The past twelve months have been amazing for techno. This year saw some of the best releases in recent memory, with innovative artists pushing the boundaries of club culture to unparalleled new heights. At Monument, we all have our own preferences. We have asked our contributors to share five of their favourite releases from the past year. We hope that our readers enjoy these records as much as we did.
Editor-in-chief & Head of Premiere.
Artist: Dark Division
Label: Hidden Tapes
Favourite Track: Anisotropy of the Void – PRG/M Tritone Paradox Remix
Mind-bending, experimental, broken-beat, psychedelic dark techno with impeccable sound design. Combined, the six original tracks and two remixes of Dark Division‘s album construct a journey that gets better with each play. And what a remix treatment PRG/M gives to track Anisotropy of the Void, resulting perhaps the most hypnotising track of the year! Pure Italian techno masterclass.
Artist: Toki Fuko
Release: Floating EP
Favourite Track: Abs
Toki Fuko‘s timeless sounds always get me smiling like I was in love. The impressive signature sounds consisting of colossal textures, murky rustles and heavy layers feel so tangible I can almost touch them. I know I will find myself getting back to this release again and again.
Release: From Heaven to Earth
Favourite Track: Ikhet
Little is known of Ymir, but one thing is for certain. With its unique spirit, Ymir’s debut solo EP on Norite perfectly showcases the mystical producer’s uncompromising talent and sets the bar high for the releases to come.
Artist: Eyvind Blix
Release: Västberga Allé LP
Favourite Track: Elektra
As previously described somewhere, Eyvind Blix‘s debut album is truly a meditative, yet powerful piece. Playing the releases opening track Elektra at Tresor was also one of my favourite gig moments of this year. Fellow Oslated-artists Vayu, Saphileaum, Unjin and Djilogue each compliment the original tracks with remixes that provide softer approach on the albums metallic, immersive and experimental sounds.
Release: Dwell in motion
Favourite Track: Lines of Sight
I have to agree with Mike Parker and declare Desroi’s EP as bad-ass. Produced with a minimal collection of elements, the release gives another prime example of less is more. I cannot help but love the textures, this time as a compilation of five intelligent and evocative tracks. Lines of Sight and Birth are my favourite cuts.
Sub-editor & Author. Joined Monument in late 2018.
Artist: Skee Mask
Label: Ilian Tape
Favourite Track: Flyby Vfr
Selected Ambient Works. Minimal Nation. Autobahn. One word comes to mind when speaking of these records: Classic. Skee Mask has found the perfect balance between rhythm and soul on Compro, a record that will be remembered in years to come as his masterpiece.
Label: Astral Industries
Favourite Track: Immersions I
Deepchord rarely disappoints. This two track EP features glistening dub techno that transports the listener to another realm. Get lost in the beautiful world of Deepchord.
Favourite Track: Hypnagogia Pt. 2
BNJMN’s expansive sound design married with hypnotic bass lines and rhythms forge a cathartic listening experience. BNJMN exhibits vast sweeping soundscapes and juxtaposes them with tight, psychedelic rhythms to strike an excellent balance between home listening and club directed tunes.
Release: Gathering Of The Ancient Spirits
Label: Silent Season
Favourite Track: The Seed Of The Areoi
Amsterdam based duo Wanderwelle have recorded an album based on the final years of Paul Gauguin’s life, which he spent on the islands of French Polynesia. 115 years after his passing, Gauguin’s quest to find a land untouched by modern society is retold through Wanderwelle’s incredible creativity. Atmospheric music doesn’t get any better than this.
Artist: Wata Igarashi
Favourite Track: Spirits In The Rain
Colourful, futuristic and hypnotic. Wata Igarashi’s unique approach to techno has gained him widespread praise in 2018. The Japanese producer released two EPs on Midgar this year, both highlighting his flawless songwriting talent. Niskala sees Igarashi showcase some of his most atmospheric work to date.
Italian-born London-based Writer. Joined Monument in early 2018.
Artist: Anthony Linell
Release: A Sense Of Order
Label: Northern Electronics
Favourite Track: Breeders Trophy
Anthony Linell’s ability of painting his surroundings with sound is one-of-a-kind and A Sense of Order may be the best example of this for 2018. Dramatic and purposely unwelcoming as worth of his signature, the slowness of the tracks seem giving your mind just too much time to wander. Best track is Breeders Trophy: think of the thickest fog, weird whispers surrounding you & deep meditative soundscapes.
Artist: Inigo Kennedy
Label: Token Records
Favourite Track: Oblivion
Inigo Kennedy’s return LP on Token was much awaited and Strata showed that it was well-worth the 4 year wait. Investigating the concept of planetary layers, the UK producer brings us on a hypnotic journey. His technical skills marry that melancholic unmistakable sound of his, which makes Kennedy so different from the typical characteristics of UK producers. Still, somehow, his sound is linked to warehouse vibes. Favourite track is Oblivion: slower than his usual and acidly echoing, it creates a beautiful techno drama of vivid intensity.
Artist: Primal Code
Release: La Via della Seta
Favourite Track: Varanasi
The craft and sensibility of the Milan-based duo is from another planet: one in which past meets present, starting from the names of their tracks to their unique type of sound. Their first LP out on Hypnus is luxurious, like wandering through untouched nature, epic, like exploring ancient ruins, & touching, like listening to an oriental melody. The strongest track is Varanasi: ethereal, delicate and inviting soundscapes to get lost in. This is techno poetry.
Artist: Oscar Mulero
Release: Perfect Peace
Favourite Track: On Eternal Power
When Oscar Mulero meets Semantica, I am in heaven. Mulero is surely not new to the experimental side of techno, and Semantica is one of the best labels at releasing the finest records of the genre. With Perfect Peace, the artist explores deeply the textural side of sound and lowers the BPMs to shows us that he is a master at everything he does: King Midas of techno. My favourite track is Eternal Power: harsh, cold and repetitive sounds, naturally melting with a perfectly crafted dark ambience.
Artist: Alfredo Mazzilli
Release: Supercinema 001
Label: Supercinema Records
Favourite Track: Icarus XB1
A dream translated into a story board; it’s like going to the movies: a supercinema, better said. Supercinema 001 is a 4 track EP that smells of those starry nights, when the sky is so vast and bright that it seems to be sending you messages. Techno that’s never aggressive, but magically tense and always dreamy. My pick is Icarus: a powerful yet delicate sonic adventure of 7 minutes, that might as well never end.
Writing for Monument since late 2018.
My favourite release of the year! Desroi‘s Dwell in Motion is a great five track EP, combining experimental sounds with effective and powerful elements over well-structured sound textures to form a perfect techno tool.
With his first EP on his own imprint Intimate Silence, Silent-One makes his first steps into production and explores all facets of ambient. Lost Souls is a wonderful compilation of subtle ambient trips with beautiful melodies and melancholic atmosphere.
Express Route, produced by Dold, is a heavy dance floor banger with a great mixture of energetic Detroit techno, powerful broken beats and a small touch of electro.
Archivist and Fugal teamed up together for a collaborative EP. The result: Undertow, an atmospheric and dubby four tracker with the potential to get lost in. Acronym rounds of the EP with a stunning remix.
London based duo Abstract Man continues their work in the studio together and released Pillar. The EP, including a remix from Von Grall, showing their shared passion for textured, driving techno with varied elements.
We thank you for supporting Monument for the past year. 2019 has a lot in store for us and we hope that you will join us on our journey to support forward thinking techno.
Below is a video playlist with all of our favourites from 2018. Enjoy!