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10 Electronic Music Releases That Stood Out in the Second Half of 2023

End of the year reflections on the state of an industry are a common practice now. As 2023 comes to close, we’re taking a look at 10 releases that stood out in the second half of the year.

1.⁠ ⁠Sapta – X

Being one of the most popular live electronica acts in India, Sapta released his tenth album X earlier this year. Wrapping up a wild era, X is a collection of distinct stories, experiences & journeys compiled into a unique sound. With 10 powerful tracks featuring 5 cross-genre artists from across the globe, Sapta brings to the table everything modern electronica has to offer.

Standout Track: ‘Infinite Identities’ for showcasing the evolution of the Sapta sound that has become so truly iconic.

2.⁠ ⁠Rafiki – New Shifts

Buy the album at Rafiki – New Shifts

Rafiki, aka Sohail Arora, is a mainstay of the Indian electronic music scene. From curating gigs at the OG Blue Frog to founding KRUNK, one of the most successful dance music labels in the country, his passion for music has been evident since the beginning. As Rafiki though, he stepped away from curating acts and into creating dance music. In his latest EP, New Shifts, he switches across house, acid, breaks, and even techno to experiment with rhythms and melodies.

Standout Track: ‘5 AM Dub’ for its Afro rhythms and fusion sounds.

3.⁠ ⁠SHFT – Samurai

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Buy the album at SHFT – Samurai

Producer, DJ, and mastering engineer, SHFT, has been at the forefront of electronic music for over a decade. His EP, Samurai, which was released in September this year, shows us why. Sonically tracing the narrative of a samurai awakening in a deep forest and preparing for a battle, it explores rhythm and boundless soundscapes, crafting an elusive narrative through textured cadences and intricate patterns. With its seamless transition between genres, it is an example of SHFT’s stronghold on sound design and mixing.

Standout Track: ‘Quantam Forest’ for its patient buildup and evocative sound design.

4.⁠ ⁠Midnight Traffic – Option Paralysis

Buy the album at Midnight Traffic – Option Paralysis

In the fast-changing world of Indian electronic music, artists find it exciting to explore new formats to engage with the audience. Option Paralysis Vol.1 is a 4-track EP, the first in a series of Bandcamp exclusive releases by Hyderabad-based Producer/ DJ, Rishi aka Midnight Traffic. He has been producing music for over 8 years now, with frequent releases on Indian label Qilla Records and imprints like Berlin-based Charybdis and The God’s Planet from Italy, to name a few. With Option Paralysis, he brings his techno-infused sounds into new genres that foreground the storytelling inherent in his work

Standout Track: ‘Thaamara’ for its breaks that complement the larger-than-life atmosphere of the EP.

5.⁠ ⁠Alter Being – Pradiate Hoax Buy the album at ALTERBEING by Pradiate Hoax

Earlier this year, we wrote about the growing electronic music scene in West Bengal. Minimal abstract electronic tones, harsh noise and a sonic landscape of distorted percussions come together in ALTERBEING, the first release on the new label dhooooooomketu by the West Bengal based musician Pradiate Hoax. In line with the fresh perspective and strong focus on storytelling coming out of West Bengal, Alterbeing is a journey through space and time to land at a sound that blurs the boundary between noise and music.

Standout Track: ‘Breathless’ for the switch between the minimal and maximal which showcases the true depth of the work.

6.⁠ ⁠Raat Rani – KISS NUKA

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Buy the album at Raat Rani by Kiss Nuka

After the success of Serpentine, Kiss Nuka has become a regular feature on dance floors across the country. Evolving from the visceral feeling of Serpentine, in Raat Rani she weaves tribal beats, growling basslines, warm melodic elements, animal calls and earth sounds into influences from trip-hop, electro, four on the floor, and drum and bass, blending it all into dance music’s boundless energy, transforming everything in its path.

Standout Track: ‘Raat Rani’ for its transition from Kiss Nuka’s standout vocals to drum and bass rhythms that decimate the dance floor.

7.⁠ ⁠bleep by Shantam

Buy the EP at bleep by Shantam

Perhaps lesser known in the mainstream than some of the names on this list, but one of the top electronic music producers in India, Shantam’s latest on noosphere is a treat to ears that appreciate the craft behind EDM. Recalling the likes of Squarepusher and Aphex Twin, bleep is an EP that can easily stand up to the standards of global IDM.

Standout Track: ‘fcx’ for highlighting that IDM is melodies, rhythms and pace all come together in one tightly produced track

8.⁠ ⁠The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Sandunes

Buy the album at The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Sandunes

Sandunes, or Sanaya, has been a significant artist for the evolution of electronic music in India. While electronic music and dance music have been colluded since it became a thing in India, Sanaya has continuously and boldly explored electronic music that is soulful and ambient. With her latest album, she continues to explore her connection to the Earth and the strong ecological focus of her sound experiments.

Standout Track: ‘Pelican Dance’ for its retrospective quality complemented by the melodic chatter of the marimba.

9. Stain – Moral Dysfunction

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Buy the EP at Moral Dysfunction EP by Stain

They say that writing music is a daily practice that takes patience and Stain is the perfect embodiment of this. After the resounding success of his previous singles, including the collaborative tracks ‘Delhi Birds’ with Zed Bias and ‘Rent Request’ with DJ Plead, New Delhi’s very own dubstep maestro, Stain, is back with a solo project that’s bound to resonate with his dedicated core audience. Titled “Moral Dysfunction,” this 3-track EP is a testament to Stain’s unwavering commitment to pushing musical boundaries.

Standout Track: ‘Bhul Jao’ for the melodic lead and the dub beats that put you in the mood to forget everything except the music.

10. Seasonal Affected Beats – Where the Ice Meets Water

Where the Ice Meets the Water by Seasonal Affected Beats, Tarun Balani

Tarun Balani’s moniker, Seasonal Affected Beats, is an ode to minimalist electronic music with a maximalist message, in this case, that of climate change. In his debut album, he channels soulful sequences sounded by legendary synthesisers set to evolve over time. Each track is inspired by a narrative of climate change that personally touched the artist’s life reflecting in the depth with which the album touches you.

Standout Track: ‘Southern Oscillation’ for the stunning evolution of a sequence that is simple but beautiful.

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