The 10 best electronic albums of 2023

Various EDM albums from 2023
(Image credit: Ninja Tune, !K7, London Records,)

2023 was yet another standout year for electronic music. While foundational artists like Orbital and The Chemical Brothers returned to prove they still have plenty of relevance to a scene that continues to evolve apace, EDM's next generation also stepped up to deliver the goods and show that the future of the genre is in safe hands. The fact is, electronic music has never been as huge, as broad or as exciting as it is right now. Don't believe me? These ten knockout albums from 2023 will soon change your mind.


Barry Can't Swim - Where Will We Land?

After a string of releases that marked him out as one of the most exciting young names in UK dance music, the pressure was on Barry Can't Swim - AKA Edinburgh-based producer Joshua Mannie - to deliver the goods when it came to his debut full-length. He did that spectacularly with Where Will We Land?: a varied, layered and emotionally compelling mini-odyssey that flits seamlessly from smooth house beats to twinkly jazz chords to propulsive Afrobeat to warm shoegaze, consistently surprising you without ever straying too far off course. An instant classic and one of the best EDM debuts of recent years.

Anish Kumar - A Mixtape By...

Anish Kumar's debut mixtape drew together his vast array of styles to confirm what we've known for some time: that the North East maverick is a delightfully unique creator, melding disco, house and a sprinkle of Bollywood flair into a joyous 35 minute ride. From the percussive hip hop stylings of Praise to the euphoric release of Care About Me and woozy sax of Marabelle, every second is oozing richness and warmth. How scary it is, then, that Kumar is only just getting started?

Overmono - Good Lies

Welsh brothers Tom and Ed Russell have been honing their sound for not too far off a decade at this point, but the wait for their first album proper was well worth it. Sparse sprays of synth swim under staggered beats and ethereal vocal hooks as the duo plough the kind of stirring but simple deep house furrow that Disclosure took to all the way to arenas, and to gorgeous effect. They also let a little flash of weirdness sneak in every so often to mix things up, Vermonly sounding closer to something you might hear floating through a worm hole in a fever dream than anything you'd find dropped at a club at 1am. 

Jayda G - Guy

For Jayda G's second LP, the Canadian producer explores, amongst other deeply personal topics, the death of her father, William, who passed when she was just 10 years old. Dropping recordings of William's voice in amongst cuts that mesh stuttering beats with bursts of soul, pop, disco and r'n'b (alongside Jayda's own echoey vocals), it makes for a deeply affecting listen, both a mourning propelled by loss and a celebration of life itself. 

Orbital - Optical Delusion

By far the best album breakbeat's grand masters have produced since they first bounced back from early retirement in 2008, Optical Delusion manages to capture the beautifully strange stylings of the duo's early material while polishing it up with a production that sounds stadium-sized. Rarely does it all hit harder than on Dirty Rat, an unhinged psytrance anthem powered by a righteously venomous guest vocal from Sleaford Mods.

Jungle - Volcano

The endearingly exuberant London collective put out a career-best effort with Volcano, roping in perfectly realised guest appearances from the likes of Erick The Architect, Roots Manuva and JNR WILLIAMS to craft a gorgeous, shimmering collection of jiving summer jams. Jungle's schtick may be well-worn at this point, but the fact is that no other act out there is releasing neo-soul edm as irresistible as this. 

Kx5 - Kx5

Those expecting Deadmau5 and Kaskade's first album together to churn out 10 retreads of I Remember were given a welcome rude awakening with Kx5. Dipping further into deep house and trance to produce drops that could get Godzilla waving his arms about deliriously, the LP also saw star turns from The Moth & The Flame and Sofi Tukker add some extra fresh strokes to the duo's considerable sonic palette. And yes, admittedly, Escape is a little more in line with what we've heard from this particular tag team before, but with hooks that unstoppable and synths that warm and dreamy, who cares?!

Ciel - Homesick

Written as a means to get back in touch with her Chinese roots following a period of deep anxiety in the wake of the pandemic-powered Sinophobia that swept the West, Ciel's debut album is a revelation. Built around traditional Chinese instruments but spooning in layers of house, techno, drum 'n' bass and breakbeat, Homesick is a dizzyingly diverse set of songs, drawing beauty from pain to produce something very special indeed.

Sub Focus - Evolve

Following on from his fantastic 2020 collab with Wilkinson was never going to be an easy feat, but Sub Focus's third solo LP (ironically?!) succeeds by sticking solidly to what has made the Guildford producer an enduring presence in the UK drum 'n' bass scene: glistening liquid melodies, propulsive but never overpowering d'n'b beats and big vocal hooks. An evolution? Not particularly. Another perfect slab of arena drum 'n' bass leagues above most of his peers? Yep!

The Chemical Brothers - For That Beautiful Feeling

The Chems' timeless ability to conjure such forcefully emotional push-and-pulls from their big beat stylings is why they continue to age like fine wine. Their first album post-pandemic sees them pushing celestial beams of hope through walls of psychedelic noise, soulful dance-pop and fat, fuzzy electronic riffs, the opening track's lyrics summing things up as simply but poetically as only the Chems can: 'Yeah, we'll live again.'

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.