2020 was a year that brought many new challenges for the whole world, and one thing that’s helped us during the last 12 months is music. National lockdowns kept us physically apart, but music allowed us to remain connected and united through a love and passion we all share. It has the ability to transport us – to remind us of moments, places, people and feelings. It can be an outlet for creativity, a source of inspiration.


Whilst 2020 brought tremendous suffering and injustice around the world, the one thing that remained consistent for many of us, and provided a huge outlet , is music. For our next feature, we caught up with some of our staff members at the label to find out exactly what they’ve had on repeat when the world went into lockdown, and they needed an escape.

Two Lone Swordsmen – ‘The Fifth Mission (Return To The Flightpath Estate)’

Picked by: George Ankrett

“Electronic music lost the purist part of its heart and soul last year with the passing of Andrew Weatherall. Reading Jockey Sluts excellent tribute over Christmas, one can escape the horrors outside the front door by revisiting his many works. ‘The Fifth Mission (Return To The Flightpath Estate’ with production partner Keith Tenniswood may not be the most obvious of choices but one that’s deeply personal and can make for the easiest transcendence. Tracks like ‘Enemy Haze’ never fail to act like an emotional floodgate, while tracks like ‘Spark’ and ‘Beacon Block’ can transport the listener to other worlds. Demonstrating a myriad of influences from funk to dub this is always a good listen from start to finish.”

The XX – ‘XX’

Picked by: Rianna Cooper

“This album has, and always will have, a place in my heart. It came out when I was doing my GCSE’s at school and I always used to put it on when I was struggling to concentrate or needed some time to really zone in and get my brain feeling creative again. The album is formed of 11 tracks that each offer something different, a track for every emotion. It starts with ‘Intro’ which leads you into the album nicely and is one of my favourites. The soothing synths and lush piano melodies really connect and offer a hint of what to expect from the rest of the album. My overall favourite is ‘Islands’, which resonates with me and takes me back to 2009 when I first heard it.”

IAMDDB – ‘Swervvvvv.5’

Picked by: Victoria Smith

“2020 has to be one of the toughest years yet: Adapting to working from home, the challenges the pandemic brought our industry and not to mention the social and political outrage that we’ve watched unfold around us. In a world of uncertainty, bleakness and injustice, one thing that’s provided a great escape for me is music. An outlet to relax, unwind and get lost through. Never have I felt so lucky to have amazing music by my side. Spending so much time in doors has enabled me find new artists, and new genres. The likes of Green Teapeng, SZA (late to the party), Arlo Parks, Summer Walker, Ravyn Lenae & UNIIQU3 to name just a few. But the one album that’s stuck through the lockdown(s), through the ups, the almighty lows is ‘Swervvvvv.5’ by IAMDDB. Whilst this is not a new album (released in 2019) this is one I discovered in lockdown. An Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill vibe. Dreamy vocals. Northern attitude. Influenced by Jazz. Hints of Trap, and Rap, infused into a dreamy, romantic, and raw album.”

Massive Attack – ‘Blue Lines’

Picked by: Miles Shackleton

“This album was the reason I chose my university; Massive Attack hail from Bristol, and I was so obsessed with their sound (and their contemporaries like Tricky, Portishead and Lamb) that I decided to study there. Blue Lines is an album I can get totally lost in. You’ve got a melting pot of influences – soul, dub, reggae, film scores – and to me, it was one of the first albums that showed what dance music can be – introspective and meditational, not just energetic and euphoric. If you listen to ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ during lockdown, for five glorious minutes you’re transported to a completely difference place.”


Picked by: Kelly Knight


“Stu played Old ‘45s to me and I fell in love with Chromeo right away. They reminded me of Wham!, even before I’d laid eyes on Dave 1 in his leather jacket and dark glasses. I was immediately obsessed.  Stu took me to see them at Melkweg in Amsterdam. It was so intimate, like being in your local club and having your favourite band play on the stage right in front of you. Best experience ever, and he’s taken me to see all of my favourites.  Even beat seeing Stevie.” 

George Fitzgerald – ‘All That Must Be’

Picked by: Jamie Kemp

“George has such a unique vibe and unmistakable sound – you can hear and smell a Fitzgerald production a mile away for all the right reasons. I fell in love with George’s sound through his first album “Fading Love” (Which is also HIGHLY recommended) however this newer release almost has a slightly more positive message, and energetic vibe throughout, and of course, who didn’t like “Burns”… It’s one to listen to post coffee so that caffeine has already kicked in – a proper complimentary vibe.”

Gorillaz – ‘Demon Days’

Picked by: Danny Weeks

“This was perhaps one of the first electronic music albums I ever bought. I used to listen to this over and over again as the music was just so different for me to what was being played on the radio, or what was popular at the time. The album doesn’t glue itself to one genre and the band merges so many genres to create something unique to them. The sounds they created really caught my attention as it was just so different from anything else I was exposed to at the time and as a 12 year old starting to explore my own style of music this was in it’s own lane. I loved the visual concepts, characters and music videos as again they we’re just doing something different and stamped their own style into everything they did. This album for me has everything: a great concept visually, and musically from start to finish, it’s an amazing journey from track to track, it would be an insult to cut this album short.”

Sully  – ‘Carrier’

Picked by: Callum Davis

‘Carrier’ is the debut album from Sully, that, for me, perfectly summarises the sound of UK dance music.  Thick with breaks, woozy melodies and introspective rhythms that cross Garage with Dubstep, Footwork with Grime and 2-Step With Trap. Super Moody, Distinctly ‘Aggy’ and firmly rooted in UK culture.”

ODESZA – ‘In Return’

Picked by: Lou Cooper

“Mines a bit of an older one but always an album I go back to when I want to escape from reality especially in these uncertain times. The 13-track album ‘In Return’ is fully representative of ODESZA’s growth and maturity: weighted atmospheres, shimmering synth lines and feelings of nostalgia, optimism and hope. The album demonstrates a broad range of emotion, from the elated and catchy opener “Always This Late” to tracks like “White Lies,” which draws on syncopated beats and sharp harmonies and my personal favourites; “Say My Name”, “Memories That You Call” and “All We Need”, three beautifully uplifting, emotive records that resonate harmoniously with the soul.”

Ben Böhmer  – Live From The Printworks (2020)

Picked by: Sean Holbrook


“Whilst sat here at the start of a 3rd lockdown and missing clubbing / nightlife / festivals and resorts, this album is go to for many reason’s. Ben Böhmer is a genius who only makes amazing music, his productions are riddled with brilliant ideas and tricks, plus his ability to make everything musically talk to each other is outstanding. This album is a brilliant snap shot of what Ben can do at live and is super uplifting whilst giving an insight of what the energy of that night in London was actually like…there is no such thing as too much cheering!”