The 20 Best Electronic Albums of 2023

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best electronic albums of 2023

Now that we’ve shared our lists of the best albums and the best songs of 2023, we’re diving into more of our favorites in individual genre spheres. Today, we delve into house, techno, ambient, drone, IDM, footwork, synth-pop and other hard to define sounds crafted by electronic parts. These are the best electronic albums of 2023.

Note: When you buy something through our affiliate links, Treble receives a commission. All albums included are chosen by our editors and contributors.


Actress LXXXVIII review
Ninja Tune

Actress – LXXXVIII

It’s hard to place Darren Cunningham’s latest on the spectrum of his most cryptic works, given that his work as Actress is enigmatic by definition. Yet there’s a playful sort of mischief to his creations on LXXXVIII, thematically tied together by a loose concept informed by chess. You can choose to decode its cipher if you wish, but it’s entirely unnecessary for the sake of simply enjoying LXXXVIII, one of his most purely enjoyable albums and arguably his best since 2012’s R.I.P. Juxtaposing eerie lo-fi pianos (note the title is the Roman numeral for 88) against acid synths and minimal, thumping beats, LXXXVIII plays with pop convention and dancefloor tropes in evasive ways, crafting a masterful sequence of beats and basslines that snake in and out of surrealism and off into space. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Turntable Lab (vinyl)


Aphex twin blackbox life recorder review
Warp

Aphex Twin – Blackbox Life Recorder 21f/ In a Room F760

Since releasing Syro back in 2014, Richard D. James has kept to mostly shorter releases, which has seen the IDM architect pursuing some of his most thrilling impulses in years. Blackbox Life Recorder 21f/In a Room F760 is his most direct and even danceable release since arguably the ’90s—dance music has never really been his first priority, of course, but this batch of four analog-electro bangers hits the pleasure zone while indulging in his usual medium of dazzling abstraction. Even just 16 minutes of new Aphex Twin is always something worth celebrating, but make no mistake, he made each of them count. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Turntable Lab (vinyl)


best electronic albums of 2023 - Avalon Emerson
Another Dove

Avalon Emerson – & The Charm

On her debut full-length LP, California-born and Berlin-based techno producer Avalon Emerson sought more paradisiacal shores through the sounds of Balearic beat on & The Charm. True to the album’s title, it’s an endlessly charming set of electronic beats and pop hooks that primarily leans away from the austere pulse of techno in favor of something brighter and airier, whether steeped in jangle pop glimmer on “Sandrail Silhouette” or a deeper funk on “Astrology Poisoning.” While Emerson’s pivot to a more pop-friendly approach still would fit the mood of her Berghain DJ sets, they’d sound even better at the beach. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp


Daniel Bachman When the Roses Come Again review
Three Lobed

Daniel Bachman – When the Roses Come Again

Your perspective on whether or not this album makes sense on this list probably comes down to whether or not the folk and bluegrass elements standout most or if you’re drawn to the distorted drones, electronic oscillations and cut-and-paste elements that make up the canvas upon which the Virginia musician places those acoustic pieces. Twenty years ago, terms like “electroacoustic” were employed to describe the intersection of organic and technological elements that artists like Four Tet placed at the center of their music, but in the case of Bachman, there’s a more discrete juxtaposition between the two. Though he began his career playing solo acoustic guitar, When the Roses Come Again is something much more complicated and and difficult to define, using the tools of electronic music to make an album that speaks the language of folk and bluegrass. That it feels like like a distorted transition from a remote, unseen landscape only deepens the mystery. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)


best electronic albums of 2023 - Bored Lord
T4T LUV NRG

Bored Lord – Name It

“I want the industry people to be confused while the ravers understand the very moment they press play. I want to challenge everyone to name it.” – Bored Lord

According to folklore, Eris Drew and Octo Octa, who run the T4T LUV NRG imprint, fell in love with Bored Lord’s work after playing a queer warehouse rave in LA with her. Thoroughly impressed with this unique artist, they saw an energetic sibling, a DJ with the ability to use music and magic (illusion here is an ecstatic technique) to set bodies free, they state in press materials.

On Name It, the latest album by Oakland’s Bored Lord, aka DJ Daria, the artist blurs all lines of demarcation as it pertains to breakbeat. Using samples like an instrument, declared a no-no in electronic music by the stiff/boring police, Daria confessed in an interview with Resident Advisor last month, “I didn’t really know it was such a unique thing because I’m pretty much directly referencing early Reinforced records.” This is such a summery approach against a field of what has become, at times, a cookie-cutter production snorefest. Name It caps off a couple of years’ run for the producer and DJ who can find joy, in between the sliver of broken beat, drum n’ bass, jungle, UK bass, Florida breaks, and house. – John-Paul Shiver

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp


best albums of 2023 Debby Friday Good Luck
Sub Pop

Debby Friday – GOOD LUCK

Toronto’s Debby Friday isn’t a new artist per se, having released a pair of excellent EPs and a mixtape in 2018 and 2019. But GOOD LUCK, her proper debut album, feels like a necessary reintroduction to her eclectic artistic prowess. Friday bores a tunnel between the discotheque and the goth dungeon, infusing industrial rap with blues, building a cohesive statement from seemingly contradictory parts that work in a strange, cacophonous harmony. It takes a certain kind of confidence to juxtapose a menacing throb like “Hot Love” against the euphoric pop of “So Hard to Tell,” but Friday is a commanding presence, always finding harmony in these contradictions. In “Pluto Baby” she declares, “This is heaven/This is hell.” And she’s right. -Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon (vinyl)


best electronic albums of 2023 - DJ Manny
Planet Mu

DJ Manny – Hypnotized

It’s been a decade since DJ Rashad released Double Cup and nearly as long since his passing. His sole studio album still serves as a high-water mark for footwork, though his Teklife labelmate DJ Manny’s output this decade has him on track to release an album that can potentially rival Double Cup’s legacy. His 2021 album Signals in My Head injected footwork with R&B romanticism, while Hypnotized, his full-length from November, thrusts it into an interconnected web of styles. Manny rubs shoulders with opera, jungle, and techno to accomplish more than crafting a diverse palette. Each new excursion broadcasts a vulnerability that’s often buried beneath footwork’s ludicrous BPMs without sacrificing its infectiousness. – Colin Dempsey

Listen/Buy: Amazon (vinyl)


best albums of 2023 - Fever Ray Radical Romantics
Rabid/Mute

Fever Ray – Radical Romantics

Radical Romantics brought us both a reunion of The Knife (kinda) and two collaborations between Karin Dreijer and Nine Inch Nails, and yet somehow those these otherwise headline-stealing events are still runners up to Fever Ray’s overall vision. More muted than 2017’s PlungeRadical Romantics makes the transition from that album’s animated celebration of queer sexuality toward something more quietly intimate. With a set of electronic arrangements that harbor layers to slowly unfold and reveal themselves with time, Karin Dreijer offers a more personal record than usual while avoiding the blinding spotlight. It may only be a glimpse, but it’s perhaps the most we’ve ever seen behind the mask. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Turntable Lab (vinyl)


best electronic albums of 2023 - Tim Hecker No Highs
Kranky

Tim Hecker – No Highs

Tim Hecker composed new album No Highs out of an overarching dissatisfaction with ambient music as comfort food, and this album is anything but. In a sense, that makes it fit in naturally alongside his more distorted releases like Ravedeath 1972 or the eerie horrorscapes of Virgins. But No Highs is more anxious and agitated than outright terrifying or caked in noise, a slow-burning yet captivating work of beautifully rendered discomfort. The saxophone of Colin Stetson features prominently on “Monotony” and its shorter counterpart, though this is Hecker’s affair through and through, a frigid and isolating work of fractured beauty. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Turntable Lab (vinyl)


best electronic albums of 2023 - James Holden
Border Community

James Holden – Imagine This is a High Dimensional Space of All Possibilities

UK producer James Holden has drifted from the artful electronic beatscapes of albums like 2013’s The Inheritors in recent years, scoring the film A Cambodian Spring in 2019 and delving into psychedelic jazz sounds on 2017’s The Animal Spirits. Imagine This is a High Dimensional Space of All Possibilities is a homecoming of sorts, returning to his roots in the rave music that heavily influenced him when he was younger. Uniformly lush and hypnotic, Imagine is every bit as exploratory as any of his more recent genre excursions but with a steady 4/4 underneath its moments of heady synth bleat and airy saxophone euphoria. It’s his most accessible work and likewise one of his most endlessly satisfying, its direct and melodic approach revealing deeper and deeper layers with each repetition. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)


Loraine James Gentle Confrontation review
Hyperdub

Loraine James – Gentle Confrontation

Loraine James has released four albums in the past three years—three under her own name and one as Whatever the Weather—all of them fascinating and gorgeous pieces of electronic composition, none of them a repetition of any previous ideas. Gentle Confrontation is no exception to this rule, characteristically immersive and rich in its productions while drawing heavier influence from some unexpected sources—like, for instance, Midwest Emo. A more pronounced presence of vocals here, including James’ own, might on paper seem like Gentle Confrontation leans more explicitly into pop realms, though it never does so in rote or obvious ways. Each track retains her lush and atmospheric production sensibility, there’s just room for a few more guests within her headphone masterpiece. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)


Jlin Perspective review
Planet Mu

Jlin – Perspective

Jerrilynn Patton’s rhythmically complex productions are rooted in footwork and IDM, but over time she’s drifted further from that central point, particularly as she’s applied it to multimedia collaborations. Perspective is a unique entry in her catalog, a collaboration with Third Coast Percussion that saw the two artists interpreting and then reinterpreting interpretations of initial source material into a telephone-game set of reworkings that finds the Indiana-born producer delivering some of her most imaginative and most exciting material. As musical experiments go, it’s hard to imagine one with results as revelatory as this, juxtaposing intricate beat structures against buzzing bass and ethereal textural work for something that’s less tied to any one specific corner of electronic music, instead paving a path toward something mysterious and mesmerizing. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)


Kate NV wow review
RVNG Intl.

Kate NV – WOW

WOW is as much of an electronic album as it is a pop album. This is not in spite of the fact that flutes and saxophones feature boldly on the album or that there’s barely anything in the way of choruses. In fact, Kate NV’s fifth album smacks you over the head with its grin-inducing poppiness. It’s the same genuine optimism that great pop should convey through sugary rushes without lyrics. Similarly, despite its analog instruments, WOW is as much an exploration of digital spaces and tools as an Aphex Twin album. These spaces, however, more resemble Bubsy 3D’s maps in that they’re polygonal, bright, flat, and otherworldly. Does any of that matter, though? Kate herself doesn’t care, and it’s unwise to think too much while listening to WOW. – Colin Dempsey

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)


jessie ware that feels good review
Warp

Kelela – Raven

The early singles Kelela released in the lead-up to Raven suggested that Kelela’s electronic impulses were leaning toward the classics—’80s and ’90s house and breakbeats, early rave and underground culture. That’s partially true, but even while acknowledging generations of Black and queer influence in shaping electronic music, Kelela does so with an eye toward the future. From opener “Washed Away,” it feels as if Kelela’s opened a portal to tomorrow, one punctuated with elements of vintage electronica but showcasing a dancefloor utopia where joy and melancholy are all offered the same uptempo BPM prescription. Beautiful, richly atmospheric and hauntingly nocturnal, Raven feels like the kind of night you’d never want to end. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Turntable Lab (vinyl)


best electronic albums of 2023 - Sofia Kourtesis
Ninja Tune

Sofia Kourtesis – Madres

Peruvian producer Sofia Kourtesis makes house music that radiates joy. That’s true of a lot of house, but there’s something here beyond pure in-the-moment hedonism, more radiant in its bright sounds and rich textures, thrilling enough to feel like a revelation but warm enough to be comforting. It’s no coincidence that the standout track from the album—one that landed on our Best Songs of the Year list—is titled “How Music Makes You Feel Better.” And she proves it over and over again, through the beat-laden sunrise of the title track, the hypnotic microhouse of “Si Te Portas Bonito” or the twinkling Manu Chao collaboration, “Estación Esperanza.” – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon (vinyl)


best electronic albums of 2023 - Pangaea
Hessle Audio

Pangaea – Changing Channels

From the opening pulse and acid bass of “Installation,” Pangaea’s Changing Channels is alive. The sophomore album from Kevin McAuley, co-founder of Hessle Audio, is rife with energy and movement, balancing ecstatic bangers reinforced with electrifying beats with intricate layers of harmonic fragments, expertly applied samples and seductive but never overbearing groove. Albums like Changing Channels represent a kind of utopian ideal for dance music, built for the dancefloor but engaging and rewarding enough to provide just as much satisfaction through headphones. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon (vinyl)


best electronic albums of 2023 - Purelink
Peak Oil

Purelink – Signs

To anyone who ever indulged in underground electronic music of the ’90s and early 2000s, there’s a distinctive familiarity to Signs, the sophomore album by Chicago ambient dub trio Purelink. Their weightless but propulsive drift evokes acts such as Pole or Oval, or just about anything on the Mille Plateaux label, but recontextualized into a seamless space where stillness and momentum converge. They’re hardly the first group to merge ambient music with the pulse of techno, but they do so in a way where the disparate parts are more closely entangled, inextricable parts of a greater whole rather than snapped on and precision aligned. Purelink’s is a well-plotted course in a limitless space. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp


best electronic albums of 2023 - Tzusing
PAN

Tzusing – 绿帽 Green Hat

In China, the green hat is the symbol of cuckoldry. By wearing one, you’re announcing that you’re a cuck. Tzusing, the Shanghai and Taipei-based producer, personifies this line of thinking by drawing it out to extreme proportions, presenting a caricature of the idea that everyone has the right to judge whether or not you’re man enough as well as one’s internal dialogue surrounding what it means to be a man as that identity has been co-opted by regressive reactionaries. Where so much of club-influenced music in 2023 encouraged listeners to find solace on the dance floor, 绿帽 Green Hat uses EBM and industrial techno to close in the walls around the mind, spotlight the sweat dripping down your spine, and pantomime the drunken onlookers that sear holes into your head with their eyes. – Colin Dempsey

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)


Castles in Space

Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan – The Nation’s Most Central Location

Retro-futuristic techno steeped in the uncanny and eerie memory space occupied by the likes of Boards of Canada, Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan is an exercise in highlighting the beauty of ruins. Gordon Chapman-Fox’s beat-driven hauntology is stunningly unsettling, at once kitschy and elegant in its design aesthetic while its evocation of the slow decay of England’s post-war New Towns is haunting. From the opening throbs of “Just Off the M56,” The Nation’s Most Central Location is immediately ominous, a cinematic soundscape for a community in decline. To fully grasp the social commentary within the project requires a little imagination (and maybe research) on the part of the listener, but the evocation of a present-day dystopia through a haunting nostalgic lens is unmistakable. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon (vinyl)


best albums of 2023 so far yaeji with a hammer
XL

Yaeji – With a Hammer

Yaeji’s proper debut LP arrives after a handful of stellar EPs, an outstanding mixtape that felt more or less like a debut album, and more than a dozen standalone singles showcasing her prowess as a producer and songwriter. Suffice it to say, her backlog of material already positioned her as one of electronic music’s MVPs, converging in her greatest statement yet on With a Hammer. An eclectic set of electronic pop infused with elements of glitch, IDM, hip-hop, bass and jungle, it’s a showcase for her breadth and imagination, deeply emotional at its core but endlessly creative and above all fun. But in the quieter moments, like the horn-laden ballad “I’ll Remember For Me, I’ll Remember For You,” Yaeji reveals just how far she’s traveled from her earliest house singles. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Turntable Lab (vinyl)


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