Another year has passed, so we have once again assembled a team of our most opinionated writers to "mouth off" about their favorite releases of 2013...
This years has seen our reviews section grow from one monthly feature to three genre focussed monthly pieces, with LEM for the drum & bass/ 170 BPM favorites, REbEL Reviews for techno and Basal Sounds for the more ambiguous bass releases. So this year's annual round up although personal to each member of the team is also more comprehensive than ever before. As was the case last year, our favorites come in the form of two bite-size features. Kicking off we have one of Organic's best loved wordsmiths Nathan Chadwick followed by Tough Luck Records bossman and Organic techno reviewer REbEL. Let's get stuck in!
Nathan Chadwick (Writer)
1.Jadoo Feat. Miss Bee - I Believe
Okay, it's not big, it's not clever and it's certainly not an epoch-shifting slab of forward-thinking dance music. What it does have is a voluminous bassline, a good beat and entertaining lyrics. Even the most vinegar-faced will struggle not to get caught on to its charms. Or maybe it's me going soft in my old age. Go on, lighten up and get your disco on.
2. Disclosure feat. London Grammar - Help Me Lose My Mind (Paul Woolford Remix)
The original is a fine tune and all that, in a wonderfully gloopy manner, but Mr Woolford takes the superb vocal and delivers unto the dancefloor in spectacular, euphoric form. Who's up for an piano house revival, anyone?
3. Boddika - Crack
One of the most eagerly awaited EPs of the year, this is one of those tunes where it's a bit of a quandary how to dance to it – a bit like Orbital's "Chime". But whereas "Chime" is bright, shiny and these days a bit like electronic music's favoured elderly uncle, "Crack" is a wonderfully dark delight that stuck out a mile wherever it was dropped. Quantitative sleazing at its very best.
4. Femme En Fourrure - Watcher (South London Ordnance Remix)
The entire album is a fantastically sweaty indulgence in the more grimy world of techno/ bass/ house/ who really knows. "Pretty Boy" (and its wonderfully unerotic erotic video) nearly took my vote but it's SLO's pulsating remix that will have even the most abject beta male's darkest repressed BDSM dreams filter before their eyes. Filth.
5. Bicep - The Game
The whole Stash EP is great, but this is simply beautiful. While there's been a lot of looking back this year, regardless of the genre, this one really touched deep. Both euphoric and melancholic at the same time, it's one for the night bus.
6. Demdike Stare - Collision
After techno and dubstep, the overlords of dark, cinematic and industrial filth turned their gaze on jungle. All the Test Pressing releases were corkers, but this one sounded like the rallying call for an intergalactic war fought with sub-bass and breakbeats. Highly cathartic.
7. Djrum - Honey
The album is so on-point it's hard to pick a favourite from this album, but "Honey" is my vote. It just exudes class, from the perfectly judged dips in and out and the finely executed samples – in terms of overall vibe it's nailed on.
8. Deft ft Om'Mas Keith - Let's Hook Up
To be honest it's all about the instrumental on this – I'm not a hip hop guy though, so no offence intended. The tune itself is wonderfully meandering and delightfully woozy. Great for those particular times on a night out when there's two of everything and nothing left, so to speak.
9. Dusky - Nobody Else
This destroyed dance floors, and with a great vocal hook and that bassline, it would be remiss not to have this in my top ten. Again, it's not groundbreaking, but it certainly got me moving. The rest of the EP is also pretty damn fabulous.
10. TOKiMONSTA feat. Gavin Turek - Clean Slate
Affectionate and utterly charming. I don't know what's going on in the video, but it's a world I'd love to be in. In fact, if TOKiMONSTA's reading this, can I jump aboard your deliriously wonderful spaceship? Please?
Album of the year: Boards Of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest
This was certainly my album of the year. After the disappointing "Campfire Headphase", this was a return to form. This album showed how the Scottish duo are so far ahead in the world of downtempo electronica producers, with deft touches here and there and a blissful non-reliance on making experimental electronic music that sounds like a skipping CD. Grand.
Worst tune of the year: Aicivii - You Make Me
The sound of WKD Blue and a kebab being vomited across a street, while casually racist provincial poltroons insult taxi drivers in city centres across the land. On a Monday they'll be telling everyone about how 'mental' they are just because they've made a cock shape with a pilfered traffic cone. FUCK. OFF.
REbEL (Writer/ Producer/ Tough Luck Records boss man)
1. Ten Walls - Gotham
The mysterious and for most of 2013, faceless, Ten Walls (Now believed to be Lithuanian artist Mario Basanov) made quite an impact in 2013. "Gotham" was quite simply the most monstrous record of the year. It spread through Sonar and became the summers greatest "alternative" anthem. It was Innervision's brightest jewel in 2013's crown of riches. The label simply went from strength to strength which is even more of a testament to the power and appeal of "Gotham".
2. Daze Maxim - Farbfilm (Dyed Soundorom remix)
Probably the best remix of the year (a feat which Dyed seems to achieve year upon year) on one of my favourite labels of the year Apollonia. The groove is so rich and addictive it feels impossible to not play this record if it's in your bag and I think I played it in nearly all of my sets this year. The snappy snares, chords and bass all just work in unison, nothing is out of place it's just an awesome house record!
3. Baikal - Why Don't Ya (Ripperton Remix, Dixon Edit)
Another deep, melodic techno number that featured in Dixon's essential mix but this time not on his Innervisions label but on Baikal's Maeve imprint. This tune has everything, tension ramped up to the max, exciting arrangement, a breath taking vocal hook and still retains maximum club appeal and impact. When the lead arp opens out and everything seems to go crazy for a split second you'll be wondering, moments later, "Did that actually happen?!"
4. Jon Hopkins - Open Eye Signal
I loved the whole of Jon Hopkin's brilliant "Immunity" album but the stand out track and one I found myself playing in the odd set was "Open Eye Signal". Carved from the Korg MS-20, the constantly moving, emotive and raw lead and bass are wrought with tension and the crispest, most creative sound design heard in 2013. It's so complex and full of secrets that jump out at you with each listen yet allows you to drift into it effortlessly.
5. John Dimas - Mind Games
2013 was a big year for Dimas. He had a great release on One Records, played live at Fabric but for me his "Living Lies" EP on La Vie En Rose was the biggest highlight. It featured "Mind Games" a warping, disjointed slice of tech house with real character. The stand out track on a particularly strong four track EP.
6. Dense & Pika - Colt
One of those irresistibly simple, universally appealing moments of piano drenched music that blew everyone away. Having released their ode to the warehouse "Move Your Body Back" on Hotflush they followed it with something so awe inspiring it stayed at the top of the Beatport charts for weeks and has no doubt done wonders for Alex Jones and Glimpse's super underground Alias...
7. Makam - Lion King
2013 was the year I discovered Makam through my friend Chris Cue. I knew his name but never really delved into his productions. Then I came across his epic remix of Boris Werner's "Set It Off" (from last year or it would have been in this chart) and in turn this years techno smash "Lion King". It's hypnotic melody draws you in before the vicious drums kick in and the track winds along taking no prisoners.
8. Mr G - A Moment
Deep grooving house with that typical Mr G techno flavour, "A Moment" is warm, rewarding and dripping with quality. It also came on one of the prettiest looking bits of wax I've seen in a long time, a lovely royal blue 10".
9. Isolee - Allowance
Lush techno from Pampa that followed in the footsteps of one of last years big hits (also on Pampa, Herbert - "It's only" Dj Koze Remix). With that in mind you should know what to expect, emotion and melancholy throughout. It's beautiful!
10. David Gtronic - 7 Minutes Of Love
Dub Techno from an artist I followed closely and supported all year. "7 Minutes Of Love" was a blissful yet driving journey of a tune that blended atmosphere with speaker rattling sub bass and crisply programmed drums. The samples are wonderfully used too, eery guitars and accordion play in a ballad like theme before disappearing again. So good.
Part 2 coming soon...