The 2018 Grammy nominations are in, and the competition for best dance/electronic album is steep. A range of sounds and approaches are represented, from pop-crossovers to sweeping cinematic anthems, foundational electronic heroes and electropop cuteness.
Bonobo comes in strong with Migration, blending sounds of low-eyed afternoon bliss into jazzy fills and layered electronic texture for 12 sumptuous tracks that flow like a peaceful, winding river. Features from Nick Murphy, Rhye and more breathe extra life into the daydreamy compositions, a dimension he re-created with a full-band live performance tour.
North Carolina duo Sylvan Esso infuse a side of indie-folk-rock softness into its glitched-out LP What Now. Acoustic guitar and coy female vocals hang in a romantic haze over persistent drum-machine beats and the sweetest sort of electronic disruption. Its lo-fi jabs at the hype-filled diet of radio hits earned the sophomore LP a peak position of No. 32 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and a solid shot at the trophy.
Months spent indoors working on A Moment Apart garnered ODESZA its second Grammy nomination, following a bid for best remixed recording for RAC‘s take on “Say My Name” feat. Zyra. The expansive LP marks new heights for the Seattle duo and launched a still-going live tour that incorporates a full drum line, among other surprising delights.
If star-studded features counts for anything, Mura Masa‘s self-titled debut walks into the game with plenty of extra credit. Vocal assists from A$AP Rocky, Charli XCX, Damon Albarn and Desiigner helped a slew of singles climb the charts for a peak of No. 6 on the Dance/Electronic Albums chart.
None of these artists would be anywhere without the hard work of German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk. The fierce foursome’s jaw-dropping 3-D tour of 2016 was set to wax and released as the band’s second official live album, 3-D The Catalogue. Listening to this barrage of hits is like walking through a living library of classic samples. Younger audiences would be amazed to hear familiar basslines and melodies countlessly recirculated by their modern favorites. It’s a much deserved nod, to be sure.
The Recording Academy has the final say, but who do you think should take home the golden Gramophone?