Tuesday 10 January 2012

Disco Delicious' Top 11 Delicacies of 2011

Sorry about the delay on this stupid list guys, internet deprivation is the worst. Who gives a shit anyway though, 'Best Of' lists are lame and overdone. So here's mine!

2011 flat out fucking ruled. So much great music, so many great parties. We toured so many awesome DJs and ate so many delicious pizzas at our Sunday Sessions. Met so many lovely people and spent a horrendous amount of money on records. Whilst people were having their heads caved in by brostep and moombahton and whatever other whack rubbish is infecting clubs these days, I was off on my own little musical island without any clue of what was happening anywhere else. Ignorance is the best. Anyway, here's the stuff that made it to said island and really tickled me. I missed heaps of records over the course of the year so don't think I've been neglectful - these are just the things that I managed to pick up which really made an impact. Here goes!


#11 Mike Simonetti & Johnny Jewel's Hollywood Seven

I'd be hard pressed to think of a record that was responsible for as many amazing club moments in 2011 as Hollywood Seven. Whenever anybody whipped out the Disco Dilemma version at the sweaty peak of a night - including Mike Simonetti himself down at GoodGod - it was an eruption of unparalleled euphoria. Although the work done to the tracks was relatively minimal, the new drums and restrained editing of each version of the bargain bin favourite, along with the cleverly simple act of releasing four on the one twelve-inch, made this one of the best bits of wax of the year.

Mike Simonetti & Johnny Jewel - Hollywood Seven (Disconet Dilemma) [buy]


#10 Leonid Nevermind - Light Is Here EP

Without the A1 I don't think I'd be nearly as fond of this record as I am, but as soon as the needle touched down and the sex-drenched bassline of The Unexplored Land of Love plonked itself on the table in the 9th bar I was hooked. The other three tracks on this Leonid Nevermind EP, despite being cavernously deep, feel a bit cold without having been set up by the almost In Flagranti-esque eroticism of the opening number and, to me, that's what makes the whole thing works. Not to say that the musical pheromones it gushes make it cheap or tacky in any way: it actually oozes with class, and the rest of the release might even impress the odd Berliner.

Leonid Nevermind - The Unexplored Land of Love [buy]


#9 Floating Points - Shadows EP

Dynamics are something that's so often completely ignored in EDM and it's wonderfully refreshing to hear them used to such great effect on this superb Floating Points 2x12" release. The more you open your ears the more you're rewarded - this lengthy EP is probably my favourite bedroom record of the year, it's so perfect to kick back on the bed and just soak it up. For me the real standout track is the A1, Myrtle Avenue, although I reckon when you take it down to 33rpm it becomes even more special. I like having more time to absorb the texture of the rich sluggish bass, the gorgeous twisting aqueous chords, the meditative departures from the beat: it's a beautiful, sedate feeling. But whatever, it's great no matter what speed you play it at!

Floating Points - Myrtle Avenue (33rpm) [buy]


#8 Evan Evans - Final (Art of Tones Disco Dub)

This is one of the times I'm going to toe the line of what was 2010 and what was 2011, but there's a pretty good chance I played this Art of Tones remix in at least 80% of my sets this year and it's not going to be leaving my record bag any time soon. Yeah it was released in December the previous year but it only landed in my hands on Australian soil at the beginning of January and THAT'S WHAT COUNTS, PEOPLE. Play it early, play it late, play it twice, whatever - it just grooves so cock-snappingly hard. Of every superb record that's been released on Instruments of Rapture, especially in the past twelve months, this is still my favourite track on any of them.

Evan Evans - Final (Art of Tones Disco Dub) [buy]


#7 Claremont 56

I suppose Claremont didn't have a manically productive year in terms of quantity of releases, but the quality has been exceptional. In particular the Almunia album was just tops, as were the two 'Originals' CDs compiled by Felix Dickinson and Phil Mison. The Almunia single that preceded the album blew my mind when it came out. The spacious breezy groove of New Moon and the plodding jam of Travel had me playing it every week for months, and on top of that the rest of the tracks on the LP deliver a wide range of chilled psychedelic goodness - not dissimilar to any of the Smith & Mudd albums, but certainly a lot more guitar oriented. The Originals comps packed together some bloody amazing rarities that I'm sure I never would have stumbled across otherwise, including this killer disco-rock bomb by some German one-record-only band called Q. Lovely.

Almunia - Travel (Instrumental) [buy]

Q - Rain [buy]


#6 Really Swing

Well, tiny Italian label Really Swing only released one record this year but it's the first one that I discovered and it sparked a huge enthusiasm for the imprint. The concept is really Dilla: very short tracks, just 1 or 2 minute beat ideas, cut in one after the other on a 10" record. It's kinda hip hoppy, it's kinda future beaty, it's very sample heavy, sometimes it's wonky and sometimes it's tightly rigid, and it's always delightfully creative. I really love the abrupt transitions from one idea to the next, and that's why I'm so hesitant to post only one track when it's removed from the context of the record. If this stuff tickles you at all then I seriously recommend jumping on these releases because the end result is far more than the sum of its parts. Oh, also, this podcast by label boss Quiroga is definitely one of my favourite mixes of 2011. Brilliant!

Bop Singlayer - Flirt [buy]


#5 DJ Harvey / Locussolus

Harv was out here exactly one year ago and I can't work out if it feels like it's been a longer or shorter time than that. It doesn't feel like it was 12 months ago though. Anyway, it's pretty obvious that Harvey has had a corker of a year, both with Locussolus and with his remix work. I surprised myself a little with this, but my favourite thing Harv did in 2011 was Canyons remix. Since my very first listen I was totally hooked and I know it's a record I'm going to be smashing for a long time to come. It feels almost like a micro mixtape: a slamming acid house vibe that suddenly jolts into a porky disco-funk groove before returning to the original classic house energy. It's so different and I adore it. And whilst the Locussolus record really brought the heat, the Lindstrom & Prins Thomas remix of I Want It utterly demolished dance floors all throughout the year. One of the most fun dance remixes I've heard in living memory.

Canyons - See Blind Through (DJ Harvey Remix) [buy]

Locussolus - I Want It (Lindstrom & Prins Thomas Remix) [buy]


#4 Black Cow

Black Cow is still the best disco edits label on earth in my humble opinion. The 7"s are scarce, the releases are infrequent, the tracks are (obviously) short and I'm always left wanting more but fucking hell this label is quality. And it makes perfect sense - the Jazzy Sport guys are seriously deep diggers, and when they move from hip hop to disco it's pretty incredible what they unearth. I'm still yet to spot even one of the tracks on any of their records, although I gave up trying long ago. This is a perfect example: Rotation No. 5 is on some uncharted tier of bullshit awesomeness. It goes like this: an absolutely ballistic bassline cradled by a tight-as-all-fuck rhythm section; fantastic horns blasting out in the chorus; a dazzling dreamy verse which is politely interrupted by THE MOTHER of all slap bass solos; swing over to the pianist who appropriately cuts loose; and by this stage I'm usually passed out in a puddle of my own saliva, so I'm not quite sure what happens after that. BOSS!

Black Cow - Rotation No. 5 [buy]


#3 Tornado Wallace & The Melbourne Deepcast Guys

This is an easy one. It's no secret Melbourne has been completely slaying it on the deep house front, particularly for the past couple of years, and the genesis of Melbourne Deepcast as a label sealed the deal. What an incredible collective of dudes. Andy Hart, Tornado Wallace, Fantastic Man, Francis Inferno Orchestra, Weekend Express - all spectacular. With two Deepcast 12"s released and a perfect record of 7/7 magnificent tracks, it's a testament to the consistency and quality they're able to generate. On top of that you've got: Fantastic Man's beautiful release on Kolour Ltd, which includes the sublime B2 'Say What You Said'; Weekend Express's ripping contribution to the always dependable Stilove4music edits series; several nice records on different labels from youngster Francis Inferno Orchestra; and a metric shit-tonne of goodness from Lewie Day on Instruments of Rapture, Delusions of Grandeur, etc etc. Hats off to you Melbourne, I'm proud to be neighbours with the second best state in Australia :)

Fantastic Man - Say What You Said [buy]

Francis Inferno Orchestra - Come On Now [buy]


#2 Chet Faker - Love and Feeling (Sleep D Remix)

More Melbourne goodness! Did I catch you off guard there? I've cherished Sleep D since my first listen and I'm ultra proud that we're doing a record with them in the next few months. They're two 18 year olds who have a disgusting amount of talent - I can't stand overachieving youngsters, they make me feel so chronically lazy. But let's not dwell on my oafishness, this is unreal music. Of all the excellent tracks the boys have produced, this one is without a doubt my favourite. Although it's a remix by name, there's only a sliver of the original vocal that's been plucked out, with everything else being constructed from the ground up. The toms are just genius. The bass groove is total annihilation. The pitched down vocals and druggy effects send you into a ketamine spiral of satisfaction. I just love everything about this track, from its momentary weirdness to its downright deep-as-fuck groove. Watch out for this one coming on wax very soon!

Chet Faker - Love and Feeling (Sleep D Remix)


#1 Psychemagik

Numero uno. This was decided for me many months ago when Celestial Love was ceremonially uncorked and its magical psychedelic juices were sprayed all over my unsuspecting face. Yes, it's pretty erotic. Seriously, Psychemagik have given me an absurd amount of aural pleasure in the past twelve months, streets ahead of anything else. Their mixes - particularly the three for Test Pressing - are EXACTLY what I want to hear. High On You, although it was recorded the previous year, was surely my most played mix of 2011, and Celestial Love was a very close second. Sunrise, which came out a month or two ago, completed the trilogy of perfect mixtapes. As a DJ it's been such an absolute pleasure hearing the way these dudes program their sets. It's remarkable just how paramount context is, and how tracks that I would probably never think twice about can suddenly take on an entirely new identity when expertly selected and arranged. There's a compositional element there that's really very beautiful. I don't even have space to rant about Psychemagik's killer edit releases which have also copped a right beating on my turntables. I think at some point everybody gets lucky and feels like there's an artist out there who seems to be tailoring music specifically for YOU. Well this is for ME! :)

Psychemagik - Celestial Love


Honourable Mentions:

No Way Back by Domeyko/Gonzalez - if that's the best thing we ever release on Death Strobe, I'll still be so stoked. I can't describe how blown away I was hearing it for the very first time. I'm not sure I've ever felt so proud. I love my boys!

Jonti - Got to give some massive props to Jonti, he really did amazingly well for himself in 2011. Getting picked up by Stones Throw, releasing his album and suddenly hanging out with people like Madlib, it's pretty incredible. And what a fantastic album!

Cheenese by Pompeya - I don't really know where this little record came from but man I loved it! It's just really top quality indie pop sorta stuff by a Russian band I've not heard of before, with three excellent remixes to boot. The Lipelis remix ended up being my pick.

Abel's Aegean Sea edits - I'll admit this completely deserves to be in the top 11, it was probably the best edits release of the year. I'm just bitter because I missed out on getting a copy. So bitter.


And that just about does it. Please feel free to post up your favourites from 2011, I'd love to hear about all the stuff I missed.

2012 is already getting me all moist: we're doing a Sydney Festival show with Andrew Weatherall and Neville Watson this Saturday night which I'm totally psyched for! If you're in town you MUST come :)