The Best New Music Of The Year So Far: A Dragnet List
, July 8th, 2009 11:01
Kev Kharas looks at the past six months to gather up the finest new music of 2009
This list isn't subjective. It's objective, unless I've missed anything. Keep it bookmarked, stick it together with the second part in December and you'll have a 30-track compilation of the best music to come bubbling up in 2009, the last fruitful year of an increasingly fruitful decade.
And, if anything has been missed anything out, feel free to scream about it below. I'll take silence as consensus.
Joy Orbison – 'Hyph Mango' (forthcoming through Hot Flush)
(listen to a preview at MySpace)
The first time I heard this track played out I was blown away. No Pain In Pop had Room 2 at Fabric as part of some event back in April, and my friend Peter O'Grady was DJing a mix of stuff – some Funky House, some 2-Step, some forward-thinking Dubstep. The last track he played was this and it knotted the whole triangle together, strangely stunted Garage bounce heaved onward and up the pyramid by heraldic synth lines and a wailing diva. I told him it was the best thing he'd played all night and asked who it was and he told me it was his. It was pretty embarrassing. I think I punched him on the arm but really I wanted to kiss him.
FaltyDL – 'To New York' (Planet Mu)
(download at RCRD LBL)
FaltyDL resides outside traditional bass lineage. His role models are Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Luke Vibert; his NYG pumped full of maverick blood. And it breathes – critics like Simon Reynolds may well be right to treat 'IDM' with screw-face scorn but 'To New York' almost manages to validate the analogous boffin continuum all by itself. Its quality comes in its drums, which skip with a boyish charm, and in the ache of its heat-hazed synths; partied and versicolour, too playful to be stuffed away in an old backpack.
Floating Points – 'J&W Beat' (Planet Mu)
(buy and listen at Boomkat)
Apparently Sam Shepard spends his days holed up in a research lab somewhere, clad in a white coat mixing up invincibility potions and Midas rubs. This makes sense when you listen to the clubland formulas he concocts in his spare time: the lean garage shuffle of 'J&W Beat' unveiling itself coolly like a grand theory, packed fuller with sonic ephemera that drifts within its lax loops like space junk. One to watch for, without doubt.
"Mouth opens when necessary, bloody perhaps, but not broken and with teeth grown so much into fangs and juices that run over chins and cheeks that bulge with excited air, die blowhards, just cherish cherish cherish cherish. A communion built of aching ribs, of punctured time, of dripping hearts. A devil's trident barnacled with gut rust that fluttered, scattered and fell to earth like gone confetti."
And that's just a third of the hysterical gabble this tune generated when I wrote about it at No Pain In Pop last year. Unlike its inseparable twin 'Chrome's On It', 'Devil's Trident' made it onto this year's Dance Mother relatively unscathed by David Sitek's buzz-kill production and it remains mind blowing.
Floating Points – 'Vacuum Boogie' (forthcoming through Eglo)
(listen at Sound Cloud)
Another Floating Points track, this one more starry-eyed and due out soon(-ish) through the label Shepard runs with Rinse FM DJ Alexander Nut.
Burial/Four Tet – Moth (Text)
(search for on the internet)
One of the year's most sought after releases so far continues to find its way into record shops and online stockists in dribs and drabs and it's worth tracking down. Both tracks are fine, but 'Moth' in particular seems kindred with such a sublime exercise in dance eugenics, ghosting from subwoofers and teasing out the last drops of euphoria from in and around your ribcage. Collaborative, post-generic, instrumental track of the year so far? YESOFCOURSEDEFINITELY. Staunch.
Anything Zomby does
(learn at FACT, listen to newest cuts during Dusk and Blackdown's June Rinse FM show)
Zomby's Zomby – notes cascade, burp, warble and pop, each thrusting its own colours into the gap between your eyeballs and whatever it is that's behind those. The man seems intent on playing every sequence of notes it's possible to play, looking for that magical combination that'll make a trap door swing open in the sky.
This needs so much more attention. What else are people listening to? If Lone's forthcoming album Ecstasy And Friends can measure up to this double-A side he'll surely be fighting off the paparazzos and falling into beautiful women. 'Joy Reel' is exactly what it says it is; a 25th Century rush of startled, glassy tones and whining, galaxy-warped mecha-soul that for some reason reminds me of Bristol's 'Purple Sound', only less reliant on bass and more given to whirling treble. Benji B must fucking adore this. For fans of Zomby, Dam-Funk, Terrence Dixon.
Karizma – 'Drumz Nightmare' (R2)
(listen to and buy at Juno)
The B-side from the 12" that precedes Karizma's new album is a cosmic creeper, sharing in the parched percussive toughness of Funky House but pulling intrigue from other areas. Refreshed by soulful flourishes and harp drizzle, 'Drumz Nightmare' exhales subtly as its bass brains seem to boil in situe, thirsty horns evaporating in that gassy gap between the dancefloor and your earphones many whimsically refer to as the human skull.
This sounds like what you might get if you crossed Deep House with the Country And Western of Walter's native Southern States – a bruised woman walking off bravely into a sunset of despair. Except that toothless diva you can hear is actually the burly New Orleans resident himself, hidden at the bottom of a well.
Toro Y Moi – 'Sad Sams' (Unreleased)
(listen at No Pain In Pop)
Trailer Trash Tracys – 'Strangling Good Guys' (No Pain In Pop)
(listen at No Pain In Pop, buy – if you like – as part of the NPIP Compilation)