Little White Earbuds April Charts 2013

Chart courtesy of the Economist

01. Chicago Skyway, “Pink Donut”
[Altered Moods Recordings] (buy)

Sean Hernandez has a habit of making his fans wait good and long between Chicago Skyway releases. While that’s almost certainly the result of being a dayjobbing father rather than a plot to keep people hungry for more, the Chicago born and based producer is doing a solid job at both. So it’s with great eagerness that I absorbed Thunder, his new EP for Altered Mood Recordings. While Chicago house is starting to wear out its welcome as the trendy sound, my favorite cut on the record — the curiously titled “Pink Donut” — reminds us that the city’s own denizens often do a better job with it than any bandwagon riders could manage. Skyway’s chunky, jacking 707 toms have real impact as the underpinning for the gorgeous, thoughtfully paired organ chords drifting into focus, but really it’s the latter ingredient which steals the show. After making way for syncopated synth string stabs, the reunion of melodic elements is a bit breathtaking, not least because the deliberate sequencing makes you crave the combination in advance. The mild 120ish tempo gives the tune some versatility as well, slotting nicely into warm up, day party, and afterparty sets without a hitch. Hats off to Hernandez for waiting until this one was fully realized before releasing it into the world.

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02. Shwet Musali, “All Fucking Night”
[Don’t Be Afraid] (buy)

Various artist comps are tricky things. With no one person or group who is wholly responsible for their contents, even V/A EPs featuring some recognizable names often get overlooked by reviewers and the buying public. That is, unless they’re part of series which happens to be well known. Don’t Be Afraid made a bold but lighthearted move by putting forth the Spargel Trax series, an audio costume party of sorts where the various artists take on asparagus-related monikers. With this semi-mysterious angle as the hook, the music itself ends up being appreciated on its own merits. The lead cut from Spargel Trax Vol. 3 by Shwet Musali is an immediate standout from the group. From the moment listeners ramp up into its deliberate, bass-led groove, “All Fucking Night” is a track which just keep providing reasons to love it. Its delayed chord changes are perfectly suited to the deep house atmosphere, which like the vintage sounding drums manage not to sound rote. The space provided for the titular line to be declared by a confident man is a beautiful thing — a moment of absence worth celebrating. Only its 4:45 run-time leaves me wanting, which is a good position to be in. Ben Semtek and his DBA crew are not only proving adept in the V/A department, but in finding still more fresh recruits worth listening to.

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03. Virginia, “Loch & Hill”
[Ostgut Ton] (buy)

To be honest, I didn’t realize Virginia had been active in dance music long before providing vocals for Steffi’s instant classic, “Yours,” in 2010. In fact, the Munich-based artist has been active since the late 90s, collaborating with Butch and Abe Duque, releasing an album on Rough Trade, and making rounds on the DJ circuit. You can tell that Virginia is no newcomer on Loch & Hill her solo debut on Ostgut Ton which actually features her first solo productions. While certainly influenced by some classic sounds, the title track reveals a fully realized point of view that’s unique to her. Coming on like a Detroit electro track, all flowing synths and stop-start patterns of kicks and rimshots, the tune gradually fills in house shapes. A squishy 303 bass line adds a good natured warmth which is taken even further by somewhat blurry sax runs. This unexpected sound rendered as to be only partially recognizable gives the whole track a pleasant jolt. This welcome combination of tones, patterns, and genres recalls times when the boundaries between them were undefined. If you were ignorant about Virginia before, don’t wait to get familiar.

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04. Royal Crown of Sweden, “Vänern”
[Proibito] (buy)

There’s something to appreciate in a young producer willing to adopt a new nom de plume so early in the game. Cleaving one’s music into different sonic personalities not only suggests musical depth but clears the way for exploration to go on unabated by concerns of coherence. Huerco S. has three releases to date which have showcased a bitcrushed, woozy take on house with clear promise.The Kansas City-based producer has already taken the scenic route around one particular strain of his sound by becoming Royal Crown of Sweden, the debut artist of pal Anthony Naples’ spanking new Prohibito label. “Vänern,” offers an even more blunted expression of Huerco’s aesthetic. Familiar synth chords jutting out from the narcotic pads crashing forward call to mind the work of native Swedes — Jonsson/Alter — without biting their sound. As the bass starts to unspool and somewhat reveal its stringed nature, the tune rises from its knees, prodded by slappy claps and faraway synth leads that remind dancers this head trip is still going somewhere. Although he’s likely to write better in the many years potentially still to come, “Vänern” will likely be seen as a self identified turning point in Huerco S.’s discography.

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05. Doc Daneeka, “Day By Day”
[2020 Midnight Visions] (buy)

Doc Daneeka has done well in his relatively short career to find sensible, established homes for his tracks. His distinct brand of UK funky influenced house is of a piece with the catalogs of Ten Thousand Yen, Roska Kicks & Snares, and Ramp Recordings and its sublabel Pattern. That the Sketches Of You EP arrives on 2020 Midnight Visions is telling; like many of his peers, Doc (nee Mial Watkins) has embraced more straight ahead house music, and the record’s four tracks make sense on a 20:20 Vision offshoot. Although the whole record is enjoyable, “Day By Day” makes the strongest case for his aesthetic shift. His choice of drums — loose, swinging kit-work which meshes so well with the plucked guitar lines — stands out from the start, setting the stage for charismatic, strutting vocal samples like a proper backing band might (if it was triggered by a computer). But it’s the feathered string stabs which do most of the heavy lifting, their euphoric tones commanding attention without being the least bit pushy or corny. Perhaps it’s this easy, lived in feeling which sets this tune (and the whole EP) apart from legions of also-rans, which so often read like a checklist of influences rather than the result of someone committing feelings to music. Count me as curious to what’s next from Doc Daneeka.

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06. Murat Tepeli, “The Jazz Funk” [ava.] (buy)
07. KMFH, “Crushed” [Wild Oats] (buy)
08. DJ Sotofett Feat. Madteo, “There’s Gotta Be a Way” (Vision of Love Club Mix) [Wania] (buy)
09. Mr. Beatnick, “Symbiosis” [Don’t Be Afraid] (buy)
10. Omar-S, “It’s Money In The ‘D'” [FXHE Records] (buy)

Staff Charts

Per Bojsen-Moller
01. Bonobo, “Emkay” [Ninja Tune]
02. Iron Curtis, “Horses” (Move D Remix) [Mirau]
03. Minilogue, “Atoms With Curiosity That Looks At Itself and Wonders Why It Wonders” [Cocoon Recordings]
04. Juan Atkins & Moritz von Oswald, “Electric Garden” [Tresor]
05. Vedomir, “Music Suprematism” (Marcel Dettmann Remix) [Dekmantel]
06. Big Strick, “Hayday” [Ostgut Ton]
07. Neville Watson, “Songs to Elevate Pure Hearts” [Crème Organization]
08. Move D, “To the Disco ’77” [Electric Minds]
09. Tommy Finger Jr., “Into You” (Kotzilla Remix) [Ethereal Sound]
10. John Roberts, “Fences” [Dial]

Brandon Bussolini
01. Hard Ton, “Food of Love” (DJ Sprinkles Deeperama Remix) [Toy Tonics]
02. Mr. Beatnick, “Blue Dream” [Don’t Be Afraid]
03. Pharaohs, “Everything” [100% Silk]
04. Djrum, “Honey” [2nd Drop Records]
05. Omar-S, “Thank U 4 Letting Me Be Myself” [FXHE Records]
06. John Roberts, “Blanket” [Dial]
07. Elizabeth Merrick-Jefferson, “Astronomical Twilight” [Argot]
08. µ-ziq, “XT” [Planet Mu]
09. James Welsh, “Craven” [Futureboogie Recordings]
10. Move D, “To the Disco ’77” [Electric Minds]

Steve Kerr
01. Ashley Paul, “You’re a Feeling” [R.E.L. Records]
02. October, “Unstable Phenomenon” (Joey Anderson Remix) [Voodoo Down Records]
03. Elgato, “We Dream Electric” [Elgato]
04. MGUN, “Tritan” [Don’t Be Afraid]
05. Vester Koza, “Beauty” [Maslo]
06. Mike Cooper, “Night Flower Tapu” [Room40]
07. Co La, “Suspicious Sandman Fix” [Software Records]
08. Sensate Focus, “X” [Sensate Focus]
09. Graham Lambkin & Jason Lescalleet, “Listen, the Snow Is Falling” [Esrtwhile Records]
10. Cosmin TRG, “New Structures for Loving” [50Weapons]

Kuri Kondrak
01. VernoN, “Body Fluids” [Night Gallery]
02. Dendren, “Stacy Waves Her Hand” [Untangle]
03. Lord of the Isles, “Elgol” [Shevchenko]
04. DJ Sotofett Feat. Madteo, “There’s Gotta Be a Way” (Vision of Love Club Mix) [Wania]
05. Rocky Jones, “The Choice of a New Generation” [Soul Jazz Records]
06. Africaine 808, “Tummy, Tummy” [W.T. Records]
07. Heatsick, “Dream Tennis” (Young Marco Remix) [CockTail d’Amore Music]
08. Slazenger’s People, “Britney’s Spear” [Don’t Be Afraid]
09. Bande Apartment, “Lubricating Rita” [Apartment Records]
10. Ike Release, “(Ode) To My Own” [Machining Dreams]

Dino Lalić
01. R-Zone, “Houz Nation” [R-Zone]
02. The Cyclist, “Mangel” [Leaving Records]
03. V.I.V.E.K., “Asteroids” [System Music]
04. Mr. Beatnick, “Savannah” [Don’t Be Afraid]
05. MMM, “Casio Dub” [MMM]
06. Wareika Hill Sounds, “No More War” [Honest Jon’s Records]
07. RP Boo, “Speakers R4 (Sounds)” [Planet Mu]
08. Man Tear, “Outside Amore” (12″ Dub Version) [DFA]
09. Joy Orbison, “Donell” [white]
10. Demdike Stare, “Collision” [Modern Love]

Chris Miller
01. Demdike Stare, “Primitive Equations” [Modern Love]
02. Juan Atkins & Moritz von Oswald, “Electric Dub” [Tresor]
03. Lord Kitchener, “Cricket Umpires” [Honest Jon’s]
04. Elizabeth Merrick-Jefferson, “Go Home” [Argot]
05. Wareika Hill Sounds, “No More War” [Honest Jon’s Records]
06. John Roberts, “Palace” [Dial]
07. Minilogue, “Everything Is All You’ve Got” [Cocoon]
08. Juju & Jordash, “A Stab In The Dark” [Ostgut Ton]
09. Omar-S, “It’s Money In The ‘D'” [FXHE Records]
10. G-String, “Ghoul” [Echovolt Records]

Michael C. Walsh
01. Demdike Stare, “Primitive Equations” [Modern Love]
02. Moiré, “I Don’t Get It” [Rush Hour Recordings]
03. Vedomir, “Dreams” (Marcel Dettmann Remix) [Dekmantel]
04. Huerco S., “Apheleia’s Theme” [Future Times]
05. Thundercat, “Heartbreak + Setbacks” [Brainfeeder]
06. Laurel Halo, “Throw” [Hyperdub]
07. Locust, “Just Want You” [Editions Mego]
08. Kode9, “Zingfu Lu” [Hyperdub]
09. MGUN, “Tritan” [Don’t Be Afraid]
10. Legowelt, “Dimension of an Ancient Bird Race” [Gilga]

Brandon Wilner
01. Xosar, “The Calling” [Rush Hour Recordings]
02. John Roberts, “Palace” [Dial]
03. Omar-S, “Thank U 4 Letting Me Be Myself” [FXHE Records]
04. Moiré, “Real Special” [Rush Hour Recordings]
05. RP Boo, “Sentimental” [Planet Mu]
06. Elgato, “We Dream Electric” [Elgato]
07. Omar-S, “It’s Money In The ‘D'” [FXHE Records]
08. Mr. Beatnick, “Parallax Scroll” [Don’t Be Afraid]
09. Perseus Traxx, “Take You to the Land” [Got2go Records]
10. Slazenger’s People, “Britney’s Spear” [Don’t Be Afraid]

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