Hexstatic--Master-View: Crazy, catchy electro, these guys are fun for the eyes as well as the ears: the CD comes with a DVD of videos for all of the tracks, and weird 3D things for several of them. The music alone is worthwhile stuff, somewhere in the funky jazz-house zone, with bits of hip-hop. The videos... well, this is a music post, right? I haven't seen them yet, but their reputation gves me high hopes. Even if they suck, I'm not disappointed in my purchase though!
Various artists--Behind the Eye vol. II: A rare find compilation of old trance and psy-trance classics. One of the tracks is an old favorite, Cygnus X's take on "The Orange Theme"; the whole disc is a summary of all that was good in mid-90's trance, though. Not too hard, just the right blend of spaciness and danceability. I didn't pay too much attention to the price--it's used, right?--until the clerk asked me if I was sure: it was listed for $49.99. After a brief discussion, some internet research, and a bit of wheeling and dealing, I ended up getting it at the much less heart-stopping price of $17.99; yay me!
Alias & Tarsier--Plane that Draws a White Line: Abstract hip-hop is pretty neat stuff; this is close to trip-hop or downtempo in feel. This album looks back, albeit gently, to the events of 9/11, and was in fact released on the 5-year anniversary of the attack. This isn't party music, but listening to it alone is an oddly peaceful experience.
Pet Shop Boys--Disco Four: A disk of remixes by the PSB, about half of it of their own stuff. It's a pretty odd, fun, dancey little set, with source material ranging from Yoko Ono to Rammstein. theweaselking would be amused, I'm sure.
n-trance--electronic pleasure: Dance music again, this time in the techno/house line. The top single from this album is a cover of "Stayin' Alive", which was pretty much inescapable in the late 90's, but a lot of the stuff on the disc is solid, pumping material. As is often the case with techno albums, the intro is a bit over the top, but once that's over with, it's pretty much all easy to get along with.
Yello--You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess: This was a "maybe" which I ended up getting pretty much for free. The track "Swing" is my main justification for wanting it, although a bit of crazy 80's Swiss electro/synthpop really can't go too far wrong, right? Plus, the fact that the lead singer was a "millionaire industrialist and gambler" before starting a music career is just over the top.
Various artists--Breakfast Club Paris: That café sound, more mellow than most of the Paris stuff I have (thus the "Breakfast"). It's cool music that can stay in the background if you want, but it also bears deliberate listening to, featuring lots of interesting vocalists and a wide spectrum of sounds within the envelope of the disc's mood. Even though not all, or even a majority, of the artists featured are French, there is a certain Parisian aesthetic which shows through it all. Other European cities doubtless have their "sounds," but I haven't found discs that define them the way the various Paris compilations fit together.
Deep Forest--Music Detected: This disc is quite different from DF's other offerings, and quite varied within itself. There are a lot of collaborations, and I think it's the best of the albums I have from them. It invites comparison--although maybe a bit oblique--with Vangelis' album Direct in being a rather significant departure from the artists' established patterns, tending more towards integration of electronica, world and rock styles. This was a "maybe" originally, but listening to it all the way through, it's growing on me quite a lot. This music is earnest and warm, with an openness that is uncommon enough to startle listeners used to electronica's customary "coolness."
Purple Penguin--Question: Deep house/trip hop, not very well-known. Some vocals, instrumental loops from hither and yon, lots of knockin' beat, a few samples, and the occasional nicely-placed silence. The bonus tracks got an extra dose of the funk; it is impossible not to bop to these last two songs. This is a very cool sound, well-suited for a hip, happening lounge. No blue jeans or athletic shoes please.
Le Duc--célébration: There are a bunch of you on my flist who I think would probably really like this disc of spiritually inspired electro/world music from France. This artist is quite little-known from what I can tell, even though the disc is released through Nettwerk in North America. This could be considered trance-ish (or even psy-trance) because of the extensive use of synth loops, weird vocal samples, and interesting beats and basslines, but there's too much melodic stuff going on on some tracks for it to all fit in that category, in my opinion. Overall, it's mostly upbeat, although it's not exactly standard fare for the dance club.
Jeff Grenier--Soul Submission: Rock-flavored trip hop, warmer than the Purple Penguin, cooler than the Deep Forest, and more energetic than the Alias & Tarsier. Again, this is not a well-known artist (Windows Media Player can't even find a CDDB entry for this one!); being Canadian probably doesn't help, and this first release is from 2007. Perhaps also against him is that this doesn't fit into a nice marketing slot, so he'll be skipped over by the mavens who specialize in specific, well-defined subgenres. The vocals and song structure owe more to rock than to electro, which isn't surprising given Grenier's background in bands Still Missing and Refuel. While this may feel a bit unpolished in spots, it's definitely fresh, original work, and I'll keep an eye out for more releases from him.