The stylistic borders of electronic music only expanded further in 2021, but this list below shows how artists across genres and continents found so much in common to share. Shows and parties returned, inspiring excitement and hesitation in equal measure. Some found comfort in tough times by honing their craft or reinventing their music entirely. Everyone seemed to get burnt out on ambient music — so some curdled it into something darker or satirized it or transcended the term entirely.
Like last year, many of these releases reflected periods of isolation, but I’m struck by how much people connected and collaborated through these albums, sometimes without ever being in the same room. In fact, some of the standout artists of this year, such as Eden Samara or Iceboy Violet, only showed up in features on wildly different albums from this list.
Here you’ll find the 10 best electronic albums of 2021, a year that inspired so much more than that. Check out the list (and a playlist of favorite tracks) below and leave your own favorites in the comments.