EPs – the extended play. Plenty use it as a feeler to see what might work on the album, if there is one. Some artists use the EP as a way to experience less pressure. For a handful of artists their EPs can be the size of albums (Autechre are notorious for issuing hour-long or longer EPs). Length is a difficult thing to agree upon for the EP – some of the releases included on this list are considered proper albums, but as they are painfully short, they are considered EPs for the purposes of this list. The reverse is true as well – one here is technically a single, but again EP is a flexible term and ought to be treated as such.
Sometimes EPs disappear into nothingness, with the artist able to create only a few songs before ending the project. This happens a lot, and the result is the few physical remnants become collector items, salivated over, etc. Music nerds enjoy a good EP, the ability to show off the random weird stuff they listen to, how much digging they needed to do in order to find the music, and what that artist later did (if anything). I wish I could get into that level of collecting but I lack the time, effort, and ability to actually have space for physical objects.
Upon actually completing my list I realize the EPs I enjoyed the most heavily skew towards electronic. Among the EPs are some old favorites. Mouse on Mars shall forever be dear to my heart as they trade any semblance of normalcy in exchange for a veritable funhouse of mirrors distorting genres into unrecognizable shapes. Others, like Com Truise, which caught my attention a few years ago because of the ridiculous name, has become a reliably consistent project. Saint Pepsi has been a favorite for a while as each release moves closer to pop, taking a circuitous path akin to Ariel Pink’s long journey.
Far away from the shimmering pop is the intoxicating grime of Siobhan’s Southgate. Going further into the grime is the light of my life, the transcendent glory of Gem Jones. For Admiral Frenchkiss CS ends with the 60s garage rock funk as interpreted by David Lynch joy of Ectomorphic Love. To round things off is the schizoid pulse-like rhythms of Ueno Masaaki and Viet Cong’s first steps towards an album their strong “Cassette” EP.
Lots of EPs came out this year. I was fortunate enough to listen to enough of them to pare them down into a list of ten. I miss lots of releases every year. That’s why if there is anything that appears to be a glaring omission feel free to suggest it. Everyone’s list is different from mine (thank goodness) and I am always open to discovering more great groups.
- Com Truise – Wave 1
- Container – Adhesive
- Gem Jones – Admiral Frenchkiss CS
- Lee Gamble – Kuang EP
- Mouse on Mars – Spezmodia
- Rainer Veil – New Brutalism
- Saint Pepsi – Fiona Coyne/Fall Harder
- Siobhan – Southgate
- Ueno Masaaki – Vortices
- Viet Cong – “Cassette” EP