BEST ELECTRONIC The Best Electronic Music on Bandcamp, January 2024 By Joe Muggs · February 05, 2024

A new year, a weird world, and an uncertain future are all upon us. And still the abundance of heartfelt, socially-minded, exploratory dance music keeps coming. In this selection there’s a whole world of techno variety on one album alone. There’s breakbeats that somersault and cascade around you, meditational British dub, and Torontoan gardens of sound. There’s old rave and new versions of the same. There’s joy, there’s passion, and there’s darkness. And, yes, in this variety and passion, there’s hope.

Various Artists
F_X_M_X_L_Y V.2

Merch for this release:
USB Flash Drive

Whether you opt for the 20 tracks of the basic album, or the insane 130 tracks, two DJ mixes, and two sample packs version contained on a limited-edition USB, there’s a wealth of techno joy here. There’s Latin swing (Outputmessage), IDM jitters (B_X_R_N_X_R_D, Blvksite), big kickdrums for big rooms (Trovarsi, TP2), glitterball ecstasies (SDOT MUSIC), brooding abstraction (Speaker Music), and a whole lot more. Most importantly every track is a reminder that, in 2024, techno is alive, kicking, in touch with its Black roots, and can take many, many forms besides cookie-cutter “business techno.”

Flore & Only Now

POLAAR boss Flore Morfin from Lyon has, for two decades, taken vernacular club & bass music styles and made them completely her own by rendering their rhythms unfamiliar and adding a psychedelic-industrial edge. Kush Arora, known as Only Now, does something similar by adding ferociously modernist and complex sound design without losing the soundsystem immediacy. Teaming up for the first time, they find a perfect throughline between these approaches on the collaborative neurostep/footwork “Morphers,” and a version each of the Philly/Jersey club-influenced “Cut & Run.”


Bristolian Atki2 has been a low-key scene player since the early ‘10s, but hopefully will get a profile boost with this EP on a new label from Bay Area DJ Chrissy. As ever, Atki’s work spans decades and nations—soca steel pans weave into rave riffs, rugged UK funky and Afro-house disappear into shiny commercial dance or deep house sonics, and so on—but always focused on the instant thrill that arrives at the moment of hearing, rather than a trainspotter tracking of influences. It’s deep and strange, but joyous—even more with Chrissy adding a fizzy, soca-drum & bass remix of the title track.

The Future Sound Of London
Presents Pulse Five

Merch for this release:
T-Shirt/Shirt, 2 x Vinyl LP

In 1991 and ’92, Garry Cobain and Brian Dougans released four EPs in a series called Pulse under multiple aliases—Yage, Mental Cube, Indo Tribe, and so on—all of them full of high energy, rave-friendly, trippy-as-hell techno and breakbeat hardcore. The first EP was recently re-released digitally, and now come the thrilling lost tracks from those early sessions. Among these are Prodigy-fierce and crunching breaks (“The Nu Generation”); levitational proto-drum & bass (“Obstinta”); plus a lot of warm and hug-y sunrise house and quite a bit of the slower, more subterranean dub styles that would grace FSOL albums like Lifeforms. It all stands up ridiculously well today, a reminder of the elemental force the duo were during the white heat of the rave explosion.

Richard Norris
Oracle Sound Volume Two

Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)

Richard Norris is unstoppable. Well over three decades into making music making, he’s been rolling out monthly ambient Music for Healing releases of extraordinary depth, collaborating, remixing, occasionally dropping cosmic dance or exotic psych folkand he’s found time to make two albums worth of spacious, tuneful digi dub. Volume One, out in October, was one of 2023’s best albums, and there’s no drop in quality whatsoever with Volume Two. Like its Jamaican inspirations it’s able to incorporate the most whimsical melody into profoundly weird soundscapes, and manipulates space like living architecture around you.

Venus in the Blindspot

Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP

Among all the talents working in retro jungle, Brighton’s Etch stands out. He’s able to find a middle ground between the fierce functionality of OG jungle and the way-out weirdness of post-Aphex Twin/Squarepusher/Luke Vibert braindance and IDM without compromising the qualities that give each its appeal and identity. He deftly weaves in 21st century styles from bassline house to drill. These five tracks are mid-tempo bassline warpers that do all of the above with added wit and whimsy. Make sure to stay for the final track “It’s OK to Cry” which sounds kitsch at first, but lives up to its title with unexpectedly tearjerking moments.

Hardway Bros
My Friends

Whether under his own name or as A Love From Outer Space, Sean Johnston has always been about the long, sweeping dancefloor narrative, all operating at a slow house pace often referred to as “the chug.” He’s really gone there this time with the 15-minute airborne epic, “Hello My Friends,” which commands you to close your eyes and sway to its ecstasies. There’s also the ‘80s Euro perviness of “Saigon” and the gloopy, slow techno of “Functions for Machines”—each clocking in at a “mere” eight minutes or so. At a shockingly brief sub-five-minutes: A goth-Balearic, Cocteau Twins-y cover of Smashing Pumpkins’s “19.”


Chicagoan Zvrra has been known for crafting intense, Berghain-style techno, but here she’s deftly pivoted to funky electro—and ye gods, she’s good at it. Some of it’s spooky, some of it’s sparky, some of it is like floating among the stars. You’ll hear echoes of Drexicya/Underground Restiance/Stingray’s ‘90s Detroit; of Mantronix and Newcleus’s ‘80s New York; and of weird one-offs like J Saul Kane’s Octagon Man guise. But mainly you’ll hear a supremely confident producer having vast amounts of fun.

Salvatore Mercatante

Merch for this release:
2 x Vinyl LP

L.A. label A Strangely Isolated Place has built an imposing catalog by preserving enduring values of deep-listening electronic music. New Yorker Salvatore Mercatante fits in perfectly. You can hear waves of ‘90s backroom electronica, rarefied electro, John Carpenter/Vangelis synth soundtracks, minimal tech house, UK bass via Burial—all of the flow together, with Mercatante finding their shared factors and joining the dots. It’s very lovely.

Sully & Basic Rhythm
“XT” b/w “Woozy”

Two stripped-to-the bone UK drum & bass cuts that glide towards you like sharks. Of late, Jack “Sully” Stevens has tended to complex jungle breakbeat edits, but here he’s all about beautifully crisp linear drums, with brushed cymbals and bongos providing texture, and bass modulations the dynamics. Pirate radio veteran Anthoney Hart, aka Basic Rhythm, is on a hot streak: He follows a sterling EP for Trilogy Tapes and a double A-side on his own label last month with an track that harks back to late ‘90s Roni Size and Krust with Lalo Schifrin-sounding suspenseful chords and a psycopathically funky drum pattern that just keeps on rolling.

Garden of Magic

The artist name adopted by Toronto’s Daria Morgacheva couldn’t be more apt. Her tracks all feel like otherworldly living environments that you enter, walk around, smell the flowers. This single five-minute gem is case in point: It has a zippy techno kick that guides you through a jazzy, dreamy, post-rock type environment, entering distinct areas with their own design and sensory profiles as you go.

“14.3” b/w “Such a Night”

Bot1500 generally makes deep house and techno with a particular finesse, but on these two tracks—previously on a vinyl-only compilation from Barcelona’s WITHHOLD—he’s expanding the rhythmic profile. “14.3” is a breakbeat tune, hinting at the least fidgety parts of Syro-era Aphex Twin, while “Such a Night” is a zippy, electropop-inspired thing. But both are lifted away from influences and genre by melancholy melodies and moods that suggest a mysterious space somewhere between Kraftwerk and Arthur Russell.

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