Welcome to 2013. Welcome to the future.
2013 is not like other years. It’s different. It’s a whole new world. A world in which Grammy Nominee and general music visionary Al Walser is not only still alive, but will lead us all to redefine our very idea of art (seriously, think about it). A world in which Vice magazine partners with CNN, HBO, and Intel to create hilarious content (including popular segment “Guess Who We Got Arrested This Week??”). A world that waits with baited breath to hear if Thomas Bangalter and “Gui-Man” will tour again dressed as Daft Punk, or just continue to let everyone else do it for them (Thom Yorke literally, Nile Rodgers metaphorically). And a world in which at least someone can tell Goldenvoice to STFU (thanks Rolling Stones) yet no one can seem to “Get Off Of Soundcloud” (thanks again Stones) and their shitty new iteration.
Yes, 2013 will be bizarro in ways that lie beyond logical comprehension in the here and now. In short, a year like the one we just (barely) survived…and almost every other in memory. So basically the same old world. And what better way to celebrate the new, old world then with the death of the old, new one? Here is the musical headstone of 2012. Enjoy it now as U.S. Cultural Attache Steven J. Aoki will make all vinyl illegal come September. Cake for everyone!
Semtek & Chardonnay / Scott Fraser
Tacos For Dinner / Remains The Same (World Unknown)
Joe Hart and Andy Blake of UK club night World Unknown started releasing vinyl-only 12″s in 2011.Two artists, one track per side. Each release is a unique one-off with a short run and forwards the ethos of the music at their club: engulfing, dark, minimal machine music that proves the success of their nighttime endeavor has paid off in the day.
Double Boogie EP (Futureboogie Recordings)
Bonar Bradberry and Tom Thorpe make multi-level boogie music by employing various sonically three-dimensional loops spiraling about on numerous planes, which all rotate around one axis. It’s science.
The Werewolf EP (Meant)
With a ridiculously solid, thirteen year resume, the German boy-girl-boy trio return with their first full release under the Rework name in five years with three new originals and a pair of solid mixes from Remain and Magda.
Mascat Ring Down (Beats in Space)
Tim Sweeney is a child star from some unremembered early 90s sitcom. The Milhouse of House to Bart Simpson’s not-at-all funny Deadmau5 joke gone pop, he made America laugh for six seasons but now he’s all growns up. He’s retained his youthful looks – and glasses – as a young veteran and has the last laugh as he drops (Boy Meets) world music and (Jaleel) white labels with equal aplomb on his long-running radio show (and now label of the same name).
A more underground sublabel of his Chicago imprint Still Music, Derradji’s labels have helped launch the careers of Trus’me, Amp Fiddler and Rahaan. Here the man himself takes the reins of a filthy housed up disco edit 12″.
The Rhythm Odyssey & Dr. Dunks
Instrumental Fantasy / La Chiave (Golf Channel)
Dean Meredith (Chicken Lips, Goat Dance) is the UK’s #1 animal man. Here he travels to NY to hook up with Eric “Dr. Dunks” Duncan (Rub N Tug, Still Going) and Phil South’s ridiculously reliable Golf Channel label. One of two great twelves for the duo on the label.
Nickel Ride (Cómeme)
In the three short years it’s been in existence, Matias Aguayo’s Cómeme label has carved out it’s own Latin-flavored chiaroscuro brand of minimal electro. One of two samplers this year showcasing a handful of their artists, it’s a top-notch piñata filled with nighttime adult treats.
Ay & Oh / It’s On (Let’s Play House)
It’s hard to believe that local boys Let’s Play House only released their first record a bit over a year ago. Since then they’ve racked up eleven more including two from The Dead Rose Music Company (who also listed last year), Tobi Tobias, Fantastic Man, and (finally!) a U.S. release for Australia’s Young Edits under his River & Phoenix moniker.
Light Sleeper EP (Relish Recordings)
You’d best be a light sleeper if you pass out whilst listening to future funk overlord Scott Fraser’s EP – his second nod in this list – or else your nightmares will wake you. Remix support from Timothy J. Fairplay and Relish boss Headman.
Tusk Wax Eight (Tusk Wax)
Tusk Wax (and offshoots Horn and Porn Wax) have been having a brilliant year with 11 releases on labels combined. Unfortunately, Porn Wax’s ‘pink circles’ are so rare, it appears even their YouTube links have sold out, thus barring the inclusion of Fab Mayday’s stellar 10″. But José Manuel’s four track EP on OG Tusk is a more-than-worthy successor.
Beatamines & David Jach
How Never / Something Soul EP (Keno)
Germans may have a rep as heavy and humorless (sorry guys), but here two of them link up for an uplifting and gorgeous house lullaby. One of three EPs they recorded together for three different labels, in addition to some scattered remixes. All are very recommended.
Smoke Screen (Under The Shade / Jiscomusic)
Bicep got so much love in 2012 it was like the blogoshphere was their own personal gym. But while other people bulked up with extra reps of “$tripper” and “Vision of Love” in their ‘sets’, their cosmic take on “Smoke Screen” was the real skull crusher. Rounded out with a second, mellower original and another solid remix from Wolf Music’s KRL.
For Club Play Only Vol. 2 (Turbo)
First the classic house indebted “Street Walker” arrived on Volume 1 and lit up summer dancefloors at festivals everywhere. Then “The Giver” dropped a few months later and virtually every DJ in every genre played it. This is what we will come to know as ‘The Norse Effect’.
The Haunted House of House Vol. 3 (Delusions of Grandeur)
“Good Intentions” is the melody of the year. This genre-free groovefest could be forty minutes long and you wouldn’t notice for at least thirty-five, at which point you’d start it over. Caned to death on boat parties all over the Adriatic Sea.
Come Save Me (The Blue Rider)
Remember when Mike “Make War Not” Love fired the rest of the Beach Boys in October? Well, this is what it would sound like if he’d hired superproducer Ewan Pearson and Lost Valentinos singer Jono Ma to fill out the roster who in turn fired him and made the kind of 7″ record (or 45 rpm) the Beach Boys should today if they could stop constantly beating the piss out of one another.
Mixed Fortunes Vol. 2 (Mixed Fortunes)
Like Radiohead before him, Rory Phillips’ bold, outside-the-box, music delivery method is half the fun of these releases. The other half (and then some) is his soft production hand on all three volumes of warm electro funkers in his all-original/no remix subscription service.
What I Might Do (MTA / Under The Shade)
The response when a DJ dropped Mancunian Ben Pearce’s undenaible house track at a Warehouse Project afterparty in Manchester tells you all you need to know about the reception he is about to get on the world scene. This is his first official release, but he has a number of remixes lined up, including for Fatboy Slim’s Southern Fried. One of the biggest tunes of this year.
Few producers have emerged as fiercely in the last few years as man-on-fire Eats Everything. The jolly chap with the plus-size model looks and the always-raised arms, constantly grins as he spins and for good reason: after many years on the outskirts of the DJ world, he completely devoured 2012 and all of its sides.
Edits Vol. 1 (Biomix)
Frenchman Fred Berthet’s music may tend towards the chill, but his work ethic clearly does not. Banging out three volumes of his excellent Biomix Edit series in 2012, in addition to a stellar EP on Gomma sub label Toy Tonics & the best online mix of the year. Here he transforms “Into The Mystic” into a disco dub dreamscape. Van Morrison would probably hate it like he hates everything else.
Water Jump (Phantasy Sound)
While there is no rhyme or reason to the rest of this list, there is a clear Number One which was rather difficult to choose. Mostly because it was hard to pick which of Daniel Avery’s releases to select. If you quickly glance at his Discogs page, you will notice eight releases (average), until you notice that are all from 2012. An entire oeuvre from this calendar year. Literally anyone of them could have been chosen to sit here, this one just seems the most ‘Averyesque’ (a phrase not even in existence one year ago). For his 2012 body of work and leading the charge against aforementioned 2013 bastards…