mix of IDM, techno and ambient, with the alluring vocal element encouraging you to accept who you are today. It’s a deeply uplifting trip to the outer edges of our galaxy on gorgeously mellifluous pads, arps and melodies. The instrumental strips back the track to the mind-expanding synth work and makes for an even more detached affair. These are tracks that connect on a mental as well as physical level, with moving psychological overtones that make them full body experiences.