Back from the brink
Blimey, I really should have posted sooner than this, apologies to all perturbed. The good news is, I'm back in the land of the blogging. The bad: you'll have to wait a little longer for the gigantic post which has been gestating in my hard drive for about two weeks. Unfortunately, given the demands of my current schedule - dissertation deadlines, job interviews, glorious sunshine - that five minutes it takes to upload a YSI file feels like five minutes I can't spare. Forgive me my laziness. Here, just to let you know I'm alive, is my current top 10...
SOFTIE'S CURRENT TOP 10
1. BRENNAN GREEN - LITTLE EASE (LINDSTROM & PRINS THOMAS REMIX) // CHINATOWN It's taken me a while to realize that, while Lindstrom is a giant among men, it's his slightly less photogenic mate Prins who seems to be turning out the real jewels in the cosmische crown. His mixes of Terje, Snuten and loads of other shit I can neither spell nor pronounce have staged a major coup in my playlist, their sultry effects and slightly downtempo slink providing an unbeatable soundtrack to my summer sashaying (woah, assonance alert). Here, Brennan Green, who looks to be heading into the slightly more overground sector of the underground with his appearance on the new Kitsune comp and his mix of Tiny Sticks' Dondolo, here provides the raw materials for L & PT to work their chugging and ethereal magic. Far from the disco craze running out of steam, recent cuts from all over the shop point towards inexhaustibility. More!
2. DJ T - STALKER // GET PHYSICAL This turned up way back in January, when I was going through a Get Phiz naysaying phase and challenging its artists to retain their relevance in 2006. Well, what can I say, the Berliners have come up with the goods, quietly and consistently - and while I was quick to praise new business from Jona, Hell's mix of Chelonis and Booka's recent B-sides, I cruelly neglected this block-rocker from silver fox Thomas Koch (pictured above). Deceptively simple, a few listens make startlingly apparent those consummate, future old-skool production stylings, where less is more and sparse elements are given enough space and enough emphasis to create smart electro-funk whose tastefulness actually makes it more dirty. Its the same vibe that led me to claim, in an E-soaked surge of grandiloquence, one sunny AM last May, that Boogie Playground was 'the ...Endtroducing of electro-house'. Iwas rather rash in my praise back then but 'Stalker' assures me that I wasn't completely off my rocker.
3. SKREAM - LIGHTNING // TEMPA I'm gradually beginning to tire of this, but it's inarguable quality posits Skream as THE dubstep anthem-maker. Grindie-kids have been getting excited about Bristolian Pinch, whose Planet Mu debut is imminent, but it'll take something really special to knock Croydon's finest off his perch. It's all there - quirky melodies that sit somewhere between UK garage and rave, monstrous bass frequencies and junglist drum patterns stretched and contracted into coruscating, angular shapes. Check his mix of Digital Mystikz for more incredible Skreamism.
4. REKID - MADE IN MENORCA // SOUL JAZZ In many ways, this album is totally forgettable, and after four or five tracks it does rather start to plod. Look at it another way, and it's a masterpiece of tone, sludgy and dubby and full of hard-earned abstraction and grit. The idiots are calling it smack-house,but smack-disco would be more appropriate. How about smiscko? Smackso? Smaximal? Whatever, that 'smack-' prefix is just a polite way of saying 'stoner-'. Lie back, shoot up or roll up and pop this bad-boy on. Recommended.
5. BURIAL - BURIAL LP The more progressive quarter of the dubstep community begins to throw its weight around with this: a murky, diverse and totally engaging listen which hangs together as all good albums should, and which has more in common with Basic Channel, Massive Attack and Lee Perry than its grimier counterparts. I would even suggest that this is destined to be an underground classic; I'm already nicely addicted to the complex but lo-fi programming and the demonic toasting which mingles neatly with ambient interludes and creepy melodic hooks. Proper, underwater dub psychosis - this album, texturally at least, summons all the stuff I'm digging at the mo, from Villalobosian minimalism and hook-laden dubstep to bowel-loosening reggae and, er, smackso. Totally mindblowing. Will post some highlights soon.
6. QUIET VILLAGE - ER, EVERYTHING // WHATEVER WE WANT ETC I'm nothing if not honest (that is, of course, a lie) but it's taken me a while to click with Quiet Village's doings, despite everyone around me proclaiming the woozy brilliance of their trackage. Well, when it rains it pours, and I'm finding it hard to do anything with my life other than listen to 'Drax'. 'Pillowtalk', 'Too High To Move', not to mention their mix of Cosmo Vitelli. These trendy bastards totally have me by the balls. The dreamy pace, the isolation and and accentuation of some random tom-note, the wickedly revitalized samples from decades of chill-out 'n cheeze, just totally chime with where I'm at. God, that's a pretty unforgivable turn of phrase. Also worthy of mention: Radio Slave's re-work of Kate Bush's 'King of The Mountain' - absolutely divine. I deny it its own place in this chart, lest it turn into a Matt Edwards appreciation list. Though I still don't dig 'My Bleep'...
7. RHYTHM & SOUND - DEM NEVER KNOW (SLEEPARCHIVE REMIX) // BURIAL MIX Okay, so I'm totally dub-fixated at the moment (which is weird, 'cos I've been totally smoke-free in recent months), but you can trust me, this is phenomenal - impeccable production which incorporates techno's precision and, er, masterful mastering without compromising the earthy spirit down below. So good.
8. PIER BUCCI - FAMILIA LP // CROSSTOWN REBELS Badly marketed, poorly distributed and, in a sense, poorly-timed, it's fair to say that Crosstown didn't quite connect this album to the audience it deserved, but word-of-blog and a bit of retrospect has seen Bucci (pictured above) receive some better-late-than-never props - for me, it's a stone-cold classic, and for that very reason has me reaching for the adjectival cliches. Let's boil it down: Familia is AMAZING. These Chileans, I mean, they really are fucking running things, no?
9. THE JUAN MACLEAN - LOVE IS IN THE AIR (MOCK & TOOF REMIX) // DFA and DONDOLO - DRAGON (SHIT ROBOT & BRENNAN GREEN REMIXES) // TINY STICKS Good to see TAPE readers M&T occupy the prestigious A-side of a DFA 12", and converting Juan's slightly stodgy album track into a hands-aloft nu-disco barnstormer. Keep your ears and eyes peeled for the new 12" on Mock's Tiny Sticks label, which comes care of new Frenchman Dondolo and is backed by mixes from twin towers Shit Robot and Brennan Green. Check here for my interview with Mock.
10. THE FLYING SQUAD - TRIP 2 // WHITE Disco re-edit goodness from Tim Sweeney, which sounds exactly as you'd imagine disco re-edit goodness from Tim Sweeney to sound - laden with tribal drums, vocoders and handclaps, and very very good.