10 essential Hyperdub releases

By in Features





Our 10 essential series sees VF and friends of VF dive into our favourite labels, artists, genres, and scenes to pick 10 essential albums, EPs or tracks for any collection. 

Founded in 2004 by Steve Goodman, aka Kode9, electronic label Hyperdub has brought forward-facing electronic music to the UK and further beyond for the past two decades.

The home of modern electronic pioneers such as Burial, DJ Rashad and Loraine James, the label has been instrumental in shaping contemporary bass music and has influenced a generation of producers and electronic fans.

As Hyperdub gracefully enters its 20th year, we flick through its catalogue to find the 10 records that are key for any collection.



Few 21st-century electronic albums can claim the impact that Burial’s Untrue has had. Imbuing an entire generation of inward-looking bedroom producers with the desire to sample the sound of vinyl crackling, Untrue showed how dance music could be a vehicle for pure unadulterated sadness. Legendarily produced using the gridless Soundforge program, Untrue fuses UK garage with foley and heartache to create a complex, haunted dystopia. A wholly unique project that still offers new surprises over 15 years later.

DJ Rashad

Double Cup

A landmark release in the footwork and dancefloor canon, DJ Rashad’s Double Cup formalised footwork for the masses. Released just six months before the artist’s passing, Double Cup opens up a world of pleasure and hedonism with its protagonist at ease both kicking it back and hitting the club. Switching it up between the tumbles of footwork, warm R&B melodies and hip-hop elements, Double Cup is a formative contemporary dance album from a genre innovator.

Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland

Black Is Beautiful

Black Is Beautiful, the 2012 collaborative project by Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland (aka Hype Williams), is a dream-like amble through disparate offerings. Charmingly intangible, its almost sketch-like songs offer a fractured vision into a hazy musical mindset that dabbles in many genres but commits to none. Much like labelmate Burial, Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland manage to capture a sense of emotion without providing judgment or a solution. Thrillingly oblique.

Jessy Lanza

Pull My Hair Back

Jessy Lanza’s 2013 debut Pull My Hair Back served as an essential introduction to perhaps Hyperdub’s greatest pop hope. A seductive, minimalist electronic pop record, Pull My Hair Back pushes the era’s mainstream electro-pop fascination to its experimental edges. Lanza resists overloading her listener, keeping each cut to its bare bones and allowing a sense of mystery and intrigue. Glimpses of this debut can be felt all over the pop spectrum in recent years, lending Pull My Hair Back an assured prescience.



Any collection of Hyperdub releases would be remiss without mention of bossman Kode9. The artist’s background can be felt all across Hyperdub’s catalogue with his futuristic vision playing a key role in many of the albums featured on this list. Kode9 released his first solo album on Hyperdub in 2015, following the passing of his collaborative partner The Spaceape. The result was Nothing, a restrained album that identifies empty moments and lingers with them. An icy, at times disquieting release, Nothing lives between footwork and grime whilst stripping them of their warm, joyous contexts. A stark soundtrack for a hard life.

Fatima Al Qadiri


Led by a striking if ultimately nonsensical cover of the late Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”, Asiatisch casts a light on the dilution of Asian, specifically Chinese, culture through the West’s soulless reproductions and approximations. Drawing from the decontextualized East Asian signifiers of the short-lived sinogrime microgenre, Asiatisch plays up the hollowness of cultural dilution by placing it under the stark spotlight of Al Qadiri’s restrained, deliberate compositions. Ironically, whilst potentially to be perceived as a critique of the genre, Asiatisch is one of its most accomplished bodies of work.

Various Artists

Diggin In The Carts: A Collection Of Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music

Born of the Red Bull Music Academy documentary of the same name, Diggin In The Carts sees documentary director Nick Dwyer and Kode9 curate a 34-track selection from the chip era of Japanese video game soundtracks. Showcasing the talent involved in these soundtracks, the compilation brings to light music that would have otherwise been left to obscurity in the notoriously under-preserved video game history books. “Some of the greatest art is created within limitations, and often the most pioneering and influential periods in electronic music have resulted from artists pushing existing technology to its limits,” the label explained upon release and Diggin In The Carts is proof of the creativity to be found within specificity.

Proc Fiskal


An intriguing entry into the instrumental grime canon, Proc Fiskal’s 2018 album Insula generates a language from 8-bit samples, familiar grime motifs and delicate ambient twinkles. Intended less for sweaty clubs and more for panicking in your room, Insula shakes with hyperactivity from its mobile notification-inspired melodies to its frantic and constant left-turns.

Cooly G

Playin’ Me

UK funky breakout Cooly G’s long-awaited debut Playin’ Me brought forward new possibilities in bass music. From the ‘hold up, I think I recognise this’ distorted cover of Coldplay’s “Trouble” to the album’s more readily dancefloor troubling moments (“What Airtime”, “It’s Serious”), Cooly G keeps proceedings lovesick while playing with the structures of her genre. An understated record that heaves with tension and desire.

Loraine James

For You And I

Loraine James’ first album for Hyperdub is an enduring blast of glitch experimentation that introduced the world to one of the most exciting producers of this generation. Constantly morphing and bursting, For You And I reflects on James’ London background and the complexities of queer identity. It’s a soulful yet stinging release that never shies away from the crushing weight of existing whilst finding poetry in its artful, jazzy arrangements. A heartfelt ode to the electronic past of London that shows a way to its future.

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