Well, the full length album is dead. It lived a long and brilliant life. Highlights included work from The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Joanna Newsom, Popol Vuh, AC/DC, and Galantis. But the fact is that nobody is listening to full length albums in 2018.
People are listening to playlists on Spotify, which are often made up mostly of singles from disparate artists. With the exception of the one percent of hardcore music listeners, nobody has the patience to listen to a full length album of music. Even the real music fans I know, who go to concerts with me several times a month, do not listen to full length albums.
But people do want more than singles.
So in 2018, we witnessed the explosion of a form that has come to be called “The EP”. It’s an extremely history-laden name for a short collection of music. An EP usually lasts at least ten minutes, and includes no more than seven individual tracks.
For me, personally, it’s what I listened to most in 2018. When I was listening to Discover Weekly and Release Radar on Spotify, I was seeking out experiences that were more than just a single piece of music, but an hour was usually too much music, even for me.
This is a format that works really well for indie musicians. It’s hard to write an hour of cohesive music that is strong from beginning to end. It’s much easier to write ten to twenty minutes of strong, cohesive music. And each EP can be different. EPs allow artists to explore more than singles or full length albums.
So here’s a playlist I made that consists of tracks from EPs I liked this year. It’s mostly indie electronic music, but there’s some Hip-Hop in there as well and a few tracks by well established artists.
Thanks for listening!
On computermusicblog.com I did my year-end roundup of the best EDM of 2017. Like any of these lists, it’s a very opinionated list. In this post I want to mention a few other albums I really liked that didn’t make the cut.
There are a few albums that I really enjoyed this year, but weren’t really striking in any way. They were enjoyable to listen to, but they didn’t stand out. Biggest amongst them is probably the new album from Odesza. It’s a fine album, but it nothing in it is unexpected. For me, one of the biggest surprises of the year was the amazing live show Odesza put on to support a relatively mediocre album. Another album that was good, but not great, was Float bySlow Magic. I really enjoyed listening to The Invincible EP by Big Wild, but in the end it just sounds kind of generic.
There are a few other albums that I discovered in 2017, and listened to a lot, but were actually released in previous years. I somehow missed Braincase by Electric Mantis when it was originally released. It’s a dope album of instrumental trap. Also great is the Kindred Spirits EP by Jai Wolf. I managed to see Jai Wolf twice in concert this year because he was coincidentally playing at events I wanted to see. His pure, old-fashioned turntable mastery absolutely dominated festivals crowded by much bigger names, and his EP is worth a few dozen listens.
Last up are the albums that BARELY missed the cut. There were hundreds of great albums released in 2017. Even focusing on EDM exclusively leaves more great albums than I could possibly list. I listened to Full Circle by Oliver probably twenty times. It’s great for getting psyched up for a hard job, or just for getting your hips moving. The new album from Giraffage is also great. It’s an album that really lives up to his previous releases. It feels mellow, sexy, and fun all at the same time. When I saw him live in San Jose, the show was filled with college kids, and that made me feel old. But I think it’s an album that has wide appeal to all listeners to EDM.
And that’s all the other albums from 2017 that I want to talk about.
Okay, obviously that’s not true. I loved so many more albums. LCD Soundsystem made a triumphant comeback. Bonobo released a very solid album earlier in the year. Bonnie and Clyde were the darlings of the internet for a week or two. I thought Sofi Tukker was over-hyped, but then they were terrific live. BVD Kult released a pretty paint-by-numbers pop/EDM track that I absolutely adored. Vitalic released a disappointing album. Jerry Folk released an album that I have very mixed feelings about. Some people from YouTube released some really good music. And someone named Andrew Applepie made a bunch of music that is actually really great in a quirky kind of way.
There was so much great music in 2017. Looking forward to 2018, there is a lot to be pessimistic about. Vladimir Putin seems intent on starting a war. Trump and the Republicans seem intent on destroying democracy in America. But still, it’s going to be a great year for music, and for human culture generally.