Whether your with Dunbar on music and dance evolving as mass social grooming, Darwin and his strutting peacock, or feel dancing and music is tickling the brain in ways nature cannot, dancing is a part of our humanity and has been for a very long time. 2011 was a good time for music you could dance too…
Lindstrøm : De Javu When you play a Lindstrom track in your dj set its always difficult to follow. It’s normally difficult to know what to play it after too becuase, lets face it, no one else makes records that sound like this. The new album Six Cups Of Rebel is out on Small Town Supersound in February.
Buy : De Javu
James Fox: New Jack Swing James Fox laces pristine mid-tempo dance with some silky new jack swing vibes, projecting us inside an utopia of white and honey which is to mainstream house music what romance is to porn.
We are believers in the possibility of a non-fucked up after-hours club where the tribes congregate to squeeze the last ounce of physical sweetness of the ephemeral night, rather than gurn their way into infinity. If that place exists, this is its theme tune.
Buy: New Jack Swing
SebastiAn: Love In Motion Feat. Mayer Hawthrone More Stones Throw related goodness by way of the loudest Banger on Ed’s roster pitching Patrick Cowley’s Lift Off Down to an unmistakably Purple Oneesqu slowed clap groove.
Buy : Love in motion
Machinedrum: Come1 Riding last year’s bubbling up of Juke and snapping it into a piano-house ghost-ballad workout. With an opening the hits right in the feet and then proceeds to gently let up over the next six minutes Come1 is the reverse of most dancefloor equations. Drawing you in with it’s hedonistic intensity from the off then taking you on a tour of its sorrow.
The whole album’s a near effortless reminder of how good dance albums can be. building upon a Footwerk foundation to deliver everything from a dancefloor Boards of Canada (Now U Know Tha Deal 4 Real) to one of the most cathartically maudlin pieces of music this year in Lay Me Down (which has the audacity to not actually be the last track on the album).
Graphics: Adjectival E Well Rounded are quickly and efficiently becoming a treasure of the Brighton Vs. Hove demilitarised zone. Graphics is the second release on offshoot, Well Rounded Individuals and is a towering example of Fractured British Dance Music. A sliced vocal looped and buried under fabric-thin waves of synth washes haunts the intricate drum programming and sweeping siren-calls that interleave and enchant. Which is not to say it’s adverse to a break and a surging refrain, that’d be silly.
Den Haan: Gods From Outer Space Bandying “macho disco” around like leather, sweat, and guitar riffs were about to go out of fashion Gods From Outer Space is probably more fun that you can actually ever have in a club, but with this as your soundtrack it would be impossible not to try.
D/R/U/G/S: Connected Connected doesn’t waste much time bringing its snippets of Techno and House to bear on the floor. Far too much has been written about ghostly reconfigurations of former genre glories and the pillars that this stands upon are amply described by the track itself in the opening minute and a half. Exercising aCraig-ian approach to the build, the drop finally arrives and the euphoria is suitably unleashed. Not ones to paddle in the pool of anti-intellectual hedonism, 20JFG are satiated by the wiring machine ballet that seems to underpin the ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE HANDS IN THE AIR PIANO HOUSE that forms the back end of the track.
Magic Touch: I can Feel the Heat Imagine a unicorn leaping out of an original pre-hipster/Urban Outfitters post-everything appropriation 1980s t-shirt, into a rainbow pond of everything that’s awesome about disco music, and out again into the garden of eternal delights that lies beyond, where it dries itself with an almighty shake, droplets of joy splattering all over in a kaleidoscopic rain which is photographed with minimum exposure, the ensuing images (or their emotional equivalent) are then pressed on vinyl for the whole world to dance to.
Buy: I can Feel the Heat
Ital: Ital’s Theme Ital soundtracks the muscular leaving party for a space marine squadron. A glimpse out of battered portholes onto the uniquely specular beauty of crystalline asteroids, for a moment…before the pounding of the room draws their attention back to the dancefloor with a heaving, looping ecstatic roll of wave after wave of 23rd century Italo instrumentals.
Buy: Ital’s theme
Death in Vegas: Trans-Love Energies Richard Fearless returned with a 7+ minute track referencing the soundtrack to New York’s The Loft and the UK Acid House scene featuring the considerable vocal talents of Katie Stelmanis of Austra, and we couldn’t stop playing it. The only thing that could have made it better would have been a 30min extended remix. The rest of the album wasn’t bad either.
Buy : Trans-love Energies
Austra : Beat and the Pulse EP This Domino records early 2011 release of haunted industrial folk has, deservedly, has stayed with us all year.
Buy : Beat and The Pulse
Hans Tanza: An Audience with Hans Tanza Nutjob consultant extraordinaire Hans Tanza convenes a board meetingto discuss the quarterly impacts of psy-trance flotations on the futures market of electro-acoustic academia circa 1976
Mi Ami: Dolphins EP Mi Ami’s vessel plunges through a forest of cyclopean futurist hulks, its distorting, tape-bent beats pounding off the walls. High above Gavin Russom watches from a former car insurance office (now sans walls) and smiles to himself in the knowledge that there are others. Glancing upwards for a moment he catches the forms of Derrick May and Carl Craig huddling around a fire, lit on an equally exposed floor of an old financial institution. Down below the vessel nears the source of the sound as light cascades from the rising sun. Hundreds of people throb around a fire giving thanks to those who came before, those who provided us with such riches. A badly painted cloth hangs from an old piece of corporate art and reads: ‘Things should be made anew before they are destroyed again.’
Virgo: Resurrection (reissue) To call this life-changing is no exaggeration. Imagine the most intimate moment of ‘It’s You’ by ESP’ time stretched across a 3 hour movie about Jamie Principle floating on the ethereal plane and perhaps you’re getting there.
Daphni: JIAOLONG001 While we found Caribou’s recent album to be not as up our street as the previous few we did very much enjoy the Daphni remix project which re-visited the gratuitous psychedelic elements we loved about Caribou’s sound.
Buy : JIAOLONG001
Wheez-ie: All Werked Up EP Texan Juke desperado Wheez-ie’s veers between hardcore footwork punishment and futuristic heartbreak – ‘Leave her Alone’ hovers above the battlefield like the X-Men’s Storm, convening from the summer skies a purple hurricane of emotion at whose eye spins a silver music box delicate ballerina.
Buy: All Werked Up
Xander Harris: I want more than Just Blood/Urban Gothic If you like your drum programming hand built from the Dopplereffekt textbook of absolute rigidity, and your synth lines played straight from the pained claws of The Phantom of Paradise, then Xander Harris is the pick for you.
Innergaze: Shadow Disco Innergaze take us in a strut through a parallel land where mirrors, glitter and dances are the holy sacraments of a mainstream religion whose father is Liquid Liquid (on a dubby bender), the son is Daniel Wang and the holy spirit Arthur Russell. On its journey it collects a thousand scuzz tropes and redistributes them across a skeletal groove so lazy, it makes E.S.G sound like a clinical minimal techno project devised by the appointed keepers of metronomic purity. Spectral hedonism, that’s our new calling.
Buy: Shadow Disco.
Factory Floor: Various 12’’ Factory Floor strip dance music down to its bare components, and configure them with the grim nonchalance of a murder squad retained by the black ops soviet. Synth loops blast like machine language glyphs straight off Nitzer Ebb’s and Front 242 body music usage dictionary. The motorik beats read like input-output flows in a 5 year programme of industrial production that measures results in terms of sweat. The shards of distortion are cruelly designed to produce collateral damage, demoralization and mass surrender.
And then there’s this…
Zomby: Dedication Zomby buries us in a frozen dead ocean, where we float surrounded by a constellation of discrete music molecules floating in stasis. They recall the past (massively compressed Jarre, blocks of primary colour which are the slices of a Jan Hammer gradient) but aren’t it. Rather, evolved echoes, nano-designed DNA blueprints for a future fauna of Cupertino Panthers and fractal wing dragonflies.
Lumpen Nobleman: Grusha Lumpen Nobleman’s (no link, alas) is all about the deepness, the abyssal and the sub-dermal, ochre drones awesome like the ornate dome of a defiled Orthodox monastery breaking through the mist, grim commandoes in ghillie suits pulling their best Snake moves up the snowy hill, an inhuman metronome ticks away at the heart of the ruins, counting down the time left for the start of the paranormal firefight.
FWY: Ventura EP We continue our love affair with Edmund Xavier and his FWY’s trucker techno-gamelan escapades. Watch out for the title track’s superb melancholy drone, like Cormac McCarthy’s existential cowboy gazing into a neuromantic dead-channel sky, a moment before stepping past the borderline.
The Passenger: \_| The Passenger’s \_| combines Armando’s optimistic bass rumbling, Orbital’s playful chimes, Wendy Carlos binary fairy-telling and the sort of acid riffs that Plastikman would have come up with if he had been commissioned to update Maurice Sendak’s bibliography, in collaboration with Paper Rad.
Pye Corner Audio: Black Mill Tapes Vol.2. The first post witch house record? Made by someone who probably never heard of witch house? Slow techno and radiophonic electronic passed through a hauntology filter to create one hell of an immersive experience. Why this isn’t on everyone’s albums of the year list is mystifying.
Buy : Black Mill Tapes Vol.2.