Top 8 whatevers of 2013 – Wil
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. We've asked all of our very excellent R$N scribes to pick their Top 8s of whatever for 2013.
Wil's Top 8'…
"What started as a bit of a pisstake comment from Irish electronica fiend Space Dimension Controller has since spiralled into epic proportions…" General Jimmy
The year began and ended for me with the absurdity of the Fox debacle. For all I bemoan the internet what played out with the Fox and its Russian adventures would never have happened without it. What started out as a joke with Space Dimension Controller's flippant drunk comment at the end of last year ended in R$N's Mike Boorman sky diving with the fox
Praise be for the amazing labels still unearthing incredible long lost whatevers after all this time. 2013 belonged to 3 records which sounded like they'd been beamed from another universe yet had all been made over 30 years ago. These records took the form of the great William Onyeabor, the amazing Saada Bonaire and Patrick Cowley's
William Onyeabor – World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who is William Onyeabor?
David Byrne's Luaka Bop released the World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who is William Onyeabor? A collection of near flawless 'best of' from the Nigerian born Onyeaboar who between 1977 and 1985 released eight self-produced albums, then became a born-again christian and disappeared refusing to talk about his music. Luaka Bop took 5 years tracking him down and licensing this compilation and the world is all the better for it. Appearing on the pretty much definitive Africa 100 compilation (Better Change Your Mind). Veering from the ridiculously catchy Atomic Bomb
to what could only be described as Four Tet (who mastered the re-release) floor-filler.
No idea what this'll thing at the Barbican'll be like but I'm bloody well going.
Sada Bonaire – Sada Bonaire – Captured Tracks
When Saada Bonaire landed through the door it sounded like you'd known it all your life but couldn't quite place where.
"Their uncompromising diva nonchalance recalls Grace Jones in attitude, but their German descent prompts an elicitation of Nico at the disco. Singularly that cold kind of seduction sounds appealing but add Dennis Bovell on production duties in Kraftwerks Cologne studio with musicians recruited from the local Turkish communist party, a belly dancer on backing vocals, and an erratic A & R man prone to ploughing money into projects, and you have an irresistible potentiality… Such a find. They should have had it all." Tim Wilson
Patrick Cowley – School Daze
Completing the ridiculous year for unearthed gems came Patrick Cowley's incredibel School Daze double LP. Dark Entries released the gay porn soundtrack of the late and very great Patrick Cowley. A million miles from the Hi -NRG sound he pioneered, School Daze was a dark, brooding electronic masterpiece.
"…these tapes showcase a different side of Cowleys musicianship – dark, spaced out, drone like, worn-down. The timing of the release of this collection of tracks is perfect – they fit perfectly with the current trends in bleached out techno purveyed by the likes of Raime and Actress, showing Cowley to be a true Godfather of the electronic music movement. The music is so ahead of its time (considering the majority of it was made in the early to mid 70s) its frightening." Joe Evans
Farr Festival – Daniel Avery, Andrew Weatherall, Thunder, Robert Owens… and the rest.
Farr felt like a proper festival this year, yet hung onto everything that has made it so special over the past three years.
Adriatica… continued. Electric Elephant… again & Garden Festivals!
I didn't wake up naked on a beach in Ibiza in 1988… I was only 10. But the last 2 years at the Electric Elephant and this year the Garden Festivals has opened my eyes up to what it may have been like. Set in the idyllic Tisno on a crescent bay of not so perfect beach, nothing came close to the feeling of Balearia as the Garden site. Coming to at Barbarellas at 6am dancing outdoors surrounded by the nicest people you'll like come across on any dancefloor.
Put 2000 Brits in the sun, ply them with booze and all you see is an ocean of smiles… they've got to be doing something right.
The KLF – Chaos, Magic and the Band Who Burned A Million Pounds – John Higgs
I only set about reading this yesterday and already it has opened a whole new world of Drummond for me. Drawing in texts and theories from all over it makes you realise how revolutionary they were. And I'm only 70 pages in.
And to think I nearly didn't go! James Murphy, David & Stephen Dewale's custom built soundsystem sounded too good to be true. It wasn't. The best night out I had all year. Hands down. Like a school disco deep within the best soundsystem you've heard for many a year, under a disco ball to end all disco balls. Flawless. Why can't all nights out be like this?
Live-ness – Bjork @ Berlin Festival, Fuck Buttons @ Glastonbury and Factory Floor @ Heaven.
Bjork at Berlin Festival the best I've ever seen her, Fuck Buttons @ Glastonbury playing to about 200 people as the rest of the festival world watched Mick Jagger drag himself from his grave was one of the most intense and special experiences of my time at 'the mother'. Factory Floor @ Heaven last month proved why they're the most exciting live electronic proposition for many a year.
Not to be all self-congratularory but this year R$N actually started to feel like a proper 'publication', wholly down to the quality of the writers and personalities involved in the site. Thanks and love to everyone who's contributed this year. It's been an amazing year of music and other great things highlighted by their words. More great stuff to come in 2014. xx
Oh and a final mention to this…