Given the abundant strength of albums released in June on the whole, and that this month coincides with the half-way point of the year, the albums on this list are, in my mind, absolutely the best and I've spent a substantial amount of time listening to them. I would have included Boards of Canada's Tomorrow's Harvest if I'd listened to it more than once; consider it an honorary mention. Without further ado:
Jon Hopkins - Immunity
At times startling and propulsive, and at others serene and delicate, Jon Hopkins has really come into his own with Immunity, one of the finest electronic albums you'll hear this year. Scarily enough it's far from the only album in this section that can sport that claim.
Justin Walter - Lullabies and Nightmares
An album of extraordinary beauty. Justin Walter creates improvised pieces for trumpet and Electronic Valve Instrument with a quality that matches the record's title. Arthur Russell inspired? Not one to be overlooked.
These New Puritans - Field Of Reeds
Review coming soon, I promise!
Young Fathers - Tape Two
I'm not even sure what this is supposed to be anymore. Album, EP or mixtape? It's a brilliantly inventive 24 minutes of experimental hip hop that surpasses the original in quality and might just be my favourite release in the genre right now.
Melt Yourself Down - Melt Yourself Down
I've been carping on about this group for so long, I don't have much left to say, except listen, because it's truly excellent. Nubian and no wave rhythms set against an electronic background from a London jazz collective? Yes.
The Focus Group - The Elektrik Karousel
For the truly strange, there exists music that sounds like the creations of Oliver Postgate set loose in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, left to recreate their own fictional landscapes. The Focus Group keep these sounds in touch, though without a conventional song structure in sight.
Holden - The Inheritors
This one feels special. On only his second proper album James Holden turns techno inside out, making daring, soulful motions out of barely recognisable musical equipment. A true original.
Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels
The long-awaited, even fabled El-P and Killer Mike collaborative album. Run The Jewels doesn't compromise on lyrical content, otherworldly production or pure passion, even more surprising considering it's a free download. If you've yet to hear these MC's, this wouldn't be a bad point of entry:
Top Albums of 2013 thus far
These are my favourite albums, EPs, mixtapes and whatever else, the ones I've spent the most time with or find myself wanting to come back to the most at this present moment, from January to June 2013, in alphabetical order:
Bambooman - Hollowed EP [Sonic Router]
clipping - midcity (mixtape) [self-released]
Inga Copeland - Don't Look Back, That's Not Where You're Going (EP) [World Music / Hippos In Tanks]
Darkstar - News From Nowhere [Warp]
Demdike Stare - Testpressing#001 / Testpressing#002 / Testpressing#003 (EPs) [Modern Love]
Dutch Uncles - Out of Touch in the Wild [Memphis Industries]
FACT mix 384 - RP Boo (May '13)
Ghostface Killah and Adrian Younge - Twelve Reasons To Die [Soul Temple]
A Hawk and A Hacksaw - You Have Already Gone To The Other World [LM Dupli-cation]
Hookworms - Pearl Mystic [Gringo]
Jon Hopkins - Immunity [Domino]
Iceage - You're Nothing [Matador]
The Knife - Shaking The Habitual [Brille / Rabid]
Steve Mason - Monkey Minds In The Devil's Time [Domino]
Melt Yourself Down - Melt Yourself Down [Leaf]
Merchandise - Totale Nite (EP) [Night-People]
My Bloody Valentine - m b v [self-released]
Pusha T - Wrath of Caine (mixtape)
RP Boo - Legacy [Planet Mu]
Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels [Fools Gold]
Savages - Silence Yourself [Matador / Pop Noire]
Serafina Steer - The Moths Are Real [Stolen Recordings]
Suede - Bloodsports [Suede Ltd]
Pete Swanson - Punk Authority (EP) [Software]
These New Puritans - Field of Reeds [Infectious Music]
Justin Walter - Lullabies and Nightmares [Kranky]
Young Fathers - Tape Two [Anticon]