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Culture Shock


This year was an eventful one to say the very least. In the midst of political turmoil and natural disasters, music in all genres was on the rise, giving birth to creations that’ll go down in history. For EDM in particular, waves were made with the release of several notable albums and EPs hailing from various subgenres. With intense speculation as well as a little surveying the general EDM publics, we’ve finally come down to our list of finalists.

Top 5 Best Albums of 2017

5. Rezz – Mass Manipulation
Rezz’ unique blend of murky bass and alien techno results in the Canadian 22-year-old’s debut album. Despite each track’s somewhat dark and sinister vibe, Mass Manipulation evokes the feeling of traversing through a trippy world wedged between dreams and nightmares. The first track “Relax” is noted for its mesmeric vocal intro and down-shift into intense, resonating frequencies, while “DRUGS!” is a rippling compilation of dripping wet and rugged bass tremors. It’s the perfect soundtrack to an alien invasion, one where you’re unsure whether or not your planet’s extraterrestrial visitors have hostile intentions. Its wobbly bass and liquefied synth make for eight tracks nothing short of mind-warping hypnosis.

4. Liquid Stranger, Space Jesus, Mr. Bill – Weird & Wonderful
Wonky wubmaster label Wakaan is at it again with this EP consisting of six tracks, one of which being one of my favorite songs of 2017: “Spaceboss,” a concoction composed of a snapped and distorted build-up and broken basslines catching your breath and breaking your neck all at the same time. Other notable tracks are “Hotbox” and “Frankenskank,” both of which are infused with Liquid’s signature wobbly reggae-influenced funk. The entirety of this EP was made while the bass powerhouse was on the road, and his nomadism is reflected within each track’s eclectic and rhythmic tempo. It’s the kind of EP that’ll make it difficult to discern between what’s real and what’s entirely out of this world as each track transcends sounds you never even knew existed.

3. Illenium – Awake
While Weird & Wonderful had us preparing for the lasers, Illenium’s album has us preparing for the feels. Strikingly emotional tracks such as “Crawl Outta Love” and “Need You” featuring riveting vocals melting with a silky-smooth crescendo of bass and synth melodies dominate this LP, revealing a style similar to that of Seven Lions’. “Where’d U Go” implements staccato cadence while “Beautiful Creatures” moves at a quicker tempo than we’re used to seeing in Illenium’s work, but still manages to tug at our heartstrings all the same. The entire album weaves a tale of wanting, heartbreak, and resolution, and that’s why we can’t wait to hear more from this artist in 2018.

2. Virtual Self – Virtual Self
This wouldn’t be a complete list of the best works of 2017 if we didn’t include Porter Robinson’s new alias and his stellar EP. After Porter’s Worlds, we didn’t think it was possible for the man to create anything nearly as ethereal and soul-snatching, but we’re happy to be proven wrong. The five-track EP with highlights such as “Ghost Voices” and “EON BREAK” include whiffs of Porter’s anime accompaniment which dominated “Shelter,” as well as upbeat and buoyant tempos contrasting with darker shreds of drum and bass. Though Porter and Virtual Self are worlds apart (pun intended), there’s one thing the two faces have in common: the lineup of tracks weaves a story subjective to each listener, bringing to light deeply rooted sentiment and knocking your emotions into override.

1. Odesza – A Moment Apart
Despite the aforementioned masterpieces, as well as countless others not included in this list, it was relatively easy to come to this conclusion. 2017 was a year of chaos and severe emotional highs and lows, and A Moment Apart captures each and every detailed feeling, leaving you breathless and yearning for more. What we love about Odesza is that they don’t need lyrics to tell their stories; instead they rely purely on their velvety sound production with the occasional vocal sample from a chillingly beautiful monologue in the film Another Earth. There could be a whole separate article made practically making a written shrine of each track on the album, but we’ll just settle including a few favorites and leaving the rest for you to listen to on your own. Very rarely does the intro track of an album make much of a lasting impression, but Odesza’s “Intro” goes against the grain by pairing a supple percussion knock with the Another Earth sample and slipping effortlessly into the second listed track, “A Moment Apart.” “Boy” is a suave blend of trap and a tease of mild dubstep, creating the perfect combination of melodies to sway back and forth to. “Late Night” was one of the first tracks to debut before the full album was released, and it best showcases Odesza’s style diversification with its notorious funky groove, whereas “Corners Of The Earth” and “Thin Floors And Tall Ceilings” will have you crying about a relationship you were never in. The entire album is nothing short of brilliant with each whispered note and chilled transition wrapping you up in a warm embrace and never letting go.


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