Published by Alessandro Violante on December 31, 2019
As you’ll have probably noticed, in 2019 our team has grown, and this year we present you five top 10 charts and a top 5 label chart, written by Alessandro “FLUX” Violante, Davide Pappalardo, our long-time friend and German writer Anita Neukirch, plus two new entries: Melissa Lynne Strain aka Dj Lissa and Richard Fowler. Enjoy these charts and feel free to let us know your opinions about it by contacting us!
Alessandro “FLUX” Violante (without a particular order)
Various artists – Neurosmasher (Monolith Records)
According to the writer, the best compilation released this year
Tara In Tibet – Azul Bazaar (Clan Destine Records)
The last great album by Alessio De Felice under the Tara In Tibet monicker is another rough, powerful and dirty effort
Years of Denial – Suicide disco (Veyl)
Probably the only “dark” album I’ve really liked this year
Orphan Swords – Ascent (Hedonic Reversal)
An interesting and various effort by two talented Belgian musicians
Various artists – Life ist krieg (Clan Destine Records)
A great compilation featuring pretty different artists releasing music with this cult label. Underground and rough sounds until your ears bleed
Various artists – Echoes from the industry (Impartial Waves)
A good compilation which brought me a new interest in tape releases
Gore tech – Geist fibre (Ohm Resistance)
The best album Gore Tech could have done after the great Futurphobia
Various Artists – Istigkeit 003 (Istigkeit)
The best compilation compiled by this French label. Pure rough and powerful sound
Dionysian rituals – Theatre of tragedy (Clan Destine Records)
The best genuine and fresh “rhythmic noise” release I’ve listened to this year
Exome – Chained (Black Carpet)
The long awaited debut LP by the Italian Lorenzo Arcari, inspired by Converter classic sound
Other mentions out of the chart:
Velvet May – Phoebe’s white skin (Tears on waves) / Huren – Elektronische Selbstdarstellung (Zhark Recordings) / <1979> – Overload (HANDS) / Geistform – United Radiations (HANDS) / Oil Thief – The colony (Total Black) / Stazma The Junglechrist – Ten years of breaking things (Murder Channel Records)
Davide Pappalardo (without a particular order)
Randolph & Mortimer – Manifesto For A Modern World (Self-Released)
Randolph & Mortimer are more than ready to conquer the current scene, showcasing a style that frankly surpasses many of the recent neo-old school acts which simply ape the past without reinventing it.
Spit Mask: You May Feel Some Pressure (Aufnahme+Wiedergabe)
Spit Mask grace us all with a work made of venomous violence and a loto of bile, taking the best of American electro-industrial and updating it with modern noise and techno sensibilities.
Blanck Mass: Animated Violence Mild (Sacred Bones Records)
A master at work, Blanck Mass surpasses himself ina work in which melody, chaos, rhythm and atmosphere become one.
Blakk Harbor: Krude (Self-Released)
After the beautiful ambient/drone-tinged debut Mandares, Blakk Harbor gives us the EP Krude and its elegant dark techno motifs.
Fractions: Scars Of Love (Fleisch)
Scars Of Love further evolves Fractions’ sound, adding even more acid and even some trance elements to their mix of techno and EBM
Kontravoid: Too Deep (Fleisch
With Too Deep Kontravoid returns after many years of hiatus, offering one of the best synth-pop/EBM hybrids of the decade.
Henry Hearse: Valet (Neon Casket)
In a market full of same-sounding releases with rehashed ideas, Henry Hearse shows a lot of character. But it’s not only a question of being different – his music is good, well composed and varied.
Silent EM: The Absence (Disko Obskura)
The absence is the best effort to date from Silent EM, a honed piece of music which has the spirit of 80’s underground synth music as a muse and the possibilities of today as a reality.
Cyanotic: The Trigger Effect (Glitch Mode Recordings)
The Trigger Effect expand upon the sound reached on T2 thanks to a redefined songwriting with a very enthralling mood made of cinematic soundscapes. The love for the 90’s cold wave scene is clear, but it doesn’t mean that other elements are banished from Cyanotic’s music.
Crystal Geometry: The Cyber Heresy (Sonic Groove)
Probably the strongest effort to date from the artist, The Cyber Heresy is a ferocious cyberpunk attack evoking an obsessive and hard world. A gem for any lover of modern techno/EBM and a confirmation for one of the rising names in the scene.
Melissa Lynne Strain
10 – PURGE by Dis Fig (PTP)
A dark and cathartic debut album from Dis Fig made up of screams and brutal percussion
09 – Hell is Here by Hide (Dais Records)
Confrontational and politically charged industrial and noise
08 – A Fossil Begins To Bray by Hiro Kone (Dais Records)
An experimental techno soundscape which in the artist’s own words “considers the power of absence as neither a lack or deficit, but as a quiet, indeterminable force to cultivate in this time of looming and unrelenting techno-fascism”.
07 – A Pastime For Semi Gods by Ekman (Bedouin)
Electro and IDM tinged techno ‘on the border of mythology and science fiction.’
06 – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by Black Sun Dreamer (Detriti)
EBM and New wave from Poland with hints of 80s Italo.
05 – InDreams by Minimal Violence (Technicolour)
Relentless and raw warehouse techno with breaks, acid and trance influences inspired by cyberpunk literature and a Dystopian vision of a corporation being able to access people’s dream lives.
04 – Filmmaker – The Love Market
Just one of many incredible albums that the Colombian artist has been firing out over this past year.
03 – Too Deep by Kontravoid (Fleisch)
The Canadian artists most versatile release so far, equal parts industrial and melodic.
02 – Careful by Boy Harsher (Nude Club)
Sad dance music from the modern minimal wave royalty.
01 – Body Count by Maenad Veyl (Veyl)
An outstanding debut album from the Veyl boss comprising of wavey electro and EBM bangers
Richard Fowler (without a particular order)
Katsunori Sawa – Premium Gardens (Weevil Neighbourhood) cassette/digital
Katsunori Sawa returned to his home from home, Berlin imprint Weevil Neighbourhood and delivered his finest offering to date, ‘Premium Gardens’ is a perfect marriage of abstract techno and cutting edge sound design referenced in all forms of concrete music, as well as dnb, hardcore, and noise.
Shapednoise – Aesthesis (Numbers) vinyl/digital
Italian Nino Pedroni aka Shapednoise brought his A game with what could be argued, is his finest to date also, ‘Aesthesis’ released via the Numbers label is some of the most highly crafted noise works yet, raw thunderous percussion and the seemingly relentless sub bass are just the kind of abuse we like.
Double Tip – Bontsa (HOMVA) cassette/digital
Bontsa by Double Tip, the latest offering on the Mysterious Greek label HOMVA, could be the mighty ANFS in disguise, perhaps? it’s not important, but rather the quality that is, and this is no exception to the previous releases, a 90 minute workout that delivers some of the most blissfully repetitive techno experiments since Damaskin’s numerous releases on his Avangarda imprint, a hypnotic journey with a scattering of breaks and cloaked in an eerie ambience throughout.
Sina XX – My Body, Your Rules (RND Records) digital
For EBM expertise you should probably look to some of the other, more esteemed writer’s at Flux, myself I just know what I like; young French artist Sina XX served up my favorite EBM record of the year, My Body, Your Rules, released on RND records brings a genuinely fresh take on the genre without ignoring the past, the resulting sleazy, and high energy gutter funk fuses techno and industrial in an impressively accomplished manor.
Tolga Baklacıoğlu & MAYa – Kina (VENT) vinyl/digital
Turkish artist Tolga Baklacıoğlu, teamed up with MAYa early in the year with an outstanding collection of unfettered industrial techno experiments on Kina, anyone familiar with his work will know his percussion often sounds like actual machines, always treading that fine line with rhythmic noise, meanwhile MAYa‘s contribution was not inconsiderable, driving sound concepts as well as providing her sublime vocals on all 7 tracks.
Emptyset – Blossoms (Thrill Jockey) vinyl/digital
Emptyset returned to US label Thrill Jockey for a second album, a foray into the cutting edge technique of ‘machine learning’ where raw sound elements from the duo were fed into a software program, in which the ai churns out limitless sounds, the results from a quite enormous editing process are presented here on Blossoms, a chaotic set of works, abruptly dynamic, and deliciously organic, a real force of nature.
Simon Grab – Posthuman Species (OUS) vinyl/digital
Swiss artist Simon Grab further cemented his growing reputation, with the audacious ‘Posthuman Species’ for the ever impressive OUS label, presenting an experimental set of feedback works quite unlike any other, refined, and restrained, controlled chaos, aptly describes this genre defying work.
Various Artists – Neurosmasher (Monolith) CD/digital
Siriol Grimaldi and his Monolith label cohorts came together to produce the best compilation of the year containing 12 unique takes on the music we love, always abstract, and sometimes down right tripped out; ‘Neurosmasher’ is a blistering collection of noisey, technoid decomposition for every occasion, includes efforts by Huren, Fire At Work, Honzo, and Hypnoskull as well as the label owner himself.
Roberto Crippa – Ascent (Second Sleep) vinyl/digital
Exhaustive and meticulous sound design from the Milan native, ‘Ascent’ sees Crippa’s unique brand of 21st century concrete music scale even greater heights than his previous works, casting elongated shadows in worlds of the organic and inorganic alike, with two vivid, and sublime, long form compositions.
Harrga – Héroïques Animaux de la Misère (Avon Terror Corps) vinyl/digital
‘Héroïques Animaux de la Misère’ sees Harrga serve up a testing debut LP of ferocious Industrial noise, teamed with belligerent spoken word vocals, Harrga deliver a hyper experimental, searing political statement against europe’s immigration crisis, breathtaking work not for the faint hearted, includes an appearance from the excellent ‘Moor Mother’.
10 – Matmos – Plastic Anniversary (Thrill Jockey)
Some artists may go on a long journey in search for getting inspired… but this was not how Matmos tackled it. Plastic is everywhere! This noisey and breakbeat based release is more than a pleasant result of experimental sound design. As an aspect of comfort; there is no valuation whether plastic is good or bad that goes off in an environmental activist debate. There is just focus on condition and function of polymers (plastics).
Favourite track: ‘Thermoplastic Riot Shield’.
‘It’s such a visual culture, Instagram. Everything is about a good life fantasy and I think sound has to struggle a little bit, now, culturally.’ Matmos
09 – Max Cooper – Yearning for the Infinite (Mesh)
I give you just 4 words: aesthetics taken to perfection.
Favourite track: ‘Void’
08 – Milliken Chamber – Bodies (Oraculo Records)
The research for new great darkwave tracks can be frustrating. They are as rare as a pleasing first fuck (with someone you met on a dating platform and) of that you delightfully daydream about over and over again… LOL. Anyway, the majority of people would think, listen to it is frustrating enough so why go on a cyber frustration as well? To a certain degree, there might lie some truth in such an opinion but the delight that arises from perceiving darkwave is an extraordinary deeply sensual experience that just not everybody understands… #shiftingbaselines .
Favourite track: ‘Fallen Heart (Remastered)’
07 – The Force Dimension – Deus x Machina + (Mecanica)
The strength of 80’s EBM with its typical rough and monolithic method was always something that sounds truly convincing to me. There is no doubt that this unearthed treasure is made for those who are passionate about vintage EBM! Take your steps down to earth where they belong to and dance back to its roots!
It’s a real force of nature, it’s The Force Dimension!
Favourite track: ‘Algorythm (Razormaid Mix)
06 – Elaine Walker / ZIA – Trapezoid (Self-Released)
As I’m lately more interested in digital games, my ears sharpen to frequencies that get me in the mood to play. It has potential to be the soundtrack of a digital game. Elaine Walker, would you please hand it in to such a production!
See so playful and creative as hell that it surely will. I hope there are more levels to achieve which means I’m looking forward to more releases.
Favourite track: ‚Trapezoid (15edo)’ really is a chromatic wonderland
05 – Minimal Wave – From Minimal Wave With Love (Minimal Wave)
Veronica Vasicka’s compilation of minimal hits transmits its dopamine that makes you fall in love with it. As a personal lover of obscure soundscapes, I feel deeply connected to her label. Martin Dupont’s ‘Inside Out’ really hits the ground. Taste this source that fizzes from waves of psychedelic pleasure. Cheers. Get drunk!
04 – HTRK – Venus in Leo (Ghostly International)
It’s a soundtrack for reflection. HTRK’s sound is capable of drowning levels of stress and reveals itself to be a potential meditation vibe. Get absorbed in ‘Mentions’ by glassy guitar melodies and warm vibed basses.
Calm down and enjoy these vibes before the winter blues and its drowsiness overcome you!
03 – Xeno & Oaklander – Hypnos (Dais Records)
Listen up, lovers of analogue electronics! This album’s rough and minimal vibes mainly root in analogue producing techniques! The Greek mythology is the thread that clearly runs through this dazed underworld of Hypnos, who is known to be the greek god of sleep. When they travelled through Greece last year, the duo admited that they got very much inspired by its natural phenomena, sights and ancient cult of gods.
The NYC based duo also plays with visual aesthetics for the music video ‘Insomnia’ that really sounds as a longing to dream the sweetest dreams of all time …
After completed such a dreamy masterpiece and finished the album’s tour, Liz Wendelbo and Martial Canterel, Sleep well!
02 – Boy Harsher – Country Girl Uncut (Nude Club Records)
This release is a damn godsend! ‘Send Me A Vision’ is driven by harsh roaring shakers and the dreamy synth lines makes it an anthem to remind oneself of the strength that sleeps in everyone. ‘Westeners’ splashes down delightful showers of a synth-based melody.
All in all, it’s a dark-ish delightful album that appeals all your senses. Listen to it. Dance to it. Do it with devotion and you get to its core.
01 – Jenny Hval – The Practice of Love (Sacred Bones Records)
Jenny Hval takes you on a spiritual journey. She illuminates a way to enter the mystery of love. Seen her as a magical guide, she transforms you into the most curious philosopher in search for the core of love.
Listen to the album, feel the love she shares!
Top 5 labels
Clan Destine Records, Infidel Bodies, Strange Therapy, Zhark Rec, HANDS
Is there some release you’ve found in these charts and you’ve missed? We suggest you to listen to them and let us know your opinions on our Facebook page or conctact us! Thanks for your constant support and keep on following us next year too.
The FLUX team