LWE’s Top 20 Singles of 2008 (Part 1)


In the face of critical malaise, 2008 was a great year for techno and house singles. As the landscape shifted further from minimal, deep-house (already as broad a term as “minimal”), dub and tribal sounds came back strong, joined by brand name Berghain techno, dubstep and its techy (as of yet unnamed) brother. There was certainly no shortage of great singles crowding shelves (physically and digitally), and these twenty, as selected by LWE’s staff, represent our favorites from this year. This is just the first slice, with Tuesday through Thursday hosting the rest, and our albums list will cap off the week. Enjoy!


20. Shackleton, “…But The Branch Is Weak”
[Skull Disco] (buy)

Choosing a Shackleton track for which to vote in year end polls is a chore because they’re all so good. “…But The Branch Is Weak,” though, has something of everything Shackleton. There are the drums that sing of the netherworld made with devilish skill, bass that’s only halfway part of the music but wholly essential to it, as well as the breathless sonic space at the core of the track, with an unsettling voice saying bleak things to fill it. Soundboy, it’s a shame you couldn’t stick around longer. (Colin Shields)

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19. Move D, “Jus House”
[Uzuri] (buy)

“Quit Quittin'” was the first of nine records Move D released this year, and in some ways it was his best. All four tracks are modest and charismatic, but in the countless spins I’ve given this EP, “Jus House” has emerged as the cream of the crop. With its echo-laden percussion, syrupy break down and crayon colored chords, “Jus House” is a simple and flawless deep-house track. (Will Lynch)

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18. DJ Sprinkles, “Ball’r (Madonna-Free Zone)”
[Mule Musiq] (buy)

Should you be surprised that politics and dance music are infrequent bedfellows? Some producers might consider the connection an afterthought, but for DJ Sprinkles (aka Terre Thaemlitz), it’s the fundamental property from which his gorgeously translucent tracks develop. “Ball’r (Madonna Free Zone)” is about the reification of house music, but it’s also about redress, taking key deep-house signifiers and making them so unbelievably lustrous and luscious that the groove’s undeniable. This is one of Thaemlitz’s canniest moves, and one of his most potent productions on every level imaginable. (Jon Dale)

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17. Sound Stream, “‘Live’ Goes On”
[Sound Stream] (buy)

Frank Timm took his sensuous, loopy productions to the next level with “‘Live’ Goes On” by breaking his samples into vibrating pixel-sized sounds whose larger picture radiate with hushed energy. From the chunky piano chords to the undulating string samples, “‘Live’ Goes On” finds Sound Stream magnifying and perfecting the DNA of dance music. Easily this pioneer’s finest work to date. (Steve Mizek)

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16. Appleblim & Peverelist, “Circling”
[Skull Disco] (buy)

If there was a running meme of the techno-dubstep hybrid in 2008, “Circling” was the first to organically complete the cycle. Appleblim and Peverelist created a track with both the sensual space of Berlin with all the tickling Bristol bass. Defiantly soothing, “Circling” is the perfect twist to the cartoonishly aggressive dubstep scene. (Nate DeYoung)

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Read Part 2 (15-11) here.

struggle  on December 22, 2008 at 1:28 AM

nice list so far. that sprinkles tune better get a vinyl release!

teleost  on December 22, 2008 at 2:48 AM

great call on ”live’ goes on’ – it’s such a massive track. i don’t think i’ll easily forget soundstream opening his fabric liveset with those chords, and when the kick first hit…wow.

colin s  on December 22, 2008 at 10:41 AM

“dubstep and its techy (as of yet unnamed) brother.”

I’m pushing “stepno”. Any takers?

hutlock  on December 22, 2008 at 10:50 AM

I’m sold! It DEFINITELY needs a name, and that’s just as good as anything that Sherburne is gonna gloss it with in January.

struggle  on December 22, 2008 at 10:55 AM

no more subgenres please..lol.

chris  on December 22, 2008 at 12:02 PM

i’ve been calling it “dubno” myself for awhile, but who knows what name will catch on.

dubstep seems to be going in many different directions right now anyway, so i think a name for this style will be very helpful.

loving everything about skull disco this year.

hutlock  on December 22, 2008 at 12:38 PM

@struggle:

actually, I’m with you on that (see my Summer Top 5 list…) I just wanted us to beat Sherby to it!

Limbic  on December 22, 2008 at 12:38 PM

year 2008 is almost over now,
and I am sooo happy that I discovered this amazing good side,LWE…
thank you guys!
have a good one…
Peace,Limbic

harpomarx42  on December 22, 2008 at 3:57 PM

I’ve already patented dubstepno. Any takers?

littlewhiteearbuds  on December 22, 2008 at 4:29 PM

You can only patent objects, not names. That’s where trademarks come in. I like stepno, for what it’s worth.

harpomarx42  on December 22, 2008 at 4:49 PM

In this day and age, my dear sir, you could patent anything.

J L  on December 22, 2008 at 5:09 PM

Hmmm… stepnumb…

struggle  on December 22, 2008 at 8:19 PM

just say no to stepno and bring on the rest of the list!

littlewhiteearbuds  on December 22, 2008 at 8:39 PM
james kartsaklis  on December 22, 2008 at 9:24 PM

@struggle, the dj sprinkles track is packaged with three others on a 12″. no discogs entry yet, but i’ve held the damn thing in my hands so i know it’s out there 😉

Andrey R  on December 22, 2008 at 10:19 PM

dubno or… dunno 😀

Nightowl  on December 23, 2008 at 2:08 AM

soundstream – ‘live’ goes on is one of the most outstanding records this year!!!

Stepno  on December 25, 2008 at 6:54 AM

Thanks for opening my ears to a lot of sounds I can’t make on my ukulele, concertina, banjo and bodhran.

Trackbacks

Little White Earbuds » LWE’s Top 20 Singles of 2008 (Part 4)  on December 24, 2008 at 9:15 PM

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