Best Albums of 2014
selected by Henrik Ehte from The Baltic Scene

Tommy Cash <BR>“Euroz Dollaz Yeniz”

Tommy Cash
“Euroz Dollaz Yeniz”

Most freakish musical phenomena arising from the area. Probably. You never know. For me, the jury is still out on where he lands on the authenticity spectrum. His nasal rapping style is quite unique, and the accent doesn’t hold back on the weird. Still, the prevailing comparisons to Die Antwoord have cast a shadow, perhaps contributing to the hi-hat shattering trap or Gangnam-style sampling hardstyle tracks.

Before instant fame on Estonian scene, Tommy had some rap demos sampling Britney Spears – entertaining stuff that was hard to wrap your head around. Now, those nonsensical lyrics have been swapped with an ego trip; and the no-fucks-given attitude with an ambition to produce something for oversees markets.

♪♫ Listen: “Euroz Dollaz Yeniz

Tommy Cash on www, Soundcloud, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter.

Maria Minerva <BR>“Histrionic”

Maria Minerva

Until now, I’ve shrugged off Maria Minerva’s avant-garde experiments in electronica as ambiguous. The song „The Beginning” off her third full-length “Histrionic” manages to do something to me, though. And I’m not the only one. Miss Minerva has received attention from outlets like Pitchfork and The Quietus, positive one at that.

Signed to a Los Angeles-based label Not Not Fun, she’s one of those artists who skipped the Estonian chapter. Going about her
business in London and U.S, I’ll make sure to listen more closely from here on out.

♪♫ Listen: “The Beginning

Maria Minerva on www, Soundcloud, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter.

Inga Copeland <BR>“Because I’m Worth It”

Inga Copeland
“Because I’m Worth It”

Inga Copeland’s first debut solo full-length comes in form of “Because I’m Worth It.” Reluctant to give interviews, she’s letting her music – namely the discombobulating static noises, clicks and voices – do the speaking.

Seems like it’s working, as the likes of Pitchfork and Resident Advisor have taken strides to decypher the works of the “abstract beatmaker”. It’s a disturbing listen to say the least, but interesting enough to delve into at moments of dancing offbeat with your confusion.

♪♫ Listen: “Fit

Inga Copeland on YouTube.

Greeneyed Meganekko <BR>“Vernorexia”

Greeneyed Meganekko

Something about this 16-year old girl’s music captivates. Greeneyed Meganekko is an Estonian-Russian producer and a visual artist. So, as a non-Russian speaking listener, I’ve got no idea what she’s rapping about. But it’s damn cool.

Seems that fascination with everything Japanese – and thus freaky – has resulted in this unpolished hikki-core (?!) music. It will be interesting to see which lines of flight she pursues on her next records.

♪♫ Listen: “Radost Moya” + album stream

Greeneyed Meganekko on Bandcamp, YouTube, VK – and beehype.

W.T. Drones <BR>“W.T. Drones”

W.T. Drones
“W.T. Drones”

W.T. Drones, the original odd-couple – vocalist and artist Anthony Mills from Akron, Ohio vs. his cosmic twin Janno Vainik aka Ki En Ra from Estonia – put out their debut 12” EP on Estonian boutique record label Onesense Music.

These nu-soul, experimental beatscapes aren’t easy to capture into words, but I’d be willing to make a bet that if the L.A beat scene producers, e.g. Flying Lotus or HudMo would hear the EP, they would get curious.

♪♫ Listen: “Digits” + album stream

W.T. Drones on Soundcloud, YouTube.

KENE <BR>“Kene”


At first I was pissed off at Kene for heavily borrowing from her predecessors. While critics drew comparison to Patti Smith and PJ Harvey, a few of the six tracks on her debut solo album made me think of concrete songs (try: “Valley” vs Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” or “Black Dreams” vs Black Sabbath’s “Solitude”).

Admittedly, I caved in at one point, recognized that every cultural creation is a cross-road of its author’s life experience and grew fond of her self-titled EP.

There are hints of authenticity on the record, some shadowy sexiness to the thing. But she must pursue new lines of flight to make those
comparisons more difficult.

♪♫ Listen: “Black Dreams” + album stream

Kene on www, Soundcloud, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook.

Marten Kuningas <BR>“Praktiline Mees”

Marten Kuningas
“Praktiline Mees”

Admittedly not big on indie music, I sometimes get vowed by its more alternative, at times psychedelic, expressions. Lead single “Tagurpidi Vaal” serves as an examples, casting an insurmountable shadow to… those other tracks on Marten’s second LP.

Seriously, this song is hard not to like even if your main dish is Scandinavian death metal or 90s happy hardcore.

♪♫ Listen: “Tagurpidi vaal

Marten Kuningas and Soundcloud, Facebook – and beehype.

Profile <BR>“Southside Stories”

“Southside Stories”

The heartbeats of the streets in Viljandi Old Town resonate with the soundscapes created by Profile.

Minimal means in gaining maximum impact isn’t a rule but it’s certainly a notion the dubtechno devotee will find by this low-key producer out of Estonia.

♪♫ Listen: “Southside Stories

Profile on Soundcloud, Tumblr.

Elephants From Neptune <BR>“Pressure and Pleasure”

Elephants From Neptune
“Pressure and Pleasure”

Riff-rockers par excellence, Tallinn-based Elephants From Neptune offer their fourth record in form of „Pressure and Pleasure”.

Bagging the award for the „Rock Album of the Year” at EMA 2014, it seems the Estonian people have collectively decided that these are the disorderly mammals whose music and Fujita-scale-shattering stage shows one should experience.

♪♫ Listen: “Unriddle Me

Elephants From Neptune on Soundcloud, YouTube, Facebook.

Trad. Attack! <BR>“Trad. Attack!” EP

Trad. Attack!
“Trad. Attack!” EP

While Trad. Attack! is a new band, it gathers three musicians whose names are a given in Estonian folk collectives. Dividing their creativity between multiple projects isn’t a problem, though.

The concept of Trad. Attack! as presented on their self-titled EP is to take early folk music recordings, sample the interesting chants, add some fx and proceed to jam on top with drums, bagpipe and guitar. Ever been to a folk disco?

♪♫ Listen: “Kuukene

Trad. Attack! on www, Soundcloud, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.

Curly Strings <BR>“Üle Ilma”

Curly Strings
“Üle Ilma”

Folk music in Estonia, let’s just say, it has a special effect. We’ve got receptors that trigger to jovial string music. Couple them with awe-inspiring vocals, lyrics touching on deeper sentiments and vóila! You’ve got yourself a supranational sensation.

Curly Strings add their own authentic feel to a music genre that’s been done inside out. It’ll be interesting to see how the busiest folk musicians in Estonia continue to feed Jaanituli (Note: trnl. Yearly bonfire in Estonian culture).

♪♫ Listen: “Maailm heliseb

Curly Strings on www, Soundcloud, YouTube, Facebook.

Rotrum <BR>“High Up In the Trees”

“High Up In the Trees”

Mysterioso producer Rotrum will be forced out of his anonymity if he keeps providing like this. The unnamed Estonian’s third long-play album swings rhythmically on the patterns of ancient natives.

Respectfully, though, honoring the spirits. Psychedelic and experimental at places, we’re also treated to danceable tracks with added value for hypnotic artists, DJs and sensory-deprivation tank floaters.

♪♫ Listen: “High Up In The Trees” + album stream

Biit Me Records on www, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Ajukaja & Andrevski <BR>“Rare Birds”

Ajukaja & Andrevski
“Rare Birds”

Forebearer of Estonian techno and house scene, Raul Saaremets also known as Ajukaja must be living in a room full of old analog music equipment.

With his counterpart Andrevski, they’ve tweaked together “Rare Birds” – a minimalistic deep house EP etched in vinyl by London-based Levels imprint.

These blips and bleeps resonated well in Western Europe’s underground club scene thanks to in no small part to radio support from guys like Gilles Peterson and Benji B.

♪♫ Listen: “Rare Birds

Ajukaja on Soundcloud, Twitter, Facebook.

Vaiko Eplik <BR>“Nõgesed”

Vaiko Eplik

Tagged as Rapla soul, this is the LP to which the artist from the small-town of Rapla left parts of his deeper core. Quite a bit of energy was spent as well – on the presumptive breakup album, he authored the tunes, lyrics and played all the instruments.

Seventh in line for Vaiko Eplik, the album came out on his own Mortimer Snerd label. “Nõgesed” serves as yet another explanation of why this artist stands in a league of his own. Only thing I’m wondering is whether he’ll get tired of this demigod status. After all, how long does it suffice to rule the music scene of a country with a population of 1,4 million strong?

He’s diligent in writing only Estonian language lyrics and giving a homebrew touch to different styles of music (e.g. bossa-nova on the 2nd album he put out in 2014). Nevertheless, every foreigner I’ve heard comment on his music has been awestruck. Whether because of the complex layers of instrumental and vocal arrangements or the vibe in general – he rarely leaves anyone unfazed.

With this kind of universal acceptance of his ways, I’d say wider recognition isn’t a matter of “if” but “when.”

♪♫ Listen: “Mõtetes Mõrudais

Vaiko Eplik on Soundcloud, Facebook – and beehype.