Little White Earbuds April Charts 2010

Chart courtesy of The Economist

01. The Panamax Project, “Maximum Height” [Subsolo Records] (buy)
We all knew he had it in him. Whether as STP or EQD, René Pawlowitz has long hinted at his ability to make a proper dubstep tune, and as The Panamax Project he’s finally delivered in style. The term “panamax” refers to the largest a ship can be while still able to navigate the Panama Canal, and “Maximum Height” is indeed mammoth. Briskly paced despite its seemingly sleepy pacing, the tune’s sinking progressions deliver a massive payload of bass tone that sends clouds of effervescent pads into the air. But the track’s midsection is where things really heat up as Pawlowitz introduces a flurry of filtered 32nd notes squirming around the scale, turning crispy and more pronounced as they go as if they were being microwaved to perfection. Heard among the other elements it’s a head-nodder’s delight — maximal without seeming excessive, powerful but carefully restrained. If there’s anything Pawlowitz can’t do, I haven’t heard about it yet.

02. **K, “Phenomenon” (Cage & Aviary Dub)
[The Walls Have Ears] (buy)

By rights, a house track based on LL Cool J’s “Phenomenon” shouldn’t work, yet after Cage & Aviary got their hands on **K’s track of the same name the opposite is true. I plump for the pair’s dub version; its acidic bass line is quite catchy even in its stubborn simplicity and tendency to get stuck at different points in the progression. **K’s vocals recall Beck’s weary timbre and are paired with pensive pads, fomenting a curious air that helps the tune transcend the modest ambitions of its acidic portions. Cage & Aviary deserve plaudits not only for having faith in an unlikely treasure, but for upping the ante with their remixes and then putting them out on their own The Walls Have Ears imprint. The unexpected delight tastes even sweeter.

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03. Matthias Vogt, “Together As One” [Polytone] (buy)
It’s only in the last couple years that Matthias Vogt, one half of Motorcitysoul and Frankfurt scene veteran, has begun to put his own name on records (if you don’t count the Matthias Vogt Trio). “Together As One,” the latest under his given name, arrives on the recently relaunched Polytone label and offers an uplifting tech-house workout not too dissimilar from Motorcitysoul’s better releases. In spite of blocky toms and busy, pitter-pattering hi-hats, the track’s hopeful synth chords and bass line provide an almost serene mood that’s matched by someone whispering the titular phrase. Meanwhile a gentle, ostinato pattern throbs in the background, gradually nudging its way to the fore and ratcheting up the urgency. If I can make a joint recommendation, it’s also worth checking the more dynamic Iron Curtis remix, which starts a touch on the proggy side before paying off in a big way with a huge, hands in the air breakdown. Cheesy? Perhaps; but the overall affect only solidifies the value of this single.

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04. Ramadanman & Midland, “Your Words Matter” [Aus Music] (buy)
Ever since the All Night Long EP series introduced the house/techno oriented side of bass music producers like Martyn, Appleblim and Ramadanman, Will Saul’s Aus Music has reinforced its reputation as a must-check label. Hot on the heels of Joy Orbison’s The Shrew… comes another solid EP from fresh-faced, UK-based talents Ramadanman and Midland. Their take on house is a bit fussier than most, selectively applying the full bodied hi-hats, switching up with snare/clap patterns when the mood strikes, and generally keeping listeners on their toes. “Your Words Matter” benefits from charming organ and piano chord progressions that place it in league with Playhouse-era Melchior Productions, although the stuttering spray of female syllables is standard issue nu-garage. Some have grown weary of these repetitious vocal fragments, but when combined with the duo’s spry, swinging arrangements the end result is hard to resist. I hope to hear still more of this sort of material from Aus Music and Ramadanman.

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05. Leif ft. Donna Lea, “Priority” [Fear of Flying] (buy)
Generally I aim to keep the top five of each chart well rounded, but despite my better efforts, April’s top five is quite vocal heavy. Thankfully, “Priority” earns its slot as much as the rest, a near timeless slice of mellow and slightly jazzy house music. Written by British producer Leif and superbly performed by Donna Lea, “Priority” saunters through breezy chords and slightly quirky drum programming, resting easily on reliable tropes without sounding mundane. Donna Lea is often reduced to “oohs” and “yeahs” swirling in the background, but when she steps to the mic she belts out an enduring story about two people who want different things, one which is liable to be stuck in dancers’ heads long after they’ve exited the club. The single comes with decent remixes by Daze Maxim and Ethyl & Flori yet the original alone justifies the cost of admission.

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06. KiNK, “Kiss the Sky” [Boe Recordings] (buy)
07. Mount Kimbie, “Maybes” (James Blake Remix) [Hotflush Recordings] (buy)
08. Peter Van Hoesen, “Closing The Distance/Toy Universe” [Time to Express] (buy)
09. Billy Love, “Can’t Keep Running Away”
[Sound Signature] (buy)

10. Marino Berardi, “Best Intention”
[Room With A View] (buy)

Staff Charts:

Steve Kerr

01. T++, Wireless [Honest Jon’s Records]
02. Mount Kimbie, “Maybe” (James Blake Remix) [Hotflush Recordings]
03. The Psychic Stewardess, Spiritual Foundation [Strange Life Records]
04. Space Dimension Controller, “Journey To The Core Of The Unknown
Sphere” [Royal Oak]
05. Roof Light, “How Far Are You From Anywhere?” [L2S Recordings]
06. E&E, E&E [Deathbomb Arc]
07. Instra:mental, “Let’s Talk” [[NakedLunch]]
08. Blondes, “Virgin Pacific” [Merok Records]
09. No Fun Acid, This Is No Fun Acid 3 [No Fun Acid]
10. Dem Hunger, Caveman Smack [Leaving Records]

Anton Kipfel

01. KiNK, “Kiss the Sky” [Boe Recordings]
02. Wax, “No.30003-A” [Wax]
03. Marino Berardi, “Best Intention” [Room With A View]
04. Murr, “Superior” (Marc Schneider & Dan M. Remix) [New Kanada]
05. Arian Leviste, “Better Get Used to It” [Palette Recordings]
06. Floating Points, “Shark Chase” [Eglo Records]
07. F, “See the Light” [7even Recordings]
08. Morphosis, “Musafir” [M>O>S Recordings]
09. Todd Edwards, “I Might Be” (Joy Orbison Remix) [Scion Audio/Visual]
10. Jamie Read, “Never the Future” [Elektrosouls Recordings]

Kuri Kondrak

01. The Third Man, “Messier 66” [ART]
02. Submersible Machines, “Upwelling” [Lunar Disko]
03. John Beltran, “Blue World” [Styrax Records]
04. Hunee, “Took My Love” [Drumpoet Community]
05. John Waynes, “Falling Leaves” [Groovement]
06. Raiz, “Raiz (Nueva)” [Historia Y Violencia]
07. Wax, “No.30003-A” [Wax]
08. Hakim Murpy & Inbum Cho, “Nothing” [Nowar]
09. Kai Alce, “Dirty South Dirt” [FXHE]
10. Space Dimension Controller, “Journey To The Core Of The Unknown
Sphere” [Royal Oak]

Chris Miller

01. Ross 154, “Until My Heart Stops…” [MOS Recordings]
02. The Panamax Project, “Maximum Height” [Subsolo]
03. Move D, “Aspiration 2010” [Soul People Music]
04. Lowtec, “Untitled A1” [Workshop]
05. Ninca Leece, “Feed Me Rainbows” [Thesongsays]
06. Instra:mental, “Vicodin” [[NakedLunch]]
07., “Snake Cave” [Horizontal Ground]
08. Shake, “That Day May Come” [Frictional]
09. Ramadanman, “Don’t Change For Me” [Hessle Audio]
10. DJ Qu, “Runwitit” [Underground Quality]

Braden Pemberton

01. Ramadanman, “A Couple More Years” [Hessle Audio]
02. Ikonika, “Idiot” (Altered Natives Remix) [Hyperdub]
03. Mount Kimbie, “William” (Tama Sumo & Prosumer Remix)
[Hotflush Recordings]
04. Dong, “Suzuran” (LV & Quarta 330 Remix) [Hyperdub]
05. Peter Van Hoesen, “Dystopian Romance” [Time to Express]
06. Scuba “So You Think You’re Special” [Hotflush Recordings]
07. Perc, “BCG” (Milton Bradley Critical Level Mix) [Perc Trax]
08. Actress, “Machine and Voice” [Nonplus Records]
09. Wedge & Aesoteric, “Detached Reality” [If Symptoms Persist]
10. Black Van “Yearning” [DFA]

Colin Shields

01. The Godson, “Analog Love” [Rush Hour Recordings]
02. Prince, “When Doves Cry” [Warner Bros. Records]
03. Ramadanman, “Glut” [Hemlock Recordings]
04. Uusitalo, “Paskaa Musaa” [Huume]
05. Nebraska, “The Other Side” [Butter]
06. Kirk Degiorgio, “Isidora” [B12]
07. James Blake, “Footnotes” [R&S Records]
08. George Morel, “Let’s Groove” [Strictly Rhythm]
09. TG, “Cave the Speakers” (Konrad Black Final Stand Remix)
[Four:Twenty Recordings]
10. Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes, “Don’t Leave Me This Way” [Philadelphia International Records]

tom/pipecock  on May 5, 2010 at 11:14 AM

is that rick wilhite shit actually out yet?

littlewhiteearbuds  on May 5, 2010 at 11:53 AM

I don’t think the third volume Colin listed is commercially available yet.

tom/pipecock  on May 7, 2010 at 10:46 AM

is that what it is from? i need to give rick a holler, he has some other shit bubbling that i thought it might be from but i guess i was wrong.

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