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The 50 Best Albums of 2014 | 40 - 31

Rustie, Yelle, Dorian Concept, Tycho and more make their marks on the second installment of our Albums of the Year.

40. Rustie | Trick [Warp]

Rustie described Green Language to critics as a "more serious" affair than we'd come to expect from him following Glass Swords, his 2011 debut, and more serious it was indeed. That seriousness did not, however, preclude Rustie from maintaining his characteristically short attention span between tracks. From the frantic synths of "Raptor" to the catchy hooks of "Lost", Green Language is a journey from the lushness of where Rustie's sound originated to the weirdness of where it's going next. -ZR

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39. Throwing Snow | Mosaic [Houndstooth]

Houndstooth, London mega-club Fabric's in-house label enterprise, has been quietly amassing a catalogue of dark, leftist, dance-adjacent music that is at once challenging and engrossing. Of the lot, Throwing Snow's debut album Mosaic is a standout. The very first note of opening track "Avarice" offers an ominous monition of the darkness to follow. "The Tempest" featuring Adda Kaleh is the most celebrated tune, but tracks like "Pathfinder," "Hypnotize" and "All the Lights" find the album merging elements of bass music, juke, jungle, jazz and post-rock. The whole thing is a wholly unique and gripping proposition and may just leave you in a moody funk for hours… in a good way! -JK

38. Yelle | Complètement Fou [Kemosabe Records]

Even if you don't speak French, it's easy to hear how much fun Yelle is having on its third album, Complètement Fou, the first without former member Tanguy Destable (Tepr). While the tecktonik days are far behind them, what with Dr. Luke co-producing and co-writing the title track and three others on the album, Yelle doesn't stray far from the electropop verve that defines them. The album's coterie of producers, like LA-based duo Oliver, Billboard, Kool Kojak, Tacteel and even Luke, are merely along for the ride as the indomitable combined forces of Julie Budet (Yelle) and Jean-François Perrier (GrandMarnier) whip up their typically confectionary blend of sweet soprano vocal harmonies and muscular electro best heard on on tracks "Moteur action" and "Coca sans bulles." Completely crazy? Peut-être, and that's why we love it. -ZM

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37. Bassnectar | NVSB [Amorphous Music]

In examining California bass icon Lorin Ashton's tenth studio effort, one should start by looking at the title's acronym: noise vs beauty. It's a tension that has been at the artist's core for the entirety of his career (and perhaps at the core of all bass music), and one he's been perfecting and evolving, year after year. On NVSB, Ashton continues examining the limits, and far-reaching possibilities of the marriage between his iconic earth-shattering sub-bass and underlying delicate overtones—he even goes so far as to separate the two spectrums in a literal form, splitting the album into two discs (for those who still buy CDs), "Noise" and "Beauty." With a few more approachable cuts like "Now" (featuring Rye Rye), as well as an arsenal of 808 jams, NSVB is a reflection of an artist's psyche: complex, unafraid, and yeah, really obsessed with bass. -DG

36. Puff Daddy & Guy Gerber | 11 11 

Puff Daddy AKA P. Diddy AKA Diddy AKA Sean Combs made the most challenging and risky decision of his career in teaming up with world-roving techno provocateur Guy Gerber on 11 11. As he boldly stated at the album's premiere party in Miami last march, Diddy wanted to call the album "Ketamine." Gerber had also joked about calling it "K-Train to Paris." Indeed, the seemingly disparate worlds of hip-hop and dance music, New York and Ibiza, collided in a ketamine-soaked haze that exposed a new creative frontier for Diddy, alongside a heretofore unseen emotive vulnerability that stands in stark contrast to dominant tropes in hip-hop. Gerber's creative energy zips all over the release, elevating his professional profile to mainstream levels in the meantime… if only for a moment. -JK

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35: Darius | Romance EP [Roche Musique]

This is the collection that has put Parisian producer Darius on the map beyond France. Though he has gone on to receive an enormous response to his remixes of MØ's "Don't Wanna Dance," Bondax's "All I See" and The Magician's "Sunlight," it was Romance and its furiously-catchy single, "Hot Hands," that deserves the most attention. The EP shows the world that France is still home to the world's most cutting-edge house music, a polite reminder that popularity and conformity aren't consumate besties. "S/ash" was the soundtrack to countless brunches while "Vanyll" was the soundtrack to countless beddings. Romance is a terrifically sensual release for any man or woman who knows how to connect with sensitive side. -ZR

34: Theo Parrish | American Intelligence [Sound Signature]

Detroit producer and DJ Theo Parrish's fourth solo album American Intelligence is the sonic incarnation of a line in the sand. It resonates equal part musical declaration and journey, unfolding a procession of jarring, social, and spiritual opuses for just over two hours. Everything is clear in its intent to be controversial—the play on paradox of the title, hefty $50 price tag, the length, the content, Theo's admonishing stare adorning the cover—and also doesn't shy away from reviving much needed social commentary in music. But while Theo is fond of pushing all kind of buttons, American Intelligence is also, importantly, a personal exploration of his significant capabilities as a producer and artist. -MC (Recloose)

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33. Dorian Concept | Joined Ends [Ninjatune]

Dorian Concept's second full-length, his first for seminal lefty electronic label Ninja Tune, is a lush treatise on how far bedroom pop can be taken while teetering on the edge of the organic/electronic divide. The RBMA grad and one-time Flying Lotus tour keyboardist whittled together a concise collection of tunes that is emotive and reflective in tone, flawless in construction. Every once in a while, there's a dancefloor-ready curveball like the undeniable "Draft Culture" that rips you out of subtle mutedness that underlies proceedings.  -JK

32. Tycho | Awake [Ghostly International]

Lush, ethereal, and emotional—Tycho's follow up LP to his groundbreaking 2011 Ghostly album, Dive, finds producer/musician Scott Hanson in perfect form, providing a slowly unfolding plethora of ambient lullabies that breeze gently through your entire makeup, giving you everything you know and want in a headphone experience. The album's undeniable standout, "Awake," embodies Hanson's penchant for unraveling downtempo, the kind that's consistently layered with uplifting chord progressions, percussion and a sublime airiness equally fit for a walk in the outdoors or lying on your bed, staring up at the ceiling. -DG

31. Technimatic | Desire Paths  [Shogun Audio]

In a year with a number of notable drum 'n' bass releases, Technimatic's Desire Paths, released on seminal UK d'n'b label Shogun, takes the nod thanks to both the breadth and musicality of the album. Whereas many bass music producers are hung out to dry in album format because of a limited aesthetic palate, Technimatic flourish. The album never stands still. From club-ready rollers like "Tectonic" to the irrefutably evocative "Looking for Diversion," it functions as an important artistic contribution that relies on musicality as much as it does on technical production—that's a rarity in this genre. -JK

Words by THUMP staff: Zel McCarthyJemayel KhawajaMichelle LhooqDavid GarberZiad Ramley and Joel Fowler.

The 50 Best Albums of 2014 | No. 50 - 41 | No. 40 - 31 | No. 30 - 21 | No. 20 - 11 | No. 10 - 1