With the release of his second LP, Cocoon Crush, Berlin based producer Objekt has created one of the most impeccably crafted electronic albums of the year. Having already garnered critical acclaim from publications including Resident Advisor and Mixmag for his more club-oriented music, Objekt takes the opportunity to shift his focus away from the dance floor on Cocoon Crush. The album is an exploration of organic textures and auditory illusions that allow Objekt to reimagine the conventional palette of electronic music. Blurring the lines between real and synthesised sounds, Cocoon Crush affirms Objekt’s role as one of the most impressive contemporary producers. Alluding to a time when the boundaries of the technological and natural worlds are indecipherable from each other.
London singer-songwriter Nao has released her sophomore album, Saturn. A reference to the Astrological concept of Saturn Return, the album presents Nao at a moment of self-analysis and questioning. Shedding the skin of past experiences and beliefs to make way for a renewed sense of self. This personal evolution is reinforced through her artistic growth on Saturn. Musically, the release sees Nao shaking off some of her classic r&b and funk sensibilities in favour of a more forthright beat-driven sound, padded out with spacious and sentimental instrumental arrangements. Saturn documents a pivotal moment in Nao’s personal and artistic life and packages it into one of the most cohesive and uplifting pop albums of 2018.
Pieces Of A Man is the follow-up album from Chicago based hip-hop artist Mick Jenkins. Earning praise from hip-hop luminaries like Busdriver and collaborating with contemporaries like Noname, Saba and BadBadNotGood, Mick Jenkins has carved out a notable place as a distinct lyricist with an uncompromising social conscience. Pieces Of A Man showcases the rapper’s sharpened narrative sensibilities, reflecting on the realities of Black manhood in the United States. Adorned with sophisticated instrumentals and impressive guest features, Pieces Of A Man is driven by a simple but essential message from Mick Jenkins: “spread love, drink more water”.
Melbourne electronic producer Null has released his euphoric debut album, Med. An instrumental expression of Null’s own struggles with mental health, his wavering relationship with medication and the ensuing fluctuation of his mental states and experiences. Despite its deeply personal origins, Med sees Null emerge triumphantly from 3 years of obsessive writing, production and refining with an eclectic array of tracks perfectly crafted for nightclubs, outdoor parties and warehouses alike. Null’s fascination with rave culture and its history is the pulse that runs through the album. Med is an homage to 90s acid, trance and breakbeat hardcore, invigorated by Null’s meticulous ear for contemporary production and sound-design.
Jassbusters is the new album from Kiwi musical oddball, Connan Mockasin. Recorded live in Paris in 2016, the album serves as the soundtrack for Mockasin’s upcoming five-part film Bostyn n’ Dobsyn. Although written to coincide with the film, the tracks on Jassbusters inhabit a smokey, enchanting space of their own volition. A concept album shaped by his thoughtful, albeit bizarre creative vision, Jassbusters is Mockasin at his most effortless. With each song possessing a tender and meandering quality, unfazed by time or urgency. Centred around a narrative 10 years in the making, Jassbusters is a warm, endearing and expectedly offbeat third album from Connan Mockasin.
Stepping out from her position as the captivating front-woman of Brooklyn indie favourites Big Thief, Adrianne Lenker has released her second solo album, abysskiss. Filled with moving lyrical imagery and the wistful, melodic phrasing that has become synonymous with her work in Big Thief, Lenker takes the opportunity to embrace an even more intimate form of songwriting on abysskiss. Cocooned in the delicate fabric of Adrianne Lenker’s fingerpicked guitar, enveloped in the subtle warmth of white-noise and supporting instrumentation, the arrangements on the album perfectly compliment her evocative storytelling. abysskiss is an album driven by Adrianne Lenker’s sentimental reflection – but instead of floundering in an endless melancholy, provides us with a generous collection of beautiful and open-hearted songwriting.
House Or Home is the debut full-length release from Sydney trio Retiree. A 10 track exploration into intrinsically human encounters with place, attachment, and memory, House Or Home is informed by an array of eerie, heartbreaking and affirming experiences the band had during its creation. Released through Bradley Zero’s Rhythm Section International label, House Or Home showcases a growth in sound for Retiree. The album retains the band’s tight, drum-machine funk foundations but also embraces a richer and more nostalgic sense of harmony, ensuring House Or Home is a mesmerising listening experience and an impressive debut album from Retiree.
Two years on from her critically acclaimed mixtape Telefone, Chicago artist Noname returns with her debut album Room 25. Written in the wake of her breakout success and during a time of significant personal change for Noname, Room 25 defies the pressures that come with a highly anticipated debut. Instead, the album shows Noname armed with soul-baring confidence. Sitting atop a bed of evolving and sophisticated instrumentals, her presence on Room 25 is unmistakably lucid and confessional but never overly self-serious. Filled with Noname’s insightful observation, clever social commentary and guest appearances from new-generation Chicago music luminaries like Saba and Ravyn Lenae, every track on Room 25 is distinct and captivating.
Area Famous is the highly anticipated debut album from rising Sydney hip-hop artist B Wise. With an established reputation for high-energy live shows, lyrical storytelling and sophisticated flow, this release sees B Wise solidify his place as a formidable force in Australian music. Area Famous is an honest, exciting and at times gritty reflection on the realities of youth, politics, multiculturalism and relationships in the modern age. Most of all though the album is an ode to South-Western Sydney, the area that has shaped B Wise as an individual and an artist. Sporting production from beat-makers including Uno Stereo, DOPAM!NE and Horrorshow’s Adit, as well as features from artists including Kaiit and Anfa Rose, the debut album from B Wise will ensure that he goes on to gain further notoriety and become more than just Area Famous.
Visionary electronic duo Amnesia Scanner present their full-length debut Another Life. Having relocated from Finland to Berlin to further their practice, Amnesia Scanner have spent the last half-decade creating a cross-disciplinary world of music, performance art and immersive multimedia experiences for their project to inhabit. Another Life is the result of the duo’s unique approach, playing on the hope, promise and terror that each technological leap brings about in us. Drawing from industrial techno as much as current pop trends, Another Life sees Amnesia Scanner creating music that lies in the uncanny intersection between the digital world and our physical experience.