Hyponik

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Hyponik Awards 2014: The Winners

The results are in. 

Launched a week ago, we’ve been delighted with the response to the first ever Hyp Awards. It’s been great getting feedback from our readers and we’re relieved that we don’t seem to have offended too many people with our choices. Thanks again to everyone who contributed to the vote, we look forward to bringing you more exciting music and content in 2015. Without any further ado then…

Album of the Year: Kassem Mosse – ‘Workshop 19’ (Workshop) 

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Without  any press campaign or even an announcement, Kassem Mosse’s debut LP popped up on the website of Berlin’s Hardwax one rainy weekday in February. Before that week was out people were already proclaiming ‘Workshop 19’s’ grandeur and posting statuses about setting standards sky high for album of the year. With that in mind and the fact that he has yet to put out a bad release, it didn’t come as a surprise to watch Gunnar Wendel run off into the night with this award. These eight untitled tracks were dusty and polished to sublimity and brought us on an all encompassing voyage into the inner workings of the Kassem Mosse sound…

Track of the Year: Fracture – ‘Loving Touch’ (Exit) 

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A refreshing blend of familiarity and innovation, your tune of the year for 2014 saw two generations of Chicago Dance music combine with rule-book shredding half-step. Blessed with a sample of the key refrain from Ralph Rosario’s House classic ‘You Used To Hold Me’, Charlie ‘Fracture’ Fieber took the vocal’s wounded emotion and chopped it with the frantic tempos of Footwork. Underpinned by pure UK bassweight, it was an anthemic shot in the arm for anyone that foolishly thought Drum and Bass might be done for.

Label of the Year: Hyperdub

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Initially earmarked as year of celebration for the label’s decade in existence, 2014 ultimately was a thoroughly bittersweet one for Steve Goodman and Marcus Scott’s Hyperdub. On one hand, the imprint’s run of consistent excellence continued throughout, with envelope pushing LP’s from Fatima Al Qadiri, Cooly G and Fhloston Paradigm – as well as a fantastic four part compilation to mark the anniversary.

Sadly though the tragic and untimely passing of two beloved label associates in the shape of Footwork pioneer DJ Rashad and longtime Kode9 collaborator Spaceape cast a long shadow over what was meant to be a celebratory 12 months. Lent renewed poignancy by these terrible losses – the four ‘Hyperdub 10’ compilations – and the Teklife featuring ‘Next Life’, now serve as crystallisation of the legacy for the label itself and the two late artists – constantly forward thinking music that has never once given up in its quest to recalibrate the dancefloor.

DJ of the Year: Ben UFO

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Whilst the likes of Oneman and Jackmaster – with whom he was previously presented as part of an imagined triumvarite of forward thinking British DJ’s, have focused on developing their personal brands, Ben Thomson has remained resolutely lowkey. In spite of his relative degree of reticence, in 2014 it was more unavoidable than ever just how talented he now is. Across countless gigs and a handful of accomplished mixes, this year he continued to weave unique narratives that brought seemingly disparate strands of electronic music together like it was the most natural thing in the world. Recorded at Fabric’s 15th birthday weekend  as he played sandwiched between electronic music heavyweights such as Âme and Matthew Johnson, his presence didnt feel like a tokenist gesture or an experiment, it felt just desserts for a DJ who continues to become one of the definitive selectors of his generation. 

Live Act of the Year: Livity Sound 

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2014 saw the British Techno triumvirate of Peverelist, Kowton & Asusu lug their hardware heavy live set up across central Europe and make three lengthy journeys to Tokyo – to prove that they are indeed ‘big in Japan’. We ourselves witnessed their futuristic experimentations on the top floor of a boutique Amsterdam hotel and at a packed warehouse space at The Hydra in London last year. The Livity ‘Sound’ is a full bodied hybrid drawing from Techno, Jungle, Bass and Grime and is undeniably rooted in Bristol’s long lasting sound-system culture. Although we’ve already been acquainted with this trio of masterful improvisers for three years, you can’t help but feel as if they’re only getting started…

Breakthrough Act: Bruce

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Despite being comfortably our favourite mononymous producer since Joe, we have to admit that we were very pleasantly surprised by the huge swell of support Bruce received in these awards. Information on the young producer is almost comically thin on the ground, although with his first two releases landing on Hessle Audio and Livity Sound’s Dnuos Ytivil sub-label, it seems the music has genuinely done the talking in his case. After turning heads all over with his dense and heady variations on UK Techno, there’s every reason to assume that if he keeps it up then we’ve found the underground’s next star.

Film of the Year: Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton 

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With 2014 a vintage year for music documentaries, the vote for this category was one of the tightest. Ultimately though the award goes to a thoroughly deserving winner in the form of Jeff Broadway’s Stones Throw documentary ‘Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton’. Following an arc which traced Chris ‘Peanut Butter Wolf’ Manak’s journey from childhood to the tragic loss of his best friend and musical partner Charizma, through to the launch of his label and its continued success, the film was a record of one of Hip-Hop’s most vital institutions. Beautifully shot, with interviews with all the key players – including the likes of Kanye and ?uestlove, and featuring an amazing soundtrack that roped in Stones Throw heads new and old alike, ‘Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton’ proved to be essential viewing. Now if only we could find a way to unremember those Folerio videos…

Mix of the Year: Loefah b2b Mala feat. Sgt.Pokes  live at FWD>> o1.o1.2006

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One of the best things about putting together a shortlist for an awards vote is that you can play fast and loose with the criteria. Certainly ‘Mix of the Year’ would imply a set recorded in 2014, although as soon as this absolute gem of a recording landed on Blackdown’s perenially excellent blog back in November it immediately warranted us bending the rules. Thankfully it seems a lot of you agreed and joined us in savouring this rowdy Dubplate session which now – due to the unfortunate recent demise of Plastic People, is a sub-heavy piece of nostalgia.