Tuesday, January 7, 2014

more top stuff from 2013: mixes and honorable (non-album) mentions

moving on after my top album picks, here's some more of my favorite musical things from 2013. first up and in alphabetical order: a selection of mixes/podcasts/recordings that were (and still are) on heavy rotation.

demdike stare - secret thirteen mix 083 manchester experimentalists demdike stare cook up a proper fucking trip with this mix for secret thirteen. like the duo's own studio productions, their S13 set defies easy categorization. grinding industrial rhythms; sections of cascading, vocal-laden deep house and awesomely off-kilter funk; thick, spiraling bass hums; nerve-wracking musique concrète; and then some light, hazy drones - it's a series of aural hallucinations that all fit together so well, which is basically business as usual for miles whittaker and sean canty.

donato dozzy - E.P. 200 showing off the many colors of rome's vibrant electronic music scene, donato dozzy used more than 50 tracks, coming only from artists from his hometown, in this landmark mix for electronique.it's podcast. (the website also just celebrated its tenth birthday!) dense and carefully layered, with plenty of syncopated drums, trance-y acid and an emotional ending... simply fantastic.

jeff pietro - only for robots 032 [station blackout] moody, slow-burning jams from jeff pietro, one of my favorite chicago artists, transmitted via the podcast of fellow chicago crew don't trust humans. here, jeff weaves together tracks from the likes of voices from the lake, newworldaquarium and andy stott. nice and easy, this one.

natural/electronic.system. - phonons podcast 008 this was probably my most listened-to mix in 2013. i'm a huge fan of natural/electronic.system; they favor the deepest shades
of techno and house, and just about every single mix or set i've heard from them has been worthy of multiple listens. i love their track selection and sense of pacing - eschewing quick cuts or flashy mixing, and instead letting the records stretch out and breathe - and this set for phonons was spot on. extra points for working in one of my personal favorites from auji.industries, and ending with a really dope shackleton track.

northern structures - slash dot dash podcast 020 copenhagen duo northern structures, aka lasse buhl and troels b. knudsen (aka ctrls), have carved out a niche mostly via their connection with sonic groove, which has yielded three EPs over the past few years. they've developed a very interesting approach to techno - gritty, organic, and sharp as a knife - that's on full display in this live set. a perfect primer if you haven't heard their stuff yet.

prince of denmark - smoke machine podcast 090 the always consistent smoke machine podcast delivered the goods with this offering from the mysterious prince of denmark (aka traumprinz). a driving set that seemed to pass by quicker than its sixty-minute run time, filled with tense, strung-out melodies and ending with a perfectly dreamy ambient track... it's oddly addictive, i'd say.

rrose - secret thirteen mix 065 another set for S13, which has done a lovely job curating sounds from many of today's most intriguing electronic artists. this time, the mysterious he/she hypnotic techno conjurer rrose is at the controls. dark ambient and mind-bending experimental electronics abound, as you might expect, complete with a really out-there ending. put aside his/her floor-melting records, this is an essential look into the weird world of rrose. (but more on him/her in a minute...)

surgeon (ambient set) at freerotation 2013 now for something a little more relaxing to wind down this list. surgeon regularly shares tough-as-nails techno sets via his soundcloud, but this one, apparently performed in front of only a handful of people at the UK festival freerotation, summons a much lighter vibe. music from the likes of steve hillage, oneohtrix point never, emeralds and bee mask make the cut across two hours of, as the man himself calls it, "colourful, uplifting psychedelia."

... and finally, just three honorable mentions for three excellent non-album releases from 2013.

rrose - monad XVI | stroboscopic artefacts (discogs) absurdly good, this. rrose dives into the abyss with just over half an hour of heavy, psychedelic techno for stroboscopic artefacts' monad series - one of my absolute favorite releases from 2013. the ambient-ish "kneeling," with its wonderfully weird, bleeping array of kaleidoscopic sirens, is my pick of the EP, but the whole thing needs to be listened to from front to back. i think it would be fantastic if rrose ever got around to producing a proper solo album...
various - GPH19 | geophone (discogs) a rare various-artists release on mike parker's geophone imprint, featuring ace contributions from voices from the lake, shifted and stanislav tolkachev. for me, VFTL's voodoo-stomp "reptilicus" was one of 2013's finest individual techno tracks, brimming with textured, tribal vibes. shifted, who at times is a bit too prolific for me, nailed it with his remix of parker's "mnajdra," which also went down nicely in its original form. last but certainly not least, tolkachev, employing his usual strangely configured rhythms, stirred up something brilliantly warm and evocative, and perfectly titled: "heartbeat."

dj sprinkles - queerifications and ruins collected remixes by dj sprinkles | mule musiq (discogs) my favorite compilation of the year. terre thaemlitz and mule musiq once again link up, and the results are, as expected, exquisite. nobody does deep house better than thaemlitz these days... nobody! two and half hours of music, 14 total tracks, and every minute is worth a listen, though i have to say i favor the material towards the back end, especially the last three tracks, where thaemlitz takes on original material from adultnapper, area (aka m50) and jorge c. that remix of adultnapper's "low point on high ground" (with big bully) originally released a few years ago, might be my favorite of the bunch - those basslines! anyway, this was easily 2013's most essential deep house release.

alright, that's all folks. closing the book on 2013 and now looking forward to this new year...

1 comment:

  1. Great list. Especially digging the natural/electronic.system. - phonons podcast 008, northern structures - slash dot dash podcast 020, and prince of denmark - smoke machine podcast 090. I missed out on these during the year, otherwise they may have made it onto our top podcasts http://bit.ly/podcast-2013.