Little White Earbuds February Charts 2013

Chart courtesy of the Economist

01. PJOTR, “True Spirit”
[Udacha] (buy)

Since opening up shop last year, the Russian label Udacha has selected an esoteric but coherent assortment of scuffed, underground house tracks. Perhaps their canniest signing to date is PJOTR, a Berlin-based producer known only for an EP and one-off track on Ethereal Sounds. While this earliest work was definitely worthy of wider attention, Udacha 4 ought to earn him that acclaim more broadly. The EP’s four different takes on a lush, granular sound would be at home on Smallville or perhaps Aim, the music of Moomin being a keen point of reference. Where PJOTR stands out is his impressive drum programming, which on record highlight “True Spirit” keeps gauzy and gorgeous melodies afloat in the mind’s eye. Sometimes it’s just as simple as varying the hand drums to carve out space at the ends of loops, or extra hi-hat twitches which provide even more definition to some achingly beautiful string progressions. PJOTR is hardly the first producer to get wistful in a bed of lovely chords with Pepe Bradock’s “Deep Burnt” in sight — all the more reason “True Spirit”‘s excellent arrangements transcend even some of its better known peers. Be ready to have a moment with this one.

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02. Marco Bernardi, “Space Coral”
[Futureboogie Recordings] (buy)

Face it, Marco Bernardi is criminally underrated. What the British-born, Glasgow-based producer lacks in name recognition he makes up with copious back catalog. Cutting across sleazy synth pop as Carlos Adolfo Dominguez to banging electro and minimal techno as Octagon in the mid-aughts assured listeners he had range, and in the years since he’s proven it time and again. You might have thought he was from Amsterdam with all the well known Dutch labels he’s graced (Frustrated Funk, Djak-Up-Bitch, Creme Org, and multiple Clones) or from his clear love affair with the sounds of Chicago house. But almost anywhere Bernardi’s name is credited these days there’s good music to be found. So it is with the Motorways EP for Bristol’s Futureboogie Recordings. It was hard to choose one of its three tracks to showcase as they’re all solid, so I went with “Space Coral,” the first one I found myself humming a day later. Imagine Trackman Lafonte & Bonquiqui after a day at the spa, the grainy surface of their majestic riffs buffed to a shine. Bernardi plays up the “ass” in bass line with its big, legato swagger, the launch pad for so many complimentary melodies that scratch that Legowelt itch. Watch out, Danny Wolfers!

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03. Bandshell, “Landfill”
[Liberation Technologies] (buy)

As much as Bandshell’s Dust March debut EP piqued my interest, I personally wanted more from his scuffed up take on bass music than just esoteric, Hessle Audio-approved tools, as good as they were. Lucky for me (and all of us, really), the Caustic View EP for Mute off-shoot Liberation Technology follows not far behind. This time the producer’s pneumatic rhythms share the stage with thick, thrumming bass lines which often threaten to overload the circuitry generating them. On “Landfill,” this gives the bass line a kind of unearthly glow as it resonates in your chest, burning brighter when hitting upon delectable harmonies. Bandshell’s ability to balance his somewhat obscure, mechanical drum work with the immediately accessible melodies speaks volumes of his talent and desire to grow within his aesthetic. I see bright things coming from Bandshell, and not just because this record is lighting the way.

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04. Axel Boman, “Klinsmann”
[Hypercolour] (buy)

Axel Boman is somewhat of an impish figure in contemporary house — someone who gets away with what others don’t because of how expertly he executes his ideas. The most recent example of this is “Klimsmann,” the final track on his Black Magic Boman EP for the always smartly curated Hypercolour. The crux of the already catchy tune is a generous sample of Boys II Men’s contribution to “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey — a lovely if not particularly unique choice. The end result more than justifies the decision, with the vocals strung delicately across round, arpeggiated melodies broken up by echoing fingersnaps that give the suggestion of half-time. See-sawing between this and straighter 4×4 rhythms reinforced by skating hats and more frenetic synth leads, “Klinsmann” offers both sensual closeness and energetic floor fodder for dancers. Not many producers even attempt this ambitious song structure, let alone get it so beautifully right while making the most of a well known a cappella. Boman’s appetite for risk is why his fans love him, and tunes like “Klinsmann” are why I personally hope he stays hungry.

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05. Boo Williams, “Further Teck”
[Contemporary Scarecrow] (buy)

One might suspect veteran producers have an easier time of things, able to coast by on the strength of their classic records even if their new ones stink. That veteran status is, in fact, a double edged sword, with advantages counterbalanced by the sense inveterate producers will never improve on those classics, so why bother checking. While many take advantage of their renown, others still strive to earn that status. After a few years spent away from music, Chicago’s Boo Williams has returned to that latter camp, first with a new single for Rush Hour, another for P&D, and now this EP on Contemporary Scarecrow. “Further Teck” is the standout of the bunch, presenting a modern take on a particularly classic sound — the motorik, proto-techno sounds made famous by Manuel Göttsching. Its layers — crispy metal hi-hats, swinging guitar notes, ceaseless synth patterns — are glued together by a bouncing low end which gives the tune its Chicago flavor. Classy, driving, and deceptively intricate, it’s the kind of track a confident DJ could use to notch up the tension without letting dancers peak too early. Leave it a veteran like Boo to know how to strike that balance and continue earning his keep.

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06. Flori, “SU-3150” [Aim] (buy)
07. Shakarchi & Stranéus, “Either Way”
[Geography Records] (buy)

08. Powell, “A Band” [The Death Of Rave] (buy)
09. Actress, “Voodoo Posse Chronic Illusion” [Werkdiscs] (buy)
10. Agnès, “Bobba Fatt” [Vitalik Recordings] (buy)

Staff Charts

Brandon Bussolini
01. Secret Circuit, “Afterlife” [Beats In Space Records]
02. Bandshell, “Perc” [Liberation Technologies]
03. Maxmillion Dunbar, “Peeling An Orange In One Piece” [RVNG Intl.]
04. A Made Up Sound, “Endgame” [A Made Up Sound]
05. Actress, “Voodoo Posse Chronic Illusion” [Werkdiscs]
06. Ma Spaventi, “The Jungle” [M>O>S Recordings]
07. Pittsburgh Track Authority, “It’s Time” [Work Them Records]
08. A Sagittariun, “Eye Against Eye” [Elastic Dreams]
09. Objekt, “Shuttered” [Bleep]
10. Bookworms & Steve Summers, “Unknown Number” [Confused House]

Nick Connellan
01. Shakarchi & Stranéus, “Either Way” [Geography Records]
02. San Laurentino, “Final Landing” [Live At Robert Johnson]
03. Bonobo, “Cirrus” [Ninja Tune]
04. Function, “Incubation (Ritual)” [Ostgut Ton]
05. Chinaski, “Lunch” [Live At Robert Johnson]
06. Obsolete Music Technology, “Descending” [Emphasis Recordings]
07. Neville Watson, “One Four Green” (Deep Space Orchestra Remix) [Teng Records]
08. Massimiliano Pagliara, “LM2-JP4-106-606-BL-303-SDE2000-P6-TX81Z” [Live At Robert Johnson]
09. Pittsburgh Track Authority, “Missile 1” [Work Them Records]
10. Fort Romeau, “SW9” [Spectral Sound]

Carlos Hawthorn
01. Pittsburgh Track Authority, “The Standard” [Work Them Records]
02. Pittsburgh Track Authority, “Missile 1” [Work Them Records]
03. Levon Vincent, “???” [Novel Sound]
04. Levon Vincent, “Rainstorm II” [Novel Sound]
05. Isolée, “Allowance” [Pampa Records]
06. Dauwd, “Aqueous” [Ghostly International]
07. DJ Rashad, “Rollin” [Hyperdub]
08. Axel Boman, “Television People” [Hypercolour]
09. Tom Taylor, “This World” (Clive Henry & Rui da Silva Dischord Mix) [Fina Records]
10. Pev & Kowton, “Raw Code” [Hessle Audio]

Steve Kerr
01. Inc., “Angel” [4AD]
02. Daywalker + CF, “Insectorium” [Long Island Electrical Systems]
03. Bookworms & Steve Summers, “Unknown Number” [Confused House]
04. Terekke, “Piano” [Long Island Electrical Systems]
05. GB presents The Abstract Eye, “I Feel It In My Forehead” [Eglo Records]
06. Pjotr, “I See” [Udacha]
07. Chinaski, “Lunch” [Live At Robert Johnson]
08. Borai, “Does It Bother You?” [Tasteful Nudes]
09. XDB, “Frocks” [Sistrum Recordings]
10. Royal Crown of Sweden, “Vänern” [Proibito]

Chris Miller
01. Terekke, “Bank 3” [Long Island Electrical Systems]
02. Conforce, “Last Anthem” [Delsin]
03. Vril, “V9” [Giegling Staub]
04. Function, “Voiceprint (Reprise)” [Ostgut Ton]
05. Autechre, “YJY UX” [Warp]
06. Levon Vincent, “???” [Novel Sound]
07. Actress, “Voodoo Posse Chronic Illusion” [Werkdiscs]
08. Florian Kupfer, “Lifetrax” [Long Island Electrical Systems]
09. Powell, “A Band” [The Death Of Rave]
10. Bookworms & Steve Summers, “Possible Worlds” [Confused House]

Harry Sword
01. Samuel Kerridge, “Waiting For Love 1” [Downwards]
02. Samuel Kerridge, “Waiting For Love 3” [Downwards]
03. Objekt, “Shuttered” [Bleep]
04. Levon Vincent, “Stereo Systems” [Novel Sound]
05. Pev & Kowton, “Raw Code” [Hessle Audio]
06. Powell, “A Band” [The Death Of Rave]
07. Trade, “Touch This Skin” [Works The Long Nights]
08. Shifted, “Cold Light [Sektor A]” [Avian]
09. Trade, “Half Nelson” [Works The Long Nights]
10. Dadub, “Transfer (Feat. King Cannibal)” [Stroboscopic Artefacts]

Michael C. Walsh
01. Prurient, “Through The Window” [Blackest Ever Black]
02. Vester Koza, “Mosquito” [Maslo]
03. Terekke, “Bank 3” [Long Island Electrical Systems]
04. Moiré, “Drugs” [Werkdiscs / Ninjatune]
05. Trus’me, “Somebody” [Prime Numbers]
06. Henrik Bergqvist, “Go For What Hurts” [Aniara Recordings]
07. Midland, “Trace” [Aus Music]
08. Hem Usik, “Back To The Basic Intentions” [Random Island]
09. Adesse, “Supernatural” [Prime Numbers]
10. Imugem Orihasam, “Moon, Silhouetted Particles” (Lowtec Remix) [Meander]

Brandon Wilner
01. Maxmillion Dunbar, “Peeling An Orange In One Piece” [RVNG Intl.]
02. Les Sins, “Grind” [white]
03. Bookworms & Steve Summers, “Possible Worlds” [Confused House]
04. Shakarchi & Stranéus, “Tammerfors” [Geography Records]
05. Space Dimension Controller, “While I Was Away” [R&S Records]
06. Pjotr, “True Spirit” [Udacha]
07. Pittsburgh Track Authority, “The Standard” [Work Them Records]
08. Headless Ghost, “Yeaahh” [Clone Royal Oak]
09. Moiré, “Drugs” [Werkdiscs / Ninjatune]
10. Leech, “Sense Enjoyer” [100% Silk]


LWE’s Top 25 Tracks of 2013 (5–1) – Little White Earbuds  on December 20, 2013 at 1:02 AM

[…] batter away up front. The producer’s subtle alterations lend its skip its effervescence. Writing about the track in February, Steve Mizek compared it to Pépé Bradock’s “Deep […]

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