Our favourite EPs of 2023

By in Features





Short and very sweet. 

In a digital landscape where a 30-second clip can propel bedroom artists and underground reliables to the top of streaming charts and festival line-ups, succinctness increasingly holds power in the music industry.

The ability to forge a voice and a connection in the shortest of interactions dominated the mainstream this year, but the EP format remained a reliable tool for artists looking to indulge in brevity–whether to experiment, bridge gaps or just have fun.

From the return of Aphex Twin to the establishment of Nia Archives, from Jlin’s avant-garde to BFTT’s party pleasers, we present the VF team’s favourite EPs of 2023.

Words by Kelly Doherty, Becky Rogers, Annabelle Van Dort and Emily Hill.

Aphex Twin

Blackbox Life Recorder 21f / in a room7 F760



Time spent with Aphex Twin is always an event and his first release since 2018 is a thrilling, albeit brief, excursion. Dabbling in the hallmarks of his illustrious catalogue, Blackbox Life Recorder 21f / in a room7 F760 calls upon the familiar ambient qualities, breaks and acid touches and shapes them into a body that reflects modern emotion. The presence of contemporary post-punk can be felt throughout as these stark cuts tumble within their own isolation. However, the EP’s surprising accessibility is perhaps a mirror for a year where sadness and obliqueness have permeated both art and the content machine.—Kelly Doherty

Angel Olsen

Forever Means



Salvaged from the sessions for 2022’s excellent Big Time, Angel Olsen’s Forever Means is a blues-soaked score for lonely nights filled with regret. The singer-songwriter leans into her vulnerabilities with a minimalist set-up, placing her raw vocal performance in the foreground. These may be off-cuts but the wounds hurt just as much.–KD



(Worldwide Unlimited)


Mutualism’s BFTT thrilled once again this year with the giddy bounce of THP. Firmly planted in the dancefloor fun realm, THP is three tracks of flickering techno meets garage with a healthy blast of donk spirit. Never resting on its laurels, the EP twists around through tight production that squeezes and releases with just enough leeway for the briefest of breaths. 15 minutes of frenetic glory.–KD

George Riley

Un/limited Love

(Ninja Tune)


‘Take off my lingerie/ are you down to play with me?’ sings Riley on the chorus of “Skin”, ‘take off my mask/could you fall in love with me?’—a winking lyric that encapsulates the playful dualities abounding in Riley’s work: between desire and vulnerability, the revelations of self that lay beneath someone’s clothes. Riley’s first EP for Ninja Tune is fun and flirtatious, revelling in an aura of feminine sensuality whilst still retaining the empowering emotional candour of her 2022 breakthrough Running in Waves. Jumping from 2000s R&B hooks (“Star”) to pure dance-pop euphoria (“Elixir”) and jittering, genre-bending rave tracks (“S e x”) in just an 18-minute runtime, Un/limited Love is undoubtedly one of 2023’s most exciting releases.–Annabelle Van Dort

Giant Swan

Fantasy Food



Giant Swan’s bass-powered punk returned this year with Fantasy Food–an outrageous dash through high-octane noise-rock and uptight leftfield techno. Discomfort is the word here. Vocal samples and looming drones break through the Bristol duo’s clean-as-ever electronic throbs, amalgamating in euphoric dirty club tracks that pursue release.—Becky Rogers



(Planet Mu)


Jlin continued to cause a storm this year, following up a Pulitzer nomination with another body of deliberate, heady material. Perspective glides across its own percussive experiments, maintaining an appropriate amount of groove to keep the dancers fed. Alternately domineering and tender, Perspective is economic with its tools, drawing from its footwork roots and morphing them into something dark, surprising and wholly unique.–KD


Foreign Exchange

(Somatic Rituals)


Somatic Rituals co-founder Kombé embraces flux and uncertainty on his debut EP, Foreign Exchange. He tools up five tracks built for adventurous DJs, constructed from an assemblage of liquid polyrhythms–inspired by the constant movement of foreign exchange markets and the plurality of Kombe’s own cultural and sonic references that give rise to his distinct sound.—Emily Hill

Octo Octa

Dreams of a Dancefloor



Three years in the making, Octo Octa’s Dreams of a Dancefloor is a euphoric love-in. Pulling from the heartening tropes of vocal house and melding them with trance ascendence, Dreams of a Dancefloor is packed with the inspiring, fun moments that compel us to return to the club night after night. Three gorgeous cuts, perfect for kicking any party into gear.– KD


Xoul Trap

(Aus Music)


Otik stepped out with a number of releases this year, each offering a slightly different flavour and highlighting the London producer’s varied sounds but impeccable production. The second release in their busy calendar came via the iconic Will Saul’s Aus imprint. Xoul Trap is a four-track leftfield breakbeat techno extravaganza with an extra dose of atmosphere with dusty chords, choral samples and big percussion.–EH

Prima Queen

Not The Baby

(Big Indie)


Friendship encompasses Prima Queen’s debut EP Not The Baby. Across its four tracks, power duo Louise Macphail and Kristen McFadden guide each other through reflections on grief (“Crow”) and heartbreak (“Back Row”), as they move from their indie-rock beginnings and introduce a folk tenderness into the mix. An unforgettable listen that is only the start of Prima Queen’s inevitable alt-rock takeover.–Becky Rogers

Nia Archives

Sunrise Bang Ur Head Against The Wall




One of the breakout successes of 2022, Nia Archives built on steady foundations this year with the ecstatic jungle energy of Sunrise Bang Ur Head Against The Wall. The pop meets breaks boom has had its footprint all over the mainstream in 2023, but few have established a voice as fresh as the Bradford producer, singer and DJ. Blending sunny melodies with the comforting traits of jungle, Sunrise Bang Ur Head Against The Wall has been a soundtrack to festivals and sessions up and down the UK and with very good reason.–KD

Nuha Ruby Ra

Machine Like Me

(Brace Yourself)


Nuha Ruby Ra finds comfort in chaos with Machine Like Me. Vocal whispers build upon her self-built percussion section–packed with chainsaws, hammers and door slams–in a masterclass of subversion and confrontation. Its expression over perfection while arriving easily at both, with her punk-powered spars and bassline drones working harmoniously over an underlying unease.—BR

Sally C

Big Saldo’s Chunker 003

(Big Saldo’s Chunkers)


Despite an incredibly packed tour schedule, Sally C, the mother of Big Saldo’s Chunkers, found some time in her crazy work schedule to produce some absolute bangers. The third instalment of her Chunker series is brimming with pure house satisfaction, played by some of the biggest and best DJs out there, to much acclaim. Fast hip-house leaning big beats, originally released at the peak of summer festival madness, it did the rounds and got people moving all around the world.–EH



(Hessle Audio)


The announcement that Toumba would be joining the ranks of the many esteemed producers of the Hessle Audio alumni resulted in a hotly tipped, highly anticipated 12-inch Petals, a three-track EP which does not disappoint. Toumba, who hails from Jordan, has been making some serious waves in the music scene as a triple-threat curator, producer and truly sensational DJ, whose discography includes releases on All Centre and Hypnic Jerks. Petals brings together musical elements from his homeland, constructed into sprawling landscapes of forward-thinking bass music. –EH



(Banoffee Pies)


Banoffee Pies Record started 2023 celebrating their 10th year in operation and in doing so they welcomed London-based D and producer Syz. Headspin is a four tracker EP composed of shape-shifting techno ear wigglers sitting on the UK techno end of things. It was received gratefully by a whole host of DJs and played in clubs by the likes of Stenny and Hodge.—EH