Pantha Du Prince and the Bell Laboratory - Elements of Light One of my absolute favorite producers contrasts his minimal techno stylings with a live orchestra of marimbas, xylophones, chimes, and this monstrosity (known as a bell carrion). Pantha has always employed bell sounds as a prominent motif in his compositions, but the live instrumentation adds a real sense of expansiveness and depth here. You can feel an outright humanity running through this album as the players command different timbres, weaving around and brushing up against one another in pursuit of a singular musical idea. Some of these tracks are quite long but very much worth the wait if you let them breathe on your show ("Spectral Split" in particular). Otherwise, "Photon" should be the go-to for the majority of you.
Recommended Tracks: "Photon", "Quantum", "Spectral Split"
Foxygen - We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic - I'm sure you can understand why I was leery when this one arrived in our inbox. Against all odds, this duo from LA has crafted a collection of slinky, hooky pop that actually makes the name Foxygen tenable. This is a record that bursts with energy, bounding gleefully from genre to genre to see what fits (sometimes within the same track). The shapeshifting "Shuggie" and "On Blue Mountain" ingeniously stitch together wildly diverse ideas, while "San Francisco" doubles down on its impossibly catchy yet puzzling chorus: "I left my love in San Francisco/(That's OK, I was born in LA)".
Recommended Tracks: "San Francisco", "Shuggie", "We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic"
Solange - True - Slowly but surely, Solange Knowles is hammering out her own artistic identity away from the towering shadow of her older sister. After trying her hand at uptempo R&B and dusty Motown on her first two records, Solange began to show a greater interest in our sort of music, bringing Hov & B to a Grizzly Bear concert in Williamsburg and performing "Stillness Is the Move" with the Dirty Projectors. On her latest EP, the 26 year old works with producer Devonté Hynes to create accessible electronic-tinged pop with a Madonna vibe circa 1986. Bolstered by Knowles's strong vocals, these songs simmer with yearning, doubt, and resentment.
Recommended Tracks: "Losing You", "Lovers in the Parking Lot", "Locked in Closets"