December 22, 2005

2005: The Year In Review

A look into the year that was in electronic musics…

Top 10 Albums

Matthew Herbert – Plat du Jour
Audion – Suckfish
Vitalic – OK Cowboy
Ark – Caliente
Dandy Jack & Junction SM – Los Siete Castigos
Marc Leclair – Musique Pour 3 Femmes Enceintes
Pier Bucci – Familia
Who Made Who – Who Made Who
Lindstrom & Prins Thomas – Lindstrom & Prins Thomas
Alex Smoke – Incommunicado

This young Glaswegian producer’s debut came on like a shock: marrying a heady combination of electro, old school techno, minimal, and an innate pop sense. A collection of tracks that were just as liable to make you stop dancing in wonder, as it was to get you on the floor…

Top 10 Singles

Booka Shade – Mandarine Girl
Spare Time – Lazy
Luciano – Bomberos
Donato Dozzy & Exercise One – Skarciofen
Common Factor – That Was Then
Unai – Oh You and I
Royskpp feat. Karin Dreijer – What Else Is There?
Daso – Daybreak
Patrice Baumel – Mutant Pop
Stefan Goldmann – Blood

After previously appearing on the smaller Classic and Ovum labels, Goldmann steps up to the plate for Perlon’s 51st release—three enormous monster tracks of clicks and bass that start out with the most modest of intentions…

Top 5 DJ Mixes

Dominik Eulberg – Kreucht and Fluecht
Ewan Pearson – Sci.Fi.Hi.Fi, Vol 1
Annie – DJ Kicks
DJ Clever – Breakbeat Science 5
DJ Naughty – One Naughty Night in Berlin

Showcasing the vocal-end of electro-house, while throwing in classic disco and Italo to boot, DJ Naughty further pushed the dirty disco sound to its limits on this mix from the Eskimo label…

Top 5 Producers

Jesse Somfay
LCD Soundsystem
Putsch 79
Trentemoeller
Nathan Fake

Finding himself on seemingly every single DJ mix released this year, Fake had a massive year on the residual effects of the classic “The Sky Was Pink,” Traum’s 2005 crown jewel, “Dinamo,” and the white label of “Silent Night”…

Top 5 Remixers

Ricardo Villalobos
Abe Duque
Switch / YES Productions
Robag Wruhme
Stuart Price

Almost made the Killers listenable. No mean feat.

Top 5 Labels

Get Physical
Gomma
DFA
Eskimo
Traum/Trapez/MBF

Located strategically across the road from Kompakt HQ, the Traum family had its best year yet with strong entries from known quantities (Steve Barnes, Dominik Eulberg, Jeff Samuel) and a whole host of new producers (Alex Under, Jesse Somfay, Noze, Patrice Baumel)…

Top 5 Reissues

Keith Hudson – The Hudson Affair: Keith Hudson and Friends
DJ Shadow – Endtroducing
Luomo – Vocalcity
Prince Douglas – Dub Roots
AFX – Hangable Auto Bulb

Richard D. James’ formerly ultra-rare drill ‘n bass template sounds as fresh as ever, showing why betting on jungle in 1995 was the best decision he ever made…

Top 5 Compilations

Cybotron – Motor City Machine Music
V/A – Spectral Sound, Vol. 1
Senor Coconut – Coconut FM
Robag Wruhme & Wighnomy Brothers – Remikks Potpourri
Greg Wilson – Credit to the Edit

The first time that this dance music pioneer’s work has been collected. If you were going to clubs in the 1980s, Greg Wilson was your soundtrack—extending and tightening the tracks that you liked and turning them into the epics that you loved…

Words: Todd Burns
Voting Contributors: Todd Burns, Nate Deyoung, Michael F. Gill, Cameron Macdonald, Derek Miller, Mike Powell, Will Simmons


December 2, 2005

Richie Hawtin – DE9: Transitions

Few DJs are taking full advantage of the sound possibilities afforded by the advances in technology. Luckily, Richie Hawtin is—and he’s doing it, crucially without losing sight of the big picture. Of course, even fewer DJs probably have the clout, money, and time to undertake a project in which nearly 110 tracks are combined over a 75 minute mix, but…well…you know. Music-wise, the mix rarely has the highs or lows associated with many of the most famous recorded collections of our time, but that’s never been Hawtin’s job or aim (think of him as Saul Bellow to Fatboy Slim’s John Grisham). What we have instead is a calm, calibrated, and incisively minimal mix that showcases a tasteful selector who has the uncanny ability to unlock the hidden interlocking elements of modern techno.

M_nus / Minus 32 CD
[Todd Burns]


December 2, 2005

Dandy Jack and the Junction SM – Los Siete Castigos

2005CD/AlbumHouseTechno

Call me a spoilsport, but doesn’t “Chuleta For You” just sound like a slightly more talkative Plaid? After you get past that initial salvo, the going gets much better. Dandy bears down for the three-song swing of “Video Taceo,” “Arabs in the Desert,” and album highlight “Samba Lübeck” in which pounding minimalism keeps pushing back the “gotta get up” refrain. The closer, “Casper House” is a marvel as well, featuring a disorientingly oscillating synth that sounds as though its moving on a boomerang’s trajectory. Give this one a few spins, with a little practice it’ll come right back to you.

Perlon / PERL 50CD
[Todd Burns]


December 2, 2005

Benjamin Diamond / Connective Zone – Inner Cycle / Function

12"2005AcidHouseKompakt

People (never) ask me, “Todd, what’s a good song to gently ease myself into dance music?” I now have my 12” to hand them and send them on their way. Divided seamlessly into two emotionally-over-the-top parts, the seventeen-minute opus “Inner Cycle” is probably one of the best things (re-)released via Kompakt ever. It’s an acid-pop-house gem that moves from great to astounding along its length, until it gets to a coda that reaffirms why I listen to dance music. And, yes, he’s still the guy that sang on “Music Sounds Better With You.” You could probably spin “Function” till the end of time, too, and be rather content.

Immer / IMMER 001
[Todd Burns]


December 2, 2005

Elektrochemie – Pleasure Seeker

Just when I was ready to stop frothing at the mouth, Elektrochemie comes along with a fantastic A-side to their new 12”. Riding on a warbly bassline that weaves in and out of another bass-led melody, “Pleasure Seeker” is not minimal, but it sure feels like there’s not much else going on aside from a beat, a vocal, and two synth-players staring each other down from across the stage. I was not however, “Star Struck” or “Vexed” by what else the 12” had to offer, which lost the tense excellence and added a disconcerting funkiness.

Get Physical / GPM 037
[Todd Burns]


December 2, 2005

Gui Boratto – Arquipélago

It’s been two weeks, so I’m focusing on the good stuff today. “Arquipélago” is minimal music at its finest. No real adornments, just a simple bassline, some drum programming, and one of those melodies that doesn’t seem much more than an ascending scale of four notes. The key is the pacing. The stops and the starts. The addition and the subtraction. All of which Gui seems to be particularly adept at. B-side “Symmetria” is a much funkier proposition, but the appeal is the same. A master of propulsion, this guy.

K2 / K2/04
[Todd Burns]