While the music industry as a whole has been moving towards a more singles-based structure, you can't deny the impact of a quality album. The mark of any artist is how well they can put together an album, it seems. Sure, you need hits to survive, but a quality LP goes a long way in determining which artists matter, and which artists are just moving about, especially in EDM. And while production equipment and software is much easier to come by, EDM artists still get split by those who have the ability to craft a complete album and those who are just churning out tracks.
2013 is still pretty young, but we've already heard about some pretty exciting projects, from the obvious Daft Punk/Columbia signing injecting excitement into the scene, with artists like Afrojack, Tiesto, and Avicii all saying they have new projects on the horizon. We have more information on some projects than others, so instead of trying to piecemeal an idea of these together, here are the most anticipated album projects within EDM right now.
Title: Free the Universe
Label: Mad Decent
Release Date:March 12, 2013
We were actually surprised over here; February 19 came and gone and no one even mentioned that Free the Universe was pegged to drop that day. Quietly, Major Lazer's sophomore project was pushed back to March 12. We're not sure why; they have released a pair of strong singles already ("Get Free," "Jah No Partial"), and Diplo's attachment to ANYTHING is bound to at least get some eyes on the project, but the true promo push (aside from their world tour) hasn't really kicked in. Aside from Amber Coffman and Flux Pavilion, Free the Universe boasts a diverse cast of characters: Wyclef Jean, Bruno Mars, Santigold, Vybz Kartel, Yasmin, Chippy Nonstop, GTA, Ezra Koenig (of Vampire Weekend), Shaggy, Tyga, Laidback Luke, and plenty more are all listed.
In speaking to Rolling Stone, Diplo had the following to say on the project:
"The album feels like a party. At the same time, it's a concept album about freeing the universe from mental slavery.
"I didn't put any giant pop records on there – it's a little more unique. Six of the songs are rootsy, six are clubby, and three are outer-space records that I don't know what they are."
Release Date: TBA
2012 was a big year for Afrojack, and 2013 feels like he could emerge to be one of EDM's true champions... assuming his album is up to snuff. He's reportedly spent most of 2012 working on it (while juggling his DJ schedule, obviously), and he recently dropped a single, the Chris Brown-featured "As Your Friend." He's previewed a number of other tracks, including Ultra 2013's anthem "Air Guitar," and "Rocker." There's no word on a title or release date, nor do we know if Afrojack is putting this out on Wall or not. Judging by the credits on "As Your Friend," Afrojack's working with some major players, and we're waiting to see who will be featured on this project.
Release Date: Summer 2013
Disclosure received some much-needed buzz in 2012 for singles like "Latch," and kicked off 2013 with word of a new album that they were finishing in hopes to get out in the Spring/Summer of 2013. Recent word is saying that Island will drop it this Summer, but before that, the unique beauty that is "White Noise" set the world afire. Not too many singles get released a month ahead of schedule a week after being premiered, then not only kill the dance charts, but hop straight into the UK singles charts. "White Noise" got as high as #2, and is currently sitting at #5 in the UK. Not bad for a pair of brothers who are blending their own mystic brew of house and garage without convention.
Release Date: April 8, 2013
Word about James Blake's sophomore album hit fairly recently, and definitely got a lot of people talking. We don't like the term "post-dubstep," but you cannot deny the influence that scene has had on his music, and in hearing the first release, the beautiful "Retrograde," we knew that he'd not only lived up to the previous hype, but added something that will make his next album so much more.
Title: Chapter II
Release Date:February 25, 2013 or April 22, 2013
Yes, you read that right; as of now, we're seeing two dates different release dates for Benga's sophomore album, Chapter II: February 25 (aka next week), or April 22. 2012 saw Benga release six singles, including three tunes in the month of December ("We're Coming Out," "Open Your Eyees," and "To Hell and Back") that were slated for release on Chapter II. They showcased the progression in his sound, incorporating both dubstep and other UK bass music vibes, but it was the releases that dropped earlier, especially "Pour Your Love," that really clued us into Benga's growth as an artist. If there's anyone within the dubstep scene that can help elevate the genre, especially within America's pop market, Benga (with the right vocalist) could be that producer.
Release Date:Early Summer 2013
We don't have much in the way of official information on Mat Zo's album, but this versatile producer previewed some tracks in his recent Essential Mix, including "Pyramid Scheme," which is getting a lot of positive buzz. Zo's been on the come-up for a while, with Anjunabeats and Armada Music having previously snapped up tracks from him, and if the project leads up to the hype, Mat Zo will be turning heads in 2013.