XWHY XMAS Guestlist #6 – Tom
‘Best of 2013’ – seven disciples worship at the musical alter and select their favourite tracks of the year…
If yesterday’s top five from DJ Anna Wall left you on a high, don’t start planning your comedown just yet. Saturday’s playlist hails from another house and techno junky.
Giving us a more European insight, here’s Berlin resident Tom Evans on transient listening, a jungle breaks revival and divine musical intervention…
Before moving to Berlin in August, I was lucky enough to spend the first half of the 2013 living in Paris. In the last two years the city’s dance music scene has been thriving, thanks in no small part to the tireless work of the team behind the Concrete and Weather parties, but also to a flowering of grassroots organising in some of the city’s remoter locations. Looking back on it now, it seems a very special time to have been in Panam (as it’s known) and made my 2013 an unforgettable year in music. This selection of 5 tracks represents a little of that personal journey.
Mic Mills – Moretti [Untzz]
With so many standout tracks to choose from, it’s easy to overlook the ones that keep things simple. You know, the heads down, grimace-in-approval and get on with it type of track. Australian outfit Untzz released a third, excellent EP in September. It’s highlight for me was Mic Mills’s ‘Moretti’. Reminiscent of Boddika and Joy Orbison’s rhythms-before-melody approach, the track excitedly announces itself with a flickering synth sample that suddenly decays into a shuddering electric tom. Whoops and serious movement on the dancefloor ensue. Mills keeps things light with flashes of the initial sample, but the track thunders on regardless. It may not be the track you leave the club in desperate search of, but it’s the unsung numbers like this that keep you coming back.
Frank Booker – Skin (Frank Booker’s Godfather Edit)
For me, there’s nothing quite like a well-made, well-timed disco/funk edit. A second selection here from the talent down under comes from the excellent Frank Booker on Razor ‘n’ Tape. Masterful in all of his production, this edit of James Brown’s “Give Me Some skin” is true to the original, punchy and so funky you’ll wish you were back in the days of Soul Train.
Shed – Fluid 67 [50Weapons]
This track comes recommended by good friend and DJ/promoter, Chris Breuer. For a while, we were discussing how jungle and breaks patterns were fading back into the House and Techno mainstream. As the year played out, this revival of sorts became more and more noticeable. September arrived and sure enough, Shed (veteran producer and possibly the smiliest man in Techno) went back to skool with his B-side ‘Fluid 67’, released on Modeselektor’s 50Weapons imprint. It begins with pulses from a booming techno kickdrum and an eager snare then suddenly in comes this huge, lo-fi Amen-style break. And just when you thought you’d got a hold of which decade it was, enter the jerky, irreverent punches of oldskool organ to drive the whole thing to a euphoric conclusion. Unexpected? Perhaps. Instant classic? No doubt.
Laszlo Dancehall – Gave Up [Man Make Music]
I can’t remember ever being so anxious to get hold of a record. Finally arriving in May on George Fitzgerald’s Man Make Music, the debut release from Laszlo Dancehall (Leon Vynehall and Christian Sibthorpe) is full of energy and nuance and assured by some of the freshest sounding production I’ve heard this year. Lead track ‘Gave Up’ is how house might have sounded had it originated in 1960s Blackpool : a chomping, over-excited organ riff perfectly accompanied by an overdriven kick and chunky, mechanical hats. Bursting with energy and funfare insouciance, the track provided this year’s festivals with a moment of sheer bliss.
Trus’me – Hindsight [Prime Numbers]
I hardly need to say it… you fall hardest for the songs that, somehow, arrive precisely when you need them. Early in the year, and like a deus-ex-machina, came ‘Hindsight’, the first track from David Wolstencroft’s superb LP Treat Me Right. It’s a deep, pensive, but energised house jam and it instantly welded itself to my crusty, post-outing psyche. On paper it’s an odd cocktail: a gently-striding underwater chime, fizzing sawtooth stabs, a deep synth bed and an eerie vocal groan. But pulled together by delicious reverb and a smooth, driving groove, the effect is nothing short of transcendental.