Soon we’ll be waving goodbye to another year and welcoming the next one, which seems like a pretty timely place to take stock.
If you cast your mind back to this time last year, you might recall that we made Seb Zito’s Truth In My Steps our number one album for 2021. In the twelve months since, we’ve been bestowed with some incredible LPs. It really has been a great year for music.
In a bid to leave no stone unturned, as well as displaying our own wide tastes, our end of year list includes House, Techno, Minimal, Ambient, Afro House, Pop and even Reggaeton.
Anyone familiar with the lady in the header image will already have some idea of where we’re heading. Without further ado, let’s introduce our album of the year followed by the rest of our 2022 highlights.
Album of the year 2022
TSHA | Capricorn Sun | Ninja Tune
Title: Capricorn Sun
Label: Ninja Tune
Sounds like: The stars aligning for one of the scene’s new breed of producers
At the start of 2022, TSHA’s horoscope might have made a vague allusion to the big year ahead of her. But even in her wildest dreams, it seems unlikely she could have foreseen picking up album of the year from multiple publications and industry bodies.
Yet that’s exactly what’s happened.
One of a handful of artists who managed to grow her profile despite the world being in lockdown, TSHA started the year carrying the burden of expectation. In delivering Capricorn Sun, she has already repaid the trust that Ninja Tune has invested in her artistry.
The Light marries autotune with Caribbean steel percussion, while OnlyL is a joyous eruption of declared infatuation. Energy levels pick up on Dancing In The Shadows. By the time the acid line arrives in the final third of the track, you’ll have jumped up from the reclusions of the shadows and be embracing the liberating rays of daylight.
There are personal cuts too, revealing her anxieties and vulnerabilities. Giving Up invites fans into the frustrations of her relationship, featuring vocals her partner Mafro. Meanwhile, Sister documents the revelation of a step-sibling she hadn’t known existed.
Such are its Pop sensibilities, listeners without so much as a passing interest in dance music could appreciate an uninterrupted play-through. It’s that pick-up-and-play accessibility that might be Capricorn Sun‘s most glaring quality.
For a producer still breaking through, that maturity does not go unnoticed.
The superstitious might think that TSHA’s rise was written in the stars. We take the more pragmatic view, that she’s just damned talented. Capricorn Sun radiates energy.
Highlights: OnlyL, Dancing In The Shadows, Giving Up, Running
Capricorn Sun was released via Ninja Tune on 7 October. PURCHASE / STREAM
More 2022 highlights
Bonobo | Fragments | Ninja Tune
Label: Ninja Tune
Sounds like: A freshwater plunge to reinvigorate the senses and blow away the cobwebs
“A prescription of aural medicine for the mind, body and soul on Ninja Tune.” READ MORE
Highlights: Polyghost, Rosewood, Otomo, Counterpart
Sven Väth | Catharsis | Cocoon Recordings
Artist: Sven Väth
Label: Cocoon Recordings
Sounds like: Purifying dance rituals and the exchange of spiritual energies most carnal
“Having shied away from the album format for so long, the legendary recording artist marks a triumphant return.” READ MORE
Highlights: Butoh, Nyx, Mystic Voices, We Are
Anna Wall | Missing Moments | Dream Theory
Artist: Anna Wall
Title: Missing Moments
Label: Dream Theory
Sounds like: Reflective ambient works that convey a sense of hopefulness in a world gone wrong
While Anna Wall started recording Missing Moments in 2018, it won’t surprise many listeners to learn that bulk of the tracks were produced during the emotionally-testing pandemic years. It’s through this outlet that allowed light into the darkness. Like a lot of ambient records, playback is one of therapy. The album includes field recordings alongside analogue synthesis, including some captured on visits to the White Isle.
There is a pensiveness to Missing Moments that underpins its daydreaming veneer. To achieve both with such delicacy is an astounding feat.
Highlights: Missing Moments, Murmurations, Alone Tonight, It Was Never The Same Again
Sweely | Only If Ur Happy | self-released
Title: Only If Ur Happy
Sounds like: The illegitimate progeny of Point G and Marc Rebillet by way of Planet Rock, ultra-reduced
Much of modern dance music cosplaying as Minimal is dull and devoid of creativity, but not Sweely’s. The Frenchman has attained a cult following due to his rich, interesting output. No doubt his disposition as a live act, as opposed to a DJ, drives this innovation. Electro influences sweep through Only If Ur Happy. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and perhaps that’s why it’s, well, happy!
Highlights: No One Thinks That, Chi-Town Shuffle, Problems, What They Want
Bad Bunny | Una Verano Sin Ti | Rimas Entertainment
Artist: Bad Bunny
Title: Una Verano Sin Ti
Label: Rimas Entertainment
Sounds like: The summer soundtrack to lazy alfresco asadors that wile out by dusk
Considering Reggaeton often comes under fire for its misogynistic and violent lyrics, Bad Bunny is a curious case. He dresses and accessorises effeminately and, while he identifies as heterosexual, has a rapport with the LGBTQIA community. Similarly, his fifth album breaks stereotype.
While Reggaeton tends to lift the riddim culture from the Dancehall, Soca and Moombahton that it emerged from, Una Verano Sin Ti dispenses with guest producers. At the same time, the circle of collaborators are entirely Latin American. Given the value of Bad Bunny’s stock, it would have been easy to call upon household names. Despite these factors, the album plays fast and loose with genre tags.
Una Verano Sin Ti almost sounds more like a mixtape than a studio album, so hit play and enjoy in the company of friends.
Gene On Earth | Time On The Vine | Limousine Dream
Artist: Gene On Earth
Title: Time On The Vine
Label: Limousine Dream
Sounds like: A loveable rogue reminding everyone to stop taking ourselves too seriously
Gene On Earth has been steadily building a following for a good while now. The eccentric Berlin-based American is a refreshing tonic. In demand as both a DJ and producer, he manages to pull off a cigar-munching, Hawaiian-shirt-wearing cartoon persona without losing any credibility. On his second album, that paradox is on gratuitous display.
Having amassed a stockpile of samples, Gene On Earth set about turning them into a collection of slick tracks with warm pads.
Where so many of his contemporaries fall down, Gene On Earth shows that is possible to make underground House music that has both groove and melody. The world would be a better place if there were more like him. That said, we kind of like that he’s one-of-a-kind.
Highlights: Pinseeker, Studio Dobra, To Bleep Or Not To Bleep, Chuggy Elements
Hyenah | Love In Times Of Crisis | Rise Music
Title: Love In Times Of Crisis
Label: Rise Music
Sounds like: The full spread of Africanised flavours from an illustrative storyteller
From the moment the percussion starts on Love In Times On Crisis, we find ourselves drawn into a sonic journey that is both captivating and diverse. Gospel, Hip-Hop, Electro and Kwaito are just some of the sights on this vibrant sonic safari, though they are stitched through an Afro House canvas. It’s in this tribe that the producer feels most in his natural habitat.
Masked Hyenah maintains an air of intrigue as a performer. By contrast, this album is a bold explosion of technicolour that delivers with conviction.
Highlights: The Balance, Afrika Electra, Moood, You Can’t Hide
Calvin Harris | Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 | Sony
Artist: Calvin Harris
Title: Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2
Sounds like: Driving down the boulevard in a convertible with the biggest recording artists in the world riding shotgun
Calvin Harris has had an exceptional year, capped by his extended residency at Ushuaïa which sold-out week after week.
Selling up in LA and relocating to a sustainable 140-acre plot at Terra Masia in the Ibizan countryside marked a turning point for the Scotsman. Not because his profile shrank, but quite the opposite. What it showed was his desire for a slower pace of life – as reflected in his most recent output. Much like Vol. 1, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 dials back the BPM.
Calvin Harris rolls out the red carpet for guest appearances from Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes. Despite these A-listers, it’s cameos from Stefflon Don, UK Funky legend Donae’o and Clipse rapper Pusha T that provide the real talking points.
Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 is more a Hip-Pop album than a dance music album. Nevertheless, the production values are hard to ignore. Is there a more accomplished producer than Calvin Harris in the world right now?
Highlights: Woman Of The Year, Stay With Me (Part Two), Obsessed
Kerri Chandler | Spaces & Places | Kaoz Theory
Artist: Kerri Chandler
Title: Spaces & Places
Label: Kaoz Theory
Sounds like: Your favourite clubs brought to life
When the world stopped, the music faded out and sacred places lay in suspended animation, literal shells of their intended purpose. Kerri Chandler wasn’t prepared to let his creativity sleep over the same period. And so he embarked on an ambitious album project that saw him visit the venues fondest to him. At each location, he would both record within and be inspired by these make-shift studios – some purpose-built clubs, others reclaimed industrial sites; but all with character and a unique acoustic signature.
Spaces & Places is the sum of this project, including odes to DC10, Watergate, Output and Mayfield Depot. It’s a documentation of club culture. Add that each track was recorded using the latest spatial audio technology, and it’s clear we have a special album on our hands.
At 24 tracks and running over a total of three hours of play time, it could be argued that Spaces & Places is more a boxset than an album. It’s as vast as some of the settings this body of work plays homage to.
That Kerri manages to keep our attention from start to finish, is the biggest seal of approval for his unwavering talent.
For those that love wax, a repressing has just been announced. That will have made quite a nice stocking filler for some lucky recipients this Christmas.
Highlights: Never Thought, You Get Lost In It, Hurry Up, Who Knows
Honey Dijon | Black Girl Magic | Classic Music Co.
Artist: Honey Dijon
Title: Black Girl Magic
Label: Classic Music Co.
Sounds like: An empowered scene matriarch unleashing her fierce roar
“Black Girl Magic is a powerful physical manifestation of Honey Dijon’s multi-disciplinary artistry and intersectional identity.” READ MORE
Highlights: Show Me Some Love, Downtown, Don’t Be Afraid, La Femme Fantastique
Carl Cox | Electronic Generations | BMG
Artist: Carl Cox
Title: Electronic Generations
Sounds like: A much-loved veteran marching to the beat of his own bass drum
“Electronic Generations displays a producer in full flow, pushing himself and refusing to be complacent.” READ MORE
Highlights: Bring It Back, Toys Out Of The Pram, See The Sun Rising
- Bonobo | Fragments | Ninja Tune | January
- Sven Väth | Catharsis | Cocoon Recordings | February
- Anna Wall | Missing Moments | Dream Theory | March
- Sweely | Only If Ur Happy | self-released | April
- Bad Bunny | Una Verano Sin Ti | Rimas Entertainment | May
- Gene On Earth | Time On The Vine | Limousine Dream | June
- Hyenah | Love In Times Of Crisis | Rise Music | July
- Calvin Harris | Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 | Sony | August
- Kerri Chandler | Spaces & Places | Kaoz Theory | September
- TSHA | Capricorn Sun | Ninja Tune | October (Ibiza Spotlight’s 2022 album of the year)
- Honey Dijon | Black Girl Magic | Classic Music Co. | November
- Carl Cox | Electronic Generations | BMG | December
Once you’ve worked your way through our picks above, you can find more music the Ibiza Spotlight team is feeling by visiting and subscribing to our Spotify channel.
We’ll be back in January to start a new year of electronic album reviews.
If we don’t see you over the New Year period, then we’ll catch you on the dancefloor this summer. As ever, stay up to date with the latest Ibiza 2023 news by following our social channels and bookmarking our magazine homepage.
From all the team, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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