What better way to ring in the new year than with the sounds of a 50-bell carillon, as Pantha du Prince does on his chiming, meditative Elements of Light? If it's ambient music you're looking for, there's plenty of it this month, whether it's Ethernet's unsettling synth drones for Kranky or Heathered Pearls' gentler, sweeter debut for Ghostly. And Oneohtrix Point Never has reissued his 2009 compendium Rifts with even further-reaching analog fantasias.
"Sweet," meanwhile, is definitely the right keyword for Toro y Moi's pop-tastic new album, as well as for FaltyDL's warm-hearted new breakbeat opus. Jorge Velez and Lee Gamble explore dance music's outer limits on records for Rush Hour and PAN, respectively, as do The Crystal Ark on their self-titled debut LP for DFA -- a late-2012 album that will continue to move butts and open minds for a long time to come. And while this list is nominally focused on albums, we couldn't resist including Burial's new single for Hyperdub, a 25-minute suite of the darkest, most doleful music that the static-obsessed musician has come up with yet.