New albums to look out for in February

By in Features





This month’s wantlist

Our favourite new albums to look out for in February, selected by VF’s Gabriela Helfet.

Nana Yamato

Before Sunrise

(Dull Tools)

Due: 5th February

Japanese musician Nana Yamato’s Before Sunrise is a glittering, synthesizer-fuelled-pop via Nippon-indie-electronica ode to her hometown of Tokyo. Sung in Japanese and English, Yamato thematically explores the loneliness of the city alongside her own dreams, to conjure “the language of living in ones own imagination”. Like the subjects it covers, sonically the album is dreamy indeed.

Animal Collective



Due: 16th February

Animal Collective unveil their score for Crestone – the story of a group of rappers who live in Coloradio’s Crestone desert – this month. Speaking about its creation, Josh “Deakin” Dibb shares: “for me, the initial phase of developing the ideas for this was just to pull up a scene and sit down at my piano and improvise to the energy I interpreted. In many cases, this initial pass was recorded and used for the final composition. This process of using the images, characters, editing, and practical sound as a sort of sheet music to play to was freeing, and inspiring.”

Frits Wentink

Safe Passage


Due: 18th February

“A sublime waking dream…” Frits Wentink collaborates with Erik Madigan Heck and Tilda Swinton on Safe Passage. Initially Wentink took sonic inspiration from Heck’s photography. However, following the death of Heck’s mother, the project changed shape, morphing into a soundtrack to her journey from life to death. Its three movements combine pastors strings with ambient and techno minimalism, alongside Swinton whispering text from Heck’s poetry throughout.

Pauline Anna Strom

Angel Tears in Sunlight


Due: 19th February

Angel Tears in Sunlight marks the first new release from pioneering blind synthesist Pauline Anna Strom in thirty years. Strom returned to creating her interstellar electronic music following the release of an anthology of her work, which brought renewed recognition to her artistry and career. Heartbreakingly, Strom passed away unexpectedly shortly after the announcement of Angel Tears in Sunlight’s arrival.) As such, the album will mark both a moving return and a poignant farewell to the singular musician.


Feeling Normal

(Signature Recordings)

Due: 26th February

Calibre is back with silky electronics wrapped up in delicate builds via his latest album, Feeling Normal. In signature style, this is heads-down-eyes-closed, 140 bpm euphoria – all delicate piano piano hooks and crescendoing vocals to make you simultaneously catch a feel and bust a groove. It’s the perfect, one-two punch of emotions to see you through 2021, really.


Like Sunlit Threads

(Ilian Tape)

Due: 25th February

As is to be expected from a Galaxian record, electro euphoria is the order of business on the new album under his Kas alias for Ilian Rape. On Like Sunlit Threads the sounds traverse from industrial-hued, peak time numbers to ethereal, synthesizer sunshine. Expect live versions of the tracks to take the tunes further too.

Karima Walker

Waking the Dreaming Body

(Keeled Scales/Orindal Records)

Due: 26th February

Inspired by the Arizona wilderness, artist Karima Walker’s Waking The Dreaming Body mixes ambient compositions with gossamer vocals. Across its 8-tracks, she uses field recordings, synthesizers, piano, guitar, tape loops and her own voice to incantatory effect.

Adrian Younge

The American Negro

(Jazz is Dead)

Due: 26th February

Multi-instrumentalist and producer Adrian Younge examines system racism against Black Americans, in his new album, The American Negro . Self-described as ““an unapologetic critique detailing the systemic and malevolent psychology that afflicts people of colour,” the LP combines socio-political commentary with jazz, hip-hop, and funk influences. The result “reflects perennial injustices and serves to act as a lever of change during a time of mass disillusionment: an album for the people”.

Dax Pierson

Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Dissatisfaction)

(Dark Entries)

Due: 26th February

Oakland electronic producer and DJ Dax Pierson unless his debut album for Dark Entries. Its 8-tracks combine influences including musique concrete, hip-hop, trap/anti-trap percussion, and jazz. As the label shares: “futuristic synthesizers cut through layers of fog as Pierson’s bombastic drum programming forges new worlds within themselves.”



(XL Recording)

Due: 26th February

Following a slew of EPs and singles, Norwegian duo Smerz ready their full length debut on XL Recordings. Believer sees them building trance-inspired synthesizers as the framework for their lo-fi r’n’b vocal drawl. To wit, first single and title track, ‘Believer’, combines percussive hip-hop glitch with a breathy trip, fuelled by a macabre violin dramatics along the way. (The video is a sight to behold as well.)