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top10 2018 waveIt’s been a very prolific year for the so-called “Wave” genre. A lot of high quality releases but, oddly enough, few masterpieces. It is true that many major artists from this scene didn’t release any albums or EPs in 2018. As in previous years, there has been a growing penetration of the mainstream and of the indie-stream by musical or thematic elements coming from the Wave movement.

There are more and more young bands with a clear Postpunk orientation that are making a breakthrough in the indie scene, as for instance RENDEZ-VOUS, ICEAGE, PARQUET COURT, SHAME, IDLES, PROTOMARTYR, etc. In the Pop world, there are also a lot of references to the 80s and in TV series, soundtracks are invaded by “dark” music or by songs borrowed from the glorious days of New Wave (Deadly Class). A lot of newcomers in this Top10, which is a good omen for the future...

Covered genres: Wave, New Wave, Darkwave, Synth Pop, Postpunk, Synth Wave, Dark Ambient, Minimal Wave, Dark Tech-House, Electro Wave,...

10. Ancient Methods – ‘The Jericho Records’ (Germany, Ancient Methods)

Michael Wolenhaupt, aka ANCIENT METHODS, has released his “magnum opus”, a triple album which succeeds in merging Techno with EBM, Dark Folk and Dark Ambient, including renowned guests as KING DUDE, REGIS, CINDYTALK, ORPHX and PRURIENT. A real “tour de force”...

09. Dead Can Dance – ‘Dionysus’ (Ireland/Australia, PiaS)

The duo Lisa Gerrard - Brendan Perry gave us a gorgeous album devoted to the Dionysus God. As usual, a very introspective music, inspired by the beauty of nature and by traditional world music. Lisa Gerrard is less present than usual as a vocalist, which is a bit disappointing but the tracks are illuminated by a tribal, even shamanic presence.

08. I Tpame I Tvrame – ‘Ikin Vijnë’ (Albania, Oraculo Records)

One of the newcomers of this year: a duo from Albania composed of Franc Kurti & Dina Hajrullahu. Their music is a claustrophobic Post-Wave reminiscent of THE CURE but with Darkwave accents. Dina'’s vocals are haunting, minimal and hypnotic.

07. Villes Nouvelles – ‘At The End of Truth’ (France, Detriti Records)

Originally named CHAMBRE FROIDE, VILLES NOUVELLES is a project created in 2010 by a Parisian duo: Anne F. and Sébastien M. ‘At The End of Truth’ is their first LP and it stands out thanks to an amazing blend of Cold Wave, New Wave and Postpunk. The track ‘Leaders’ is somehow reminiscent of :CODES with its haunting, detuned vocals and is clearly one of the best tracks of the past year.

06. The Dancing Plague – ‘Pure Desperation’ (USA, Black Verb Records)

THE DANCING PLAGUE is Conor Knowles from Spokane, Washington and this guy has one of the most insane, purely Gothic voice ever heard. ‘Cataracts’ is a slow, penetrating track that pierces through your heart. A huge discovery of the past year.

05. Caustic Grip – ‘Volume 1 EP’ (Australia)

Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, CAUSTIC GRIP is the dark EBM solo project of Scud Viney, from DEADER. This amazing EP includes ‘Burn’, a true masterpiece. It combines EBM à la SKINNY PUPPY with a touch of Dark Folk, mainly thanks to an incredible chorus of masculine vocals.

04. Anna von Hausswolff – ‘Dead Magic’ (Sweden, City Slang)

The Swedish artist released her best album to date, an epic that is at the same time doomy, hypnotic and... Dark as hell. The church organ is omnipresent and Anna’s vocals are compelling, sensual and so thrilling. It’s not really a “wave” album but it has its place in a dark oriented best of 2018. Listen to the track below until the end: it’s simply hallucinatory.

03. Luminance / Pure Ground – ‘Split album’ (France/US, Die Blinden Records)

This awesome LP is a split album by LUMINANCE, i.e. DA, a French artist based in Belgium, and PURE GROUND, the famous duo from L.A. The music is a crossover between EBM, minimal Synth and Darkwave. On ‘Last Stand’, both projects collaborated and the result is an incredibly powerful and yet dreamy, even mystical composition.

02. Inhalt – Commerce EP (US, Dark Entries)

Productions from this project based in San Francisco are scarce but always essential. This is their 3rd EP, the last in a trilogy that explores capitalism and identity. The drum machines, the synths and the vocals evoke KRAFTWERK, D.A.F and GRAUZONE. Matia Simovich’s performance and production are close to perfection while Philip Winiger’s vocals, mainly in German (with a slight Swiss accent) are hauntingly beautiful. Steven Campodonico plays various synths / machines and Keven Tecon provides percussion on ‘Language’. This EP is simply the epitome of wave music...

01. Whispering Sons – Image (Belgium, PiaS)

They’re barely 20 or something but this Belgian quartet have understood what the soul of Wave music is. The album is an immersive journey into a Lynchian world full of dark, Postpunk music in which Fenne Kuppens exorcises her demons. We placed them on No. 1 position simply because they are the future of Wave music.

Honorable mentions are: Dollkraut, Lycia, Buzz Kull, Beta Evers, D.A.F, hord, Position Parallèle, The Soft Moon, Cold Cave, Sextile, IamX, Nine Inch Nails, Actors, Lebanon Hanover, Shad Shadows, John Maus, Non-Lieu, Emerald Springs, Wolvennest, Holygram and Kælan Mikla.

For the audio version of this Best-Of, listen to the WAVES radio show on Mixcloud:

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