Dissensus Best of 2011 Discussion
New releases only and say why you like your choices. No Youtube/Soundcloud/etc links. Be thoughtful.
Much of this year's listening has taken place in a state of sleep deprivation and/or near exhaustion, hence most of the choices seem to travel between the conscious and unconscious mind, stretching and compressing time in ways that are both unsettling and soothing
The Necks- Mindset: Undeniably Jazz, but ambient with it. Encourages deep listening whilst lulling you into a trance. Very beautiful. Seeing them live, I've never concentrated so hard at a gig. In a good way. My brain is still untangling what it heard 10 days on.
Grouper- AIA: C86 indie pop slowed down 400% (like that Bieber song). AIA is two amazing albums with one bad track. And that's when you can understand the vocals and get a sense of song structure.
Leyland Kirby- Eager to Tear Apart the Stars / Intrigue and Stuff (vols 1-3): A move away from the sampladelic/VVM/caretaker stuff, towards genuine composition. Still obsessed with memory, with synths and piano gingerly treading a mournful path.
Ekoclef- Tapeswap: All of Nick's stuff is worth discovering, but this has got the most listens, although I don't know why.
Clams Casino- Instrumentals & the Rainforest ep: the teenage, helium version of all the above.
Unknown- Rocks and Mountains/ Dub: This may well be the only reggae record I've bought all year. Previously dubplate only, artist unknown, stumbled upon in a tape archive by the amazing Digikiller lot. Rural soundsystem killer.
Last edited by matt b; 09-12-2011 at 07:48 PM.
I support this policy/thread. I will come up with a decent response ASAP. I haven't heard any of your choices (apart from Clams) and I will endeavor to rectify that.
Originally Posted by matt b
This year has been 'notable' for me in that I've had my (contemporary) listening almost entirely taken over by rap music (the non-contemporary is basically split between rap music and classical). I would really struggle to come up with a list of 10/20 electronic/dance tracks that I've really liked. This isn't a reaction to the state of dance music in 2011 really, since I'm sure there's been a lot of great UK Funky/Bassline, dubstep/post-dubstep and house/techno around. I just feel like I must have missed out on a lot. I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's lists to help fill in some gaps.
Having bought new music almost every week (an almost compulsory rule I give myself to keep the chococast sounding fresh) I've had to keep on top of all of it (bass music wise) pretty much all year.
First I'll get the negative thoughts out of the way as it is a "Best of 2011" thread.
Without a doubt I bought less and less "straight dubstep" as the year went on. That's not because I felt I should move with the times it was genuinely just not a great year for Dubstep. The biggest releases coming from Deep Medi.
Best Dubstep Tracks:
Everything by VIVEK
SP:MC & LX One - Hunted
Deep Medi in general.
Looking at funky this year it's been pretty solid in the later half. It's a shame that a better infrastructure hasn't been created. Like in Dubstep, Bass music and House there are established labels consistently putting out good releases that you can always check on. It's not all doom and gloom, Soul Serious was always a good shout if you wanted some harder stuff from the powerhouse Jook 10. Major Notes released a must-have EP and in the later half of the year Champion started the Formula label that should hopefully move things forward in 2012. I just wish my funky collection grew as much as my House and Bass Music collection.
Best UK Funky Tracks:
T Williams - In the Deep (Zander Hardy Remix)
Mr Solo - Go Hard
Champion - Lighter VIP
Major Notes - Ashanti Jewels EP
Most things by Jook 10.
Another pretty disappointing year for grime in terms of vocal efforts. The producer side of it really took off partially due to Butterz efforts in pushing more instrumental grime. Preditah and Faze Miyake brought grime back around after 3 of my most anticipated mixtapes failed to drop (Big H, Prez T & Terminator. Seriously.) Some releases surprised me as they were pretty under hyped. Rage and Merky Ace's mixtape were both solid. Really looking forward to Merky's EP in December. Also I highly recommend you check out Logan Sama's after hours with Family Tree.
Best Grime Tracks:
Preditah - Eightsome
Merky Ace - You Think You Know Me
Faze Miyake - Take Off
Terror Danjah - East Village
Bok Bok - Silo Pass :P
Also big up Butterz. I don't manage to get to raves as much as my other mates who aren't at uni in a small welsh town, but i've been to Cable 3 times this year, and out of Swamp 81, Bacelaced and Butterz I enjoyed myself most at Butterz, that had such a positive vibe.
I had no idea that I'd end up with so much 130-ish music at the of the year, something I have mixed feelings about. The Swamp 81 night was a bit of a shock, i'd heard a lot of the tracks that were played before I went but about 2am I had to confirm with a friend that we'd not actually heard a synth sound in the last hour and a half. Madness when you step back realise your pretty much dancing to a drum sequence and an odd vocal sample every now and again. I love it as much as I'm baffled by it. I sort of hope that the "swamp" sound doesn't take off too much as I love a good synth, me.
Best Bass Music:
George FitzGerald - Feel Like
Kuedo - Truth Flood
Blawan - What You Do With What You Have
Graphics - Wiping the Eye
Most releases on Hessle Audio and Hemlock
Everything by Boddika
Everything by TEETH
Most rinsed to death mixes.
Blackdowns Beneath Showcase.
Rockwells FACT mix which came in second in their chart.
dBridge's Boilerroom Mix.
Last edited by Roshman; 14-12-2011 at 08:57 PM.
i like rihannas we found love for ressurecting the true and everliving spirit of romford.
th funkystepz vresion is even better but its the hook which makes it soar.
the first time i heard the song motivation by kelly rowland i had taken some acid cos i was bored and it sounded too sexy to bear. i was squirming. that was an amazing song.
Rather than just list the things I liked and why (which I will do, but later), I’m going to try to tackle the ‘discussion’ element of the title. 2011 has, in my view, seen the gradual coalescing of several trends in the world of music; most of which aren’t to my liking, or indeed that beneficial to the very industry that perpetuates them. A paragraph about each? Yeah.
An artist can no longer make a living solely from record sales – the live shows and tours are where the money is. I’ve heard this theory peddled endlessly over the past few years and everyone seems aligned to it now (artists, labels, journos and public alike). I accept that it is largely true – Reni stands to make more cash from the upcoming Stone Roses gigs than he ever did from sales of ‘Second Coming’, for instance – but I don’t think it’s a very healthy state of affairs. I appreciate that recorded music sales have been hammered by illegal downloading, and artists need to make a living, but the subsequent, cynical repositioning of live shows as the pinnacle of musical entertainment (and the attendant jacking of ticket prices (and profits)) really antagonises me. There’s a reason we have producers, engineers and studios – most artists need help and direction to get the best out of them, and the recorded performance can be endlessly re-recorded, edited and polished until it’s perfect. It is the ultimate expression of the artist’s vision (or the producer’s vision, which is equally fine – Kelis with Neptunes shits on Kelis post-Neptunes, for instance). Now, I’m not saying that recorded music has gone down in quality, but the consensus now seems to be that ‘live’ is automatically better, which just isn’t true. Yes, going to gigs and clubs is fun, but it’s the shared experience that you’re buying, the tribal aspect, the validation that other people are into the same thing as you – the sound quality and performance is borderline irrelevant. Put another way, how many live albums do you a) own, and b) listen to regularly? Exactly. (It’s also worth noting that the majority of people going to gigs now are 25+ years old – the youts simply can’t afford the £70 it costs to see Rihanna at the O2, or whatever.)
‘The Club’ / drinking as a lyrical meme. Ugh. Nearly every r&b/pop hit is now concerned entirely with this. I know Dissensus probably doesn’t care, but these are the songs that are on kids’ iPods, and none of them are saying anything other than “Hedonism is good! You have to go out and spend money to have a good time! Conspicuous consumption!”. When everyone from Katy Perry to Roll Deep to the fucking Wanted are turning out variations on the same theme (not to mention towering cunts like Flo Rida and Will I Am), I start to despair, quite frankly. I can’t recall a time that popular music was quite so vacuous and yet uniform in theme. (And yes, I know there are still songs about love and loss, as always, but they seem to be a marked minority.) The art of the lyric writing is in severe decline, which is a shame.
Fey or whimsical cover versions, and the embrace of twee. Aargh. How has this become a ‘thing’? That fucking John Lewis advert with the Smiths cover is only the tip of the iceberg. Advertising is the natural domain of this cuntery, that match.com one with the ‘I like old movies…. Like The Godfather….3?” couple makes me want to trample on the throats of everyone involved, there’s a hideous Matalan one which recasts N-Trance’s ‘Set You Free’ as a simpering dirge, and ugh Ugh UGH. There’s loads of this shit, cover versions or not: Puppini Sisters, Nouvelle Vague, Noah and the Whale, Birdy, Pomplamouse (the absolute nadir of this shit, don’t google them, you will become enraged), Owl City, etc. The cloying infantilism and ‘cute’ aspect to all this (ukeleles, xylophones, half-sung melodies, batted eyelashes, charity-shop clothes, men with beards and too-tight t-shirts) is presumably what sells it to (I have to presume) people who don’t want to engage with music that has any sexual, political or rhythmic qualities. The same fuckers who buy Mumford & Sons records. This is the most depressing musical trend of 2011, easily.
Post-Dubstep. Come on, a man has to know his limits.
Datpiff and the rise of the ‘mixtape’. Ah, a good thing at last. This is the proper way to combat illegal downloading – put your music out for free and circumvent the industry entirely. I don’t know much about Datpiff and its business practices, but an aggregator of all the free rap music on the net was a brilliant idea and 20 million users per month tells you all you need to know. I love that unsigned local-area MCs can rub shoulders with established acts and get equal precedence. I’ve been skint all year and can’t often afford to buy music – Datpiff has been a godsend.
House becomes the dominant ‘underground’ sound again. Oh all right then, so I am going to talk about post-dubstep a bit (at least tangentially). I’m intrigued by the resurgence of house (or at least the 4-to-the-floor beat) as the main focus of non-mainstream dance music. Not only through producers adopting the sound (e.g. Ramadanman becoming Pearson Sound), but also through the embrace of old Strictly Rhythm tracks (‘Deep Inside”, for instance) as present-day anthems at places like Night Slugs. It’s a weird thing, but a good one. I presume it’s partly a reaction to years of syncopated music being the most common sound (2-step, grime, dubstep, b-more – even electroclash never really had the slinkiness that house can offer) so house actually sounds fresh again to younger clubbers, and also the increasing swing of mainstream clubs towards an r&b/euro sound, squeezing out more traditional house music. (Dubstep’s transformation into the new nu-metal is also a factor, natch, as is the cross-pollination with funky.) 2011 is definitely the year house went underground again – or the year it disappeared from the mainstream altogether. (Guetta and Swedish House Mafia and Afrojack don’t count – that’s Euro, innit.)
Ok, so enough ‘discussion’ (it’s cold outside and I had the afternoon free, and I like emptying my thoughts occasionally, so indulge me). Here is a list of music I liked in 2011 and why:
Nguzunguzu – The Perfect Lullaby. My favourite DJ mix of the year by some distance, a twinkling blend of r&b vocals and African drums, and it is indeed quite soporific, as befits the title. Lovely late night musical comfort food.
Laurel Halo – Aquifer. Shimmering lo-fi synth affair which recalls early Black Dog and is endlessly melodic.
Tycho – Hours. This one’s just really pretty. Optimistic and gentle and sunsetty.
Nikkiya – Titanic / Dominique Young Unique – Gangster Whips. Two excellent r&b bangers (yes, I know, but it is the right term), which are stylistically similar and just straight ahead good fun. Recommended.
151 Feva Gang – Kush Groove. Gloriously stupid rap rework of Stardust’s “Music Sounds Better With You”, the best song about smoking pot in many a year.
Far East Movement – Like A G6. Another stupid record, but the demented glee of the idiot-savant bassline and the none-more-catchy (or nonsensical) chorus are indisputable. Worth a hundred dull post-dubstep or tiresome coke-rap records.
The record I’ve listened to most in 2011, though, is ‘Johnny Come Home’ by the Fine Young Cannibals, which goes to show something, although I’m not sure what.
COSIGN X 1000
Originally Posted by Ulala
That ''Godfather 3'' advert is almost DELICIOUSLY irritating. I enjoy it when it comes on. It must be similar to the feeling people have before they go on killing sprees with guns.
Am I right in saying that these ''fuckers'' are also likely to fetishise biscuits and tea, and are apt to use the phrase ''lovely stuff'' un-ironically? I'm not sure.
I've been trying to put my finger on this particular sub-culture that I am repulsed by for a while. I think your above mini-rant has gone some way to helping me achieve cathartic definition. Thank you.
Yeah I agree, the whole tweeness/feyness continuum does make me want to hurt myself and others around me, but this shite has been around for years hasn't it? Or has it been gathering speed recently?
On a more positive note, the Pinch and Shackleton album is bloody great and probably my album of the year. It's got the sense of space and interesting percussion of classic dubstep but without going over the same old ground, keeping things interesting. Also really enjoyed albums from Kuedo, Zomby, Sully, Roly Porter
Yep, it's really nothing new. Although Youtube seems to have encourage its spread beyond previously tolerable limits. And I'm pretty sure all anyone who works in Advertising does is take coke and scour youtube for 'creative inspiration'.
Originally Posted by paolo
You're welcome, Corpsey. Fetishising tea/biscuits/cake and wearing woolly hats in warm weather seem to be how you can spot 'em, yes.
Paolo/Trillhouse - it has been lurking but it seems to be everywhere this year, hence my annoyance. The way the whole media feted that Smiths/John Lewis thing recently really got my goat so I guess that prompted it.
Anyway, I appear to have successfully derailed the thread almightily. Let's take this elsewhere.
My other favourite record of 2011 is Ultra Thizz by Rustie, it's like the Super Mario theme played by Rick Wakeman, i.e. fucking great.
Towering cunts is certainly one of best phrases this year.
oh yeah I remember this. vurrgood
Originally Posted by luka
Don't think anything's touched american rap this year
Apart from the fekky tape. that was fucking brilliant.
This year my favourite albums were by Rustie and Zombie. They've both been around for a bit, even if Rustie's album is strictly speaking his debut. So I've not "discovered" any new artists/ producers this year that I really love this year, though I quite like a few Ossie and DOK tracks, if they count as new. They're new to me, anyhow.
But what's happened to my listening habits this year bothers me. I get new tracks, hammer them for a week or two then never, ever listen to them again. On the "What you currently enjoying?" thread I posted up something that I'd listened to loads over one weekend. I thought it was boss. But if it ever comes on my i pod now, it's getting the skip.
Obviously there's always been times when I've listed to stuff loads then gone off it but that seems to be the only way I engage with music now. I need to make more of an effort to listen to stuff I've bought this year that I've forgotten about or given up on.