Adam tiran – Top 8 of 2013
End of years a-go-go… Top 10 straight to box set DVDs. Top 1000 digital deep house labels. Etc. We’ve decided to go for Top 8 Whatevers. The Top 8 things of the year – be them bacon sandwiches; the top 8 times you stubbed your toe against the f*cking boxes full of useless sh*t your girlfriend insists on leaving in the hallway; and so on and so forth. Each week until the new year, we’ll be publishing the Top 8s of the various R$N scribes.
Here Mr Adam Tiran sets forth his 2013 selections.
Adelaide based imprint Untzz has been making some serious movements this year with a flurry of on-the-money and up to the minute releases from the core collective of HVCK, Freddie Norwood, Babicka, and Mic & Dass Mills, but none more so than the last minute launch of their new sub label with Big Doint 001, arguably the years most versatile 12.
BD001 features 3 stunningly sturdy tracks that span from the blissful strings-heavy disco edit of Mic Mills Wonderland and the guttural techno reworking of Mos Defs Umi Says in Take No Time by Aussie favourite Francis Inferno Orchestra, to the self-titled Big Doint, an at first subtle slow-burner that transforms into a pure fire manifestation of big room bass weight. Strongest 12 of the year for me, watch out for much more from these names in 2014.
Without doubt, hands-down, incontestably the mix of the year from one of 2013s most exciting emergent producers. Compiled using 100% of his own material, the Brooklynite fuses banger after banger of the dreamiest, sassiest grooves that, more often than not, involve Lustwerks instantly recognisable toasting-cum-chanting, including his recent releases on the label that has nurtured him into global consciousness, White Material. With some huge releases already pencilled in for next year, 2014 could well be Galchers.
DjRUM – Seven Lies (2nd Drop)
It seems a while back now, but the release of the debut long player from Felix Manuel aka DjRUM in April was a turning point in Londons creative output this year. Preceded only by a handful of EPs that were as orchestral and cinematic as they were club-friendly and a selection of mixes that played more like soundtracks to imaginary movies than bog-standard DJ sets, it was clear that the album format was one in which DjRUM was going to flourish. And flourish he did.
Drawing together stems from his South London grounding in everything from jungle and hardcore to R&B and techno, and fusing them with soundbites from classic cinema and pirate radio, Manuel managed to create an unthinkably unique and masterfully crafted palette of sounds that resulted in one of the finest examples of cross-genre electronic music this year. On top of that, the ambient techno-2step stylings that have more often than not characterised his productions coincided with the meteoric rise of artists and labels like Akkord and Houndstooth, whose own outputs this year have gone on to alter the clubbing landscape of the UK entirely.
In a year that saw the repressing of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti’s entire back catalogue, the continued rise to prominence of crate-digging labels like Soundway, Awesome Tapes From Africa and Analog Africa, and even the release of a new Fela cover album to celebrate his 75th birthday, its fair to say that Afrobeat and Nigerian music from the 70s and 80s in particular has been thrust back into the limelight in 2013.
Undeniably the most exciting moment in the sounds reinvigoration came in the form of a release from ex-Talking Heads producer David Byrnes label Luaka Bop. Who Is William Onyeabor? unveiled to the world the works of enigmatic and widely mystified Nigerian producer-singer extraordinaire William Onyeabor and his ludicrously funky brand of futuristic synth pop. Rumours are that Onyeabor recorded a total of eight albums, achieving global stardom in Nigeria in the mid-70s, before apparently turning to religion and renouncing his entire musical career as a life of misdirection. Either that or he travelled to Russia to study and teach as a cinematographer. Or both. No one is really sure and little has been confirmed. Nonetheless, the fascinating story behind this cryptic character adds much to the wonderful music on the album which was truly years ahead of its time.
Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip – The Dragon & The Abstract (Download)
November saw a sad occasion in the hip hop world as A Tribe Called Quest played their final farewell gigs to unsurprisingly sold out crowds in New York. Lucky for us, Q-Tip reignited his solo career a few days later with word of a forthcoming mixtape alongside long time pal and occasional collaborator Busta Rhymes. Shortly after came the video for lead single Thank You. Despite muggy, cringeworthy appearances from Weezy and Yeezus and the fact Bus-A-Bus looks like he needs to lay off the Creatin, Thank You is an absolute gem, as Busta and Tip delve deep with quick fire flows over a slick disco edit, the soulful chorus of which youll be singing in no time. The full mixtape was released last week and contains some of the strongest material from both these veterans in years.
Atjazz & Jullian Gomes – The Gift The Curse
Its official, South Africans are the biggest consumers of house music in the world. You might not believe it but house is literally everywhere. Youll hear half-hour mixes of deep house with no interruption on weekday daytime radio, youll see big budget music videos for tracks from top house producers aired at prime time on national TV channels, and its the sound youll hear blasted out of every taxi in every city. Its epidemic.
Derby-based veteran Atjazzs deep and soulful productions have long since been adored by South Africans and a chance meeting a couple of years back saw him encounter the nations 24 year old rising star, Jullian Gomes. That meeting has this year given birth to a surprise collaboration album which is just about the perfect embodiment of the often vocal, occasionally tribal and perpetually soulful brand of deep house that has put South Africa on the global map in recent years. And with appearances from Robert Owens and Osunlade, theres no doubting the albums international clout.
The second coming of Chic
While Get Lucky had hipsters throwing shapes alongside townies all Summer, man of the hour Nile Rodgers was busy conquering the UK festival scene with his original project, The Chic Organisation. Seeming to appear on every major billing across a four month period, the reformed collective most notably headlined Glastonburys West Holts stage on the Friday, performing an incendiary set of hit after hit of their own material as well as tracks by the likes of Diana Ross, Madonna and David Bowie all of which Rodgers had a hand in producing. This singalong-fest was without doubt the most fun I had this year and definitely the set of Glastonbury.
Higella – The Movie
As Ive now run out of things to write about and the Christmas booze is kicking in, Ill leave you with this accurate reconstruction of a day in the life of Nigella Queen of Gak Lawson.