With Christmas about to give way to New Year’s Eve it seemed an appropriate moment to look back on the past 12 months, and give thanks to some of the quality music that graced the office hi-fi during that time. Without further ado then, we present 13 full length cuts from 2013, in order of their release dates, all of which should be priority purchases if you haven’t already.
Ellen Allien – LISm (BPitch Control)
As the year began we started thinking: The latest from the BPitch boss lady is pretty much what you might expect to happen when someone such as Ellen Allien decides to make a continual, 45-minute long piece of music. Like an electronic mini-opera, if the age of albums is over as some claim, then here’s hoping more endeavours like this begin to surface.
Now we would argue: Ms. Allien’s latest solo outing is hardly an album at all, but more a piece of sound as art, or various works of art displayed together- sometimes coherently and at other points seemingly in stark juxtaposition, resulting in a record deserving of your attention.
Aerea – Offseason Traveller (Aleph Music)
In March we said: There are certainly plenty of angles from which to approach this impressive debut from Aleph Music bossman Aera. That’s largely because it occupies that strange territory in between more familiar dance canons, staring with glassy-eyed psychedelia, whilst lunging to broken beats, and nodding to all manner of musical regions as it does.
Now we say: Offseason Traveller boasts a lush soundscape that’s perfect for getting lost in, whilst offering enough by way of tribalism and warm accents to remain interesting throughout. In short, there’s a chance this could be the first chilled out thing we hear in 2014 given it’s the perfect score for mornings after nights before.
Various Artists – Where The Wind Blows (BPitch Control)
Now we say: Feel The Fall by Dillon & Telefon Tel Aviv is a mature pop masterpiece, Tomas Barfod’s Sullen Fire nods to Jean Michelle Jarre, whilst the likes of Aerea Negrot (Stop My Craving), Kiki & Jaw (Mama Magic), and Thomas Muller (She’s A Woman) keep things focused on the dancefloor proper, making for another fine collection from Ellen Allien’s crew.
Bibio – Silver Wilkinson – Warp
When it arrived we said: Warp’s maestro of bizarre, beguiling, but ultimately beautiful electronica is back with another strong offering that falls between chill out, downbeat, e-folk, hip hop, slo-mo house and disco. Hence our recommendation here.
Now we say: Bibio’s second LP has remained a constant on our playlist since landing on the P&S welcome mat, easily standing as the warmest and most opiate in effect from the last 12 months. A fine piece of work to say the least.
Various Artists ‘Soma 21: Gary Beck’
At the beginning of summer we said: 21st Century soul music, anyone? Whilst techno has spawned innumerable sub genres and off shoots, sometimes all you need is the sound in its most unabashed, main room filling UK form. Or at least that was our first thought after hearing the latest compilation from Scotland’s most established four four imprint.
Now we say: The transition from Mark Reeve’s Dice into Gary Beck’s own Algoreal remains amongst the most pleasing moments in a techno mix you’re ever likely to hear, and the rest of the album is really rather good too, working well at house parties and in headphones alike.
Mr. G – Retrospective
During July’s heat we claimed: Short of writing an essay entitled ‘Why Mr G means so much to me’, there’s not a lot that can be said to truly get across quite how good it is to see a producer that has been around for this long finally get some of the widespread recognition he deserves.
Now we can confirm: Mr. G has dropped so many UK techno bombs its hard to believe, until you get those ears around what’s compiled here.
Various Artists – Eskimo Recordings presents The Pink Collection (Eskimo Recordings)
Now we’d say: Those looking for floor fillers without savagery- timeless feet-moving tones that invoke a sense of glamour and decadence- should already own this album.
Various Artists – Muscle Tuff (Gym Records)
When the weather was changing for the cooler we said: If there’s a place where art, house, and techno get together in a strange celebration of warehouses, pop beats, and a sort of universal experimentalism then this week it’s Gym Records’ Muscle Tuff compilation.
Now we think: A fine collection of assured and expertly crafted underground beats anyone remotely interested in imprints like Haunt Music and Wagon Repair would do well to check, featuring stand out contributions from Brandt Brauer Frick and Douglas Greed.
Pierre Deutschmann – Betroit (BluFin)
Around October we reckoned: Predominantly hard and rolling, at times seemingly obsessed with hypnosis (Looking Backwards, for example) and even occasionally edging towards trancier elements (the excellent Emphasis), let’s skip the track by track run down and leave it on this note- vinyl customers will be gutted, as pretty much everything on here is worth owning, playing, and falling in some sort of sweaty club love with.
Now we say: For a moment we thought the CD had been lost and for some reason nobody could find a digital copy. Panic ensued, but thankfully the disc was recovered, thus continuing the reign of veteran DJ Deutschmann’s debut LP at the top of our Friday afternoon playlist. Heavy duty stuff, it’s just what the doctor ordered when preparing oneself for a night of serious partying.
Washerman – Raw Poet (Drumpoet Community)
Now: Months (and innumerable plays) later we still can’t believe an album stripped as far back as this can also sound so full of aural textures. Punchy house music made with just a few pieces of kit, and an obvious and inherent understanding of what makes the genre work, hats off to the Raw Poet himself, Gianni Siravo.
Daniel Avery – Drone Logic
Today: This is still our favourite album of the year.
A Sagittariun – Dream Ritual (Elastic Dreams)
Previously: A journey, excuse the cliche, from beginning to end wherein no tracks represent carbon copies of themselves, it’s an unapologetic celebration of how wide reaching electronic sounds can be, even when they remain within one BPM range (or perhaps two).
These days: You can’t help but feel that with every listen this debut gets better. A remarkable meld of styles offering up everything from space age house to downtempo d’n’b, despite his status as a newcomer the mysterious and elusive A Sagittariun clearly knows how to present work in long form.
Various Artists – Danny Howells Balance 024
At the beginning of this month we thought: Another quality Balance compilation, this time with the one and only Danny Howells digging rather deep and coming up with double-disc gold dust.
Now we say: They don’t make them like this every day; moving from deep, sexy disco tinged tips onto more progressive and electro-edged anthems, here’s proof that experience can count for much when mixing tunes.