We asked to different musicians, producers, bloggers, journalists, label owners to make a short list of their best albums of this year. This is the list curated by Los Angeles based producer and composer Deru.

Low – Double Negative

Not only is this my favorite album of the year but it’s up there for my top 10 of the last decade. The combination of dirt, grit and distortion mixed with Low’s songwriting sensibilities, instrumentation and voices is extraordinary. Huge respect to Low for being adventurous and evolving and B.J. Burton for the production. This is a great model for experimental music.

Rafiq Bhatia – Breaking English

I love Rafiq’s exploration of texture and instrumentation on this album, ranging from aggressive and in-your-face to reflective beauty. I feel like he and I might have been thinking about some of the same issues when he wrote this record (and I Torn In Two). You can hear both frustration and grace and it sounds to me like he’s reflecting his modern day surroundings both personally and globally, which I consider important in 2018.

Woulg – Last Time

This a is a proper, modern day, IDM/electronic album. It’s nice to listen to new music where I can hear it’s roots spanning back to 90’s IDM, when I started getting into this music. The production and song writing are stellar – organic, interesting, vibey.

Son Lux – Brighter Wounds

Ryan, Ian, and Rafiq (see above) are three amazingly talented and inventive musicians. The tone colors and compositions they come up with are top-of-the-class, and that’s not to mention the incredible production. They are a confluence of great musicianship and production chops, which is a rare thing indeed. Check out “The Fool You Need”.

A$AP Rocky – Testing

My first love was hip-hop in the early 90’s. I only resonate with a small amount of current hip-hop now unfortunately, but every year there are a few releases that catch my ear. The production on this record is incredible, and he put a lot of thought and craft into the construction of the album. Fukk Sleep is an amazing song (and my most listened to in 2018).

Skee Mask – Compro

This album effortlessly spans a number of electronic genres: ambient, down-tempo, jungle. Like the Woulg record it traces a clear lineage to 90’s era electronic music and I love hearing that linage continued and pushed. Highly recommended.