Tis the season of the end of year list. Top 10 straight to box set DVDs. Top 1000 digital deep house labels. Etc. Once again 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 (sorry that useless s*it one is a bit harsh). Over the next few weeks until the new year, we'll be publishing the Top 8s of our various excellent R$N scribes.
Week 2 kicks off with Joe Europe's octuplets;
2014 has been an incredible year for bald apes launching metal things, and often themselves, into space. Just the other week the whole world was fixated on a metal box the size of a washing machine that was blasted into the outer solar system to land on a massive fuck off comet. This washing machine sized metal box then proceeded to collect data on the make up of this dirty snowball that’s been belting it around the solar system for 4.5 billion years. This data is helping scientists learn more about the development of the solar system and with it mother earth. An impressive feat. Also there’s been the continual stream of jaw-droppingly beautiful images beamed back from the International Space Station and that plucky little fucker Mars Curiosity Rover trundling around the red planet like Jonny 5 who’s got lost on his way back from the pub.
But all of this amazing and exciting space news has a sad edge to it seeing as the enigmatic, visionary scientist and true British eccentric Colin Pillanger passed away this year. Many will remember the excitable West Country farmer come planetary scientist giving updates on the Beagle 2 expedition to land a rover on Mars back in 2003. Ok the mission went tits up but the guy had such energy and a clear love for science that was infectious and unstoppable. Also he was just a normal bloke not some aloof and distant expert. The man had some pretty impressive lamb chops too. Godspeed.
The US of A
The USA has had its fair share of troubles this year, especially with the anger and frustration caused by the repeated and horrific incidents of police violence against the black community. But it has to be said that the American electronic music scene seems to be in one of the strongest positions it’s been in for a long time. I know a lot of column inches, vitriolic tweets and sarky Facebook statuses have been wasted on EDM but it would make me much happier if all of this hot air was directed towards bigging up the fucking amazing underground music that’s simply pouring out of the States at the moment.
This section was initially going to be a piece on Steve Mizek’s Argot and Tasteful Nudes labels which have continued to pump out exquisite release after exquisite release but on reflection I thought why stop there? Yes Steve’s labels are a stand out for me but I felt that this would just scratch the surface. I mean you’ve got the Black Madonna who has been taking the world’s dancefloors by storm alongside Rahaan. In fact these two deserve maximum kudos simply for putting up with the drunken rantings of my wife and me after a daytime roof party opposite St Paul’s cathedral this August.
Alongside them there’s the Pittsburg Track Authority who’s album this year has not left my record bag and is a go to selection whether I want pumping techno or a slow disco builder. Then you’ve got Levon Vincent, Jus Ed, DJ Qu, Joey Anderson (who’s getting his own section) and the list goes on.
Fair fucks. God bless America.
2014 seems like a big year for Fatima with the release of her “Yellow Memories” album on Eglo and extensive touring with her live band. She’s been doing amazing things with these guys for some time now but this year she’s really nailed it. There are so many absolute jams on that album, what with “Circle”, “La Neta” and “The Biggest Joke of All”. Fucking brilliant. When my head gets tied up in knots this is what I need.
I interviewed her earlier this year and she had such enthusiasm and a really infectious character so, for me, this success is massively deserved. Big up yourself Fatima.
Ok so I mentioned this guy in my US of A bit but I reckon Joey Anderson deserves a section to himself. His “After Forever” album dropped in May and it pretty much blew my mind on first listen. I won’t say I enjoyed every track on first listen but it was weirdly captivating and just asking to be played again and again. Now I can’t get enough. His style is chaotic, at times challenging and at others beautiful. When you listen to his tracks they seem to be spewing out of his consciousness almost violently, like it’s an effort to hold them back. He’s also had an excellent release out on TANSTAAFL Planets recently.
I’m intrigued to hear what he’s going to come out with next.
South East LDN
Ok so the underground scene in South London isn’t exactly new. There’s been good shit going on down these parts for ages with wicked venues like Corsica Studios and people like Andy Blake and his World Unknown parties or Bradley Zero and Rhythm Section. But there seems to be a real momentum behind the SE scene that’s built up over the last 12 months with a thriving community of record shops, parties, labels and artists. Long may it continue.
So record sales are the highest they’ve ever been and there seems to be a new record shop opening in the capital every 13 minutes. Vinyl labels are springing up everywhere and Pioneer even think it would be profitable to develop a DJ turntable. Good times for music pressed onto wax disks eh?
Yeah but on the other hand you’ve got record store day which – while an amazing initiative to get people galvanized around shopping for wax – makes it nigh on impossible for an independent label to get a record pressed for 6 months of the year because major labels are maxing out the plants getting Miley Cirus picture disks pressed or some such nonsense.
Whether you go for uber-optimist or max-grumpyness vinyl has been in fine fettle in 2014.
Telly, the goggle box, the T.V. or whatever you want to call it has had another fine year being completely fucking shite. Don’t believe anything Tonka says as he prattles on about Eastenders every week. I had the misfortune to watch some telly the other day. Don’t bother.
In fact I’m not even sure there’s anything on the telly these days anyway. When I was watching some telly the other day (like I said) I don’t actually remember seeing any programs. It was just one screechy, mind melting, strobe image, shit tsunami of an advert after another.
Do yourself a favor and leave it switched off in 2015.
Work Them Records
Ok so Spencer Parker’s Work Them Records has been doing the business for some time now but they just keep on coming out with release after release of gritty dancefloor gold. It seems like every other frikkin week that I’m writing about another one of their releases. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing this nugget many a time this year. Bon voyage.