This year has been specifically special for album releases in the world of dance music. We saw the return of legends after decades-long hiatuses as well as brilliant debut efforts from both new and established artists. Over the last two months, we asked out staff to on their picks for the top honors in 2018.
Here are the EDM Sauce staff picks for the most impressive albums in 2018.
Best EDM Albums Of 2018
RÜFÜS DU SOL – SOLACE
Nominated By Stevo Jacobs, CEO
RÜFÜS DU SOL set 2018 ablaze with their ethereal and gorgeous album SOLACE. While there is an industry running joke that “ethereal” is overused, and commonly misunderstood by bloggers, no better adjective describes the group's third studio album. Throughout SOLACE the many signature elements of RÜFÜS DU SOL can be found. Ambient and gentle melodies serve as the perfect scaffolding for otherworldly vocals and tribal drums to be built upon.
SOLACE is a masterful follow up to the critically acclaimed 2016 release BLOOM. RÜFÜS DU SOL has demonstrated that they are like a fine whiskey – they only get better with time. Overall, 2018 was an interesting year for music which saw many artists return to the status quo, while others worked tirelessly to find “the next big sound”. RÜFÜS DU SOL, on the other hand, continued to move forward sticking to their own, unreplicable, enigmatic and individual style.
Golden Features – SECT
Nominated By Erik Mahal, Editor in Chief
Golden Features is one of Australia's finest electronic music exports. The masked artist has time and time again produced gorgeous records which challenge the status quo and push the boundaries of the electronic music genres. While in 2016, his EP, Wolfie/Funeral was selected by EDM Sauce for a top honor, his 2018 album, SECT, takes things to a new level of mastery.
SECT incorporates countless elements which fuse to create something unique and spectacular. The way Golden Features perfectly blends harsh industrial sounds that would make Nine Inch Nails blush into driving house productions is jaw-dropping. SECT is not just a dark exploration of sound. Golden Features perfectly highlights infectious melodies and beautiful vocals that will make the listener think and appreciate new styles.
Andrew Bayer – In My Last Life
Nominated By Dan Cooper, Senior Staff Writer
Andrew Bayer has always been a standout in the world of electronic dance music. The golden boy of Above & Beyond's imprint, Anjunabeats, Bayer has constantly been reinventing himself year after year. In 2018 he released what is easily his most impressive work yet, the two-disc album, In My Last Life. The first disc includes original mixes, while the second is club mix for each of the songs featured on disc one.
Bayer's ability to inject palpable emotion into his melodies, lyrics and overall productions is second to none. In My Last Life is unique as it utilizes only two vocalists throughout the entire LP. Alison May and Ane Brun elevate the already gorgeous album and help it feel like a true sonic journey as the familiarity of their voices create a captivating narrative.
Medasin – Irene
Nominated By Molly Sheban, Staff Writer
Medasin debut LP, Irene was both critically and fan acclaimed the moment it released. The young producer rose through the ranks of electronic music in 2018 to quickly become one of the most promising talents in all of EDM. In this release, Medasin utilizes captivating sound design which is both fresh and exciting. On Irene, Medasin does something which many producers have tried to do and failed – tell a story. Even though the album only features a few vocal tracks, the pacing and atmosphere of the tunes featured on Irene paint a definite narrative.
Medasin saw a massive upswing in popularity in 2018. With the release of Irene, it is clear that the hype around Medasin is all entirely legitimate. We cannot wait to hear what comes next from one of dance music's emerging greats.
Ilan Bluestone – Scars
Nominated By Nick White, Playlist Curator/Senior Staff Writer
Ilan Bluestone is the second Anjunabeats artist to make our 2018 list of top albums. For good reason too, as his album Scars is nothing short of a progressive house masterpiece. That being said, to contain the album to only one subgenre would be doing it a disservice. Ilan utilizes his years of experience in trance, progressive house, future bass, and so much more to create an impactful 15-track album.
Scars is the type of album which will define Ilan for years to come. Just as many associate Tiesto with Just Be or Above & Beyond with Group Therapy, Scars is truly a magnum opus of sorts. While we fell in love with this album in 2018 and we cannot wait to hear what Ilan has in store for 2019.
San Holo – Album1
Nominated By Sophia Medina – Senior Staff Writer
From Sophia –
“This was definitely the first album, in a very long time, that I actually enjoyed all the songs on the album. If you couldn’t tell already, I’m strongly into songs that can not only touch my heart but can stir my emotions at the same time. This album did just that. My emotions were everywhere! I feel like if an album can create some sort of sentimental connection, then it’s one that should definitely be acknowledged.”
Alison Wonderland – Awake
Nominated By Selbe Dittman – Staff Writer
From Selbe –
“This is the album that got me into EDM and will forever have a place in my heart! Alison Wonderland’s sound is perfect for anyone getting into the scene or looking for something a little lighter than traditional bass music (which I’ve really gotten into) but still wants to jam out.”
Lane 8 – Little By Little
Nominated By Kris Novak – VP of Events, Curator at EDM Sauce Copyright Free Records
Lane 8 has become one of the most hallowed names in all of house music. Getting his starts on French Express and Anjunadeep, the American producer has set off on his own under his imprint, This Never Happened. His album Little By Little provides a beautiful look into the inner workings of his mind. His melodies are complex, captivating and above all – gorgeously produced.
Lane 8 holds nothing back on Little By Little exploring the worlds of house and tech-house, leaving no stone unturned. The hypnotic arrangements and driving beats will take the listener to another plane of existence. One where Lane 8 is the creator and curates their experience from beginning to end.