Sunday, December 26, 2010
Darwin's Top Ten of 2010
Sooooo these end of the year top ten lists are always such a pain in the ass. With the amount of music that I listen to everyday, its almost impossible to say 'these are my favorite ten of the year'. As I sit here watching football, I took a trip through my Itunes library and grabbed ten of the joints that really hit me this year. And to make the deal a little sweeter, I made them all available for download in a handy .zip file. Now you can rock crowds with some of the freshest of the fresh of 2010!
Grab em' HERE
Girl Unit - Wut (Night Slugs)
In early 2009, Bok Bok & L-Vis 1990 started their label Night Slugs; focusing on the new mutant garage revival sound of UK Funky. The label has gone from strength to strengthin the past two years. With big releases in their catalog from Lil Siliva, Jam City, Kingdom & Egyptrixx. Representing all sounds of the burgeoning UK Bass scene. No release was as large or anticipated as 'Wut' by Girl Unit. He’s been a part of the Night Slugs crew since the beginning, playing a mixture of mutant club music, hip-hop and R’n’B in a way that’s gripping and completely on point. 'Wut' is the kind of music that sounds intriguingly alien and instantly, insatiably desirable the second you hear it, yet it still somehow fits perfectly in with the Night Slugs ethos. What might be called “house” music (in terms of Girl Unit, your guess is as good as mine) rarely owes this much to hip-hop, juke, and dubstep, and even going by the Slugs’ track record it’s a stunning feat of chemistry. I had to wait months to finally get my hands on this tune. I still listen to it at least once a day. STANDARD
Dj Nate - Call Me When Your Sober (Planet Mu)
Planet Mu has done it again. After months of buzz brewing and people wondering who the kid was; 20-year old Nathan Clark, better known as DJ Nate (or Yung Baka in Chicago circles) is finally out Youtube and CD-R culture and out in the forefront of electronic mayhem. With the uprising of juke in the past few years via DJs Rashad, Gant-Man and Deeon, Nate goes one left-turning step further. By taking the house aspect and spinning it on its head, the world of DJ Nate’s “Footwork” tracks are off-beaten, individualistically syncopated and chipmunk-pitched and Vader-pitched all in one tune. And to some extent makes me think back to my jungle days, in its vocal cues and drum drops. However, it’s absolutely Nate’s style and no one can take that away; from the RnB and rap samples that are somewhat melodically mutated, to his patented callout. 'Call Me When Your Sober' is the stand out track for me. The emotion & anger this tunes emits is AMAZING.
Samo Sound Boy - Taking It All (Palms Out)
When I first met Sam, he gave me a couple of remixes he had done. 'Brown Paper Bag' and that Devin & The Dude 'Watch My Feet' thing. I must have canned them at every party I played at for the next year. I just knew this cat would keep progressing in his sound and go on to to big things. Fast forward three years and you have the 'Taking It All' EP that dropped a little while back on Palms Out. A massive explosion of House, Bmore Club, Space Reggaeton & Rave. The title track is my favorite; freaking a simple Kelis sample over military bmore styled drums from the year 2078. Simple, huge & crushes a dance. Looking forward to more stuff in 2011.
Frikstailers - Dancehallete (ZZK Records)
Its no surprise that my Cumbia tune of the year comes on no other label than the mighty ZZK Records out of Buenos Aires. I had a chance to hang with El G & half of the group, Lisandro Sona (aka Sandro Lee, aka DJ Sandro de America) this summer as we did a show at Nectar Lounge. Live, Frikstailers dress themselves up in tropical muppet drag. They cap their heads with multicolored wigs and bug-eyed glasses as if to under-emphasize their skillful noodling on keyboards, racks and drum machines. But whether it’s an entertaining distraction or they’re just incredibly fond of blacklight, everything the duo does is psychedelic multicolor madness. Their new EP 'Bicho de Luz' is all outre cumbia circuit-bent through neon dance tunes that interpret the most electric side of South America. 'Dancehallete' is just a hands in the air Cumbia dance party. Big synths, larger than life drums & future space sounds from the jungles of Argentina.
Erick Rincon - Magdalena (white)
With the help of their mentor/manager Toy Selectah, the Monterrey teen sensations; Erick Rincon, Sheeqo Beat and DJ Otto (16, 18 and 18, respectively) have become the superstars of their city's unwieldy, million-BPM tribal guarachero party scene. The music is clubbed out sounds that draw on regional folk songs and post-emo culture, cholo attitude and electro-house to create the distinctly Mexican sounds of the 21st century’s newest music. Even coming from me, a whole hour set of tribal guarachero is pretty intense. But dropping a tune or two in a set at the right time can launch some people into a frenzy. Erick's take on the classic Brazilian song 'Magdalena' by El General Samba has been tune of the year. Taking the original and flipping it into 3Ball bliss.
James Blake - I Only Know (What I Know)
22-year-old James Blake is the acceptable (baby) face of dubstep. He's really tall (he's 6'5" in case you're making notes). That was billed as only one of his selling points, the other being his way with a soulful melody, which is actually pretty spot on. So, while the brilliant recent EP, CMYK, manipulated treated vocal samples from huge R&B hits such as Caught Out There and Try Again into completely different shapes, his forthcoming Klavierwerke EP finds him utilizing his piano playing skills as well as showing off his plaintive vocals. I Only Know (What I Know Now) is all sparse chords, hisses of static and clipped vocal samples that somehow coalesce into a deceptively hypnotic five minutes. I cant wait for his new self titled LP to drop in the new year.
Diplomats - Salute
The Diplomats have now officially reunited, after their bust up which lasted a good couple of years. Cam, Jim Jones, Juelz and Freeky Zeeky are set to drop a new Dipset album next year. This tune is just a monster, produced by wonder kid Araabmuzik. Big rave synths and MPC toughness, the crew just smash this beat. With each passing day, the Dipset reunion seems to slowly become more of a reality. With interviews and songs already released, the next step in the progression was the Harlem squad performing together for the first time in years at the Hammerstein Ballroom this past November. 2011 is going to be a big year for the first family of Harlem. DIPSET
Endgames - Ecstasy (Jam City Refix) (Night Slugs)
If you’ve ever been to a party where the DJ is playing nothing but late 70s/early 80s funk and thought to yourself, hey this is incredible, especially because there are a bunch of old folks dancing their faces off. Night Slugs struck gold again this year with releasing London duo Jam City's rehashing of a tune from random Glasgow funk band Endgames. The psychedelic grime interplorer 'Ecstasy Refix' glows with warmth at its analog core. A grand tribute to the art of the grime refix, the track simultaneously recalls two disparate by-gone eras, to devastating effect. It really has a deep tropical feel to it, just a tune that sticks with you.
Los Rakas - Abrazame (Uproot Andy Remix)
I must have played this and the 2,723,034 other versions of Gyptain's tune 'Hold Yuh' around a million times when it first dropped over the summer. The piano hook on this track is was it and it became the biggest cross over dancehall tune of 2010. All versions hit hard, especially Los Rakas version 'Abrazame'. This tune finds the Oakland-based Panamanian dancehall prodigies wistfully singing and rapping en español. That was all well and good, but than Brooklyn beatmaker Uproot Andy punches up the beat, nicely layers in some additional synths and percussion, and basically seizes a spot in the "Summer Jams 2010" playlist. Listen and return to summer.
Nguzunguzu - Got U
I got a chance to play with Los Angeles-based Daniel Pineda (a.k.a. DJ Na) and Asma Maroof (a.k.a. DJ Fantasma) or better known to the world as the hard to pronounce dynamic duo called Nguzunguzu and it happened to be one of my favorite sets of the year. Smashing and blending R&B, Cumbia, Kuduro, Tribal, Reggaeton and House elements into a pot of club & headphone bangers. I cant even begin to tell you what genre 'Got U' falls under. Nguzunguzu songs are meant to in trance you in a rhythm and on the drop of a dime, thrust you into something completely unexpected but, so very welcoming and unobtrusive. They gave this away on a free EP thru their Geo Cities style website early this year.