I’m not that much into end of year lists. I constantly look back on what was, the same way that I always look forward and live in the now. But I’m not totally oblivious about the force of (end of year) lists. They are a testimony of how your year was and why. They are a way of not forgetting why your live went in certain directions. And they can inspire other people, of course.
I do think they’re only powerful if you keep them condensed. Extensive lists are nice for historians but that’s beside the point here. Let’s just keep it at the fine musical blips of genius that made my year a good one.
I like albums. Because they can be a trip. An experience. Going far beyond and way deeper than a single tune can. For that same reason only few albums really do it for me. In this digital download era the instantaneousness (what a word) of the tune rules. But some people still deliver the goods.
Dimlite – Prismic Tops – Now Again
A word like genius is used far too careless and often but when I listen to this masterpiece it’s what first springs to mind. Defying genres, rooted in electronic music and at the same time miles away from it and above all very beautiful and inspiring.
Maddslinky – Make A Change – Tru Thoughts
Dance albums are too often nothing more than collections of singles. Not even sure this one is completely free of that but the quality and diversity of the tunes makes it a fine album. It slowly converted me and never loosened its grip since.
Theo Parrish – Sketches – Sound Signature
I’m a big fan of the man but paying crazy money for the Sketches vinyls was even a bridge too far for me (mind, I’ve got all the half-assed, over-priced edits he released this year). Kind of regretting it though. There are some utterly brilliant tunes on here (the CD-version is affordable) and even the minor ones still rule (like the Traffic jam with IG Culture). And it ends with a major bang. Something I like on albums.
I’m a DJ so I do live by the grace of tunes most of the time. It would be easy to list up 10s of tracks here. Easy isn’t a word I live by though. So I distilled a selection of tracks that struck a major chord with me.
James Blake – CMYK – R&S
‘Limit To Your Love’ is nice but it’s far from shocking. It’s fine craftsmanship and deserves all applause for that alone. But this tune is all that and is pushing things forward. Blew me away the first time I heard it. And all the times after that.
T. Williams feat. Terri Walker – Heartbeat (Mosca Remix) – Local Action
I love vocal House. A lot. But I hate the spineless bagger that’s usually released nowadays. It’s at best a decent take on what’s been done better. This tune confirmed my hope there’s new things to be done with vocal Soul music on a +120bpm beat. The original is great too.
The Fatback Band – Wicky Wacky (Jamie3:26 Re-edit) – Party Hardy
Just to confirm I think releasing edits is silly. Keep your secret weapons to yourself. Mainly because the editing is lame, the choice of tracks laughable and your claim to fame using other people’s music a bit pathetic. Unless you make one this good of course. Relentless groove, mighty effective on the dance floor and decent quality pressing.
Nacho Marco & Raoul Lambert – Monaco Right Now – We Play House
Lots of retro(ish) sounding House music around this year. Overall pretty good but this one’s my favourite. Not because it’s that much better than the competition but I love the build-up, the sample and the sounds slightly more.
Mim Suleiman – Mingi – Running Back
Because you can’t have a list without at least one Pepe Braddock or Maurice Fulton track in it. Haha. The first didn’t bring out much this year so that gives free reign to the latter. Mad track as you would expect but crazy catchy too. I love it when pop and experiment come as closely together as this.
Maddslinky feat Omar – Special (MJ’s Back to the Future Mix) – Tru Thoughts
I love it when the originators show the youngsters how it’s been done. Taking me back a decade but at the same time outshining all current competition. Subtle which is a characteristic that’s far too rare these days. Special indeed.
I’m a hardcore cratedigger. Love it to bits. I don’t aspire to be the new Joey Negro, Sean P, Kon & Amir or Quantic. I just love going through piles of records and find gems that are overlooked by most. So I prefer the physical thing far over the online variant, that’s clear. But I do dig deeper into the oeuvres of artists I discover and that’s where the internet proves helpful. Because some records would take me years to find otherwise. Still, my happiest moments this year were in vinyl shops, no doubt.
Kim Cummings – Your Attitude (Mental Instrum) – Music Station
Not only is this probably my favourite vintage Garage song, it’s also what made me dig deeper into the world of Mental Instrum and the reason why I first used Discogs to acquire records this year. Milestones galore.
Red Light – Kinetix – Hi-Bias
Entering stores you know are rubbish, have a thoroughly unfriendly staff and are in general overpriced, is something only the die-hards do. But once in a while it’s worth the hassle when you dig up something like this for less than the price of a digital download. A bold guess as I didn’t know the label at the time but the year (1991) and Nick Holder’s name on another 12” from the same imprint lured me into buying it. Glued in my box since then.
B.B. King – Friends – ABC
Not sure it’s a common practice among the vinyl-minded but when I buy a book like ‘Disco Files’ I try to check all songs listed in it online. The magic of Youtube. A bit cheating according to the ancient rules of cratedigging but it made me discover among many other things BB King’s ‘Philadelphia’. A Disco gem I would never have found without it as the artist is not the first one you think of when going for ‘70s dance music.
Jeffree – Jeffree – MCA
The classic hearing it in a mix (a Marc Mac one if I’m not mistaken), trying to find out what it is, discovering it while digging and getting all warm and happy inside. The moments that make dusty fingers addictive. By far my most expensive record of the year too. Which doesn’t mean much as I rarely pay more than 15€ for a record. This one cost me about 25$ in Chicago if I’m not mistaken.
Superior Movement – Wide Shot – CIM
Dâm-Funk mentioned this one when I interviewed him many moons ago and I saw it among the freshly in ones at Mr. Peabody’s. Superior Boogie, no doubt, but it means more because of the place I bought it. One of the nicest afternoons / evenings of 2010 for me. Getting picked up by Paula and Doug, hanging at Harold’s Chicken, digging for 8 hours straight, feeling home and getting a lift back to our hotel from Mark. And getting home with a ridiculous amount of records.
Simply some nice experiences in 2010.
Our own party the way we always wanted to do it. Good music, a high fidelity sound system, a fine choice of drinks, nice people in the mood for a dance and lots of fun. Big up to Nick for making this happen with us. Now that our baby is born it hopefully continues to grow into something really special.
My own personal rotary mixer. I could go on about the infinitely better sound but that’s just one of the feats. The fact it makes me rethink my mixing is far more challenging. No effects, no equalising per channel, no bpm-counter, … just the bare essentials. Love it.
I had a fantastic time in this lovely city. Lots of vinyl shops, friendly people galore, a party with a lot of my House music heroes present, good food, nice weather, an outstanding companion, great architecture, … . Ideal holiday.
Feels like we’ve become a tighter unit these last 12 months. We’ve been friends for ages but somehow we’ve grew closer this year. Something that’ll shine through in 2011 no doubt. 2010 was nice but I feel confident that we’ll make next year even better.
Still feel the excitement when I think back to this. One of the far too few real club gigs we had. Overwhelming response and confronting us with the fact we’re not as far away from the regular nightlife as we sometimes think. Hands in the air and cheers all around.
It was nice to see firstly our concept not being a one trick pony and secondly the artists involved blossom. Saw many nice releases by people we’ve worked with, saw many new labels being born, discovered new talent. Dare we call it a movement.
Southport is always my highlight of the year. This year I had one of my best yet. With as a finale the extended breakfast / brunch sessions at Teacup in Manchester. Missed it ever since. Although we’ve found something similar close to home. But without the Mr. Scruff silliness which I’m so fond of.
Making radio live is so much more fun. Tuesdays have become my favourite weekday. Pizza or fries, a recap of the weekend and then on air. Now that this is settled we’ll go for an extra hour because it’s hard to fit in all the good music we want to promote, invite the artists we want and do foolish things in a 1 hour show.