attack of the bests

I will not apologize for the delay-- I'm in my last semester of school, so it's been a bit hectic.

Nonetheless, today I'll be regaling you with my best of the year list along with some sort of mp3 or mix for each release. Though I hesitate to put releases that are all excellent in a hierarchical, subjective list form...thems the breaks.


1. Jichael Mackson- Wasn't Me (Musique Risquee)

Who knew that Chris Isaak would come back in such full force this year? Wasn't Me uses samples from "Wicked Games" in every single one of its three tracks, most notably in what I would call one of the best overall tracks of the year, "The Grass is Always Greener"-- hard to beat dubby minimal beats, Bob Ross samples, and the most ethereal aspects of Chris Isaak's most famous song. In fact, when I first heard "The Grass is Always Greener," I couldn't help wanting to name it the "Sunshine Underground" of '07. The rest of the Wasn't Me is equally fantastic-- trippy, dubby techno with a sense of humor and ill samples.

Jichael Mackson- Freitag Abend Remix

2. Brendon Moeller- Jazz Space EP (Third Ear Recordings)

Another dubby treat from Moeller, perhaps better known under his Beat Pharmacy moniker. Jazz Space lies somewhere between Basic Channel's more dub side, Deepchord releases and new German minimal, with tracks like "Pink Noise" and "Space" topping many DJ's top ten lists this past summer. With excellent percussive elements, high washes, undulating bass-lines and rhythmic complexity nearly unrivalled this year, Moeller's work is excellent, and should certainly be looked for in 2008.

Brendon Moeller- Space

3. Echospace- The Coldest Season Part 2 (Modern Love)

Echospace is a project of DeepChord's Rod Modell and Souldubsounds owner Steven Hitchell. Produced using nothing but vintage analog equipment, Roland Space Echo, Echoplex, Korg tape delay, vintage signal processors, noise generators, Sequential Circuits 8 bit samplers & numerous analog synthesizers. With four 12"s and an excellent album under their belt in one year, it is obvious that Echospace are the most hard-working masters of dub techno around. Creating a sound that can be called a more active take on that of the Chain Reaction Records catalogue, Echospace have been playing quite constantly in my house and my headphones-- and no, not just when I'm blizzy. High washes, lazy-seeming dub bass-lines, and synth sounds that hum beautifully: how can you get better than this? "Empyrean," while being the final track of The Coldest Season album, is the B-side of the excellent part two of the 12" singles releases. (Also, if you're hungry for more Echospace, I'd suggest heading over to Hypnotic Breaks, who have a disgusting number of their releases up for download).

Echospace- Empyrean

4. Kiki & Sasse- Belvedere (Moodmusic)

The two who brought us the sexy and elegant "Loosing Touch" in 2006 return with one of the more heavenly deep house records of the year. "Grand Cru" is an irresistible, deep tech-house number with a wonderful 1-4-5-3 synth loop running lushly throughout. Along with a wriggling, high-mixed bass line and perfect percussive bits, the 120 bpm track is a perfect late-late floor-shaker. I literally cannot get enough of this track-- it is perfect for mixing, and quite nice whilst taking a walk, too.

Kiki & Sasse- Grand Cru

5. dOP- Between the Blues EP (Circus Company)

The best new group of tech-house producers this year. Excellently composed and compressed, catchy, brilliant. Though I originally posted the track "Dopamen" here a month or so back, "Allo Boom Boom," is another equally amazing track, with excellent horn samples, a mesmerizing percussive element, and synth stabs that give the listener chills. Finally, it is worth noting that the dOP guys are friendly and excellent people-- if you're in Europe, go see them! They play out quite often.

dOP- Allo Boom Boom

6. Substance & Vainqueur- Libration/Resonance 12" (Scion Versions)

Peter Kuschnereit and Rene Lowe released their first record together on the Chain Reaction imprint in 1995, and only recently have they come together again to produce some of the finest minimal dub-techno around. While many believe that "Libration" is the stronger track on this particular 12", I am more fond of "Resonance"-- its washes are more dreamy, rhythms more chugging, and synths less dark. There is no telling when a new Substance & Vainqueur record will come out, but the fact that it will be fantastic goes without saying.

Substance & Vainqueur- Resonance

7. Nomadico- The Nomadico EP (Underground Resistance)

Nomadico (aka DJ Dex) is one of the newest members of the Underground Resistance family, and since joining Mad Mike & Co., he's been making quite an impression on techno fans all over-- even China. Not only are his Invisible Showcase mixes seamlessly mixed bits of dance music history, but his own productions carry the torch of UR while giving insight into his own personal style. The Nomadico EP is a sick bit of detroit techno the way it should be made-- poundingly fast, aggressive, catchy, and thick as hell with different layers of percussion and acidy squelches. "Tazumal" is the highlight of the EP, with a sound that is as intoxicating as any of UR's early releases, with what I would consider nods to UR's Riot EP and Waveform EP.

Perhaps it is also worth noting that Nomadico's live DJ sets are phenomenal, as mentioned in posts from this past August. I interviewed him for Big Shot Magazine, and he is a truly great guy. So put your hands up for Detroit!

Nomadico- Tazumal

8. Pom Pom- Pom Pom 29 (Pom Pom)

The infamously mysterious Pom Pom did it again this year, with three new releases, all of them golden. But Pom Pom 29 is something special-- the A-side is perhaps the brightest track Pom Pom has ever created, with a sound more akin to Minilogue or even Lindstrom. The two tracks on the B-side are more of a return to form, but this is not a knock-- both of the tracks are darkly hallucinatory, spacy bits of warehouse techno appropriate for that deeply strange time between the after-party and the after-after-party. Let's hope that Pom Pom continues the run of astounding records in 2008.

Pom Pom- Pom Pom 29 (B2)

9. Breakage-Clarendon/The Shroud (Digital Soundboy Recording Co.)

So, if you've been reading this blog for a bit, you know that Marcus Intalex's FabricLive 35 changed my opinion of current drum'n'bass for the better, especially because of the inclusion of "Clarendon" from England's Breakage. It contains a narcotizing two-note bass loop, ascending horn samples, dub vocal snippets, and delayed backing percussion. Of course, the requisite congas enter into the mix, but only towards the track's apex, when all drops out for a lone, delayed vocal bit. Whether or not jungle is your thing or not, the track is perfect for testing out new sub-woofers or simply sitting back and smoking a fattie. Highly recommended stuff, especially for those looking to chill out and let bass destroy their innards.

Breakage- Clarendon

10. Len Faki- Work/Odyssee (split with 2000 and One) (Podium)

Mr. Faki's had quite a busy year, with five releases put out, including the highly-acclaimed "Mekong Delta"/"Rainbow Delta" 12" on Ostgut Tontrager. "Odyssee I" has big pulsating bass, great kicks, finger-snaps, well-placed congas, and the synths! High, panning washes reminiscent of Basic Channel, super-bright melodic lines coupled with harsher (yet strangely complementary) lines forming wonderful harmonies, and even some low, acidy squelch thrown in for good measure. At 125 BPM, it is a mid-paced yet epic track that is made to rock the dance-floor hard. Finally, though it is altogether different as a whole, the finger-snaps and movement of the track sometimes made me think of the excellent Eulberg & Ananda remix of Cold's "Strobelight Network." Great during peak hours, and a fantastic track to walk purposefully to on an overcast day.

Len Faki- Odyssee I

Well, there you have it! Look forward to some more fine tracks later this week, including a totally sick remix of Minilogue's "Ahck" from this past April, as well as an hour-long vinyl mix from yours truly.