Saturday, February 13, 2010

Things I am Grateful for from 2009

As mentioned in the previous post, this is probably the last wrap up of 2009 that you will want to read this year... While I initially meant to get this up earlier, I fell into the trap of over-thinking it and trying to capture all of the amazing music / events / mixes / producers that were tied to 2009. At the end of the day though, these are the items (of all kinds) which I was most impressed with and extremely grateful for.

Kyle Hall @ the Yard, Brooklyn
Kyle Hall came to New York City for his debut DJ set this past summer facing enormous expectations. His records on Wild Oats had triggered everyone’s curiosity… His unique syncopated and unconventional house rhythms sounded great on the home hi-fi but would they really work a floor? Luckily our man proved that he was up to the task. Easing the crowd into the weirdness with some vintage Italo, disco and deep house, he easily kept the crowd bouncing past sundown. I am extremely excited to hear more from him in 2010.

Levon Vincent
What can you say about Levon that hasn’t been said already multiple times? The guy delivered banger after banger all year. Fusing dub techno textures with 90’s house rhythms, his sound had the sultry intrigue of the darkest Basic Channel releases combined with the raw funk of vintage Strictly Rhythm and Nu Groove drum programming. His RA podcast was one of the best of the year and his DJing all over the world has been top notch.

Reissue Labels
2009 was a particularly fruitful year for reissues. As a newer collector of vinyl, I found this particularly fantastic, although it caused controversy for many older heads that had to witness the Discogs prices of their rarest holdings drop over and over again. Ultimately though, Crème, Rush Hour, Clone and Mojuba should be praised for their commitment to bringing modern audiences the best music from the past in high quality audio. THANK YOU!

Kai Alce & Chez Damier at Bert’s on Broadway DEMF Weekend
This was hands down my favorite event of the entire year. This DEMF after-party represented pretty much everything that I love about dance music…. Held at the mythical Music Institute building, this get-together was the definition of good vibes. Attracting local Detroiters as well as plenty of outsiders with absolutely no bullshit or arrogance- it was smiling faces and stomping feet all around throughout the evening. Unable to obtain a legit liquor license the promoters hid some kegs in the attic behind the DJ booth and periodically invited the crowd to make their way up for drinks. The beats provided on vinyl by Chez Damier and Kai Alce were, as to be expected, ridiculously funky and eclectic, serving up long work outs of deep house interspaced with disco. Overall when I think about how much elitism has crept into dance music with Berghain’s notorious door policies, label-only parties at WMC and ‘unknown artist’ records it was refreshing to see that in the home of techno some straight up real shit could still happen.

Trus Me vs. Moodymann Mix
I still do not know where this mix came from and who is truly the author… Floating in the RA forums at the beginning of the year, I downloaded it on the (almost unfathomable) pretense that it was truly a collaboration set between the Moodiest and Trus Me. However, the file came tagged as ‘Sports Rainier’ which would lead me to think it might have something to do with a club or DJ in France? In any case, if you haven’t heard this yet you owe your ears a favor… Comfortably segueing between boogie, disco, Omar-S, salsa, Marvin Gaye, Marcellus and just about all forms of funky music it manages to easily demonstrate the elements which bind all of these disparate style with enormous amounts of class and grace. Mixes like this are truly very, very rare so do not miss out on obtaining this wonderful selection before it vanishes into interwebs. Download below.
Patrice Scott’s Deep in Detroit Mix
Another mix that blew me away this year was Patrice’s ‘Deep in Detroit’ mix. When this popped up in the forums last winter, Patrice’s records on Sistrum were appearing in everyone’s sets all over the world. As a result this had maximum attention from all the heads… And rightfully so! This mix demonstrates the power of melody and harmony in house music like few others. If this is not sitting on you Ipod yet you need to give it a spin IMMEDIATLEY. Download is below for your enjoyment.
Modern Love Showcase @ Studio B
This was one of the last parties which ever happened at Studio B. While the venue will be (somewhat?) sorely missed, this was certainly one of my favorite parties I went to in NYC all year. Hours of beautiful dubbed out techno from all of the masters from Manchester. I won’t go into too much detail here but if anyone wants to refresh their memory check out the review I did for RA. Unfortunately 2009 was a bit of a mixed bag for Modern Love. While the individual 12’’s by Claro Intelecto, Andy Stott and MLZ were all exciting, functional techno, the label did not blow me away quite as much as in ’07 and ’08. Let’s hope the boys have something crazy planned for 2010.
Three New Essential Labels: WT, We Play House and Lunar Disko
Of all the things that I am grateful for from 2009, perhaps the one that is most important is the amount of great NEW music that came out during the year. While several classic labels had a fantastic year, I was pleasantly surprised by the work of 3 newer labels: WT Records, We Play House and Lunar Disko. Each of these brought something fresh to the scene and had a phenomenally high hit rate with their releases. WT gave an outlet to brilliant yet woefully undiscovered producers, We Play House provided us with unpretentious, non-cliché vocal house and Lunar Disko kept the flag flying for Italodisco and REAL electro. Definitely three labels to closely watch in 2010…

And that my friends is what I will remember 2009 for… a year which had a ton of excellent new music, fantastic represses and which marked the arrival of several new brilliant producers to the scene.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Still Alive Beyond 2009!

First of all I must apologize dear readers for my lack of posting in the month of January... The return to reality after a blissful December break in Peru was harsh. Freezing rain and snow, endless hours at the office and weekends full of random, obnoxious errands.

In the spots of free time I've had, I've been working on a little year-end wrap up. That's right. This will be the last 2009 wrap-up you'll read! The fact that it comes in 2010 may prove an actual benefit... By only getting up to this now, I've had the ability to truly reflect on what was, and was not, the bomb in '09.

Anyways, the wrap up is coming this weekend... For now please enjoy this mix of raw house music to get you through the cold weather...
I picked up these records throughout 2009. Many of them are represses, some are new and some are stuff I slept on for too long! Anyways, you'll find some old gems from Chez Damier, Kerry Chandler and Saunderson alongside newer hot sh1t from Underground Quality, Modern Love and Mathematics. Hope-u-enjoi.


Chicago Underground Council - 2 Days [Peacefrog 1996]
Levon Vincent - Deeper [Underground Quality 2008]
Anton Zap - I'm Fine [Underground Quality 2009]
Chez Damier - Untitled [KMS 1993]
Trailer Ends - Runnin' Around (Dark Swing Mix) [Downtown 161 1993]
Rick Wade - First Darkness [Laid 2009]
Chez Damier & Carl Craig - Help Myself [KMS 1992]
Reese - Rock to the Beat (Mayday Mix) [KMS 1989]
Leron Carson - Red Lightbulb [Sound Signature 2009]
Omar-S - Groove On [FXHE 2005]
Claro Intelecto - Above [Modern Love 2009]
Unknown Artist - BAUHAUS01 (Version 2) [BHLTD 2009]
Levon Vincent - Games Dub [Underground Quality 2009]
Contra Communem Opinionem - Dreaming [Mathematics 2008]

--Everything mixed on two 1200's on vinyl and a Vestax VMC-002XLu w/o any editting--