Andy Peterson reviews the year's best dance and electronica releases.
Bonobo 'Late Night Tales' - With the DJ mix compilation more tired than Nigella Lawson's vanity mirror, LNT are still working miracles in the genre against the odds, mostly by avoiding the usual suspects. Simon Green channels all things unorthodox on this, the year's best from the stable.
Rae & Christian 'Mercury Rising' - 2013 seemed to be the year the chill out kings came back (we also saw releases from Nightmares on Wax and Morcheeba), but the veteran duo managed to sound both cool and now on 'Mercury Rising', enlisting as able helpers Sam Genders, Mark Foster and, the king of laid back himself, Jazzy Jeff.
Falty DL 'Hardcourage' - OK, not quite as ear charmingly brilliant as its predecessor 'We Stand Uncertain'. Drew Lustman down shifted the intensity but managed to retain the poise and focus that's allowed him to carve out a distinct niche in a world of laptop triers.
'Keep Shelly in Athens' At Home - Normally, these pretentious sounding artist names bear no relation to the people who choose them, but this boy-girl duo are from Greece and their name is a pun on an area of the city we daren't try to pronounce. Their second album soared wonderfully, finally blowing away any false accusations of hype and lack of substance.
SCNTST 'Self Therapy' - Techno at a dead end? Berlin prodigy Bryan Muller would beg to differ. 'Self Therapy' is the kind of release that makes you think 1988 but dance like it's tomorrow night. A shot of pure adrenalin in musical form.
Jon Hopkins 'Immunity' - It seems almost crass to suggest that, after years in the background, the British producer had somehow shifted towards the mainstream, but on his fourth album you could feel the stars beginning to align, and all former associations with Coldplay being forgiven.
Daft Punk 'Random Access Memories' - Certainly not in the genre-defining class of Homework, Guy & Thomas delivered a comeback opus that was all Marmite in its effect on the listener. Whatever though, as the Pharrell inspired behemoth that was 'Get Lucky' soundtracked a million club nights worldwide.
Boards of Canada 'Tomorrow's Harvest' - When the cryptic half-news emerged about the Sandison brothers' first album in eight years, fan boys (like me) openly wept with joy. Once the speculation subsided, the end product was predictably evolution not revolution, an often bleak but compelling extension of their legendary, soundtrack inspired canon.
Disclosure 'Settle' - The year's most unlikely resuscitation was performed on nothing other than UK garage, courtesy of Home Counties siblings Guy and Howard Lawrence and an ensemble cast of co-contributors which included London Grammar, Aluna George and Jessie Ware.
Daniel Avery 'Drone Logic' - After years building a reputation through nom-de-plume releases with the likes of Andy Wetherall, the first release under his own name (the second if you count a blistering Fabric set at the end of 2012) was a revelatory exercise in the kind of minimalist techno that links 20th Century Detroit to right now Berlin. Stunning.