Top 10 albums of 2011: Martin Turenne
In an era when nearly everyone has a digital device soldered to their hands, it’s no surprise that electronic music has gone mainstream. It’s the million-monkeys-writing-Shakespeare theory come true; when we’re all bashing away at keyboards, some of us are bound to make a joyful noise. Let’s call 2011 the year rave broke. Again.
Looping State of Mind
More a refinement of Axel Willner’s signature style than a breakthrough, the Swedish technoist’s third full-length is a fascinating achievement, a dissertation on what it’s like to be perpetually on the brink of ecstasy.
There’s a druggy haze permeating many records on this list, nowhere more thickly than on the English export With U, a set of postapocalyptic R & B dirges that sound like transmissions from a dying planet in some distant corner of the Milky Way.
This debut album by the U.K.’s David Corney uses lustrous tones to shadowy ends. In his deft deployment of ’80s-era synthetic flourishes, he evokes an episode of Miami Vice as seen on a black-and-white television.
As the singer Craig David was to two-step garage, so Woon is to the new beat science. Where David embodied his genre’s bottle-popping effervescence, the latter’s hushed croon channels dubstep’s trademark urban desolation, and gloriously so.
House of Balloons
Scarborough’s Abel Tesfaye combines computer-made beats with a psychosexual vocal approach that’s part Prince, part R. Kelly. In the process, he creates something startlingly new, a sound with no trace of nostalgia in its DNA.