The Best Electronic Music of 2011

by David Abravanel, Timothy Gabriele, Mike Newmark, Alan Ranta, and Dominic Umile

21 December 2011


1 and extra recommendations...

cover art

Andy Stott

Passed Me By

(Modern Love)


Andy Stott
Passed Me By

Arguably the most alluring and atmospheric electronic album of 2011, and inarguably a masterpiece of dub techno intensity, Passed Me By fulfills all the promise of Andy Stott’s excellent 12-inches for the Modern Love label while smashing his legacy to pieces. Originally an above-average minimal techno musician in the steely, workmanlike style of mentor Claro Intelecto, Stott not only subverts the familiar dub palette, he achieves Jeff Mills’ highest honor by giving us something we’ve never heard before. The sound of Passed Me By is, to put it mildly, remarkable. Unremittingly dark, suffused with pressure and blackened in soot, it makes you feel as if you’ve been pitched down a well 1000-feet deep and are hearing the music from inside. Samples pop suddenly out of the darkness only to furl back on themselves and leave you to remember them. Yet Stott isn’t just creating sounds—he’s creating songs, each one haunting, confusing, and brilliant. In the reimagined lap-dance of “New Ground”, in the simultaneous serenity and paranoia of “Dark Details”, in the impossible blue depths of “Passed Me By”, not an inch of room is wasted, not a note is out of place, and every track presents itself as a vital piece of a monstrous whole. Records this good are one in a million. Blink and you’ll miss it, but if you don’t, it will suck you in, pulling you ever downward until all that remains is the thump-thump-thump of the kick drum, shaking you to your very bones. Mike Newmark


Additional Staff Selections

David Abravanel
Best EP: Raoul Sinier, The Melting Man
Best Single: Machinedrum, “Sacred Frequency”
Best Mix: FACT, Mix 276: SND
Best Reissue: Plastikman, Arkives

Timothy Gabriele
Best EP: Deadboy, Here
Best Single: Slava, “Dreaming Tiger”
Best Mix: MNML SSGS present Dash Forward Bravely
Best Reissue: Bruce Gilbert, This Way / The Shivering Man

Mike Newmark
Best EP: Ayshay, Warn-U
Best Single: Hackman, “Agree to Disagree”
Best Mix: Gold Panda, DJ-Kicks
Best Reissue: Boo Williams, Home Town Chicago

Alan Ranta
Best EP: Venetian Snares, Cubist Reggae
Best Single: Björk, “Crystalline”
Best Mix: Ghostly International, SMM: Context
Best Reissue: Black Moth Super Rainbow, Dandelion Gum

Dominic Umile
Best EP: Braille, A Meaning
Best Single: Holy Other, “Yr Love”
Best DJ Mix: Mala, XLR8R Podcast 200

PopMatters also recommends

Com Truise, Galactic Melt
Saturn Never Sleeps, Yesterday’s Machine
Ekoplekz, Memowrekz
Martyn, Ghost People
Salva, Complex Housing
Gus Gus, Arabian Horse
J Rocc, Some Cold Rock Stuf
Isolee, Well Spent Youth
Robag Wruhme, Thora Vukk
SebastiAn, Total
Biosphere, N-Plants
Occam, My Rorschach
Infinitirock, Music for Primordial Recollection
Austra, Feel It Break
2562, Fever
Vatican Shadow, Kneel Before Religious Icons
Virgo Four, Resurrection
The Field, Looping State of Mind
BNJMN, Black Square
Ambient News, Zweite Sendung

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