So here's the rundown of my favourite tracks and albums of 2010....
a vintage year I think by anyone's standards.....genres are interbreeding and becoming blurred and the resulting bastard offspring are sounding better than ever.....I think I'm getting soft as well: there's a lot of pop elements floating my boat.
And I'm not doing top 11's to be cool, it just so happens I had 11 favourites of each.
1.James Blake - CMYK EP (R&S)
James Blake has been one of the standout artists for me this year, combining a subtle production touch with a cracking voice. I could easily have chosen any of his EPs on R&S, Hemlock or Hessle Audio from this year, but this takes the cup. He gets number one spot for a whole year of productions.
2.oOoOO - oOoOO EP (Tri Angle)
Such a strong EP...it has its own sound and for me, hits all the right notes straddling the sounds of cold wave, pop, hip hop etc. Pop music for people into underground electronics. Impeccable.
3.The Bug - Skeng (Autechre Remix) (Ninja Tune)
Dynamite remix from Autechre, stripping the original back to the bones and underpinning the gun-lover vocals with a deceptively straight AE beat. It kicks.
4. Kangding Ray - Pruitt Igoe (Alva Noto Remix) (Raster Noton)
Future bass music of the first order. Tight, clicky and dense.
5.Ramadanman - Work Them (Swamp 81)
The word infectious could've been invented to describe Ramadanman's beats. Skittery production and a healthy dose of beautiful glacial strings make this one of my standout tracks of the year.
6.T++ - Wireless (Honest Jons)
Irresistible crunchy dub, taking his sound to the next level just in time for him to apparently drop the T++ moniker. Going out on a high.
7.Terror Danjah - Minimal Dub (Hyperdub)
Standout track for me from his 'Undeniable' album. Like bit-crushed grime forced to a house template, it bends and snaps in equal measure.
8. Oni Ayhun - OAR004 (OAR)
He's got a willfully rough aesthetic and a desire to buck expectation, and for this I applaude him. I've got a soft spot for all his EPs but this gets the most plays.
9. Sei A - Little One Song (Turbo)
You'd never guess this was on Tiga's label....a lo-fi mixture of a multitude of influences, it's the sound of a producer making music they like the sound of. There's a number of great tracks in a similar vein of originality on the 'White Rainbow' album.
10. Wax - Wax 30003 (WAX)
Simple, effective, one-note techno but it just sounds so gooood. One of the most played of the year.
11. Balam Acab - See Birds (Tri Angle)
I seem to be one of the few people who prefers the oOoOO EP to this one, but this is still stunning music and I am really looking forward to hearing what Tri Angle come out with next.
1.Hype Williams - Find Out What Happens When People Stop Being Polite, And Start Gettin' Reel (De Stijl)
Only just out and so clearly my favourite album of the year already! Indescribably unique. Like R&B on Tramadol. Check 'Rescue Dawn' for a slice of gothic electro perfection.
2.Salem - King Night (Iamsound)
And on the subject of gothic, this is immense. Like pop goth emo hip hop. Grindingly sinister, it sounds like it was made in a crack-den basement in Baltimore. And that's good.
3.Actress - Splazsh (Honest Jons)
Actress has long been one of my favourite artists to follow as he works to his own agenda and epitomises the outlook I respect, of making music with no clear genre in mind, and with scant regard to what else is happening in the scene. There are references of course but this is no one else's music. Wildly inventive and pulling in 20 directions, it will be referenced by those to follow, I guarantee.
4.Autechre - Move On Ten (Warp)
Nice surprise this: you get 'Oversteps' and like it, then you get this a month or so later and it takes all those rhythmic elements that were missing from the first album and smashes them all over the place. Blinding invention as usual.
5.Senking - Pong (Raster Noton)
Effortlessly composed minimalism of the Raster Noton variety. Glitch, buzzing subs and a tonne of space to let it all breathe. Great album.
6.Tristan Perich - 1 Bit Symphony (Cantaloupe)
A complete minimalist symphony composed for 1 bit sound chip, it was originally released as a self-playing sound-circuit housed in a CD case. But it stands as great music too, even if it takes
lo-fi to the extreme.
7.Forest Swords - Dagger Path (Olde English Spelling Bee)
This is all over the end of year lists and rightly so. The comparisons with Sergio Leone scores are certainly deserved, containing all the pathos and atmosphere that the comparison suggests. Music for a sunday afternoon in the Mojave.
8.Darkstar - North (Hyperdub)
More pop-inflected joy from unexpected quarters. Proper songs referencing everything from New Order to Joy Orbison. Pleasantly indefinable.
9.Emptyset - Emptyset (Caravan)
Ultra-stripped techno that can rightly be termed minimal! With music like this it's all about the detail and the aesthetic, and this is authentically crushed and analogue, with every sound counting towards the whole. Totally underrated in my humble opinion.
10.Shake Shakir - Frictionalised (Rush Hour)
It aint new music exactly but fuck it, it deserves proper appreciation. Shake's been pushing techno in new directions for years and years and this is his testament. Detroit futures.
11.Kreng - L'Autopsie Phenomenale De Dieu (Miasmah)
Last but no means least, this falls into the home listening camp but if you do a lot of listening at home I really can't recommend this highly enough. Beautiful beautiful music.