The best albums and EPs of the year 2021 so far - May - Music - Mixmag

Welcome to the May section of our best albums and EPs of the year 2021 rundown — read the full list here

Joviale ‘Hurricane Belle’ (NEVER SEVEN)

Joviale’s 2019 EP ‘Crisis’ showed that they had the potential to be one of the most innovative and unique musicians working out of London currently, and their second EP ‘Hurricane Belle’ is some of Joviale’s finest music to date. Combing with Nathan Jenkins’ (Bullion) production, which perfectly accentuates the uniqueness of Joviale’s voice and delivery, makes for some incredible moments. ‘Glass Peach’ is the stand-out, a slow-build into an incredibly satisfying pay-off, with Joviale’s beautiful harmonisations carrying the body of the song along. A must-listen! Buy it here

Sam Gellaitry ‘IV’ (Parlophone Records/Viewfinder Recordings/ffrr Recordings)

Sam Gellaitry cements himself as one of the most electric and brave electronic music producers in the game right now with ‘IV’. His first foray into vocal performance, Gellaitry’s impeccable sound design, bright and airy vocals, and ear for melody has led him to create four of the best songs of the year. The infectious ‘Assumptions’ is Gellaitry’s take on French house, while the double-drop on ‘Games’, with its spiralling guitar melodies and thumping 808s is made to be played at full volume. If you hadn’t heard of him before, you have now. Buy it here

Electric Party ‘Play’ (Knekelhuis)

After four years of restoration work, Knekelhuis share Electric Party’s ‘Play’- a compilation of the band’s previously released tracks and hitherto unheard material. Synth layers wobble, drum machine loops jerk and curt voices murmur, settling the record somewhere between bedroom pop, no wave and mutant disco. Accompanied by a fanzine and bonus tracks, ‘Play’ is a real artefact of 1980s Amsterdam. Buy it here

Sau Poler ‘Nocturno’ (Atomnation)

Recording ‘Nocturno’ between 2018 and 2020, Sau Poler had some time to experiment and introspect. Accordingly, he draws on his memories of the video games of his childhood to craft lush soundscapes to wind down to. Buy it here

India Jordan ‘Watch Out!’ (Ninja Tune)

India Jordan's debut release on Ninja Tune had us all hyped in May, after the astronomical success of 'For You' last year many were expecting a record along the same vein. But 'Watch Out!' isn't for introspection - it's to get us back into the club! 'Only Said' is a feverish summons to the 'floor with low-pitched synths and vocals commanding "Come on let's start it," while the title track 'Watch Out' matches feverish sirens with breaky hardcore - both in clear homage to 90's rave. While 'Feirabend' and lead single 'And Groove' settle into four-to-the-floor with some added tempo to make it clear the party is once again starting folks. Buy it here

Elkka ‘Euphoric Melodies’ (Ninja Tune)

It's rare to find a record this personal that still allows the listener to identify with it so thoroughly. 'Euphoric Melodies' is full of warmth and exploration that is so unbridled and honest that it's hard not to find yourself somewhere in the rich breaks and gooey chimes. The lead single 'Burnt Orange' is a sentimental tribute to family - oozing optimism and bold texture, whereas 'Euphoric Melodies' delves into 80s synthpop that will leave you aching for dancefloors past. Buy it here

Skee Mask ‘Pool’ (Ilian Tape)

Skee Mask rarely lets anyone in on his next move. When he dropped a surprise album - everywhere but Spotify - it marked some of the artist’s best work yet. Track-for-track, this record is a punchy, addictive project harking back to some of his earlier work with notes of ‘Compro’ riddled through the 18-track breakbeat wonder. Buy it here

LSDXOXO ‘Dedicated 2 Disrespect’ (XL)

"The devil’s out to play" repeats the opening verse of LSDXOXO’s latest EP - and much unlike the lyrics of this playful record, it doesn’t sound dark or ominous - just a little racy and seductive. ‘Dedicated 2 Disrespect’ is a surefire way of getting people moving when the doors swing back open to the club. Buy it here

Flying Lotus ‘Yasuke’ (Warp Records)

It’s been a long time coming, but Flying Lotus has returned with a monumental record - a 26-track project soundtracking LeSean Thomas’ latest anime series of the same name following a Black samurai through Japan. With some particular standouts like ‘Black Gold’ and ‘Crust’, the producer has tirelessly curated some of his most enigmatic tracks to date. Buy it here

μ-ziq ‘Scurlage’ (Analogical Force)

IDM wizard μ-ziq - otherwise known as Mike Paradinas - comes back with an apocalyptic record looking at lockdown through the lens of his prophetic μ-ziq alias. It’s has a hell of a lot of hidden gems, roping you in with an infectiously eclectic 10-track spread. Buy it here

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