RB Exclusive Interview: Nils Hoffmann
February 2, 2023
February 2, 2023
As music consumers and purveyors, we spend a lot of time listening to music in any given year. Taking it one step further, the amount of music we’ve listened to as a team over the last decade is profound. I’m sure you can imagine the reactions when I asked our writing staff to choose just one “Album of the Decade” because the 2010’s brought us some of the most innovative and significant electronic music to date. Even though what each of us considers to be ‘best’ is subjective, I thought it’d be interesting to see what album stood out amongst the rest to those who’ve chosen to make music a major part of their daily lives. I’m excited to present our first edition of Staff Picks: Album of the Decade.
Heather Kupka, Chief Editor – Phoenix, AZ
RÜFÜS DU SOL – Bloom
When deciding what album was the “best” of the decade I had to consider certain criteria, such as production quality and craftsmanship, longevity, creativity and depth, but most importantly the album had to make me feel something (or in this case, everything). Which album checks all those boxes and more? Bloom by RÜFÜS DU SOL. To be honest, I could have chosen any of their albums as they’re all deserving of this title, but Bloom stands out as being profoundly special. It featured a new level of complexity compared to Atlas and allows for a deeper lever of escapism than their most recent album Solace. There are no fillers; each track on the album has a place and a purpose, each track approachable yet powerful. Most notable from the album, we can’t not talk about “Innerbloom.” At just under ten minutes, I still listen to the song in it’s entirety each time it comes on. You don’t just hear those chords, you feel them through your whole body. RÜFÜS DU SOL solidified their sound and their place in electronic music history with Bloom. My decade was better because of it.
Amanda Milovich, Lead Writer – Scottsdale, AZ
Porter Robinson – Worlds
Let me just begin by saying my Spotify Wrapped 2019 named Porter Robinson as my artist of the decade, so this comes at you with 10 years of data that backs this claim. His 2015 album Worlds has truly changed my life. Earlier in the decade I had dabbled in the electronic scene but wasn’t fully immersed in it until the summer of 2015. I decided to have myself a Hard Summer and saw his Live Worlds Set and I’ve been different ever since. I was so taken aback by his storytelling abilities with little to no worlds/lyrics and visuals so beautiful that they are etched into my brain forever. His music and all electronic music became my escape and my portal to sanity. Porter lovers out there know what I’m talking about and for those who aren’t, It’s never to late to take a trip around the World(s) with Porter.
Courtney Longhurst, Lead Writer – Phoenix, AZ
ODESZA – In Return
I’ll admit I had a hard time coming up with this one. Trying to narrow it down to one album over the last 10 years was no easy feat. I considered favorites like Zeds Dead’s Northern Lights and Lane 8’s Little by Little – both works of art, although I can’t help but keep coming back to this one album that first sparked my interest in EDM and is still one of my favorites to date. Odesza will always have a special place in my heart and this album is one of those that you can throw on and instantly bring your spirits up.
Grace Fell, Lead Writer – Tucson, AZ
Gesaffelstein – Aleph
Known as “the prince of darkness,” Gesaffelstein’s sinisterly innovative taste adds edgy texture into his underground techno sound. Working with synthesizers is his craft, and this is apparent in his album Aleph. It’s full of variety, with bold, confronting tracks like “Hate or Glory” and “Duel” and timeless tracks like “Pursuit” and “Hellifornia,” the latter of which has a dark trap infusion that continues to be sampled in other tracks today. Aleph, to me, is the album of the year for its impression on techno and bass music and for Gesaffelstein’s uncomfortable comfort being so ahead of electronic music’s time.
Liz Small, Staff Writer – Tempe, AZ
deadmau5 – 4×4=12
If there was one electronic album that defined the 2010’s, it was Deadmau5’s fifth studio album, 4×4=12. The album completely revolutionized electronic music and tracks like “Sofi Needs a Ladder” and “Chords” introduced electro and progressive house to the United States. However, what amazes me most about 4×4=12 is Deadmau5’s versatility; “Cthulhu Sleeps” is a ten minute throwback to early bass music, “I Said (Michael Woods Remix)” with Chris Lake is slightly trancey, and the synths in “Bad Selection” sound like something straight out of a trap drop. While every song on the album is brilliant, in my opinion, the best song is “Animal Rights.” I remember listening to this song when I was in middle school and being blown away by the groove and energy. The simple kick-snare-kick drum pattern would become a staple in electronic music and the diversity in sound design is astonishing considering that the technology was still fairly new for the time. 4×4=12 is a masterpiece, but it also represented a turning point in modern music history. For the first time ever, electronic music was becoming commercially popular in the United States and people couldn’t get enough of it. As technology advanced, electronic music did too and suddenly the world was aware that there was a new breed of rockstar among us.
Alexandra Myers, Staff Writer – Phoenix, AZ
ODESZA – A Moment Apart
Since the Washington duo emerged in 2012, they have drastically changed the world of EDM in terms of style, breathtaking production, and irresistible sound. Summer’s Gone put them on the map to the revolutionary “A Moment Apart” tour. Harrison Mills (aka Catacombkid) and Clayton Knight (aka BeachesBeaches) got together eight years ago to produce Odesza and have since garnered a dedicated following of people who can’t help but deeply feel the music. Their evangelical and visceral sound has connected every facet of the EDM community in more ways than one. As a fan, Odesza’s A Moment Apart has helped me heal, find ground through a difficult period of my life, and lead me to my amazing partner. Each track overwhelmingly brings back a nostalgia of every rave, show, festival I’ve ever been to so much so I can listen to their sound constantly. I might be biased, but it stands in my eyes as Album of the Decade, both as an evaluator of music and as a fan.
Monica Goob, Staff Writer – Glendale, AZ
Jack Ü – Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü
To me, the album of the decade is Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü. These two legendary producers came together, honoring their specific and contrasting styles, while creating a new sound as a whole. This album from Jack Ü is a non-stop thrill ride of party favorites as well as emotional hooks.
Alex Novotny, Staff Writer – Milwaukee, WI
Porter Robinson – Worlds
In 2011, Porter Robinson made history when his debut EP Spitfire was the very first release on Skrillex’s brand-new record label, OWSLA. While the EP is still cited as an iconic work of art, it is not the creation nearest and dearest to Porter’s heart. I believe that honor belongs to his 2014 debut album, Worlds. In the years between these releases, Robinson contemplated the future of EDM, his vision for his own music, and the common ground between them. In the end, we were blessed with one of the most unique, original, and inspired albums of all time. For any artist who dreams of creating something new, innovative, and ultimately unmatched, there is no album more quintessential than Worlds by Porter Robinson.
Samantha Khalil, Staff Writer – Chandler, AZ
Above & Beyond – Acoustic
This album warrants an emotional charge from listeners. When Above & Beyond re-formulated such empowering tracks and made them into an acoustic album, it truly not only changed my perception of them as artists, but shaped the passion I have for their music! It takes a lot of talent to be able to rework electronic tracks to foster a compilation filled with such instrumental variety. Their acoustic album speaks volumes given the fact that each track is so carefully orchestrated and focuses on the emotional uprise it gives to the audience. Above & Beyond, to this day, are my absolute favorite trio…I am still awaiting the time and day they get to announce yet another acoustic release so I can be in my feels yet again. A fun fact about this album, the Satellite Acoustic version will be my first dance song at my wedding in the new year!
Calvin Witmer Jr., Staff Writer – Mesa, AZ
G Jones – The Ineffable Truth
The Ineffable Truth is one of the most artistic albums I’ve ever listened to. It has a blend of both intense and beautiful sounds. Listening to it makes me feel like I’m in another world of distorted time and space, and it’s my favorite electronic album to date.
Delainey Rab, Staff Writer – Phoenix, AZ
ODESZA – In Return
It’s not very often that you find an album which fully encapsulates everything you love about music and
speaks to you instantly. For me, this album is Odesza’s In Return. Looking back at music the past decade, I could have chosen many others, but this is the one. My beloved Seattle based duo created a seemingly effortless musical work of art with In Return. From start to finish, this album is bursting with depth, beauty, and bliss. Inspirations pulled from nature and their fellow producers, like Flume and Tycho, are spot on and evident, but transcend others of similar styles at this time. The boys crafted their unique blend of electronic, indie, and pop music that is sprinkled with gorgeous female vocals with this album. The 13-track project includes some of Odesza’s biggest hits such as, “Say My Name,” “All We Need,” “Its Only,” and “Sun Models,” but between those tracks lie hidden gems filled with wind chimes, guitar chords, xylophones, and even bird chirps. Altogether, the whole work will have you wanting to both dance and lay in a field of flowers at sunset. In Return is my album of the decade because I am still in awe when I listen to it to this day, 5 years later. The detail Odesza puts in creates an indescribable yet familiar atmosphere through their music, and to me, that is what makes it so special. Their music feels like home.
As a team we’re looking forward to another decade of incredible music releases from long beloved artist and upcoming artists alike. Most importantly, we’re looking forward to sharing those moments with you all.