Posted by: Dominic Umile | 12/08/2009

Memorable Electronic Music 2009: Part II

I’m having great difficulty with the idea that Deru’s record was pushed to 2010. I wrote about his Mush outing for Remix Magazine this year, and it was an absolute shoe-in for my favorites of 2009 lists. So I guess it’s been shifted to next year. Anyway, I’m recommending Say Goodbye to Useless if you shuffle past it in the digital or physical stores. It’s one of the more beautiful beat records out there. Or not yet out there. Here are a few more of my favorite electronic, etc. albums for 2009.

15. Port-Royal, Dying In Time (n5MD)
14. Mokira, Persona (Type)
13. Bibio, Vignetting the Compost (Mush)
12. Voodeux, The Paranormal (Mothership)
11. Black Moth Super Rainbow, Eating Us (Graveface)

I think what I find most compelling about the Mokira record, which I hope I made clear in my PopMatters review, is that each avenue explored by Swedish producer Andreas Tilliander (Mokira is but one of his pseudonyms) is almost miles away from the next — Persona is literally all over the place. Restless droning forms, long-echoing chords, and lots of decayed textures, as if worn by time. A diverse and very rewarding experiment.

As I write this, I’m spending a little time now listening to Aphex Twin (“Fingerbib,” specifically), and it’s fairly upsetting that some of the best early-morning electronic albums that I own often sit untouched on my hard drive because of the amount of stuff I’m consuming on a daily basis. Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste discussed this problem with contemporary music consumption very eloquently earlier this year (“Pitchfork Interviews Grizzly Bear,” June 29, 2009). I’d like very much for Bibio’s Vignetting the Compost to not be one of these records; although his own output in 2009 — 2 EPs, 2 full-length albums — isn’t sweetening the odds any.

Because there is so much about Bibio’s delicate art that is manipulated and accented with technology (be it very old technology), I lump him in with favorite electronic records issued this year. He’s an electronic artist, but the music he makes, primarily, is folk-centric, with gorgeous layers of rolling, intricate guitar melodies that are then heavily gummed up via tape reel manipulation. His Warp debut that I wrote about for Remix Magazine in June of this year challenges my “primarily” statement with an unforeseen J Dilla influence popping up between all of his regular game, but I happen to revisit Vignetting more often than the other one. Honestly, the Ovals & Emeralds EP is absolutely stunning but alas, it’s merely an EP, so I couldn’t logically dump it into this list.

Port-Royal’s Dying in Time is a far cry from blurry folk compositions, but there is definitely a deep focus on atmospherics. I covered this album for PopMatters’ Short Takes section — Dying in Time is a late ’09 entry for my favorite electronic releases, but like Mokira’s album, I’m fond of how often the Port-Royal landscape changes, from post-rock to a blitz of drum programming (speaking of Aphex…) to propulsive, new wave-influenced dance music. It’s a bumpy listen at first, but it really grew on me.

The energy that Voodeux harnessed for its Halloween-charged The Paranormal outdoes the heavy focus on imagery that this very adept producer duo tends to communicate. I had a problem with the getup, and I mentioned as much for my review in Remix earlier this year, but the fact that The Paranormal is a fascinating, aurally haunting techno record is undeniable. Equally creepy, as usual, is the Black Moth Super Rainbow album. I posted about Eating Us when it came out; I had little trouble deciding whether or not to include this for a Best Of pick. It’s a much stronger-sounding, more fully fleshed-out BMSR. A completely psychedelic pop record from a bunch of keyboard- and vocal effects-obsessed weirdos. Recipes for good records really don’t get better than that.

On a completely unrelated and random note, I’m pretty certain that some heartless cretin stole my umbrella a few weeks ago from wherever. I really liked that thing, and it’s a necessity this season. Email me for my PO box address if you took my property. How do you sleep at night, man?

Check back for more thoughts on my favorite electronic and overall albums for 2009.

Read Part One of this series here.



  1. thank you! /mokira

  2. Thanks for reading, Andreas!

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