The continuous stream of new music means there’s always a cumulative growth of musical genius out there to be had. For me last year saw a step change – largely down to access – with a combination of Boiler Room, SoundCloud and YouTube (or maybe I’m just spending more time online…?). Boiler Room shared the finest electronic producers and DJs with the world every other night from various locations around the world – and many of the sets were then hosted on SoundCloud (https://soundcloud.com/platform/dixon-me-4-hours-boiler-room-x ) or YouTube. These sites have been around for a while but as far as I’m aware it was only last year that they starting hosting full albums and sets from all eras – from the genius Nicolas Jaar at Sonar 2012 https://soundcloud.com/everybodywantstobethedj/nicolas-jaar-live-at-sonar-lab (is there a better live act on the planet right now!?) to Dave Clarke’s finest moment in Fuse 1997 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXYvZaWlu7A (strap yourself in for that one :)).
Anyway, despite all this I have still managed to keep the album collection moving along. There are still a load of albums I haven’t heard yet but my top albums from the year were as follows:
- How To Dress Well – Total Loss (Full album: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOj82MshzYs). The Guardian hosted this album for streaming for a while – I don’t think I was blown away at first but I soon found myself hooked. Possibly not everyone’s cup of tea but shut off everything else and dive in I say – there’s so much happening in this album that it deserves your full attention. If you get hooked it will be worth it.
- Grimes – Visions. Just check any top 2012 album list for all the superlatives going for this (all well earned in my book). I loved her support while she toured as well: https://soundcloud.com/majical-cloudz/turns-turns-turns
- Holy Other – Held (Full album: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx6Ot0PXsNY). Better than either Burial album I reckon – no idea why this guy isn’t getting equivalent recognition. And when you combine Holy Other with How To Dress Well it isn’t a surprise that things remain perfect: https://soundcloud.com/holyother
- John Talabot – Fin (Last track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuJg4WcIO7Q ).
- Yppah – Eighty One (First track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86PuAPKgpc0 )
- Robert Hood – Motor Nighttime World 3 (Perfect techno: https://soundcloud.com/musicmanrecords/sets/robert-hood-motor-nighttime)
- Blondes – Blondes (full album and more on their soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/blondes )
- Beach House – Bloom (The first track of the album – Myth – has been my alarm clock all year and yet I still love it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuvWc3ToDHg )
- 2 Bears – Be Strong (Warm & Easy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5b4yerCFFQE ). Reminds me of Groove Armada – Vertigo and I think it will have the same longevity. Pure good vibes.
- Marconi Union – Different Colours. (http://www.marconiunion.com/catalog.asp?ID=50 ) Just amazing ambient sounds
The album that would be top for stand-out tracks is Daphni – Jiaolong: ‘Yes, I Know’, ‘Ye Ye’ and ‘Ahora’ are all mind blowing but I’ve not got so absorbed into the rest of it (yet).
Not in my top 10 but Action Bronson deserves a special mention for the first hip-hop albums that have grabbed my attention for years. Seriously, where’s the hip-hop at???
Other notable mentions go to Sebastien Tellier (just don’t go and see him live thinking you’re going to a music gig!), Django Django (go and see them live!), Simian Mobile Disco, The Egg, Jessie Ware, The XX, Matthew Dear, School of Seven Bells and Petar Dundov.
Despite all the mixes online I have still been buying mix albums – if I were to pick one out from 2012 then it’d have to be Andrew Weatherall’s Masterpiece. Genius. (Gilles Peterson’s is worth checking out from 2011 as well).
Finally the top 3 remixes of the year for me:
- Matthew Herbert – It’s Only (DJ Koze Remix): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOp7gaZe0yc (rerelease of Herbert’s finest album coming soon with a bonus CD)
- Stimming – November Morning (BrandenburgischesStaatsorchesterVersion) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4R-dVs-DPGs (another class case of an electronic track reworked by an orchestra)
- Roisin Murphy – Simulation (Mano Le Tough Remix) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BkuNt5j0N0 (a stand-out track from a couple of the Boiler Room mixes)
My final request is that you give me your recommendations from 2012 and links where applicable. Spread the love.