Little White Earbuds March Charts 2014

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Chart courtesy of The Economist‘s Graphic Detail blog

01. Octo Octa, “Cause I Love You”
[100% Silk] (buy)

I’ve been orbiting Planet Octo Octa since his debut back in 2011, entranced by his unusually shaped and arranged take on house. Shimmering and amorphous, often speckled with vocal samples, his music is unmistakably his from the first note to last. Now the Brooklyn-based producer is venturing beyond his self-contained world and the results sent back are appealing. The first leg of his voyage is contained on the Cause I Love You EP for 100% Silk, and the title track is the biggest jolt to the senses. It’s firmly anchored to the dance floor with boundaries enforced by vocals emphatically shouting the title. But it’s the jangling “Amen” break that kicks things into gear, welcoming an insatiable hand-drum line to keep the pressure on dancers. Although the track opens up into some airy vistas of melody, “Cause I Love You” is still the most banging tune we’ve heard from Octa Octa yet. And as his forthcoming Argot single assures, this emphasis on more DJ-friendly sounds and structures is only getting started — and what a starting point.

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02. Ricoshëi, “Perfect Like You”
[Pampa Records] (buy)

No matter how strange DJ Koze’s productions have gotten over the years, it’s always been clear the man has a soft spot for melody and songwriting — a fact made even clearer on last year’s Amygdala LP. This is plainly evident on the records released by his Pampa Records, which even at their weirdest are often quite easy on the ears and hardly tracky in nature. “Perfect Like You,” a track by the Los Angeles-based duo Ricoshëi, takes this predilection to its natural end: a true pop song. Granted it’s not your typical pop song by most accounts, but its verse/chorus structure, pillowy vocals, and slow burning electric piano chords are just as affecting as any song on the radio. Ricoshëi have producing chops as well, threading pointed strings and gulping sub-bass into the hazy tune, and spare percussion keeps the tune ticking along. It’s the kind of song Dntel wished he could still write; the kind of track Dixon would use to slay huge crowds; and generally the kind of tune DJ Koze will never quite let himself produce. I hope Ricoshëi’s follow up packs the same punch, but I’m just as happy to keep returning to “Perfect Like You.”

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03. Heartthrob, “Let Them Go”
[ISNISNT] (buy)

For many folks, Jesse “Heartthrob” Siminski is best remembered for his many releases on M_nus throughout the mid/late aughts. If you can actually remember his big 2006 track “Baby Kate”, you’ll know Siminski was on the more interesting side of the minimal spectrum, twisting his tones around the scale in unexpectedly sophisticated ways. That’s still the case on “Let Them Go,” taken from Somebody Called Again on Siminski’s new ISISNT label. The inexplicably digital-only track starts out unassuming enough, a skittering groove driven by a faux horn landing squarely on beat. Along the way, though, the track picks up some endearing new elements that slide in and out of focus, like a disturbing sight only seen from the corner of the eye: slinky radio samples, UFO whirls, gurgling white noise, and squealing synth leads. By the time those horns widen to fill the whole of the track you’ve got a mob of sound ready to intimidate wrongdoers (if you want to reference the title). If only it was included on the vinyl to have the widest impact possible.

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04. Jack Dice, “Low Glo”
[Modern Love] (buy)

In the hands of many young producers today, hip-hop beats so often fall foul of the “trap” line. So it’s always appreciated when artists express their appreciation for the form without approaching those cartoonish heights, or pouring out the swagger the best hip-hop instrumentals aspire to. Jack Dice, the U.S.-based duo of John Twells (a founder of the Type label) and Walker Chambliss, showed a clear appreciation for both hip-hop and its grimy UK sibling on their Modern Love-released Block Motel back in 2012. Their 2014 return to Modern Love, Sip Paint, maintains the essence of those influences in a much more austere and thought out form. I keep returning to its lead track, “Low Glo,” for the way it turns majestic hip-hop riffs on their head, dragging the dimly lit melodies through an abandoned warehouse full of texture. Finger snaps echo for days over a slowly climbing motif as literal waves of white noise seep through the walls. The little details are even better, from hi-hats that gently roll to a subtle windchime run that signals the next movement of the track. Atmosphere, beautifully constructed melodies, and smart pacing are always winning characteristics in my book, and Jack Dice’s “Low Glo” has each in spades.

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05. Santiago Salazar, “Galactic Stomp”
[Finest Blend Recordings] (buy)

As contemporary producers continue to burn through 90s reference points, I expect at some point they’ll reach all that Underground Resistance had and has to offer and have a field day. We’ll have to leave it to a member of the respected crew, Santiago Salazar, to hold it down until then. The title track of his latest single, released by Sweden’s Fine Blend Recordings, is a rush of concentrated UR energy without the nostalgia that would leave it sounding retro. Instead, a classic assortment of elements — pulsating bass, skyward string drones, and blinking synth leads — is presented with clean, modern sound design and enough oomph to earn the title of “stomp.” The track’s sparky synths call to mind Lil Louis’s “French Kiss” as heard through the soundsystem of the UR mothership, with jangling percussion, rapid fire claps, and even whistles that mark it out as S2’s work. For my money it’s one of the most compelling things he’s done in recent years.

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06. Leif, “Flight” [Fear of Flying] (buy)
07. Community Corporation, “108 Dead at City Hall” [Crisis Urbana Recordings] (buy)
08. Samuel, “Numberuma” [Brstl] (buy)
09. Joey Anderson, “Sorcery” [Dekmantel] (buy)
10. Garnier, “Boom (Chakolak)” [Still Music] (buy)

Staff Charts

Chris Burkhalter
01. Lee Bannon, “Cold/Melt” [Ninjatune]
02. Hodge, “Amor Fati” [Dnuos Ytivil]
03. Theo Parrish, “71st & Exchange Used To Be…” [The Triology Tapes / Sound Signature / Palace Skateboards]
04. MGUN, “Assumptions” [Don’t Be Afraid]
05. Innerspace Halflife, “Laidover” [Machining Dreams]
06. DVS1, “S.O.S.” [HUSH]
07. Kassem Mosse, “Untitled A3” [Workshop]
08. Juju & Jordash, “Waldorf Salad” [Dekmantel]
09. Janis, “Illusion of Choice” [Mirau]
10. Magic Mountain High, “Riptide” [Off Minor Recordings]

Dino Lalić
01. Luminodisco, “Diavolo di un Disco” (DJ Fett Burger & DJ Grillo Wiener’s Emosjonelle Runkering Mix) [Hell Yeah Recordings]
02. A5, “Whirligig” [Udacha]
03. Boreal, “Canopy Target” [Forbidden Planet]
04. Skatebård, “Confirmation Bias” (Telephones Rework) [Pleasure Unit]
05. Commodo, “F_ck Mountin” [Hotline Recordings]
06. Ajukaja & Andrevski, “Rare Birds” [Levels]
07. Margot, “Waldorf” (Club Mix) [Les Disques De La Mort]
08. Fat Freddys Drop, “Mother Mother” (Theo Parrish Translation) [The Drop]
09. Mono Junk, “Yhteys” [Skudge White]
10. Jay Daniel, “Royal Insanity” [Wild Oats]

Michael C. Walsh
01. Doubt, “Beauty” [Mistress Recordings]
02. Ben Frost, “Venter” [Mute]
03. DVS1, “S.O.S.” [HUSH]
04. Millie & Andrea, “Corrosive” [Modern Love]
05. John Barera & Will Martin, “Yen” [Supply Records]
06. John Roberts, “Ausio” [Dial]
07. Joey Anderson, “Sorcery” [Dekmantel]
08. Legowelt, “Fundamental Superstition” [Crème Organization]
09. Leon Vynehall, “Be Brave, Clench Fists” [3024]
10. Pittsburgh Track Authority, “Give Me A Chance” [Pittsburgh Tracks]

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ISNISNT 02 in the Ch | ISNISNT  on May 6, 2014 at 4:52 AM

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