The 33 best albums of 2020 so far - Features - Mixmag

The 33 best albums of 2020 so far

Masterpieces have been released this year

  • 31 July 2020

We've had a lot of time to really sit with albums this year during the relative seclusion of lockdown, and there's no doubt in our minds that some masterpieces have been released. From LPs crafting rich narratives using field recordings and striking samples to compilations pulling together a range of dynamic sounds, music has been a saving grace in a year that's offered few reasons to be cheerful.

In no particular order, check out some our favourite albums from 2020 so far below.

Read this next: The 40 best tracks of 2020 so far

Yves Tumor 'Heaven To A Tortured Mind'

Yves Tumor’s musical progression has been an exciting and surprising journey to follow. The Tennessee-born artist warps their sound like an inverse chameleon: working within stylistic realms but always standing out with bold takes. In the past that’s ranged from performing gripping wall of noise live shows punctuated by demented screams to setting anti-police lyricism against an indie-pop-with-a-twist backdrop. On ‘Heaven To A Tortured Mind’, the backbone is rock music. There’s sturdy drum beats, anthemic choruses and lofty guitar solos. Through this, Yves Tumor’s distinct stamp comes through, in moments like the psychedelic wig out and yelps of ‘Medicine Burn’, ‘Strawberry Privilege’’s vulnerable falsetto, the cavernous fuzz that ‘Folie Imposée’ collapses into, and more. All the varying threads are exquisitely produced and coherent as one. Somehow, it’s avant-garde-pastiche. Only an artist like Yves Tumor can make that descriptor make sense. Patrick Hinton

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DJ MA1 ‘Collection Vol. 1’

UK funky’s cult status came from club hits cut to white label and dancefloor skanks that spread like wildfire. It’s music for the moment: high impact, loads of fun, another round of shots please! Which is why this eight-track set from scene originator MA1 is so welcome as it spans the breadth of what funky is capable of and the way it intersects with the wider house music movement: ‘Do It Better’ with Sophia channels Ben Cenac-style 90s house while ‘Circles’, also with Sophia, would sound perfect at a Balearic day party; ‘Umboh’ is decidedly new-skool, nodding toward the cold wobble of bass house and deep tech, with ‘Bassbox’ and ‘Mutombo’ throwing it right back to pitch black FWD>> parties at Plastic People in 2009. MA1 doesn’t put a foot wrong here and proves that, given its status in UK club lore and its house music DNA, funky will forever be a timeless vibe. Seb Wheeler

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upsammy 'Zoom'

upsammy's 'Zoom' is one of those albums that leaves you feeling wired and weird. It's full of bleeps, coiled synths, water drips and deep, dark hums as the Dutch producer moves through tranquil downtempo, trippy breaks, off-kilter 2-step and more leftfield sounds. 'Extra Warm' is one of the album's most uplifting moments, with its tumbling drums, Gameboy-type synth chords and glowing pads, while 'Reality Paces The Platform' really lives up to its title with infectious, fast-tempo riffs. Yes, it's out there, but it's a proper fun listen from start to finish. Dave Turner

Buy it here

Moor Mother & Yatta ‘DIAL UP’

The term ‘dial-up’ feels strangely anachronistic in 2020. It recalls the dawn of the internet, inextricable from futurism and the seismic potential of global connectedness. It also feels dated. Nostalgic of whirring modems, and a time when the corruption of that potential was not so overbearing.

Moor Mother and YATTA’s collaborative record is not called ‘dial-up’, it’s called ‘DIAL UP’. But the closeness of the terms means I can’t help but reflect on the parallels between the album and the internet. And more importantly, the divergences. The age of interconnectedness has placed us inside a billowing, inscrutable vortex that is a struggle to adapt to. Algorithms exert control on our lives, funneling our experiences and influencing our choices. Sometimes, it feels like progression has set the scene for regression. Moor Mother’s work takes a pioneering approach called Black Quantum Futurism, which is expressly detached from the internet. It delves into something even more complex, even more universal - the human psyche - and then transcends towards freedom. On 'DIAL UP', shifting soundscapes flit between smooth and erratic arrangement, as lyrics teeter from historical interpretation to dream-waving liberation. It situates itself in a timeless zone, seeking to reframe the past to reform the future. Patrick Hinton

Buy it here

Read this next: Sonic resistance: Adab's afrofuturism inspires hope for a better future

Beatrice Dillon 'Workaround'

Beatrice Dillon’s stunning debut album draws from algorave, sound art and minimalism, a place where seismic sub bass is just as influential as the frenetic patterns of Bridget Riley’s artwork. ‘Workaround’ is meticulously produced, propelled by rigorous rhythms that shimmy and flicker beneath wonky low-end and sudden downpours of cello, pedal steel guitar or a number of other instruments provided by a cast of guests including Laurel Halo, Untold and Kadialy Kouyaté. Seb Wheeler

Buy it here

Andrea ‘Ritorno’

Ilian Tape knows all about belters. The German label is a haven for techno-meets-breaks and its back catalogue is heaving with club-ready weapons. Italian producer Andrea is a long-time Ilian Tape affiliate and eight years of EPs and singles culminated in his debut album, 'Ritorno', in April. In it you get intense bass groans ('SKYLN'), dutty, darkgarage vibes ('TrackQY'), fast-paced, kaleidoscopicbreaks ('LG_Amb'), and blissed-out, spacey cuts ('Twin Forests', 'Lana') that counteract the album's largely fierce, in-yer-face, 'ave-some-of-that attitude. What a beauty. Dave Turner

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Speaker Music ‘Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry’

‘Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry’ rolls like thunder. Taking inspiration from Tsitsi Ella JajiI’s concept of stereomodernism, or “dubbing in stereo for solidarity”, Speaker Music unleashes just under an hour of pummeling drum beats through which different samples and studio and field recordings are brought in and out of focus, including: spoken word poetry from 18-year-old multi-disciplinary artist Maia Sanaa; squall of police radio and wail of sirens; the hazy sound of a piano and a news report detailing how Black women stopped white agitators from defacing private property during one of the many Black Lives Matter protests that took place in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin. It’s a powerful and profound audio tapestry and comes backed with an equally essential PDF zine that contains a range of work by Speaker Music’s collaborators and associates as well as an essay by the artist – aka rhythmanalyst and former Mixmag East Coast Editor DeForrest Brown Jr. – that explains the origins of techno as a Black art form and its role as a means of resistance and liberation. The essay also acts as a primer to the Make Techno Black Again movement for which Brown Jr. is an ambassador. Seb Wheeler

Buy it here

Nazar 'Guerrilla'

From the opening track, it’s clear that a rich, complex world is contained within Nazar’s album ‘Guerrilla’. Tranquil field recordings of the natural world are quickly disrupted by bass that rumbles like heavy vehicles and synths cutting ominously through the murk like sirens. It sounds like war, it’s meant to. The album is heavily informed by Nazar’s family’s experiences of the 27-year civil conflict in Angola, which led to him growing up a continent away in Belgium. This influence is combined with the healing energy of kuduro, forming a rough-edged sound that’s filled with emotionally heavy narrative, and also opens up a cathartic sense of letting loose. It’s steeped in history, told through an ambitious framework of samples weaved into groundbreaking musical fusions. The result is a breathtaking album. Patrick Hinton

Buy it here

Read this next: Nazar’s musical storytelling is inspired by war, displacement and hope

Gaika ‘Seguridad’

Gaika came up on the experimental club circuit, playing for the likes of Unsound, Creepy Teepee, CTM, Cakeshop and Bala Club before hosting his own extravaganza at the Roundhouse in North London last year, inviting Cõvco, Flohio, Virgen María and Elijah to take over one of the capital’s biggest and most iconic venues. So it’s no surprise that ‘Seguridad’, which features production from artists involved with Mexican club crew NAAFI, is his best album yet, a gift stuffed with urgent club music and charged lyricism that would ignite the network of strobe-lit, sweat-soaked parties where he made his name. Gaika rides a variety of beats from Tayhana, Omaar, Lechuga Zafiro, Zutzut, Debit, Lao and Wasted Fates with ease, displaying a range of vocal gymnastics that see his voice morph around the sonics provided by the NAAFI dream team in this highly necessary collaboration. Seb Wheeler

Buy it here

K-Lone ‘Cape Cira’

Recent days have been rocky and head-fucky. It's through times like this certain kinds of music come through to put your mind at ease. K-Lone's debut album 'Cape Cira' is that kind of music. The Wisdom Teeth LP is eight tracks of pure calm, bound together with floaty pads, jangly chords, gentle melodies and, on 'Cocoa', relaxing insect chirps. A nature theme runs through the record, with track titles like 'Honey', 'Bluefin' and 'In The Pines', and it's the exotic feel that makes it so refreshing, taking into account summer 2020 is a write-off. As well as 'Cape Cira', K-Lone also unleased thisUKG Dubs mix for our series Downtime. Dave Turner

Buy it here

Space Afrika ‘hybtwibt?’

The title alone of this Space Afrika mixtape is enough to stop you in your tracks, asking: “Have you been through what I’ve been through?”. It’s a question that demands inwards and outwards contemplation, drilling down into empathy, and gesturing widely to the singularity of individual experience in an unequal world. A sub heading cuts through the introspection with cutting candour: “because you never asked me. how it feels”.

The tracklist comprises “off cuff new work / cuts / edits & extractions” first aired in a same-titled NTS show broadcast in the week of the murder of George Floyd, and the music by the Manchester-hailing duo is a response to racial injustice. “I don’t like how we’re treated” says an innocent childlike voice beneath sweeping strings and a soaring vocal on ‘oh baby’; ‘wanna know’ confronts racial profiling in a fuzzy soundscape containing the echo of a police siren. The weight of emotional anguish hangs thick in the atmospheres of the spacious and thought-provoking arrangements, but at the same time, it’s channeled into a head-on interrogation. In a time of calls for ‘self-reflection’, ‘hybtwibt?’ challenges us to look - and listen - outside of our own selves. Patrick Hinton

Buy it here

AceMo ‘Mind Jungle’

AceMoMA ‘A New Dawn’

“You dive into your mind’s eye.. And find that limitless potential is at your fingertips” reads part of the short text introducing ‘Mind Jungle’. It invokes the state of hyperphantasia, or the ability to create highly graphic images in one’s imagination. Each of the eight tracks here could well be a catalyst to reaching that interior plane, a breakbeat superhighway that leads to areas of the brain rarely used in the regiment of real life. And the artwork too, a sci-fi rendering of a human face simultaneously floating in and gazing at the cosmos, is reminiscent of Fantazia flyers or the work of Junior Tomlin, a rendering of the infinite possibility of rave.

By contrast, AceMo’s collaboration with MoMA Ready feels like an instruction manual on how to turn The Club upside down. It’s redolent of dark rooms, beads of sweat and living entirely in the moment for hours and hours. The tracklisting is even arced liked a night out, beginning with the ethereal euphoria of ‘Hidden Memory’ and the springloaded house of ‘Rubber Band Man’ before moving through the freneticism of ‘Start The Riot’ and ‘Distant Peak’, finally landing in the beautiful, shimmering acceleration of ‘A New Dawn’ and ‘Golden Loop’. This is the sound of the sun rising on what the pair describe as “the New Rave”, made by themselves and the other Black artists in their orbit who are pushing into the future while paying homage to the past. Seb Wheeler

Buy them here and here

Read this next: Intense rave spirit: AceMoMa are injecting raw energy onto the dancefloor

J Hus 'Big Conspiracy'

A leak of tracks fromJ Hus' second album meant the London rapper had to bring forward the official release. We knew it was coming, but didn't expect it to come out the day after he officially announced it on social media. A derailed promo campaign didn't harm him, though. 'Big Conspiracy' hit number one in the UK Albums Chart as Hus continued his dominance in UK rap. This time round, he called on the likes of afrobeats heavy hitter Burna Boy and dancehall star Koffee for collaborations. They feature on the infectious 'Play Play' and 'Repeat' respectively and demand play-after-play. Then there's the saxophone-crooning 'Must Be', a masterclass in production from go-to producer JAE5, the jammed-out 'Triumph' and sensual slow jam 'Big Conspiracy' with iceé tgm. J Hus is a UK treasure and must be protected at all costs. Dave Turner

Buy it here

Yaeji 'What We Drew 우리가 그려왔 '

Yaeji’s star potential has been plain to see from her first release, and the confidence with which she paired her compellingly casual voice with electronic foundations. By ‘EP 2’, she had a world-conquering dancefloor hit in ‘Raingurl’. With the release of her debut full-length 'What We Drew 우리가 그려왔 ' on XL, the Korean-American artist had planned to move away from DJing to focus more on live performance. An extensive transatlantic tour was planned featuring dancers, original choreography and stage production. The pandemic has put a hold on that for now, but you can hear Yaeji making the step into a new realm of artistry on this mixtape.

While dancefloor-oriented records project outwards from the DJ booth, here Yeaji sounds more introspective, drawing the attention towards herself. That’s not to say all dancey elements are removed: ‘IN THE MIRROR 거울’ unleashes breaks beneath crunching bass tones, bouncy synths and snappy percussion power ‘SPELL 주문’ and ‘WAKING UP DOWN’. But on the whole, the accompanying music feels expanded with a looser energy, and the lyrics turn away from drinks being sipped on towards insights into life and emotions. Though it’s a subtler approach the outcome is captivating, aided by flawless production and those mesmerising vocals. Patrick Hinton

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Pinch ‘Reality Tunnels’

Think Frank Ocean is a master of taking his time? ‘Reality Tunnels’ is Pinch’s first solo album for 13 years! Saying that, he’s kept himself busy with collaborative mix CDs, albums and EPs with artists in his low-end orbit like Mumdance, Adrian Sherwood, Peverelist and Shackleton, but has waited until now to follow up on his debut and dubstep-era defining ‘Underwater Dancehall’. “You need to be saying something worth saying with an LP and all the tracks have got to feel like they’re all part of the same story and sitting in similar mood spaces,” he told us recently. “It’s taken me a while to feel like I had something worth saying in the album format... It’s been a slow process, I’ve worked on some of the tracks, on and off, for up to 5 years now.” ‘Reality Tunnels’ journeys through all of the Bristol producer’s points of interest, all housed, of course, in the realm of sub-bass and delicious murk. Seb Wheeler

Buy it here

Moses Boyd 'Dark Matter'

Moses Boyd's approach to jazz is a wholly UK one. His tunes are littered with influences of UK genres -dubstep andgrime especially can be heard through his back catalogue. 'Dark Matter' opens with 'Stranger Than Fiction', a track full of brass instrumentation, but shaped in the mould of monster dubstep tracks of old. Dubstep elements also shine through on 'Only You', powered by booming bass amid smashes of percussion. On 'Shades Of You', he combines the enlightening vocals of Poppy Ajudha with a beat leaning on the UK funky side of things. What would an album paying tribute to UK treasures be without a nod to 2-step, as is the case on pizzazz-packed collaboration '2 Far Gone' with Ezra Collective's Joe Armon-Jones. If you hadn't realised yet, 'Dark Matter' is jazz for the raver generation. Dave Turner

Buy it here

DJ Diaki 'Balani Fou'

Pace. That word italicised, as if it’s being dragged forward by a force, feels like a succinct way to convey the juggernaut momentum of this album in written word. Pressing play feels like being flung from a slingshot at lightning speed, as the force of the sound almost physically winds you. But as you catch your breath and become accustomed to the tempo, the intricacies contained within the music become apparent.

It’s known as ‘Balani Fou’ or ‘Crazy Balani’, a rural variation of the Balani Show musical movement pioneered by DJ Diako’s mentor Seydou Bagayoko in their home country of Mali in the late 90s. It’s based on samples of the balafon instrument that has been played in West African music for the best part of a millennium. Layers upon layers of sound are stacked high, channelling the energy of an almighty ensemble. This energy is then further bolstered by programmed percussion, whistle blasts, and sometimes transfixing synth loops. For a breakneck exemplar of the style, look no further than DJ Diaki’s ‘Balani Fou’. Patrick Hinton

Buy it here

Read this next: No more 4x4: How sounds from the Global South stopped club culture stagnating

Hodge ‘Shadows In Blue’

Maybe it’s reading about Hodge and his allotment in Mixmag or following his horticulture via Twitter, but ‘Shadows In Blue’ feels like it was built with the outside world in mind. There are obvious clues like the album’s trippy art, which illustrates how plants nourish the earth, and track titles like ‘The Earth Is New Again’ and ‘Sol’. But his low-end Bristol techno is now sleek, defined and spacious, decorated with birdsong and drops of dew rather than the basement dancefloor dirt of previous releases. ‘Shadows In Blue’ is clean and cinematic, like when the sky is reflected on wet sand on a beach at low tide, but that doesn’t mean Hodge has left any of his rhythmic nous or sub bass behind – he’s simply evolving in an exciting new direction. Seb Wheeler

Buy it here

John Beltran 'The Season Series'

Michigan producer John Beltran tends to tickle the senses with whatever he makes, whether it's breezy house music or tender ambient. His latest, 'The Season Series' on Delsin Records, falls under the latter category, providing peaceful, transcendent harmonies for resetting the brain. Opener 'I Can Chase You Forever', with its glittering synths, hits as good as that creeping MDMA come-up, while closer 'You Internalize Them', powered by tip-tappy chords and drawn-out riffs, is made for those end-of-sesh moments when the sun's rising. Among the soothing ambient is more upbeat cuts such as 'Sunflower' and 'Lustrous Orb'. A proper dream from a veteran specialising in music oozing in sunshine bliss. Dave Turner

Buy it here

Soul Jazz Records presents 'Black Riot: Early Jungle, Rave And Hardcore'

This beautifully presented double album comes with a graphic novel and explores, in its own words, “heavyweight ragga-influenced hardcore jungle tracks from the early 1990s”. It captures the current mood for these sounds, and the thirst for knowledge about who made them and where they came from, perfectly. An excellent snapshot of ingenious Black British art and a portal into a side of rave that still sounds futuristic and ridiculously fun now. Seb Wheeler

Buy it here

Roza Terenzi ‘Modern Bliss’

It's always a trip when Australian producer Roza Terenzi is in charge. She's a champ in pulsating breaks and acid-powered tunes, and that's exactly what 'Modern Bliss' serves up. Haunting atmospherics take precedence in the title-track, mainly down to Ivy Barkakati's vocals, while 'Yo-Yo' is a frenzied cut packed out with buzzy synths. 4/4 purists get what they're after with the weighty 'That Track (Rewired Mix)', with 'Eternal Lust' coming in with a similar KO punch. Regular collaborator DJ Zozi, aka D. Tiffany, contributes to an absolute monster of an album closer on 'My Reality Cheque Bounced'. Bounced being a key word here when taking into account the bounce the bass on this tune packs. The album's largely geared towards tripped-out club experiences, but there's two downtempo and ambient-leaning tracks in 'Jungle In The City' and 'Total Eclipse' which just goes to show the versatlity of Roza in the studio. Dave Turner

Buy it here

Calibre ‘Shelflife Six’

Here he goes again. Calibre's 'Shelflife' series continues with the sixth edition, which he teased to the world with the sub-heavy jam 'Pillow Dub'. The pioneeringdrum 'n' bass producer opens the album with the heartstring-tugging 'Things Like This', moving through Latino-inspired liquid on 'Latin 2000', growling techstep on 'Trouble', crooning d'n'b soul on 'Crazy For You' and proper searing, emotional stuff on 'Sense Soirée'. This guy just keeps dishing out the goods. The term 'G.O.A.T' springs to mind. Dave Turner

Buy it here

Read this next: The 15 best late-00's liquid drum 'n' bass tracks

DJ Python ‘Mas Amable’

‘Mas Amable’ is meditative to the point where the outside world dissolves and you’re left cocooned in DJ Python’s self-styled deep reggaeton, impervious to background noise, physical movement and time itself. The Miami-born, NYC-based artist has used his previous two albums to showcase the mesmerising way he tunnels through ambience and here he goes even further, opening up more space around his percussion and bass and gently layering more pads and tones to lush, psychedelic effect. The music is marvellous; hopefully he never stops chiseling away at this concept. Seb Wheeler

Buy it here

Jasmine Infiniti ‘BXTCH SLÄP’

The word ‘underground’ is used heavily in dance music and generally quite loose in its definition, referring to sounds and scenes operating outside the mainstream. In relation to Jasmine Infiniti’s debut album, it’s tempting to read it more literally: as the self-described Queen of Hell takes the sounds of queer underground nightlife and drags them below the surface to create “disruptive club tracks fit for the The Infernal Ballroom”. Track titles like ‘Hott’ and ‘Demonhole’ are indicative of the searing atmosphere the 13-track LP submerges you in. Taking a devil-may-care approach it channels influence from styles such as vogue, electro and hip hop into unconventional and swampy techno mutations, feeling vast and at times overwhelming, while still riding an unshakeable pulse. This one’s for the Hades. Patrick Hinton

Buy it here

Foul Play ‘Origins’

Fast, raw and – like all great dance music – a combination of the euphoric and the melancholic. That just about sums up Foul Play’s early 90s hardcore, encapsulated here in a double pack that includes tracks released in a 12-month period between ‘92 and ‘93. The breaks are thrilling, the stabs pump like a thousand fairgrounds combined and the vocal snips will raise your gun fingers and/or pull on your heartstrings. Everything’s been remastered and lovingly reissued by the fabulous Sneaker Social Club. Don’t sleep. Seb Wheeler

Buy it here

Matt Karmil 'STS371'

Sticking to one style isn't in Matt Karmil's musical thought process. You never know which way he's going to go, and that's again being the case on 'STS371' on Smalltown Supersound. There's ghoulish lo-fi house in the shape of 'Hard', dusty downtempo that teases a drop that never arrives with 'Snail Shower', erratic, bouncy, dunno-what-to-call-it vibes on 'Still Not French' and feisty techno in the form of 'SR/WB'. The album got a solid rinsing in Mixmag HQ pre-lockdown and it's been a key listen in the months of working from home. Dave Turner

Buy it here

HAUS of ALTR presents ‘HOA010’

‘HOA010’ is a statement of intent. Released on Juneteenth this year, the liner notes assert: “In these trying times, we come together to stake claim on the roots of techno and its potential future.” The message is clear: dance music is Black music in origin, and we’re here to perpetuate that heritage. ‘We’, in this instance, is 27 Black artists responsible for making some of the most compelling electronic music in the world right now, which the strength of this release attests to. MoMA Ready and AceMo curated the compilation, which varies across styles like the anxious techno throb of Akua’s ‘Lucid Dreams’ to the plaintive haze and organic sounding drumwork of FAUZIA’s ‘Untitled 001’. Elsewhere there’s reverb-doused experimental breaks from Bookworms on ‘Dehydration’, the off-kilter pulse of DJ Nativesun’s ‘Brainwash Bop’, Loraine James masterfully manipulating vocals on ‘Now’, and much more. Released in the same month that techno originator Kevin Saunderson said “it feels like Black artists are being eliminated from dance music", the palpitating pace and sincere title of Russell E. L. Butler’s contribution sums up the overarching approach and context of the compilation: ‘You Think We Ain't Have To Go This Hard, But We Really Do’. Patrick Hinton

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Moodymann 'Taken Away'

At the start of last year Moodymann had an encounter with the police which saw him being arrested at gunpoint outside his home. "Next time just pull the MF trigger let’s get this shit over with (I’m tired) I’m so tired," Moodymann said after the incident. While his usual funk and soul swagger is rife in his latest album, the weariness he expressed last year is what stands out. The title track especially paints this picture, with sombre cries of "I don't wanna live" amid samples of sirens. Pain and struggle also runs deep on 'Goodbye Everybody'. In classic Moodymann fashion, though, his incredible use of samples ensures the album flows with blues, funk and soul sweetness among the deep and hard-hitting themes. 'Slow Down' and 'Let Me In' are faves. Dave Turner

Buy it here

Mhysa ‘Nevaeh’

Step through the looking glass of ‘NEVAEH’ and find a world where time expands and contracts across skits, interludes, ambience, reimaginings of Nas and black gospel classic ‘When The Saints…’ and, of course, club bangers. A lo-fi counterpoint to Solange’s ‘When I Get Home’, this second album from the popstar of the cyber resistance delivers confessions of hope, strength and sexual desire in the battle against and survival within the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy – plus some fantastic hooks (“I want to cum before the world ends” and the whole of ‘w me’ for instance). While other alt-pop artists from the deconstructed club universe have scaled up their production values, MHYSA remains content with minimalism, using sparse percussion, spangled electronics and plenty of empty space to build tension and deliver release, achieved most movingly on paean to love and self-care ‘no weapon formed against you shall prosper’. Seb Wheeler

Buy it here

Lyra Pramuk 'Fountain'

When I first listened to ‘Fountain’, it was immediately clear that Lyra Pramuk’s vivid, operatic voice is the force that makes the album shine. But it wasn’t until reading the liner notes that I realised it forms the sole source of material throughout. A post-human understanding of life is an overarching theme explored on the release, and many of the samples of the Berlin-based artist’s voice are warped to the point of being unrecognisably corporal in origin. ‘Witness’ opens with a resonant shimmering that sounds like being submerged in the ephemeral haze of wandering mind, ‘Mirror’ is decorated with glistening, throbbing notes, and ‘Gossip’ turns contralto tones into a palpitating beat. It wraps you in these vast harmonies of wordless vocals, conveying a depth of feeling unrestricted by the limits of language. So if you haven't, do listen. Patrick Hinton

Buy it here

The Colours That Rise ‘Grey Doubt’

The Colours That Rise shimmy between beat music and jazz excursions on ‘Grey Doubt’, a gem of an album slipped out at the beginning of the summer by Bradley Zero’s Rhythm Section International. It’s all submerged basslines, flighty percussion and twinkling melody, a heady brew that’s both meditative and propulsive, redolent of J Dilla, Theo Parrish and the London broken beat scene. Seb Wheeler

Buy it here

NÍDIA 'Não Fales Nela Que A Mentes'

From the very first moment of pressing play on NÍDIA's new album, you're suddenly hit with a wave of clattering drum-ridden angst. Now that might not seem like the most desired of feelings given the circumstances at the time of writing, but I can promise there is fun and joy wound in the intense club-focused deconstructions. 'Nik Com', for example, stutters with bright, jangly chords, 'Tarraxo Do Guetto' is charged with telephone-like bleeps and 'Capacidades' comes through in the vein of a big budget mid-00s rap production. Album closer 'Emotions', with its blaring horns, feels like an OG grime instrumental and is a regal bowing out of a stunning album. Dave Turner

Buy it here

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