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Last year I decided to compile my favourite albums of the year in response to the wealth of music out out on New Year’s Eve. So this year, in addition to this idea (which will return next week) I’ve opted to single out individual tracks from any format (but with a bias for standalone singles, EP’s and other formats over tracks that may already make my album list).
As always, I’m far more interested in allowing you to listen to the music and enjoying it for yourself, so I won’t write at length about each track, but I will share a brief thought on my feelings about it an why it made the list. Even now I’m listening to music that could have made the list had it not featured on an album I’m including in the top 10 next week! Nonetheless, in reverse order, I present to you my top tracks of 2012!
20. Inside The Ride - Royal-T
Some 2-Step vibes on an album I’ve been mightily impressed with. Rich chords and imposing bass that was far from instant love in parts, but I grew to appreciate the track in its entirety!
19. Streets of Rave - Cyantific
Classic Prodigy-esque vibes from D&B peddler Cyantific mixing up that early 90’s rave style with some more contemporary bass synthesis and manipulation. Lighters in the air!
18. My Lovin’ Is All About You - Dojo Cuts feat. Roxie Ray
Some seriously infectious funky soul from Italy here. That guitar riff is relentless and plays my heartstrings every time and has yet to fail to put a smile on my face.
17. Au Seve - Julio Bashmore
You’d need to have been living under a rock to have missed this one. Super-crisp house music at its best - excellent use of vocal snippets, harmony, simplicity and space.
16. Fumes - Om Unit
The whole EP is incredible, but this particular track sticks out for me simply because of its intricacy, attention to detail and grove. Heavy-hitting but not overbearing hip-hop vibes with skilful use of chords to shift the tone mid-way.
15. Elevate This Sound - Calyx & TeeBee
A mournful D&B tune which matches its lyrical depth with immediate production and an arresting, punchy bassline.
14. Sinking - Part-Time Heroes
An adept exercise in weaving arrangements written for string quartets with jazz, electronic breakbeats and some powerful sub-bass. The result is pretty breathtaking. Prepare to get swept away!
13. I Feel Good (James Brown Flip Up) - Tall Black Guy
A very late addition to the list which is simply a thorough education on what hip-hop is supposed to sound like: Intelligent, engaging, bright, bassy, using samples cleverly and respectfully and in this case, in a way that doesn’t rely too heavily on their recognizability to carry the production.
12. Tenderly - Disclosure
Apparently I was living under a rock for this one! Massive vibes from the brothers who specialise in 2-Step and house, this tune features ultra-heavy broken beat and sports a thumping bassline in an incredibly intelligent and yet dancefloor-friendly way.
11. We Are One (Nu:Logic Remix) - Logistics
A pulchritudinous effort from the Gresham brothers on Matt’s breakbeat number. Heavy junglist vibes all over this made it one of my “sit up and pay attention” tunes this year.
10. Fire (Mr. Scruff Remix) - Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Bass and brass coming together in harmony on this one! Caused some serious trouser-wobbling for people at Floripa earlier in the year and you can hear why - fabulous performances and a deft touch from Mr. Scruff on the remix side of things!
9. Rebel Music - Plastician
An almost surprise entry to the rankings, given another tune on the EP caught my attention first. However, a combination of top class lyrical delivery, captivating writing and thunderous production caused me to plump for this emotive piece of dubstep.
8. Drawing Straws - Netsky
Ultra-tight production and writing from Netsky here. One that has featured on many a car journey over the months since it release!
7. Seraphim - Simian Mobile Disco
Instantly danceable, warmly written chords and a groove that won’t leave you alone, SMD have cracked open a sub-disco/hip-hop-inflected monster with a massive sound that fills the room.
Free download here: https://soundcloud.com/simianmobiledisco/seraphim
6. Laughing At Clouds - Frederic Robinson
Delicate drum and bass could sound somewhat oxymoronic. However, these days with producers like Frederic Robinson putting out off kilter and yet warmly inviting tracks like this which have a sense of hope and joy simply cannot be ignored!
5. Fletcher Moss Park - Matthew Halsall
Glorious jazz from the young composer/arranger/trumpeter/genius incorporating fairly a small number of instruments to create huge sounding pieces, this being a fine example of why I love the genre - as it showcases how beautiful it can be.
4. Keep On Loving Me - Onra
Heavy electro disco thunder is the order of the day. I rarely played a set this summer that didn’t include this fabulous, funky updated re-edit.
Free download with Label Love 4: http://labelloveworldwide.bandcamp.com/album/label-love-vol-4
3. The Golden Section - Technimatic
The fact that this track is only number 3 in this lost shows how high the standard is this year. Effortlessly simple but engineered and produced to impossibly high standards, “The Golden Section” brings a real sense of elation and elevation each time I listen to it. When I finish my degree early next year, this is the first thing I plan to listen to in order to celebrate.
2. Magdalena - Quantic & Alice Russell with the Combo Bàrbaro
Tropical soul from Tru Thoughts’ finest. I’m endeared to this tune, not least because there’s a lot of truth to the lyrics as well as rich arrangements and spine-tingling harmonies from Ms. Russell.
1. Flight - Hidden Orchestra
What can I say about this track to do it justice? A combination of jazz, film score, breakbeat, electronica, folk and a whole host of influences I’m sure to have missed, set in the context of the Scottish Highlands, featuring duelling drummers, an incandescent use of harp and a tapestry of instruments and sounds that lull you uncompromisingly through a journey featuring a spectrum of emotion. When I first heard it, I realised it was something “special” (understatement) and a true testament to independent music which tells beautiful stories without resorting to words.
Well that’s all. I’m sure there’s more great music on the way in 2013, and in the meantime, you can check out my top albums of 2012 in a week’s time!
The Christmas 2012 edition of my radio show! New music from The New Mastersounds, The Olympic Cyclone Band and Cody ChesnuTT to name but a few! Enjoy and Merry Christmas! Dr. J Presents: Joining The Dots (Episode 8, December 2012)
November’s #JoiningTheDots featuring massive funk covers through and through!
Dr. J Presents: Joining The Dots (Episode 6, October 2012) Still here after 6 months! Funk, old and new…
Joining The Dots, Episode #5 (September 2012) Funk with a cinematic twist!
I just uploaded “Dr. J Presents: Joining The Dots (Episode 4, August 2012)” to www.mixcloud.com - listen now!
Some very dear friends of mine asked me to help them celebrate their engagement over the weekend, and after managing my increasingly mental schedule including an overseas wedding, SOLID and The Impact Project Summer Events Week next week, I was mercifully allowed to get over to South London to play for them. (Having said that, I had to navigate the most idiotic road in the universe (AKA, the A13) which set me back a solid hour on the journey.) Nonetheless, I got there! I love being able to have variety in my gigs, it means that I’m not necessarily playing the same songs at all of them, but can create a unique atmosphere for each show. Here is what was dropped:
1. Flight - Hidden Orchestra
2. Paradise - Coldplay
3. Simmerdown - Nostalgia 77
4. Here Again - Quantic & Alice Russell with The Combo Bárbaro
5. Everything You Say (feat. Heidi Vogel) - Scrimshire
6. Funk de Umbigada - Saravah Soul
7. No Diggity - Hackney Colliery Band
8. Life (ft. Half Pint) (Migs Intro Dub) -Miguel Migs
9. Something Special (Crazy P Remix) -Max Sedgley
10. Rendez-Vu -Basement Jaxx
11. Mandrake -Resonators
12. Falling (feat. Alys Be) - Distance
13. Ruled By Your Motions -Maddslinky
14. Wildfire -SBTRKT
15. You Make Me Feel -Bastille(akaOther Echoes)
16. Grow -Dr. J
17. Afterglow -Phaeleh feat. Soundmouse
18. Electric Counterpoint: III. Fast - RYXP’s Milde Salve - Steve Reich (Free Download Both versions are gorgeous!)
19. Un Canto A Mi Tierra (J-Boogie Remix) - Quantic and His Combo Bárbaro
20. Rubaiyat -Coldcut
21. The Windfall - Hidden Orchestra
Photos will follow soon!
I just uploaded “Dr. J Presents: Joining The Dots (Episode 3, July 2012)” to www.mixcloud.com - listen now! Tropical vibes for the summer, enjoy!
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June’s Radio Show!! “Dr. J Presents: Joining The Dots (Episode 2, June 2012)” - Listen again!
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