Dance & Electronic 2011: 20 Best Albums

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Dance & Electronic 2011: 20 Best Albums
3. SBTRKT (Young Turks)
While bass music continued to splinter into dozens of sub-genres, 2011 saw dubstep break through to the mainstream, at least in terms of name recognition ― most people are still a little hazy on what exactly the term means. So while purists argued about the music's parameters, London DJ and producer Aaron Jerome dropped his self-titled debut, blending elements from across a broad spectrum of both past and current underground dance. Some producers are quick to show off their technical skills, but Jerome kept it simple, delivering a single amalgamated sound that forms the basis of one of the most easily enjoyable dance records of the year. That Drake remix (and appearance at one of Jerome's Toronto shows) certainly went a long way to breaking SBTRKT to a wider audience, but high profile collabs are meaningless if there's nothing behind them. The track in question, "Wildfire," was already the album's standout single before Drizzy ever got his hands on it, with Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano delivering a fantastic vocal performance overtop Jerome's subtle wobble. But it's frequent vocal collaborator Sampha, who pops up on a number of the album's tracks, who really shines. Jerome has rightfully been praised as a producer who's able to mould his own sound to his collaborators. With the smooth-piped singer at the mic, Jerome creates funky, futuristic R&B in a year when David Guetta's house sound has all but killed the genre in the mainstream.
Ian Gormely

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