The Best of Electro 2018: Mark Oosterkamp and Lara Ramos of Elektrodos Give Us their Top Picks

Updated: Dec 22, 2018

Mark Oosterkamp and Lara Ramos of Elektrodos, the infamous radio show and label © Elektrodos

With the sheer amount of music that's come out this year, it's very difficult to pick 10 tracks as "The Best". At Elektrodos, we get lots of promos and we try to keep up with the scene, but it's proven such a successful year for Electro that even for us, it's difficult. So here are some of the tracks that caught our attention this year, as well as our two favourites...or most favourite, among many great tracks.

James Shinra - Insterstellar | Supernova EP (Analogical Force)

Truly a modern classic, a track that blends in perfectly with quality classic Electro from AS1, for example, and still is able to sound current. This is carefully crafted and beautifully produced music, and shows the quality of the artist as well as the durability of the genre, as well as one of our two favourite tracks of 2018.

It provides a good balance to the noisier, drum-driven style of Electro from the likes of Jensen Interceptor, for example, that has very much characterized Electro music this year. But also it stands in contrast to the more progressive work coming from, for example, RXmode, and provides a good complement to European melodic Electro like Morphology's releases, or in Spain, the NNY Records release from Alphaville.

Animistic Beliefs - Phycodurus Dragon | Sinuous Gullies (Between Places/Solar One Music)

The other top contender for best track of the year comes from Animistic Beliefs. This is a very well done melodic and atmospheric track, with beautiful vocals over a deep beat, that is just timeless. It just sounds right, it is varied, with lots of small tweaks to the beat, some very subtle basslines and synths coming in and fading away throughout. A very well done track that, like our other favourite, makes sense with both the latest Electro, and also in a classic Electro set. The Between Places series of releases by Solar One Music are just very, very good, and really commits to the "pure Electro" philosophy they set out to explore with this sublabel.

Lectromagnetique - Artificial Sources EP (Electro Music Coalition)

Just out, also on EMC, Lectromagnetique is just great. We absolutely love everything he does, producing a coherent body of quality dark Electro that just drives in, and relentlessly grabs you and drags you along. The new release should be high on anyone's Xmas wish list.

Neonicle - Spook Country | Do Androids Dream of Electro Sheep? (Electro Music Coalition)

Yes, we've fallen for that East block Electro sound. Deep, dark beats and basslines, with nice gloomy pads and cavernous is just too much to resist! Neonicle has really come through with this track, and if he was a good Electro and Techno producer to begin with, he has now grown to be excellent, as is clearly audible on this second Various Artists vinyl release on Electro Music Coalition, pure Electro warriors led by Andrey Neuro.

Jensen Interceptor & Assembly Code - Hyper Reality EP (Cultivated Electronics)

2018 has been the year of Jensen Interceptor, without any doubt. Vinyls on the most renowned labels, extremely danceable tracks, and perfectly suited to jump in and out of Techno and Electro throughout a set. This track is one example, a more melodic example to be sure, of the versatility of Electro on the brink of Techno, and it is also a good showcase of the Jensen Interceptor/Assembly Code collaborations: energy and 100% dancefloor ready!

Maschine Brennt - Frisq (Deemphasis remix) | Frisq E.P. (Ukonx Recordings)

Kraftwerk and Rother, if they were Vikings. Pure, clean Electro; you can't go wrong with a Maschine Brennt release! And what's more, remixed by French producer Deemphasis, back on the scene after a hiatus (you should also definitely check out his "Organic" release on UKONX). So that means lots of brooding darkness on top of excellent production, with that sinister touch we love.

Blastromen - Into the Void | Cyberia (Dominance Electricity)

Finland's Electro lords are back with their classic Electro sound on Dominance Electricity, and they sound full-on as ever. We had the pleasure to see them in Oviedo, and the bass, the melody packed music, and their trademark lightshow really blew us away. This track has a videoclip worth checking out, very well done and very Blastromen, which actually features a Viking guitar god bringing the track to a close. The album is as overwhelming as this track: catchy and total immersion Electro.

Komarken Electronics - And Again | Humanity Plus (Between Places/Solar One Music)

Nordic Electro boasts some excellent producers, and Komarken Electronics has been around for a long time and knows his stuff. There is always a raw edge to his tracks, and this track with its driving metallic bassline certainly fits the bill. Bit by bit the track grows and gains until suddenly there's a delicate atmospheric break, before kneading everything neatly back together in a balanced song, with its metallic bass, helicopter synth, and delicate melodic pads. A great track, off another very good release on Between Places.

Amper Clap - Desolation (Robyrt Hecht remix) | Global Surveyor Phase 4 (Dominance Electricity)

A busy year on Dominance Electricity, and a Global Surveyor release is always worth our attention. 4 vinyl records with the best tracks that have come out over the past year or so, and that makes it difficult to choose a "best track" off this titanic work that Matthias Weise put together. If we have to pick one track, it's the remix of Amper Clap's track "Desolation" by YUYAY's Robyrt Hecht, who really perfects the original track, introducing a delicacy and elegance to even out the powerful style of Amper Clap.

Carlos SicRock - Matter | Urban Connections Eleven (Urban Connections Records)

Off the eleventh (!!!) compilation on the Urban Connections net-label run by Amper Clap - who by the way put out, "The Judge", on the same label showing off his own sound and style - this track by veteran breaker Carlos SicRock is the bomb. Fast, well done, with some truly 90's vibes throughout. With classy pads, and sinister voices, it captures the essence of what Electro is for us: funky machine music that is just made to dance. Other awesome tracks from this compilation come from Laka942 ("Vain" is a beauty) and Ocitin's IDM-y "Meteorita De Hoba".

Then there are two tracks we really wanted to mention, off the Elektrodos Recordings label, because they were a surprise to us when we heard them first...

Krypton81 - Silver Ghost | Occultism (Elektrodos Recordings)

We're very proud to have this amazing group, again Scandinavians, on our label. The cold Northern parts of Europe seems to be an excellent place to incubate cold and dark Electro, and Silver Ghost is a good example of where this kind of melodic Electro stands right now. Full sounds and a very well rounded off track overall, it shows the craftmanship of the producers.

Sigma_Algebra - Fuzzy Sets (RXmode remix) | Diode Bridge #2: RXmode Meets Sigma_Algebra (Elektrodos Recordings)

This is what our "Diode Bridge" release philosophy is all about: bringing together two artists and having them remix each other's tracks, to produce an even better track. RXmode and Sigma_Algebra have definitely surpassed our expectations with this IDM infused, noisy and progressive track that is just all-in, full-on, all the time!

Written by: Mark Oosterkamp

Tracks curated by: Lara Ramos and Mark Oosterkamp

For more info on Elektrodos, visit their website.