Often cited as the most depressing month of the year, January has also built up a reputation as being rather thin on the ground as far as quality releases go. Doing their best to dispel that unfair reputation, our writers are on hand to once again round up the best and brightest that electronic music had to offer last month. Techno, Grime, Garage, House and much more feature in a cracking selection of tunes that got the year off to a bang.
Mumdance – ‘Springtime’ (Unknown To The Unknown)
I’ve been a fan of this since hearing it in a mix Mumdance did back in 2011 and it still sounds every bit as good now. The synths are mad and it carries some pretty unorthodox emotional weight too – straight up tears of joy meet runaway fairground carousel. Deep.
Dizzee Rascal – ‘Strings Hoe’ (Wen Refix) (Keysound)
Super dark, icy cold refix fare from Wen. A classic white label release in waiting, it’s an all-encompassing representation of the past and future sounds of grime and moreover, London. Goes down a storm in the clubs.
L-Vis 1990 – Dance System EP (Clone Jack For Daze)
L-Vis returns to Jack For Daze with the much anticipated debut of his Dance System alias. Four futureproof takes on the classic ghetto house model, with the pick of the bunch shared between the metallic jack of ‘Move It’, featuring Chi hero Jammin Gerald, and the dangerously infectious ‘Flash Drive’.
AnD – Kundalini EP (Electric Deluxe)
A typically powerful start to the year from Manchester duo AnD, the Kundalini EP is a 5-track exercise in violent, red-line distorted techno, dominated by lead track ‘The Jellyfish’. Music designed for warehouses, sex dungeons and abattoirs.
An-i – ‘Kino-i’ (Cititrax)
Serious acid mayhem on Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax courtesy of Doug Lee. All three versions on the fluorescent yellow slab of wax are lethal, although the marathon original mix takes the crown. There are a number of times you think it can’t get any more mental, but An-i somehow manages steps it up another gear. It’s nowhere to be found online, so you’re going to have to make do with the dub…
Duve – Blank Slate 005 (Blank Slate)
Ace left field house experimentations, with the pairing utilising their Turkish heritage to create a curious blend of traditional instrumentation and synthesised rhythm section. Remarkably fresh sounding.
Container – ‘Adhesive’ (Liberation Technologies)
Brutal J G Ballard inspired Noise Techno.
Cottam – ‘Sunrise Sunset’ (Use Of Weapons).
Epic Acid House Ballad with beautiful strings and an infectious line. The track takes a refreshingly restrained approach to tweaking as well.
Moodymann – ‘Lyk U Used 2’ (featuring Andrés) (Mahogani Music)
Finally released digitally this month, this collaboration with Andrés is a frenetic slice of forlorn pop rich in black humour thanks to KDJ’s subtly tortured vox. Bonus points go to the caricature of Kenny on the cover which is quite possibly the most unsettling album artwork since Aphex’s ‘Richard D. James’ LP.
Crazy Baldheads – First Born (Text Records)
Originally out in ’99 this one got a repress on Kieran Hebden’s Text imprint a couple years after a show stopping appearance on his Fabriclive mix. Impossibly fresh sounding, the slapdash rhythms of ‘First Born’ broadly recall Garage and Hip-Hop variously, whilst the vocal cut ups, fx swirls and gorgeous flute sample affect a soupy layer of misty sensuality. Hebden and his pal Burial are just two names on the long roll call of present day producers that owe a big debt to ‘First Born’.
Actress – ‘Gaze’ (Werk Discs / Ninja Tune)
One of my favourite cuts from Actress’ sayonara LP ‘Ghettoville’. It’s risky business singling out a track from such a well structured record but the groove in ‘Gaze’ just does something to me.
Lee Bannon – ‘216’ (Ninja Tune)
I tried my best to avoid a potential Ninja-fest but they haven’t put a foot wrong in 2014 so I don’t care. Best known for his production work on Joey Bada$$ records, Lee Bannon dropped ‘Alternate / Endings’, his second outing for the label and debut album, in mid-January. ‘216’ blends creepy cinematic soundscapes with rugged Jungle beats-and-bass that sporadically folds back into oddball Hip-Hop with abstract textures. A lovely example of blending rough and the smooth. Imagine Mc Det trying to spit over this?
DJ Vague – ‘Porsche Trax’ (Templar Sound)
The first release of a new alias from Helix. The three tracks have that wierdo-vibe that runs through all his music, I love it. Cranking the BPM right up, ‘Porsche Trax 2’ is a beast.
Len Faki & Marcus Suckut – ‘Skulls’ EP (Figure)
Pure club techno on 2 x 12″. ‘Skulls 2’ & ‘3’ are particularly good, but all four bang. All tracks figured out by L.Faki & M.Suckut.