The Best Electronic Albums of 2023
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The 25 Best Electronic Albums of 2023

This year’s best electronic albums span the widest range of styles of any genre, ranging from melodic electro and warm house to the experimental outer reaches.

25. RP Boo – Legacy Volume 2 (Planet Mu)

Anyone coming to RP Boo or footwork in general via Legacy Volume 2 needs to be prepared to have their bones rearranged and their senses overloaded. Using a Roland R-70 and an Akai SO1, the kind of equipment Boo’s trusted in for a quarter century, he creates rubbery, skittering drum hits that seem to be ever searching for a landing, hemmed into place by trebled smacks and tempered glass shards of repeatedly sampled melodies or words. Another way to get a sense of RP Boo’s genius is to watch him craft a beat, his head bobbing to emphasize how rhythm is at the heart of what he does, even as he dodges the kind of four-on-the-floor that House was built on. – Bruce Miller

24. 100 Gecs – 10000 Gecs (Dog Show / Atlantic)

With their new album, 10000 Gecs, 100 gecs (Dylan Brady and Laura Les) hone the anarchic sounds and Twitter-inflected quips of their debut, 1000 Gecs, employing a similar sonic palette while torquing their songcraft and vocal deliveries. In this way, the duo reaffirm their status as hyperpop ambassadors while implementing a notable mainstream savvy, including memorable beats, hook-ish melodies, and vocals that epitomize an au courant slacker vibe.

In day-to-day life, as much as via the internet, we wear numerous masks despite the lip service given to such words as authenticity and vulnerability. The term multiverse has various implications, including that identity is propagative, unstable, and ultimately performative. We’re everything and nothing, everyone and no one. As Macbeth said, “Life’s but a walking shadow … a tale … signifying nothing.” 100 gecs work with this trendy yet fertile paradigm in articulate and resourceful ways. – John Amen

23. Justin Walter – Destroyer (Kranky)

Justin Walter is one of the few people on this earth capable of playing and maximizing the potential of the electronic valve instrument (EVI). These etudes on the capabilities of the EVI have become the prime subject of Walter’s solo discography, with the highlight so far being 2017’s Unseen Forces. The breadth of colors and emotions that the EVI can awaken within Walter’s shifting context is exquisite.

Walter achieves his vision of a rich and colorful work established through subtle means. What defines Destroyer is that it is a work of great economy. Walter knows exactly what strings to pull at which time and how the most minuscule amount of exerted energy can have the maximal effect. So, while it is not so much a change but rather a continuation of Unseen ForcesDestroyer achieves its end goal. It establishes an immersive world filled with wonder and emotion. – Spyros Stasis

22. Venera – Venera (Ipecac)

Surveying this first missive from Venera with a cool eye, OK, there’s nothing here that you’ll not have heard before if you’re into the darker end of soundtrack music, electronica, or the synthpop revival. But it’s rare to hear it done with this level of flawless professionalism and expertise. There are no weak moments; nothing drags; every track unfolds unexpectedly or with an imaginative flourish. The press release accompanying the record includes the duo’s statement that the album is “a collision of puzzles combining towards a unified assembly of the ecstatic abyss, a nested sensitivity within the intensity programmed in the fleeting final seconds of a deadly, perfect, alien thing before being destroyed”. I’ll have to ponder that statement a while longer, but it does testify to the intellectual and visual engagement underpinning this incredibly strong first release. More. Give me more. – Nick Soulsby

21. Jayda G – Guy (Ninja Tune)

If modern electronic music may have seemed too synthetic or cold, Jayda G‘s tracks and selections proved an antidote. Drawing from classic house, disco, soul, and rhythm and blues, the Canadian DJ and producer quickly established a name for herself, bringing life back to the party with irresistible tunes and infectious energy. On Guy, she takes a more reflective tack.

Guy is an admirable and affecting project that balances personal vulnerabilities with uplifting and life-affirming music. Sounding both classic yet fresh, refined yet vibrant, Jayda G continues to grow as a producer and DJ with a sophomore effort that is both a reflection and a celebration. – Alex Brent

20. Nihiloxica – Source of Denial (Crammed Discs)

The stories behind Source of Denial, the second album from UK-Uganda techno group Nihiloxica, are both grim and timely. Especially in recent years, detainments, visa cancellations, and rejections of refugees have impacted band members directly (they had to cancel a planned 2022 UK tour) and simply as conscientious members of society. Such frictions inspire their new release, a fittingly jarring amalgam of electronics, hefty rock, computer-generated bureaucrat-speak, and infuriating dial tones. With hardly a single humanly voiced word, Nihiloxica spends Source of Denial taking an uncompromising stand against discriminatory political restrictions on human movement.

Nihiloxica’s sound has always been a testament to the power of mobility. Based in Kampala and with members from the UK and Uganda, Nihiloxica merge traditional Bugandan drums and rhythms with plugged-in EDM production. The result is somewhere between IDM and industrial rock, with hand percussion and synths intertwined in dizzying combinations hot with static and fuzz. Source of Denial leans into these stylistic eddies, swirling sounds, and social commentary together with gravitas on each track. – Adriane Pontecorvo

19. Nation of Language – Strange Disciple (PIAS)

The third album from the Brooklyn synthpop trio Nation of Language is more evolutionary than revolutionary. Strange Disciple is an even more focused and intent paean to vintage English synthpop than its predecessors. Musically, that means embracing subtlety and streamlined arrangements, such as on the gorgeously stark “Weak in Your Light”. Frontman Ian Devaney’s hyper-romantic lyrics and theatrical vocals, however, remain at the heart of the band. The band have said that half the people at their shows come there to dance and half come to cry. If that is the case, Strange Disciple does a fine job appealing to both factions in equal measure. – John Bergstrom

18. yeule – softscars (Ninja Tune)

On their new album softscars, yeule builds an atmosphere. They scream, whisper, rumble, and waft; they are constantly in motion. There are catchy electropop jams, and then, right up against them, sounds so sharp and jarring it all borders on uninhabitable for the faint of heart. Softscars, though, is a realm for the deep feelers, the sonically curious, and the adventurers. These listeners will want to immerse themselves in yeule’s soundscape. They will not be disappointed.

A big bang of sorts opens the album as “x w x” finds yeule screaming their way off a chrome-plated cliff of self-medication and digital disconnect (“God created man, motherboard, wires, and / Blood, bones, flesh, breathing, suicide engineering,” they shout in the final chorus). The stage is set, a raw cybernetic tangle of a world, mechanisms fully exposed and sparking in the posthuman desert wind. There’s never a moment quite as ferocious as this opening, nor does there need to be. The rest of softscars is spent exploring. – Adriane Pontecorvo