The results are in.
Launching a week ago, the 2015 Hyponik Awards had an overwhelming response, with certain categories hosting neck and neck results, to some seeing runaway victors. Grime and its associated sounds had a mammoth year, whether that be scene stalwarts, hungry up-and-comers, or those who contort its blueprint into whatever form they see fit. Elsewhere, some winners avoided press altogether, instead available to those who cared to dig deeper. Another winner appeared on nearly every major publication’s end of year list, and rightly so. One thing’s for certain, the UK came out on top – testament to the fertility of homegrown electronic music and the abundance of quality grassroots artists and crews.
Here are the results…
Album of the year: Floating Points – ‘Elaenia’ (Pluto)
Simply put, one of the finest electronic records of the past few years. Sam Shepherd’s adventurous productions always hinted that he had a great album in him, and now we know for sure. Mixing analogue synths with acoustic instruments, ‘Elaenia’ was crafted over a period of five years, and every second of that time is reflected in the album’s gorgeous sonics and classical complexity. It’s not explicitly dancefloor-focused, but it draws from Shepherd’s past work just as much as it does from jazz, ambient and sprawling post-rock.
Track of the year: Chaos in the CBD – ‘Midnight in Peckham’ (Rhythm Section)
Has there ever been a track of the year that announces its brilliance so casually? ‘Midnight In Peckham’ buttressed the less-is-more theory; a few carefully crafted elements were all that’s needed for an underground house anthem that’s ironically more Adriatic coastal sunset than late night in the capital. The New Zealand-born south Londoners scored big with this title track from their EP for Rhythm Section, with much of the magic lying in those loose trumpet melodies – calming, but tinged with melancholy.
DJ of the year: Spooky
From Eskimo Dance to Boxed, London to NYC, 2015 saw veteran selector Spooky continue his quest to play as many raves as possible. Otherwise you could find him holding it down on radio, joining BBC 1Xtra, as well as his usual show on Mode FM. As a producer, he recently teamed up with rising MC Capo Lee for the ferocious ‘Welcome to Clartsville’ EP. While Spooky is best known as a grime DJ, his record bag takes in everything from dubstep and garage to UK funky and dancehall – check this Collections interview for an idea of how deep his knowledge runs.
Live act of the year: Paranoid London
The elusive duo don’t do press or marketing, and until their eponymous 2014 LP, they didn’t do CD or downloads. That’s fine. What Quinn Whalley and Gerardo Delgado are really good at is stripped down, no-nonsense acid made with an array of vintage gear. Well suited to grimy warehouse spaces as they are to larger festivals, their live set is totally raw and uncompromising. Joined at times by guest vocalists, Paranoid London bunker down behind their hardware for an assault that can be just as soulful as it is overwhelming. Don’t believe us? Check this.
Label of the year: Gobstopper
Asides from co-running the Boxed club night and releasing his free-floating productions on Planet Mu, Mr. Mitch has grown his Gobstopper imprint into a major stronghold for genre-bending club sounds in recent years. 2015 saw its 5th anniversary, marked by reissues of Bloom’s ‘Quartz’ and Mr. Mitch’s ‘The Man Waits’, which have emerged as vital pieces in the instrumental grime canon. Disparate sounding debuts from Tarquin and Iglew also showed off the label’s thematic diversity, proving Gobstopper’s output can be littered simultaneously with giddiness and introspection.
Radio station of the year: Radar Radio
What a first year it’s been. Since its initial broadcast on Halloween 2014, Radar Radio has gone from strength to strength, building a steadfast community in its wake. First described to FACT by founder Ollie Ashley as a platform for fledgling talent that couldn’t get a foot in established stations, the Clerkenwell-based station now hosts a number of standout DJs, including Riz La Teef, Amy Becker, Ikonika and many more. Online radio has certainly played a major part in counteracting the woeful situation facing London’s clubs, and it’s exciting to think how much further Radar can go in the next year.
Breakthrough act of the year: Jammz
Image: Vicky Grout
2015 saw a deluge of exciting new grime MCs hit the scene – shelling down raves, dominating radio, and generally making themselves known. Even among this crowded field, Hackney’s Jammz stood tall. Underground hits like ‘Final Warning’ on Local Action and Plastician collaboration ‘London Living’ did a lot for his rep, while instant classic ‘Hit Then Run’ showed he could cut it as a producer as well. Countless club and radio sets have proved he has the chops to carve his name among the best in years to come, and 2016 will undoubtedly see him gaining even more traction.