Friday, December 31, 2010

smilecoldanatomy's favorite 9 of '10

figured it was about time to put together some sort of list commemorating some of my favorite pieces of music from 2010. of course, this list will stick to the style that i feel myself aligning with lately (as readers of this blog may note), and so it shouldn't be considered any sort of ranked or 'best of' survey regarding the overall realm of electronic dance music, and it's definitely not reflective of my favorite full-length albums for the year. it is simply a look into the specific sorts of things i've been (really!) enjoying this past year. i'm sure there's some stuff that i'm missing, but as the moment is fleeting, so is my memory. coincidentally, i've chosen nine tracks to discuss, which is a nice enough number to deal with. so here it goes... smilecoldanatomy's favorite 9 of '10.

giorgio gigli|obtane|nax_acid - the child that was watching the moon | zooloft/aconito ltd
it would be hard to choose favorites among the excellent (if small) output of these producers in 2010: notable tracks include the sprawling cerebral architecture of nax_acid's 'dgt is shit' edit, and the zooloft duo's 'psychological scene of the imagination', with its thundering chords and ethereal minor-key swooning. but combined, the trio put together what was to me a defining moment for deep techno in 2010 with the a-side (well, both sides) of this record, environmental radiation dose on the moon. pitched barely above 120bpm, anchored by a softly-padded 4/4 pulse and a never-ending droning bass riff, layered with abrasive sustained tones, and punctuated with huge transitory splashes, this was a favorite when i first got my hands on it, and it's still a ton of fun to play with and listen to.

marcel dettmann - drawing | ostgut ton
it took a while for me to succumb to the charm's of marcel dettmann's debut long-player, and while i'm still unsure of the album as a whole, there are a bunch of great tracks (and i find the cover art to be perfectly appropriate). 'drawing' is probably my favorite from the album, a soundscape of softly-clashing chords with nothing underneath but a lone bass kick. hard to describe, but considering dettmann's new material like this, as well as his mind-bending remix on cyclical tracks, it seems like the producer is starting to apply a careful coat of cosmic radiation to his raw, sand-blasted textures... which is a good thing.

perc - BCG (milton bradley beyond the silence mix) | perc trax
having only really dived into perc(trax)'s sound this past year, i think this milton bradley remix is my top pick from the label in 2010, even if it does diverge a bit from their usually raw, harder aesthetic. on a record alongside perc's original track, forward strategy group's remix, and another milton bradley remix - all of which are more physically intense - this interpretation drops the bpm's and smooths out the original's shotgun-blasts of noise. all that's left underneath the haze is a slow clickety beat and a noir-ish dub stab, instantly recognizable as milton bradley's sound. the shadowy producer has had a low-key but prolific year: an excellent EP on prologue, more stuff from his own do not resist the beat! imprint, and a dramatic new project, the end of all existence, on top of a handful of remix duties. bradley seems intent on getting deeper and darker in 2011. i can't wait to see what's next.

silent servant - regis edit | sandwell district
adding emotional depth to their distinctly clinical techno through a series of edits has been a great move on the part of the sandwell district guys. this track sums up all that is right with this sound in about 5 gorgeous minutes: the trademark sandwell sonar ping and punchy percussion is nothing new, but then a slowly evolving progression of chords fades into the mix, adding delicate beauty to an otherwise uncompromising sound. the label/collective's new album set finally dropped, i can't wait to hear it and see where these guys go next year.

shackleton - man on a string part 1 & 2 | woe to the septic heart!
gone are the (relatively) accessible, dj-friendly tracks from skull disco and perlon, in are the new, and even more insane sounds of woe to the septic heart! it's not just a good thing, it's a GREAT thing, that shackleton seems to stay far away from the beaten, bloody corpse that is 2010's dubstep/pop genre in order to summon entirely new and quite unconventional visions of sound. no more words... just go listen.

claudio prc - last corner | prologue
another anatomy mixer, with a digital track that should not be forgotten in favor of his vinyl-ized efforts with the gods planet and prologue. the last track on his digital EP vacuum substance, claudio injects a bit of steppy syncopation (it's still my blog, i can invent words) into a rolling arrangement of bass growls, low hums, and a bunch of darkly-shining high frequencies. now i just wish i had it on vinyl...

modern heads - 1969 | stroboscopic artefacts
another digital release that i wish was put to wax... it's been a breakout year for stroboscopic artefacts, with a patient pace of vinyl releases as well as a relative storm of digital works that tended towards futuristic depth and experimentation. but this track on the gamma sampler is, well, what its name implies: it's all about those retro keyboard riffs, with heaping amounts of atmospheric pressure. 8 minutes of instantly-recognizable boogie that sound like it would kill most any proper dance floor. too bad i don't hear this one out more often.

obtane|giorgio gigli - the different perception of silence (smear remix) | zooloft
one of my favorite remixes of the year, and worthy of a bit of discussion with smear to accompany his anatomy mix. you would be hard-pressed to find many similarities between the original version and this. smear kept the tempo low, but took that insistent bass drone and turned it into a fearsome beast covered in layers of sharp teeth... in other words, completely fucking mental.

john roberts - navy blue | dial
at this point you can perhaps see that 2010 wasn't a very house-y year for this writer. but my go-to label, dial records, has satisfied my needs with a consistent output of high-quality house. and hooray for the midwest-born john roberts! whose debut album glass eights has caught the hearts and minds of many around the world with its classy take on an aging yet classic house aesthetic. the album has a few really really good goodies, but the instant romance of the backwards piano in 'navy blue' is probably my favorite. later in the track, a quick, twisting synth flourish reminds us that even if the original ideas seem covered in years of dust, we are still here and now in 2010. but there's also the warm, low-key riffs of an acoustic bass... be still, my beating heart! this is shining, emotional, deep house at its most brilliant.

okay! i think that's it for now; check discogs and/or youtube and you should be able to find streaming audio for most of these picks.

i hope to have a new anatomy mix prepared to share soon in anticipation of a busier year here, and i hope you all have a safe new years celebration and a happy 2011!

Friday, December 17, 2010

giorgio gigli - room of secret memories [anatomy 05]

i am really, really excited to share a very special set of sounds with you all, from a very interesting artist...

(click on photo to enhance)

giorgio gigli hails from rome, italy, and over the past few years he has developed a distinct style of deep, hypnotic, darkly romantic techno. more recently, he has been busy releasing his music through limited-edition vinyl alongside obtane on their label, zooloft records.

no interview for now, and no more explanation... about this set, giorgio only had this to say:
"shadows never sleep"

for more info about giorgio and zooloft, check out the zooloft blog. it's been a pleasure to get to know giorgio, and as the 5th contribution to this blog's mix series, i could not be more pleased. his unique, reflective selections are exactly the sort of things i've come to expect from these anatomy mixes; thanks again to each artist for contributing, and thanks to those out there reading and listening... enjoy!