It’s tough not to miss physical objects, but then, some of you have been buying vinyl. Chicago apartment, photo: Katherine Raz. More background.

I have actually grown to appreciate year-end reviews.

In grade school and high school, I was on different occasions both a yearbook guy and a newspaper guy (when not focusing energies on how to be as profoundly uncool as possible). There was a tension between the people who did the work of covering the information of the moment and the stuff you were supposed to save and cherish.

If you’re addicted to content as a lot of us are, you want both today’s headlines and the bigger picture. The end of the year is an arbitrary milestone, but it’s a chance to transform the former into the latter.

So, let’s look back: what are your top albums of 2009? (And how do you stay organized and decide on picks?)

The first question will naturally be, were you keeping track? The terrific blog for the NPR [US public radio] program All Songs Considered considers techniques for doing that:

How Do You Make Your Year-End List? [All Songs Considered]

The staff use Google Docs – something I hope to try when January 1 rolls around. NPR’s readers try iTunes tracking techniques, playlists, stickie notes, and other filing techniques. I talked about the topic to Iain Catling of dancetracks last week; he uses the digital music store’s newsletters as a chronologically-organized set of reminders. I’m curious to hear your techniques as I compile my lists and try to get better organized for 2010.

The second question is, which albums are relevant to a site with “Digital Music” in its title? That’s an especially tough question, now that even people releasing vinyl-only likely mixed inside a computer.

Here on CDM, I’ve found readers cross all genres. But let’s broadly define “electronic” to mean “anybody using technology in interesting ways.” Others can determine who’s making the best music; here, at least, we can celebrate the use of electricity and bits of data in music production. In some cases, that may mean including music that’s decidedly not electronica. (This year had quite a few folk-tinged albums that also had exquisite production values.)

Lastly, which were the albums that made a big impact? I certainly know which albums got the most attention on release. Beloved duo Telefon Tel Aviv’s Immolate Yourself would have topped lists regardless, and all the more so with the tragic loss of Charles Cooper the week of its release; it has become a way of remembering his gifts to the music scene. Moderat’s combination of Apparat and Modselektor doubled its appeal (insert “double, double doublemint” tune here). And Imogen Heap’s hotly-anticipated Ellipse also marked the appearance of the monome on Letterman. But anticipation is one thing; for many of us, it’s what survives playing on repeat. Obscure and overlooked choices welcome, too.

So, readers – take it away. I’ll reveal my own choices and some other expert picks later this month.

Be sure to include some notes on why you’ve chosen the records you’ve picked.

  • 1. J. Axel- Start Receiving

    2. Jon Hopkins- Insides

    3. Ben Klock- One

    I'm fluctuating on 4…I’d probably toss Way Out West’s "We Love Machine" there, but I just discovered it, so I need some time!

    Curious to hear what other people think…I've thought about this for awhile for my own top 10 list.

  • Clark – Totems Flare,

    Tim Exile – Listening Tree,

    KMFDM – Blitz.


  • Nick D

    Fever Ray.

  • tekcor

    paul kalkbrenners berlin calling live tour, the album and the film inspired me so much this year.

    i am new in all that music production and live performance thing and his work and some artists which i heard from at CDM gave me the punch to go out and do some electronic live music too. 🙂

  • If you would, folks, can you include even a few brief words about why you made the choices you did?

  • @Peter- Of course! Forgive my lack of detail in the interest of space.

    J. Axel's "Start Receiving"

    Not only my electronic album of the year, my album of the year, period. J. Axel, or, Jonathan Axelsson (aka Ronin, TLS…) classifies his sound as house/lounge (deephouse would not be far off). This project, one of his many, allows him to not only focus on instrumentals but work with some incredible vocalists (check out the track "Roam," especially). His composition, production values and stylistic turns through the album are top notch. It's an album that helps reaffirm my faith in the "album"—a collection of songs with overlying structure—as an artistic medium that is not being ignored. It's warm, soothing, and utterly beautiful throughout—too much good stuff here…I won't take up the whole comment field!

    Jon Hopkins- "Insides"

    Hopkins is fantastic, and has always been in composition and production, but this is really his best work yet. He's a classically-trained pianist, which makes for great chords and melodies, but this is pure electronic music (IDM is tossed out a lot as a genre). The opening track's lush warmth is quickly replaced by an ominous cold that dominates the album—it gives you the feeling that you're stuck on your own in the cold, but in a gorgeous ice castle that you could explore for years.

    Ben Klock- "One"

    I have the most trouble classifying Klock—again, it would take up too much space. I'm no good with classifications, but I'd toss out techno/minimal techno/house as an overall theme. Where Hopkins is an architect of an ice castle, Klock is a grey cloud—hovering over a bustling city for the first half of the album while casting a gloomy spell, but in the second half wandering over the streams and mountains. The first half is admittedly brilliant, but it's this second half I prefer—probably less propulsive but more full-sounding and pleasing (check out "OK" for a great track in the second half).

  • Jon

    As you mentioned, Peter, the Moderat release had a lot of appeal for several reasons. Not only is there a great range of sounds, but the production is absolutely incredible. From what I've heard, there's a lot of analog equipment on the album as well, the use of which is due a certain degree of respect in the time of computerized perfection. This record remains one of the few that I can listen to from beginning to end without getting bored.

    The Nine Inch Nails tour this year also blew me away, in terms of both execution and ethos. The way that they welcome(d) advances in music and personal technology is remarkable for such a big-name artist, and it shows in the incredible fan-made collective videos on the Internet. I didn't manage to get a good view of their synth/sampling setup from where I was standing at the show I went to, but they definitely integrate electronic elements into their sound very smoothly.

    Obviously, this has been the year of computer-based music performance in general and Ableton Live in particular, so I think it's interesting to see artists who have yet to adopt this new (almost-standard) approach to electronic music and yet still produce similar results. Royksopp, for example, were very interesting to see live in that they perform without the use of a visible DAW on stage (I believe they use Muse Receptors in conjunction with Novation ReMote SLs). It's refreshing to see an electronic music performance that retains this kind of setup, since almost everyone I see now has a laptop running at the heart of their setup. Brandt Brauer Frick is another act in this vein, and perhaps even more organic. Their use of older equipment and the emphasis on musicianship is really appealing to me.

    Just my few cents on somewhat commercial acts.

  • Yeah, it occurs to me we should really have "live performances" as well as albums.

  • Jon

    Oh, and Gui Boratto is always a treat to see live. I'm not sure how to describe his sets best–"technopr0n" comes to mind. His live setup, if I remember correctly, is a UC-33e, Lemur, and Monome controlling Live and some Max patches.

  • oh…damn…

    i was going to throw on Autechre's "Quaristice" (in its entirety, there was many versions to songs)…but..that came to be in 2008…bummer

  • Jon

    Fuck Buttons' Tarot Sport is pretty great to commute to.

  • In not so specific order, some good innovative albums:

    Sudha – Leche – This track deserves special call out. Vocals w/Zoe Johnston, can't decide if the original or remixes are best. Probably my favorite track of the year. Nice ethnic flavor to it, unreal vocals&lyrics.

    Anjunadeep 01 – An impressive first showing. The tracks here are stunning. My favorite compilation of 2009. Jaytech's album "Everything is Ok" is also worth note here.

    Solaris International Presents. Electronic Architecture – Solarstone presents a nice mix of lesser known artists. There are some real gems on here (Kahawi – Kenya). Well mixed and eclectic.

    Anjunabeats Volume 7 – another great selection from this powerhouse

    Telefon Tel Aviv – This release is bittersweet by Charles' passing.

    TV on the Radio – Dear Science – Nice progression of their sound.

    I'm probably missing some good stuff I've heard, but this is a nice sample. I need to get a hold of the latest Way Out West and Zero 7 albums.

    Been waiting years for the next Massive Attack album, hopefully it actually makes the February release date.

  • Chris

    "Unbalance" 2562 techno/dubstep nextness

  • Greg

    Yes, Gui Boratto. Nothing revolutionary, just beautiful, minimalistic es very emotional music. Most of my DJ-friends hate his music:D 'Take My Breath Away' is an awesome album from this year.

  • Greg

    Let's not forget Flying Lotus (Warp Rec)! Brilliant abstract hiphop, dirty-lofi sounds, remixes of his great-auntie's tunes, Alice Coltrane (J. Coltrane's wife).

  • Off the top of my head, a few things –

    Lusine's "A Certain Distance"

    Jeff McIlwain has put together a stellar release here that spans a lot of electronic music territory, but still hangs together nicely. Tracks like "Two Dots" that feature vocalist Vilja Larjosto are heart-stoppingly beautiful.

    Speaking of Ghostly International, the 10-year anniversary party at the Magic Stick in Detroit was particularly great – Tycho put on a mesmerizing set (awesome how the crowd cheered at the start when the ISO50 logo came up on the screen), and then provided visuals for Telefon Tel Aviv's set.

    Yeasayer's Ambling Alp is an addictive track – definitely looking forward to their next full length release.

  • breathe

    not much 4/4 here:

    gregg kowalsky – tape chants (long-form waveform blends)

    greg davis – midpoint (impressive live recordings)

    white rainbow – new clouds (peyote dreams)

    solo andata – solo andata (exquisite spaces)

    pulse emitter – oppressive nature (particular analog mixtures)

    leyland kirby – sadly, the future is no longer what it was (truly epic sadness)

    eleh – all recent lps (minimal analog experiments)

  • breathe

    and i forgot another big one – oneohtrix point never: rifts. a collection of past and present works, just out. enveloping analog textures.

  • Slee

    Electronic Albums are hard, most of the good shit is on 12", and the guys that can put out good track after good track often dont seem to be able to put together a good album (Minilogue seems to be the exception to this). That said, here's the my top 3 ablums (no compilations or DJ mixes):

    Little Dragon – Machine Dreams

    Loved their 1st album, and love this one. They are just so easy to listen to. Pop sensibility with a complex sound and just enough groove.

    Lusine – A Certain Distance

    1st heard one of their radio-friendly songs, and got the album expecting some nice 'dinner party electronica', but was plesently surpirised to hear the 'other half'.

    Tim Exile – Listening Tree

    At first i was loving the intensity of this ablum, but as i kept listening to it i released i like it becuase, for some reason, it takes me back to Heaven 17 (in the same way Whitey takes me back to Tones on Tail).

  • Yep, y'all are definitely hitting some of my favorites… so this is good, we'll be sure to have a list that has a point of view but also doesn't miss anything our wider, wiser readership is onto.

    @Slee: agreed, but isn't that all the more reason to do albums instead of tracks? 😉

  • From the free / non-commercial / Creative Commons underworld:

    Ultrasyd (just google it)… "Lost in fractal dimension" is for me the chiptune of the year. His mix "move your body" is awesome, done with hardware (no decks, no mp3… just 8 bit gear playing in sync).

    Any of you out there putting more atention to Creative Commons sites (Starfrosch, Soundcloud, Bandcamp..) than Beatport?. Some free material (from Edison's videos on the monome to 8bitcollective.com site) inspired me more than some commercial (suposedly PRO) releases.

    Anyway, here's my more mainstream pickup:

    Royksopp – Junior (perfect pop lyrics, amazing ¿SIDstation? programming).

  • CC releases, netlabels, underground **** all count, too. 😉 After all, a lot of these are still digital releases, even from bigger labels. So what makes them an "album" is how the songs are strung together, not the distribution medium or distributor — and that doesn't seem to be a bad thing, right?

  • 1. "pinky swear" – by babelfishh and oskar ohlson

    knertz records

    incredible album, mix of open heart, uninhibited lyrics, all manners of sampling and synthesis blended with some of the most lo-fi and oldschool 4track inna bedroom production, to create amazing songs with serious melody and thump! incredible show… with alllllll kinds of gear!

    2. "ambivalence avenue" – by bibio

    warp records

    the oldest sounding new album ever!… just freaking different, and mesmerizing…

    3. "seemeebeemin" – by ro….

    this album just has a mood too it…. it's got the head nod… but it also portrays a lo-fi attitude that is completely unique. brian crabtree's little brother… watch out…. amazing show as well….!

  • Floor

    I'm actually quite interested in how some of you organize your music collection. I get completely overwhelmed…sometimes I feel like tossing out my entire collection and starting over! Feels like I can't find anything anymore!

  • roller

    Little Dragon – Machine Dreams

  • I would find a best of Soundcloud to be extremely helpful; maybe that's a separate story. 🙂

  • Jan

    With Tim Exile and Jon Hopkins already mentioned, I think it's time to move to Germany for Moderat. This cooperation between Apparat and Modeselektor is a great example of how electronic dance music can really move you. They do a great live performance, where Pfadfinderei adds some beautiful and original visuals. He is also responsible for a great bonus DVD. Definitely a great album.

  • Jan

    Sorry Peter, overlooked the intro text with Moderat already mentioned. It's worth mentioning twice however… 😉

  • My personal organization technique:


    A notebook , handy for new tracks, compilation ideas, websites, shopping lists…

    "PostIt" stickers and lots of notes on the vinyls. Mark your favourite tracks on the record (with non-sticky scotch tape, please, so you could modify your notes without damaging the package). Different crates for different styles.


    New and original in their shelves, alphabetically. Make copies of everything to work / spin / listen in your car's stereo. Copies are cheap, so I put a lot of downloaded stuff on CD to listen while I drive. Give me ideas for compilations and dj sets. CDRW's are friendly and cheap, as USB players.

    On mp3's:

    Simply folders, no playlists as they are software / OS dependant (I clone my hardrive structure to my iPod running Rockbox, so I don't need any iTunes playlist sync or similar:

    albums / singles / compilations / OST / free downloads – promos / netlabels / chiptunes / podcasts / radio / dj sets / vocal – non musical / audiobooks / assorted / discarded (always handy, why trash it, just keep it out of sight… maybe you rediscover some of those trashed songs)

    within netlabels and CC stuff.

    netlabel singles / netlabel albums / whole netlabel catalog from a particular label / compilations / my "crate" (copy your selections here but leave the original under it's label)

    Netlabel and Creative Commons is more time demanding since you've just discovered the artist/track and there is almost no promo or image, just files (It's not like having some Killers album, that you mentally miss and recognize in the stores, if you know what I mean).

    If you're into CC and chiptunes like me, put some stuff back in plastic (CDs still exist) so you get familiar with the songs. Play it on your car, on your office's stereo. Treat pure digital releases as real albums / singles.

    If you're into podcasting / sample banks / promos

    Don't mix, for example, netlabels with free (as in beer) stuff. Keep track of labels and if the track is obscure, make a small .txt file with the original url / website / forum where you find it.

    For digital files, make copies and compilations instead of an endless moving and renaming of files. Remember, copies are free in the digital world.

    Ah, don't download just for the sake of it. Keep what you like, discard the rest (you could erase it or put it in some other less used media, like an external HD or DVDR). There's no point of having the whole Underground Resistance catalogue on mp3 if you hardly ever listen to it.

    Well, sorry for the long post. That's my personal technique. Hope somebody find some of my tips useful. Maybe you use "stars" and playlists. Please share your own tips.


  • rhowaldt

    even though already mentioned, worthwhile to mention again:

    jon hopkins – insides

    2562 – unbalance

    bibio – ambivalence avenue

    i'm note sure if it was all 2009, but at least i discovered them this year:

    whitetree – cloudland (i believe it's ludovico einaudi, vague piano-shards and grainy background electronics)

    extrawelt – schone neue extrawelt (i don't really like minimal techno or stuff like that, but this album was so incredibly moody it blew my mind)

    last step – 1961 (ok it's Aaron Funk/Venetian Snares and i'm already addicted but it's a lot of analog goodness and a lot of surprise – as usual)

    micachu – jewellery (part digital, part analog, all fucking amazing, dissonant, weird, i love it)

    nosaj thing – drift (great stuff, chilled, brilliant, listen to it)

    shadow dancer – golden traxe (nice and glitchy-broken-tumbling-but-still-pretty-much-4/4-dance-music)

    the kilimanjaro darkjazz ensemble – mutations (with fellow Dutchman Bong-Ra, deep, spun-out, dark, beautiful stuff)

    Venetian Snares – Horsey Noises EP – just because he's singing 🙂

    i'll take the RSS from this thread for music-discovery – we should do this more often!

  • @ Floor

    My "organization techniques" post was for you. I missed this headline. Sorry for my english faults, I was writing on a hurry

  • I have to think on this a bit more, but here's a few that came to mind pretty quick:

    "Ineffable Mysteries From Shpongleland" by Shpongle – A recent release (bit over a month now I think) but one of my favorites so far. It's a pretty dense album; there's a lot going on here. I find myself picking up on a lot of different things each time I listen to it.

    "Junior" by Röyksopp – Fun, bouncy, a little poppy but doesn't have it's soul stripped away, if you know what I mean. I've liked Röyksopp for a long time now and I thought this was a better effort than "The Understanding", though that wasn't a bad album at all.

    I'll give "Rose of Jericho" by BT a nod as well. I really liked that track; probably one of my favorite things BT has done in years.

  • Well I just keep a smart play list of recently added for a year or so at all times. So a 15 20 minute scroll through lets me check out everything i've picked up over the last year or so. Obviously I then need to determine whats older and what was released this year, but that's not so bad.

    So anyway, this years top full lengths for me were in order of release:

    Reincarnations – DJ Koze : Simply the greatest remixer around today, humorous, catchy, sonically inventive, and for a compilation incredibly cohesive.

    The Make Up The Break Up – Bruno Pronsato:

    Minimal's final statement. incredible 40 minutes of techno glory.

    Three EPs – Shackleton : Deep dark notdubstep. moody and delicious.

    Some top 12"s include :

    Techno + House:

    Mrs Bojangles – DJ Koze,

    20002 – Wax,

    Phantasm Vol. 3 – Marcel Dettmann Tama Sumo + Prosumer,

    Third Method – Ancient Methods,


    Watching You – Instra::mental,

    Hyph Mngo – Joy Orbison,

    Aidy's Girl is a Computer – Darkstar,

    Beautiful Complication – Guido.

  • Two releases I liked one from Italy one from NY:

    Teslasonic – The Spark of Prometheus (Minimal Rome Records)… Each track exudes effortless detail and fulfilling sound. Definitely one of my favourite releases of 2009.

    Stinkworx/Kinoeye split 12" WT Records 01 … The piano in the $tinkworx track "MKB" draws you in like a lonely lover while the other elements such as hats, pads and squelchy bass start to surround you. Before you know it, you are completely in its thrall. Nothing more and nothing less, this gorgeous track has all it needs to romance you into the after hour.

  • zvukofor

    Yello — Touch Yello

    That's all real we've got here ))

  • Memory tapes

    Fever Ray – watched her gig the other night, absolutely great! She must be a record company's marketing departments nightmare, almost no light on her, and 80s style lasers pointing out towards the audience. Obviously very little talking in between numbers! So nice to see how she keeps lots of mystery around her. Fuck this, I'm a rockstar but I'm just like you bs. I respect Imogen Heap a lot but that buddy approach just don't do anything for me!

    Pardon the evening rant!

  • Armando

    great great post! So much new music! Please keep the comments flowing!!!

  • Bibio – Ambivalence Avenue is great, everything else I've tried so far has been overproduced, undercomposed rubbish. Mostly by dub-techno artists.

  • Tony Torres

    MONOLAKE Silence is my favorite of all time.

  • Tony Torres

    Das Kraftfuttermischwerk:[THN097] Blüte Seines Lebens, [THN085] Eingang Nach Draußen, Coleoptera Ep all three albums from this group is also fantastic.

  • flogistox

    still studying for the best electronic albums of the year, but ready to vote AIr's Love 2 as the worst:

    it sounded to me completely uninspired and cheap

  • brrbrr

    @flogistox "woman make me warm inside…"

    clark – totems flare

    venetian snares – filth

    faltydl – live is a liability

    harmonic313/mark pritchard – when machines exceed human intelligence

    squarepusher – numbers lucent

  • brrbrr

    err … love is a liability.. live maybe 😉

  • Joshua Bogart

    Ummmm……..this one is easy, everything Thom Yorke…

  • Greg

    Tim Hecker – In An Imaginary Country — expatriating to there.

    Mika Vainio – can't believe I've been in the dark about this guy for so long.

    Peter Rehberg – Works For GV — last year, who cares.

  • lucke

    also: nathan fake – hard islands

    although i already couldn't stop listening that stuff in 08 due to james amazing sets…

  • Peepo

    Tim Exile – Listening Tree

    MBV – 4 unreleased tracks

  • @Naim Falandino

    Did they make you wear a clown suit with no pants?

    Did they also make you wear a rabbit's head? And was it made of paper?

    Just checking,


    PS: Ineffable Mysteries is quite dense indeed. Needs several listens, just like their previous albums. Simon and Raja for the win!

  • apalomba

    Could we compile all of these in to one list?

  • I forgot Legowelt – Slompy Jitt EP on M>O>S and his Nacho Patrol – Africa Jet Band on M-Division releases nice too.

  • low resolution sunse

    Fever Ray:

    Strange Joseph Beuys costumes and mysticism reinforcing strong songwriting. I also like the un-ironic and un-sentimental use of forgotten 1980's keyboard patches. In the car, while listening to the album, my friend (who was unfamiliar with it) said to me "I feel like I'm inside a Michael Mann movie."

  • @Greg- I LOVE Hecker. So incredible.

    @zvukofor- What do you like about Yello? I've tried and tried and just can't get into it, although I'm hearing all this buzz. I was on admittedly bad headphones most of the time, so maybe I'll give it another chance?

  • Steviant

    How has nobody mentioned Hyperdubs "5" compilation? That basically summed up everything I love about English electronic music in one neat collection.

  • jonnyfive

    Awesome Thread/Article Peter I always love hearing about new music I might have never happened upon!

    Anamanaguchi – Dawn Metropolis

    This has been the resident CD in my car since I picked it up sometime in May. These guys are awesome! Their maximalist 8-bit power punk pop counterpoint-layden spaztronica really does it for me. Great NES programming and great songwriting; this record is pretty much everything I had ever hoped NES hackery would bring us.

    Prefuse 73 – Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian

    Pristine production, inventive composition, lush sound-scapes and fantastic use of cut-ups, especially vocals, pretty much what you'd expect from this influential artist. A very strong release, not really divergent from the sound he's established, but more polished I think. I particularly like the short-attention-span/seemless vignette thing he's doing here, it makes for a very nice journey.

    Débruit – Clé De Bras EP

    Exceptional wonky electro instrumental hip-hop, if your into that sort of thing. Has some odd world-music sourced samples/loops. Nice Synth work, clunky programming and always catchy melodies.

    Nosaj Thing – Drift

    Really nice mood/vibe here, mostly introspective and somewhat sinister in harmonic language and overall timbre, but it gives way to some truly beautiful moments. Grows on me with each listen. I'll also mention the very nice mix he did for XLR8Rs pod cast recently which features some unreleased tracks by Teebs, who I anticipate being on my best of 2010 list.

    Bullion – Young Heartache EP

    I love Bullion. He is remarkably good at sampling. He is adept at channeling feeling and vibe from recognizable pop samples into really moody beats. "Long Promised" featuring a samples form the Beach Boys song of almost the same name with "Long Promised Road" is the standout for me. I mention the Beach Boys sample only to segue into mentioning his "Pet Sounds in the Key of Dee" record which is amazing, IMO. But again I really like the reassembly of pop music into other sounding stuff. These aren't Mash-ups BTW but creative rearrangement of obvious sources…

  • jonnyfive

    Damn, proofreading is hard…

    kind of munged this sentence:

    “Long Promised” featuring samples from the Beach Boys song of almost the same name: “Long Promised Road” is the standout for me

  • real

    PHOENIX – wolfgang amadeus mozart. great album, production is top-notch but what else do you expect from ex-daft crew

  • dyscode


    very year with a new Tori Amos Album is great.

    This Year ist was Abnormally Attrackted to Sin.

    The ORB – Baghdad Batteries also was one of the few who really caught my attention.

    Also the new Black Dog was interesting along with the new Mr. Oizo.

    and just recently Raster-Notion A3 is really great.

    Contemporary electronic German music archive.

    Feat. Alwa Noto etc.

    Funny it´s a Japanese only release though.

    usually I get my music info from themilkfactory.

    best 🙂

  • Brian

    shpongle…any album other than that shulman, ott kuba ummmm younger brother …anything chilled and impeccably produced.

    there is far too much crap out there because of the ease of production…it makes me sad.

  • wa

    – Jon Hopkins – Insides

    – Nosaj Thing – Drift

    – Moderat – Moderat

    – Shackleton – Three Eps

    – Monolake – Silence

    – Falty DL – Love is a liability

    – Giuseppe Ielasi – Aix

    – Tim Exile – Listening Tree

    – Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

    – Ben Klock – One

    – Fuck button – Tarot Sport

    – Vincent Casanova – The Hyperspacial Landscape

    – Hildur Gudnadottir – Without Sinking

    – Air – Love 2

    – Filastine – Dirty Bomb

    – Hannu – Hintergarten

    – Rone – Spanish Breakfast

    – Remano Eszildn – R-Tracks

    – Pupkulies_and_Rebecca – Burning_Boats

    – Point 7 – What [Toytronic]

    – Tadeo – Contacto

    – Yellowhead – Mealwine

    – Tonikom – The Sniper's Veil

    – Damian Lazarus – Smoke The Monster Out

    – 10-20 – 10-20

    ~25 casual pickup in ~50 'top'

    part of ~180 albums inside my

    'selected_Albums_2009' folder

  • dyscode

    just fot the book it´s:

    Raster-Noton and Alva Noto


    wow 180 albums in 2009

    the 4 albums I bought this year completely occupied me already!



    as someone said, without discrimination of any of the albums mentioned here: the amount of unimaginative, copycat, redundant and bad produced music is incredible.

    as for the organization. playlists crates and folders are the answer.

    Everyhing goes straight to harddisk as Apple Lossless.

    I will never succumb to mp3.

  • paul white – the strange dreams of paul white (a wicked instrumental hip-hop anthology)

    mux mool – just saying is all EP (next level non-genre specific)

    martyn – great lengths (excellent proto-dubstep)

  • Vitalic – Flashmob

    This is my favorite album of the year,if not all time. It makes great usage of analog sources fuzed with digital spice (hear "One Above One"). Above all else, it reminded me deep inside that just because the economy and the world looked muggy, music would be here to stay forevermore.

    Boys Noize – Jeffer Remixes

    This is a release, NOT an album, yeah yeah yeah… Aside from being a really lush, sample driven echo of german utilitarianism that conjures visions of hot red, the artist contracted the likes of Modeselektor and Para One to do the remixing… Modeselektor's take is very mechanical and defies common dance beat structure, whereas the Para One remix has this INFECTIOUS lead that's like… a sawtooth with lots of FM from a noise source… i cant emulate it… it also makes use of some lo-fi sampling and quite honestly is at the top of my charts 😀

  • Joseph Lyncheski

    Miike Snow – Miike Snow

    Sub Focus – Sub Focus

    Deadmau5 – For Lack Of A Better Name

    Alix Perez – Alex Perez (I really do not like the music itself, but its so groundbreaking)

    Basement Jaxx – Scars

  • Chacho Brodas.

    Ryan Leslie.



  • wa


    I listen music at least 6 hours a day while I'm working (programming). But the selection comes not only from me alone, it's a result of the selection of a bunch of people.

    There are different kind of tastes… without closing them inside music bubbles we can say that there are some of us that prefer dubstep, some others minimal techno, some others folktronics, pseudo-neue-post-rock, psychedelic, funk, neo-classical, various forms of 'noise' and any other kind of music you can think of. also, we are all open to new things and prefer not to dry ourselves on one and only one genre. the ~180 are the general selection, the ones that are generally considered good by everyone in the group regardless of their preferred genre and/or comfort zone music, the ~25 listed here are some of my personal favourites among the ~50 most voted.

    Explaining all the selection process will be too long and probably it can seem a bit crazy. Let's just say that the ~180 of the "selected_albums_2009" are already result of filtering… but that before that folder there is another folder, the "selected_TheOthers_2009" that contains ~210 more albums.

    Just to tell a few names, some already listed by others in these comments, the "selected_TheOthers_2009" contains names like Mika Vainio, Telepathe, Skepta, Caspa, Tomasz Bednarczyk, Seaworthy, Boozoo Bajou, Depeche Mode, Dusty Kid, Laroca.

    Some of them chosen by me but didn't enter the final selection like AGF/Delay Symptoms.

    One just entered and from how is doing right now i think it will enter the final selection, Tremor's Viajante.


  • livey live

    I've fainted only 2 times in my life. Both were this year during Fever Ray concerts. Its crazy to me because I've never lost control like that, except one time on a golf course when i was 11 from heat exhaustion, but i think it must be the lasers.

    My best night of music in possibly my whole life was just this past weekend in Berlin, from ±1:30 till 6:30 am at the Hardwax 20th Anniv. party: I got to see MMM and Soundhack for the first time perform live sets with a whole big dancefloor enjoying their twisted forms of dance music. Then later on a Soundstream/Prosumer classic house Karaoke performance in a small intimate side room. In between all those things were some other great things as well, the night's program is here: http://hardwax.com/XX/

  • Jaime Munarriz

    Jorge, right, the best stuff is released on Creative Commons license and obcure netlabels!!!

  • This list may be redundant being so far down but here goes!

    Bullion – Young Heartache EP

    Brilliant! all 4 tracks nicely summed up in previous post.

    Clark – Totems Flare

    Flooring stuff. Saw this dude last week in Melbourne and blew the roof off!

    Air – Love 2

    Yes, light and somewhat cheesy at times they still manage to seep in.

    Little Dragon – Machine Dreams

    Didn't see anyone else mentioning this. It's quite nice 80's electro-pop inspired stuff. Slick production.

    Jonsi & Alek – Riceboy Sleeps

    Lush drone-y ambience. Yum.

    Tim Hecker – Imaginary Country

    Damn this guy is good at atmospherics.

    Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

    Super-fun pop.

    Plone – Unreleased 2nd LP – Even though it's not gotten an official release I discovered it this year and for fans it's got some really lovely moments. Not as consistent though.

    Prefuse 73 – Everything She Touches… Solidly treeeped out sheet. He continues to push.

    Stephan Mathieu – Keys to the Kingdom. More ambient/drone goodness.

    Atom tm – Liedgut. Ultra-synthetic brilliance.

    Bibio – Ambivalence Avenue. Yeah, yeah. like everybody else. It's good but feels a little inauthentic at times tho. I like being contrary.

    Broadcast & Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults…. inventive psychedelia.

    Dam Funk – Toeachizown Vol.1. Smooth G-Funk Electro sheet.

    Floating Points – J&W / K&G Beat EP.

    The Gentlemen Losers – Dustland.

    Memory Tapes – Seek Magic.

    Moritz Von Oswald Trio – Vertical Assault.

    The Orb – Baghdad Batteries.



    for the sounds used, the very precise production, the creativity…

    power and sensibility alltogheter

  • I see a lot of people touting "excellent production", and very few mentioning melodies or hooks. No wonder so much modern electronic music either sucks or dates so quickly…

  • Hudson Mohawke – Butter

    too many good tunes. ridiculous groove.

  • al

    the xx great band been lovin the song crystalised very much

    siriusmo the uninvited guest

    probably my favourite producer

    loved his first album aswell

    great warped discoish techno

    royksopp junior

    followed them for a while now

    really good band great melodys and hooks

    amzing live aswell

    happy up here meant the most to me though

    as id lost some family members this year

    and the lyrics just meant alot to me

    thanks for that guys.

    keep making great music

  • O.N.O. Signalog. First techno record in ages I'm enthusiastic about. Sounds surprisingly whimsical on the structural level (especially for techno), like it were done live. I need this on vinyl (only have a CD) but it doesn't appear to have been released outside of Japan, which is annoying.

    Les Trucs (I think the ep is untitled?). Electro-punk-cabaret. This should be a genre. Catchy with gabber-kicks. I need more of this, the split 7" with Red de Planet isn't enough.

    Peter Quistgaard 7". Bend toys pulled through MAX and oddly coming out quite poppy. Poppy in the context of break-core inspired noise, that is.

  • Like everybody else, I loved Moderat.

    Mirko Loco – Seventynine (Cadenza) Great techno from start to finish. Great melodies, shimmery production.

    Union Jack – Pylon Pigs (Platipus) It's trance, which I don't listen to anymore, but Simon Berry and Paul O'Brogden (P.O.B.) resurrected the Union Jack name with a great album. It's not the overcooked Tiesto/van Buren style of trance, it's just thumping, inventive and occasionally very complicated tunes.

  • s ford

    Kind of surprised so many people have mentioned Tim Exile's new album, for me it was one of the great let downs of this year. I was super excited when I heard he was releasing an album on Warp (my one time favourite label) but when I heard 'The Listening Tree' I didn't really enjoy it as much as 'Pro Agonist' (which is one of my favourite albums of all time), but it seems many think very highly of it, so I should probably check it out again.

    My tips for great albums of this year, off the top of my head without my ipod or my music to hand include

    Filastine – Dirty Bomb; one of the more interesting 'breakcore' esque producers. A really interesting and always listenable blend of breaks and middle eastern samples and stuff.

    On a similar tip, DJ Rupture's new mix with Shadetek is quite outstanding, not quite as immaculate as last year's Uproot, but few things are!

    Recently I have been rinsing New York hiphop producer famous for producing Aesop Rock's classic albums (Labor Days etc) Blockhead's new album 'The Music Scene'. I'd love Peter Kirn to interview the guy at sometime. He uses one of the most archaic sampling systems for making music an Ensoniq ASR-10!! Shows still that old school technology can be used to make sick, sick music!

    I am really surprised out of the readers and posters of this fantastic site no one has mentioned what I believe is the most important electronic release of the year JEGA – VARIANCE. Before Planet Mu got stuck in releasing homogenous dubstep records (joke) one of their classic artists (well the artist who Mike Paradinas said he started the label for) Jega was one of the stalwarts of the British Electronic music scene. Then he dissappeared. After 10 years or so he came back with a new fantastic album. It surprises me how little attention such a musical genius has been given on his emphatic return.

    My Record Label of the year with little competition is Type who have released fantastic records by Peter Broderick, Richard Skelton, Mokira, Rameses III, Johann Johannson to name some.

    Touch Records have been great too with Hildur Gudnadottir and Oren Ambarchi coming out this year.

    The new Prefuse album is alright too, his best album since Extinguished Outtakes IMO. The Dam Funk one is a cracker too.

    Richard Skelton is my artist of the year though, pretty much everything he has made is gold. Releases under quite a few different aliases. His music can be found here http://www.myspace.com/sustainrelease

  • 1. Flying Lotus | Los Angeles

    >> delicious synth work, fancy percussion, artist of the century

    2. Raekwon | Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II

    >> the late dilla produced three tracks

    3. Lukid | Foma

    >> just minimal enough to accompany the early morning hours

  • brr brr

    @s ford: afaik variance was leaked in 2004. the official release in 2009 is a reedit. I must admit that this album was highly influential for me. jega shows how compositional structure and rad sounddesign can very well go hand in hand.

  • J.G. Thirlwell – The Venture Bros. Soundtrack

    Ohgr – Devils In The Details

    Polysics – Absolute Polysics

    Peter Murphy – Space Oddity (Single)

    Puscifer – "C" Is for (Please Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference Here) E.P.

    Foetus – Limb

  • Bertha G

    OK. Here are 3 that made a very positive impression.

    Biosphere – Wireless

    Keith Marquis – Fine Tuning

    Jon Hassell – Last Night The Moon Came…

  • 9b0

    Siriusmo – simply loved it

    Moderat – not as good as Apparat or Modeselektor in solo productions, but loved the album even this way (especially Rusty Nails and Les grandes marches)

    Of Porcelain – Ooah's solo production: great stuff

    Pretty Lights – everything he released this year was pretty close to my taste

    Jon Hopkins – mentioned by lots of folks above

    HECQ – amazing… loved the album and the remixes as well

  • Ekkehard Ehlers and Paul Wirkus – ballads

    Rafael Toral – Space Elements vol 1

    Lionel Marchetti – Adele et Hadrien

    Lee Patterson – Seven Vignettes

    Graham Lambkin and Jason Lescaleet – The Breadwinner

    Patrol Kosk – Mondweib

    David Sylvian – Manafon

    David Kirby – Cittacaura

    I chose all of these after a quick peek at my iTunes playcount…. All are improvised, though perhaps some more than others (marchetti and kosk are both musique concret, but I presume the mixes are improvised somewhat), which I have a high appreciation for, I feel the immediacy in the playing…

    .. Many of these also have a good amount of 'hear through' by which I mean that there's background sound that perhaps became par of the piece and/or simply that one may hear the hand of the artist at work, most pronouncedly on 'the breadwinner'… Makes me feel like it wasn't polished for the masses, which makes me feel respected as a potential listener, one who doesn't need to be pandered to with fancified techniques for removing perfectly good sound because it isn't "part of the music" or something – well it is now, and all the more mysterious for it!

  • I thought 2009 was a below average year for electronic music. So I guess I'll have to check out the bands you've all listed. The only one that stands out that I could think of was already mentioned- Fever Ray.

    Does anyone else think that 2008 was better than 2009?

  • jonnyfive

    @keats Well I would hesitate to say better, but if I complied my favorite records to listen to of 2009 it wouldn't be a different list, just longer. That said and to answer your question, probably, as it wasn't very difficult at all to compile the 2009 only list.

    I will say that my favorite record I heard all year (and in a while really) is Battles – Mirrors which came out in 2007 I think; how did it take 2 years to pick *that* up?

  • bingo

    ok, soo how about a "click to listen to this artist" link collection now? 😉

  • By far and away for me was:

    Jon Hassell: Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street

    Initially impenetrable but with a few repeated listenings the sonic signature became clear. Murky mystic ambient. Bitches Brew revisited and reinvented.

    Lots of acoustic instruments used but the processing of everything is from an electronic musician's perspective.

    I thought this was an obscurant dud on first listening but now I think it's bloody amazing.

  • dubremix

    Here's mind from the Downtempo & Psybient world.

    1. Energy Mind Consciousness – Mystical Sun

    2. Movements – Solar Fields

    3. Ley Lines – Aes Dana


  • bjm

    one and two words… 🙂 !!!

    1) BjM Bajardi "OVerture Arcaica"

    2) AFX "Druqs"


  • Comment field of the year: THIS!

    Love it.. my headphones are running hot!

  • A couple of people said LA by Flying Lotus, but that was released in 2008..

  • Curious what folks think of the Resident Advisor poll…

    The DJ list is fairly predictable, I think (though it's interesting where people fall):

    But they did a short live set list:
    — also featuring Moderat. The list just doesn't really feel very satisfying to me, somehow. I wonder who from the names above might also make strong live sets. (And, unrelated, I'm sorry I missed Fever Ray!)

  • ludovic llorca

    no one mentionned Redshape's Dance Paradox album on Delsin records ??? Come on, havent heard such a good detroit-techno album since Carl Craig's !!

  • ludovic llorca

    Edit – sorry, Redshape album's title is Seduce Me.

  • Michael

    Extrawelt "Deine Beine"


    Fever Ray

    Svarte Greiner "Kappe"

    SUNN 0))) "Monoliths & Dimensions"

    Telefon Tel Aviv

    Alva Noto "UTP_"

    Hans Appelqvist overdubbing Jaques Brel's "Je ne sais pas" with arpeggiated synths and electric guitar (live).

  • David

    I use this software to organize. I like ZUI interfaces they make more sense to me. It is opensource so free. I hope this helps someone get on top of their newyear.

    Visual Understanding Environment (VUE)

  • David

    For those of you who can afford software in this economy I recomend for organization of music and other things PersonalBrain 5.5


  • I liked:

    Calvin Harris – Ready For The Weekend

    super dancy and fun happy music. also great synths on some songs ("The Rain")!

    Flying Lotus – Los Angeles

    Simian Mobile Disco – Temporary Pleasure

    "You know I always got sorbet!" SO CATCHY and plus their new graphics package makes for a great video.

    Chromeo – DJ Kicks

    Also, this ia a great post because I just got a bunch of new albums to check out from previous comments!

  • rhowaldt

    almost forgot: Portishead – Three

  • SeattleTradeWinds

    All Bruno Pronsato Production.

  • no particular order :

    Krikor The Dead Hillbillies Land Of Truth

    Etienne Jaumet – Night Music

    Dam Funk – Toeachizown

    Hudson Mohawke – Butter

    Fuck Button – Tarot Sport

    Joakim – Milky Ways

    Joe Goaddard – Harvest Festival

    Black Meteoric Star

    Subway – Subway II

    Antipop Consortium – Fluorescent Black

  • Fabian

    A few artists that have not been mentioned yet

    Rone – Spanish Breakfast

    Cheju – Broken Waves

    Martyn – Great Lengths

    Mount Kimbie – sketch on glass ep

  • AL T

    I must admit I have not heard many of these, I have a lot of research to do! I feel a little out of my league but here are some of my favorites from this year…

    Shpongle – Ineffable Mysteries from Shpongleland

    I had the pleasure of seeing them live in London for the album release and they did not disappoint. So many sounds! Interesting to read Simon's album notes describing where some of them come from…

    The Prodigy – Invaders Must Die

    Is this allowed to be on here? Maybe it's too mainstream or whatever but Prodigy got me into electronic music so they make my list by default. Awesome energy live, and it IS a good album 🙂

    deadmau5 – For Lack of a Better Name

    Takes the listener through all kinds of 4/4 based genres with some top notch toons

  • My picks start here. Lusine, Clubroot, Falty DL, definitely cracked the Top 20.

  • OutPhased, my album of course!!!

    Else I'd say Manual for successful rioting by Birdy Nam Nam.

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  • Franz

    I liked very much:

    Fabio Orsi – Audio for Lovers

    Obsil – Distances

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  • Claude VonStroke, Bird Brain! By far, my favorite of the year

  • makis

    iron maiden – the best!

  • Peter,
    that was such an useful post full of inspiration, great artist and great music. You might do an follow up in the last days of this year?