to my mind, 2012 was as diverse a year as any in electronic terms, with disperate scenes, locales, labels and so on all plotting thier own unique routes rather than following some overriding but unwritten consensus.
'in germany, they can't say 'techno,' they say 'teshno'' ~ seth troxler [march 2008]
ok, here comes a list of my thirty favourite long players (including one re-issue and following my top 10 compilations) of 2011. like last year, i’m not that sure of the order beyond the first few, but these are the records which i’m still listening to, still enjoying and – in many cases – still astounded by. the only other thing to note is the lack of many bass/dubstep albums. efforts from kuedo, sepulcre and machine drum will all top many polls elsewhere on the web, i’m sure, but i just never quite sit comfortably when they are playing. necessarily then, in case you wondered, i’ve overlooked them. but it ain’t like i was short on choice…
so this is interesting. after debuting on dark arx last year with an ep which took in dubstep, shades of four tet/burial garage and digital dub, 19 year old gerry read is back with something wholly different again. this time on fourth wave, his ‘untitled/legs’ two tracker is coated thick with dust and comes from more of a deep house than bass standpoint. given the shades of people like omar s or falty dl in 4/4 mode throughout both tracks, it’s genuinely impressive that this is only the teenager’s (also impressive) second full release.
in amongst all the d-town names with which you are most familiar lurks rick ‘the godson’ wilhite. a lesser spotted talent than the likes of cohorts moodymann and theo parrish, it’s hard to work out why. one thing is for certain, the music he does release always sparks reams of forum debate given its unashamed devotion to analogue. though i’m inclined to say analogue stuff does sound better, truth is, i don’t really give a shit. so long as what comes out of the speakers sounds good, i really can’t see that it matters.
incredibly, given the fact he’s been doing this since the 90s (whilst also running the vibes new & rare music record store) analogue aquarium is the godson’s debut album. actually, it’s more a collection of singles, so don’t go expecting a load of unifying concessions to the full length – little segues, intros, downtempo numbers, whatever. that’s not to say these are homogenised ‘tracks’, no, instead the ten thick offerings busy themselves with exploring different pockets of warm, fuzzy house music: the sort of house music that (without reeking of nostalgia) reminds you of a time back in the day that you didn’t really live.
sometimes it has one foot in motown; sometimes it marches in an oppressively humid basement club; sometimes it’s isolated and lonely and, occasionally, it’s alive with the buzz of a busy room. there are raw, clunking machine sounds; stuttering, imperfect beats and apparently alive percussive hits that strike when you don’t expect them and miss when you do. component parts of tracks suddenly collapse, stumble or stutter before regaining themselves once again. that satisfying roughness speaks of human animation – rather than digital sequencing – and surely betrays a spontaneous, unhindered creative flow that breathes delightful life into the sounds you hear.
‘deep horizons’ references the sort of jazzy drums that made carl craig’s (as innerzone orchestra) ‘bugs in the bass bin’ such a great record; ‘in the rain‘ bumps along like an omar s offering; ‘sunshine pt 2’ dips its toe into toned-down rob hood minimalism and ‘muzic gonna save the world pt. 1’ brings to mind the dusty and lo-fi aesthetic of kassem mosse. as you should now be inferring, this is serious house music served up with spoons of us soul that you simply don’t get from a lot of cluttered, modern stuff. like i said, the analogue thing is of no real importance, but it would certainly take a lot of effort to make ones and noughts sound this… authentic.
something i wrote for idj mag in the uk – thought it worth sharing…
the re-release of robert hood’s ‘minimal nation,’ and carl craig’s re-instatement as musical director of the demf, are momentous events, not far behind us. shadows of the first and second wave detroit forefathers, then, perennially loom large over the shoulders of any new motor city blood. whether that pressure is why techno headlines have come mainly from berlin in the last couple of years or not, is now irrelevant: detroit’s where it’s at in 2009.
seth’s rocked my world this year. his music has character, as does he, and that’s something house and techno could do with more of. there’s playfulness, seriousness, depth and charm to his work, and i reckon some of that comes through in this interview, too. he’s done a load of them recently so some questions are as you’d expect, some are aimed at prising a nugget of info from the man that no one else has before. let me know if i succeeded, then sample his sounds with an ra, ibiza-voice or save the cannibals podcast.
another interview from a series with detroit’s current champs.
how did you get into all this?
“all of this”…. i like that, you make it sound like you’re asking how i ended running cocaine for the mafia on some documentary on the history channel. but seriously, i’ve been making music since i was a teenager, so once i started listening to dance music and djing, i think the progression into making the music was inevitable, and once i started producing full on, i realized quickly that i wanted to make djing and producing my full time job. the rest just kinda filled in from there.
i’m writing a piece for someone on detroit’s current crop of production talent [which explains the detroit centric questions] so have briefly email interviewed a few of the main proponents. only the odd quote will be used in the piece and i thought it a shame not share the answers in full, so here they come…