Even if it's house, techno, minimal, chill out, progressive or any other hybrid of this music genre, the artist albums of the last year were numerous and the specialized media focused the attention on them more or less, depending on the context.
We will classify the materials mostly by the record labels. The ones which we discovered their artist album releases last year are Border Community, Underl_ne, Playhouse, Trapez, Minimize, Palette Recordings, Distinct'ive Records, F Communications, Cubic Records, BPitch Control, Global Underground, Poker Flat Recordings, Soma Quality Recordings, Organized Nature, Physical Music, M-Nus, BNE - Brand New Entertainment, UWe.
James Holden' record label Border Community has put up two albums in 2006. The first one is Drowning in a Sea of Love by the talented young artist Nathan Fake who recently made a positive impression with his music works. The second one is The Idiots Are Winning, Holden's own mini-album, as he likes to call it. Both materials were received with applause by the BC fans. A few months back Sony Music released Faithless' new album - To All New Arrivals is a 11 track album, coming with vocalist contributors like Harry Collier, Robert Smith, Cass Fox, Dido, One Eskimo, Cat Power. As for minimal techno record labels, Underl_ne released in the summer of 2006 an artist album by Louderbach, an alter ego of producer and DJ Troy Pierce. Enemy Love contains 12 tracks, many of them being a fusion between minimal techno, tech-house and techno. If we give an eye to the electronic dance music scene from Berlin, it's impossible not to find B Pitch Control, one of the most respected record labels around Germany. Coming up with two artist albums last year, this label brought the excellent Orchestra of Bubbles by Ellen Allien & Apparat, and more recent a collection of Reworks from the Paul Kalkbrenner own productions. The remixes come mostly from the B Pitch Control artists.
The minimal explosion brought some heavy albums in 2006. One of the producers which succeeded in making an impression was Jeff Samuel with his Step artist album released on Trapez. Another record label, Minimize, created an interesting story with Donacha Costello's 6x6=36. Playhouse label already gained a serious number of fans with their releases, including the My My's Songs For the Gentle artist album. Also Isolee released here the excellent album Western Store, so Playhouse had an intense activity on albums, not to mention their highly acclaimed EPs from 2006. Richie Hawtin's own M-Nus is one of the most known and respected record labels on this musical area, so it was obvious what the reaction was when Marc Houle released here Bay of Figs, a 9 track LP; not to mention his Restore album from 2004. The California based John Tejada has a full 2006, being really busy with productions. This includes his artist album Cleaning Sound Is a Filthy Business on his own imprint Palette Recordings.
Moshic Shlomi known simply as Moshic, one of the promoters of dark progressive, didn't disappoint his fans, so there was a great feedback on his Salamat album, a two CD material with progressive house, downtempo and ambient music released on BNE - Brand New Entertainment. Meanwhile, another two great producers, John Gabriel and Dave Dresden released their Gabriel & Dresden LP on their own Organized Nature label. Tony Thomas is now well established in the dance music scene as one of the main purveyors of tribal, tech and electro house music. With well over 200 productions to his name and countless remixes on many major labels, Tony has no intention of slowing down yet. His recent Cubic LP 001 embraces the digital music concept.
One of the most known record labels from the dance music industry is no doubt Global Underground which released three albums in 2006. One of them is Sissy's excellent All Under, a fantastic CD that features 11 ambient, pop, trip-hop and down tempo tracks, a lush journey through sounds. The other two are Lostep's Because We Can and Too Low to Miss made by the trio The Remote. Another great label which has a hard word to say on the music business is Get Physical, M.A.N.D.Y.'s own imprint. Through the multitude of EPs, remixes and productions, two albums were pushed through. Movements by the two Booka Shade was one of the best received albums last year, and also Jay Haze's moniker Fuckpony made a great work with Children of Love. Mike Truman & Chris Healings, the two Hybrid released I Choose Noise on Distinct'ive Records, a 12 tracks musical euphoria including Breakbeat, Progressive House and Breaks.
Steve Bug's own imprint Poker Flat Recordings also had a full year, and the materials released didn't fail on the listeners. The first one, maybe the best from this record label is Trentemoller's The Last Resort. He composed through this material a wonderful journey between downtempo, trip hop, electronica, new age, chill-out, trip hop and breaks influences, everything under the belt of an electronic sound. The other two albums were something new for the listeners which are waiting for an artist album; they were mixed. Steve Bug's second volume of Bugnology and Focus On by the talented Guido Schneider, were highly appreciated, especially for the techno sound which these two massive artists brought. Jeff Mills is not a person to be forgotten. Last year he released the Detroit techno diamond Blue Potential released on Uwe, a material which gained many praises and a lot of exposure from the media.
The Glasgow record label, Soma Quality recordings, or to be short, Soma Records, has been one of the most productive labels this year. No more, no less than 6 albums were released in 2006. we name Repeat/Repeat with Squints, Silicone Soul with Save Our Souls, Alex Smoke with Paradolia, My Robot Friend and the album Dial Zero, Lee Van Dowski & Quenum with As Told On The Eve Of... and finally The Separatists and the album Akilak.
Eric Morand and Laurent Garnier's record label didn't sleep this year. F Communications, one of the oldest profile record labels, based in France, released 3 albums in 2006: the album Caracol by Alexkid, the chill out album of São Paris, named Lá and Aqua Bassino with Rue de Paris. We don't have to forget the Junior Boys album So This Is Goodbye released on Domino Recording Company, and off course the album Silent Shout produced by the legendary The Knife, released on Rabid Records. Paul Oakenfold made his comeback with A Lively Mind, while BT got many praises with the CD/DVD Binary Universe.
If we take a general look over the albums released this year, we can surely see that the electronic music is starting to re-rise again, to be in a continuous change and to always bring new surprises. It surely was a good year, not only for the producers, but also for the DJs, if we are to count all the compilations released in 2006. But the quantity is not one of the criteria that we should evaluate music. It's of course about quality.
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January 7, 2007 at 3:14 PM CET