The final Low End Movements of 2012- the second and concluding part of our attempts to condense 2012’s music down to just a few tracks.
All of us here at Organic HQ have been soldiering away to narrow down a year’s worth of fanatical music appreciation to bring you our top 10 faves, and we proudly present it to you in two parts. This is part two, and you can check out part one here- http://organicbeats.co.uk/features/article/low-end-movements-end-year-pt-1
This time around we’ve got selections from the head honchos as well as my own... are you ready? Then let’s begin.
Nathan Chadwick (Contributor- Artist interviews)
10. Bill Ryder Jones- By The Church Of Appolonia (Moon Wiring Club's Tea With Thelxiepeia Mix)
Opening with some nice lo-fi electro meanderings, it all seems very quirky until the vocal sample pops in. Then it all becomes impossibly sinister. Wonderfully lo-fi but all the more effective for it, it ebbs and flows, letting it's true power out in great surges. Probably best listened to as light relief to Demdike Stare. Or not.
9. Demdike Stare- Erosion of Mediocrity
People often say drum & bass can be dark; and yes, yes it can. While this is usually code for the musical equivalent of a cinematic gorefest of the SAW style, occasionally the true meaning of dark can shine through. However, not much in drum & bass’s armoury can match this Lancastrian duo's mixture of dub techno, dubstep and occult ethnic throbbings. To be fair, they exist beyond the boundaries of classification, but for cathartic slugfests in your own mental boxing ring, nothing comes close. Anything off the “Elemental” album could have gone here, but this one has the particularly thrilling feeling you're being chased by a demented Nick Clegg wearing nothing but small pictures of himself. Just the thing for the Northern Line.
8. Triumph feat Valldeneu- Discover (Jimmy Edgar Remix)
Danceable brilliance, you can't help but not have a smile on your face when it kicks in. Again the 80s theme is high, it's the kind of thing that Bateman chap would whistle while feeding cats into ATMs. In a good way.
7. Henry & Louis featuring Prince Green- Lovelike (Pinch Remix)
Taking a star turn on Pinch's Fabric mix at the start of the year, this takes your guts and gives them a good rumbling fondle, charging along with a spectacular pace and energy. My headnodder of the year.
6. Cardopusher- Everybody
Stunning old-style production and aesthetic, when this kicks in I can't help but go just a little bonkers. Pure, stripped back and ready for action, like “Headlock” it won't win any awards for subtlety, but for lovely squelchy techno/electro goodness, ooh yes.
5. Scuba- If U Want
An exceptional album, perhaps lacking a standout track in the vein of "Before" from his previous offering, but Mr. Scuba deserves all the praise for being the soundtrack to my ongoing weight loss. Thank you Mr. Scuba, I'm now a lot thinner and will probably live longer thanks to you. Now stop whinging on Twitter.
4. Sam KDC- Symbol #8.2
Ambient music is a very personal preference, which either touches you or it doesn't. If this EP doesn't touch you in some way, then you're probably not worth touching.
3. Rene LaVice- Headlock
Now I love the Autonomic/ Exit style of drum & bass. However, in the middle of the dancefloor, when your eyeballs are on the roof of your scalp and your body's feeling like a human Sybian (don't look that up at work), I'm afraid a simple mixture of bass, break and drop truly wins. Not quite jumpy, certainly not noodly, this was a welcome hobnailed boot through the doors of perception.
2. Photek- Pyramids
A telling hint at what Rupert is capable of. The rest of the album sadly doesn't follow in the same vein, but this was a welcome pointer to the creative depths of Mr. Parkes, delivering the tight and expressive jazz, funk and breakbeat-led joys “Modus Operandi” provided. More please Rupert, this is why we love you, and why we'll always forgive some of your offkey excursions.
1. Swarms- Pandora
Just a very beautiful thing. The musical equivalent of a nice big hug. Listen to it now before some gimp from a mobile phone advertising agency uses it to sell you 4g internet or some other sort of bollocks and you begin to hate it.
Worst tune of the year:
Nicki Minaj - (Any)
Anything by Nicki Minaj. The equivalent of audible canine transmissible venereal cancer.
Dave Hannon (Organic Bossman)
10. Paul White/The Room Below- My Moog Just Broke!
Paul White's "Rapping With Paul White" album was released in 2011 and was followed up this year with the "Room Below" versions. It's basically a rework of the original. Apparently made by listening through the walls of the studio and recreating each track using a moog , a pencil sharpener and a shoe horn (I may have made some of that up). Anyway, this track is a bit good.
9. J Rocc- Silver & Gold (feat. LMNO)
This is from a compilation of tracks that were originally hidden on a few 7" singles. Luckily the guys at Stones Throw bundled them together in a nice package for tight wads like me to download. This tracks has a classic break beat, soul vocal stabs and some tidy MCing. A 2(ish) minute slice of goodness.
8. Mono Poly- With Grace
From “Kutmah presents Worldwide Family Vol.2” on Brownswood. I love a good compilation album and who better to put one together than Mr. Kutmah! This track from Mono Poly has made the list for its spaced out cosmic vibe. Also because I like tracks that make me think "is this drum & bass?" The answer? No, probably not but have a listen and just humour me...
7. Clear Soul Forces- Get No Better
I hadn't heard of these guys until this year and discovered them on a late night voyage through Youtube. This tracks has such a cool beat with a real old skool feel to it. Pure neck snapping business. The vocals remind me of some early Souls Of Mischieff work which is just smashing. Their album is available as a free download on Bandcamp. Cashback.
6. Falty DL- Straight & Arrow (Four Tet Remix)
I've been following FaltyDL for a number of years now and I believe he is one of the most accomplished producers out there. He seems to be able to turn his hand to any genre and make it sound authentic and inventive. The icing on the cake? Only a bloody Four Tet remix! A perfect marriage. If you don't agree with me I hate you.
5. Scuba- Cognitive Dissonance
From the rather large album “Personality” on Hotflush. I knew I'd have a Scuba track in my list and was trying to think what would be coolest most obscure one to choose. In the end I thought "bollocks to that" and picked "Cognitive Dissonance" cos it's fantastic and I absolutely battered it.
4. Daat- Orange Line (Deep Blue Remix)
I have to admit I wasn't blown away by the first demo we received for this. I do however love to be proved wrong. I think it hit me when we got the final version. What we have here is some drum & bass that actually sounds like drum & bass. A technically superb roller that draws you in with a hypnotic bass line and evolving synth patterns. Hats off to Deep Blue on this.
3. Holy Other- Held
From the album “Held.” I (and most people) loved his first EP and I was rather exited to hear his follow-up release. I think it's fair to say it doesn't exactly break any new ground for him but what it does do is help solidify his reputation and define his own sound. I picked the title track because it's my list and I can. So there.
2. Jonwayne- Tire Loma
From the album “Oodles of Doodles” on the mighty Stones Throw. This album is a beast weighing in with over 40 tracks. I picked this one as it has the right amount of samples, arpeggios and wonkiness to encapsulate the entire vibe of the LP in a single track. He also looks a bit like Hugo from “Lost”. Google it. I dare you.
1. Com Truise- Colorvision
I love Com Truise so much it makes me want to jump up and down on a sofa and tell the world about it. This track off his latest album has all of his hallmarks. Classic synth pop, big bassline, fast hi hats and a lush break down. Lovely stuff.
Worst tune of the year:
Psy- Gangnam Style
Did you know that Psy is actually a drone that was parachuted into Korea by the Chinese government? His mission- to infiltrate the minds of simpletons and enslave the Western world. Phase one is complete (he's even got Bruce Forsyth doing that fakin’ dance). His follow-up single will initiate subliminal code that's been implanted into the heads of the track suite wearing masses resulting in a pied piper style death march off Beachy Head.
Alex Foy (Organic Bossman)
10. Oak- Otaku
Microfunk? Is that what we call this? From the ever promising Space Cadets imprint, another winner. "Otaku" is laced with groove hiding behind percussive elements, never really fully exposing itself but just teasing enough to pull you in. A bit like a really annoying stripper. Get your funk out for the lads!
9. Mode- The Abyss (Sam KDC's Acid Dub Re-Think)
There were a few Sam KDC tracks that I really wanted to get in this top 10. Sam has had an amazing couple of years musically and is surely one of 170 music's brightest stars. The music Sam writes is real. It is a pure manifestation of feeling, emotion, memory and experience. In this instance an edgy rework of Mode's "The Abyss". Thanks for a great year of music Sam.
8. Fat Joe feat. Chris Brown- Another Round
This is my guilty pleasure. Even if he hits women, Chris Brown's vocal is excellent. There are some really interesting things going on with this track's mix, the beats are so low in the mix outside of the claps and the steel pans are sublime. Whatever you think of this tier of main stream hip hop, what cannot be denied is they don't mind trying something different. Needs less Fat Joe however.
7. Rich White Ladies- One Percent
I'm not sure what's more banging- Tokyo Diiva & Scotty Rebel AKA Rich White Ladies or their booty clapping bitch rap "One Percent"? Some of the lyrics might be best forgotten but theirs enough front to make this a bonafide floor killer.
6. Youngman- Who Knows?
I remember getting a lot of stick when this came out. Youngman's commercially viable vocal sits on Skream's yearning club beat with rumbling bass. Whenever I hear this it reminds me of sitting in my kitchen with my friends taking turns choosing tracks on Youtube while cooking dinner.
5. Dan HabarNam- The Known
Taken from his audacious album "From The Known", this could have been any of the tracks on there, as they are all incredible. Best listened to in it's entirety, this was the album that got more plays than any on my iPod. Perfect for late nights on the tube or exhilarating voyages into the self. "The Known" is one piece of the Dan HabarNam puzzle.
4. Daat- Orange Line
Well, this was always going to be in my top 10... Obviously we had to get one of our own in. Both for the track and also my love of Daat on a personal level. I remember the first time I heard the breakdown in the middle of "Orange Line", I was completely blown away... Top work guys. The Deep Blue remix ain't 'alf bad either.
3. ASC- Oneironaut
I think every top ten needs an ASC track, it's only reasonable. "Oneironaut" is one of several tracks this year that has dared to step outside of the conventional tempo patterns. Galloping into spacial oblivion "Oneironaut" is the gradual climb to euphoria. Further proof that 2012 was the year for thinking man's drum & bass.
2. Synth Sense- Tomorrow's World (Indigo Remix)
Welcome to the future... It's not bright! By all accounts it is fucking dark, and this remix from Indigo only further condemns us to a mechanical icey grave. The original track taken from one of the less shouted about albums of 2012 although one of our favourites. More of the same please Auxiliary!
1. Silent Dust- Vostok 1
There is a term that has been floating around recently that perfectly describes "Vostok 1" for me; "Emotive Electronic At 170 BPM". The track operates on it's own plane somewhere in the outer atmosphere conjuring the awe of viewing earth from beyond earthly realms. Open the windows, close your eyes and let the wind pass over you with this on full volume.
Worst tune of the year:
David Guetta- I Can Only Imagine (feat. Lil Wayne and Chris Brown)
It's mainly the video that bothers me here. It single handedly manages to sodomize two of my greatest loves... DJ culture and skateboarding... First off you have button pressing box ticker/ window licker Guetta pissing about on his sci-fi uber decks... And then Lil' Wayne attempting to skate. Dear Mr. Weezey, you can't skate for shit, stop sodomising the things I like. Is this what people like now? If I had my way we would all be listening to tape fuzz and clicks at 85 bpm...
Rob Eves (Contributor- Low End Movements)
10. Blocks & Escher- Broken
There are several tunes that Blocks & Escher's Narratives Music label has put out this year which are absolutely stellar examples of throwback drum & bass. "Broken" however has an additional clean and modern sort of feel to it on top through the catchy synth hooks and more restrained drum programming, and for these reasons it's the one that I know I'll definitely still be listening to in years to come.
9. Laurel Halo- Thaw
The best new Hyperdub artist since Burial? Quite possibly. I love Laurel Halo's brand of avant-garde vocal electronica for constantly managing to make poppy melodies sound disturbing and awkward, and "Thaw" is just about as well as I can imagine anyone managing that. There's an unofficial video of this knocking about on Youtube which is absolutely incredible and compliments the track perfectly, especially the creepy intro. All credit to them, Hyperdub have evidently allowed it to stay up there so go check it out.
8. ASC & Synkro- Borderline
ASC & Synkro are further proof that electronic artists can be every bit as good songwriters as any other musicians, not that it was needed. "Borderline" is a flawless culmination of everything good about the old autonomic/ minimal electronica at 170 bpm thing (which by the way really needs its own name now as something separate from "drum & bass"). Everything happens exactly as you anticipate it to, except you don't even realise you've been anticipating it. That's good music if you ask me.
7. Stumbleine- Heart Shaped Locket
The new artist discovery of the year for me, Stumbleine's music is just so irresistibly moving and I had a few to choose from off the self-released "Drifting Youth" mini-LP, but "Heart Shaped Locket" makes the grade for its incredible vocal work, cutting up a pair of recognisable vocals (courtesy of Beyoncé and Neyo) to create an abstract but beautiful boy-girl dialogue. Ignoring the potential sample issue, it's a bit of a travesty that this didn't get a full label release but let's be grateful it's reached our ears anyway.
6. Holy Other- Nothing Here
Quite rightly, Holy Other's debut for Tri Angle Records has been universally lauded- he's an absolutely unique artist taking inspiration from all sorts of genres and ending up with something where the word is no longer really applicable. "Nothing Here" is the album closer and a perfect one at that- head in hands eyes-closed raw emotion and the soundtrack to many an end-of-the-night angst episode of the last 4 months.
5. Cloud Nothings- No Future/No Past
As well as soppy emotional electronica I also like to listen to angry men being angry and playing their guitars quietly and then really loudly so that the loud bit sounds louder.
4. Usher- Climax
Without any guilt or irony I actually love a lot of commercial music- can't beat a good banger from time to time. Admittedly though, not enough of the mainstream's output is as good as this. The combination of Usher's falsetto vocals with Diplo's unreal level of production is frankly moreirshly addictive to listen to.
3. Fis- DMT Usher
This fucking blows me away every listen, as it seems to do to everyone, out of either amazement or disgust, like Marmite. Incidentally, I'm one of the apparently few people who is indifferent to the stuff- wouldn't generally choose to eat it but never refused it either. If Fis' audio account is anything to by though I assume DMT is probably a bit stronger than Marmite.
Aural bliss. True to it's name, I think I wanted to cry the first time I heard this, but these were tears of joy at the reminder of the sheer overwhelming sense of beauty and inner joy that music is sometimes able to inspire.
1. Grimes- Vowels= Space + Time
In 2012 and heading into 2013 more if not all music should really sound like Grimes' experimental electronica filtered through indie/pop sensibilities to unique and ridiculously listenable result. Grimes' album "Visions", of which "Vowels…" is the personal highlight, came out back in January and after absolutely caning it for most of the last 11 months it's now a completely inseparably attached to all sorts of memories from the year, from lying in the sun at Summer festivals to night bus journeys in the snow. Maybe I'm just clouded by the nostalgia but then again lesser music doesn't tend to inspire nostalgia in the way that "Vowels= Space + Time" has done.
For some reason this tune doesn’t appear to be on Soundcloud but I’m sure with a bit of keyboard wizardry you’ll be able to track it down to stream elsewhere- or just go buy it!
Worst tune of the year:
The Prodigy- Smack My Bitch Up (Noisia Remix)
Basically like listening to the original, except banging your head against the wall at the same time, whilst on mephedrone. I appreciate that some people do like that sort of thing so this has actually been a staple of my commercial/student DJ sets of late.
So there you have it! An entire year’s music condensed to just a handful of tracks by a group of people evidently with too much time on their hands. We’re bound to have missed a few things so feel free to get involved with your thoughts on 2012’s best and worst via the handy social media links which you’ll find below. “Low End Movements” will be back in the new year with a bagful of new music in tow and trust me, things are shaping up nicely for 2013 releases-wise already. See you on the other side!