- Bess — “Dragonfly”, 2019.
Luscious femme-forward electro that echoes Switchblade Symphony but with far more emphasis on the switchblades.
- Sierra — “Gone”, 2019.
Criminally perfect retro wave electro funk that holds you by the hair and forces you to nod along with every deep black barb-wired hook. Physicists have determined that this song’s kick drum will appear as the new heaviest element on the Periodic Table.
- Silent Runners — “Forgotten”, 2019.
I love the metronomic build of this song, but that drop at 3 minutes, the low rolling tension and the retaliatory backhand before the curtains close is fucking auditory cinema. A highlight song from a highlight album.
- Tor Lundvall — “The Night Watch”, 2019.
This passionate, gloomy synthpop poem feels like summer at 9 pm where the sun recedes and the ghosts shimmer at the edge of the trees.
- Rhys Fulber & Blush Response — “Dissipate”, 2019.
The rolling bowels and bleak pad work of this song are the soundtrack to every slow-motion vampire rave. Play this over the opening scene of “Blade” instead of that trash New Order remix.
- Panther Modern — “Body//reaction”, 2019.
The high-water mark of modern synthpunk with production so tight it could shelter life in outer space.
- Einstürzende Neubauten — “Feurio!”, 1989.
I my love/hate for this band swings hard for “love” on this track, a sonic wall of bedlam that plows through a sound system like a heaving, steaming 18-wheeler that blew half its tires on its climb out of hell.
- Grauzone — “Eisbaer”, 1980.
Stone classic German coldwave. Come for the gimmick, stay for the bass, collapse with that closing saxophone.
- Individual Totem — “Subsistence”, 1997.
This track — crunchy beats, immaculate sound design, emotive singing — is mother electro’s warmest embrace. No one else except Haujobb and Forme Tadre had perfected the science of this sound in the 90s.
- Sabotage Q.C.Q.C. — “Les fleurs du mal”, 1995.
Second only to maybe Die Form when it comes to beats, latex and sweat.
- Mascarpone — “Faceless”, 2019.
The horror scream is a dumb trope, but the demonic acid-drenched bassline and skull-slapping kick drum more than cover for the sins of cliched sampling. The less obvious beauty is the chameleon-shifting melodies and rhythms that keep the water roiling across every moment.
- Kontravoid — “Hold Nothing”, 2018.
It’s hard not to unclench your jaw in this tough-as-nails EBM workout. The tension between kicks hangs like blood in the air, and the ripping body blows don’t relinquish their assault until your bones hit the floor.
- Skinny Puppy — “Tin Omen 1”, 1990.
One of the absolute gems in Puppy’s canon, this descent into hell is all three members unleashed and unhinged, a free fall of righteous fury and vengeful intent. (This version, from the “Worlock” single, removes the production muck of the album cut.)
- And One — “Ghama Voodoo”, 1995.
A b-side to the “Deutschmaschine” single, this is the soundtrack to sinking, a long, slow immersion into a sensory-deprived abyss of grey.