LWE’s Top 20 Singles of 2008 (Part 2)


15. Melchior Productions Ltd, “Who Can Find Me (I Can’t)” [Cadenza] (buy)
“Who Can Find Me (I Can’t)” has to be one of the best emotional minimal tracks of 2008. It’s brittle structure and softly plodding drums are classic Melchior, but something about the shimmering arpeggios and mournful vocals make this one especially heavy-hearted. “Choir” makes the EP worth buying on its own, but “Who Can Find Me (I Can’t)” shows a prolific artist at the top of his game. (Will Lynch)

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14. Osborne, “Ruling”
[Spectral Sound] (buy)

With so many of this year’s “deep-house” releases sounding more like kiddie pools, it was an absolute joy to dive into the depth of Osborne’s “Ruling.” Making no bones of its touch stones, the track interprets Chicago/Detroit house through its composer’s equally earnest and brainy production style. Hugely soulful and musically bold, “Ruling” was one of the year’s early hits that’s just as striking today (and will remain so in years to come). (Steve Mizek)

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13. Matthew Styles, “We Said Nothing”
[Diamonds & Pearls Music] (buy)

Matthew Styles set a time-release bomb with “We Said Nothing.” Originally slated for fall of ’07, it opened to little fanfare in February and as 2008 progressed, it eventually became “impossible to ignore” (noted by LWE’s own editor-in-chief). If Petre Inspirescu’s “Sakadat” had the best detuned drums of last year, “We Said Nothing” takes the cake in ’08 with a fine acid rub to boot. (Nate DeYoung)

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12. Matias Aguayo, “Minimal” (DJ Koze remix)
[Kompakt] (buy)

It was somewhat ironic for a producer like Matias Aguayo who’s more than dabbled with minimal techno to release a rather stripped back single which lyrically castigates minimal music. Thankfully the ever reliable DJ Koze was there recast the tune as a breezy summer affair thick with lush pads and tied together by ribbons of guitar licks. Best served chilled, at pool party, along side a raft of DJ Koze’s other brilliant moments from 2008. (Steve Mizek)

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11. Ricardo Villalobos, “Minimoonstar”
[Perlon] (buy)

“Minimoonstar” is sinewy, percussive, and yet still laid-back as can be. The grooves and beats interact in ways that beggar belief, but somehow feel like more natural combinations than ninety-nine percent of what else is out there. “Minimoonstar” is a club dream, a politico-sexual poetics of beats and bass, or pretty much any other damn fool thing you want to call it. It deserves to be remembered long after 2008’s ups and downs have faded from thought.
(Colin Shields)

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Read Part 3 (10-6) here.

sma  on December 23, 2008 at 2:11 AM

i have to admit that i’m kind of getting tired of all the deep house rants. could somebody maybe explain the joy of ranting about something to me? what’s the point?

Nightowl  on December 23, 2008 at 2:11 AM

i totally agree with ricardo villalobos – minimoonstar. in this track, ricardo villalobos is blending together the best ingredients that (deep) house and (minimal) techno deliver. such a hypnotic groove. and ricardo’s trademark percussive elements on top. love it!!!

sma  on December 23, 2008 at 2:21 AM

and well, that osborne track is really just amazing. :-)

Krul  on December 23, 2008 at 5:39 AM

dear god. that osborne track has some serious pop potential.

littlewhiteearbuds  on December 23, 2008 at 7:08 AM

@sma

It’s less about ranting and more about acknowledging the differences between “Ruling” (which you’ve obviously noticed yourself) and a lot of what was called deep-house this year.

hutlock  on December 23, 2008 at 8:27 AM

Thanks for the reminder that I SO need to buy that Matthew Styles track.

sma  on December 23, 2008 at 9:16 AM

steve, i give you that, but i don’t know, the tone in these debates is always so harsh, and it always seems to be about the ever so old dichotomy of “real” vs “fake”. i just don’t get the point. is it because of a writer, you have to convert music into another form of expression and you therefore need to make distinctions? maybe that’s a little naive, but for me, it’s still just about the music, and not really what you might actually call it.

eric cloutier  on December 23, 2008 at 9:35 AM

as fucking stupid as it was (and still kind of is), that “ishkers guide to electronic music” flash site that was up years ago was about the most spot-on with definitions of styles.

“deep house” as a definition is about as watered-down and lost in translation as “minimal” turned to be about two years ago.

littlewhiteearbuds  on December 23, 2008 at 9:41 AM

That’s a good point. The distinctions aren’t terribly important, nor do they necessarily affect the music they’re applied to.

With regards to real vs fake, I guess the only time it’s useful to have such a debate is to counter the effects of PR firms that use genre signifiers to make their product more enticing. A few years ago everywhere you went a tune was described as a “minimal banger”; this year folks couldn’t get enough of describing tracks as so “deep.” But when you listened to either group, very often neither description seemed apt: the “minimal” tracks were bloated with unnecessary sounds and seemed lifeless; the “deep” tracks sounded quite often like the “minimal” tracks with more minor (especially Rhodes and piano) chords and fewer “spooky” effects.

I think it’s appropriate to call it like we see it in music criticism, especially in our descriptions of what the track sounds like and, sometimes, where it fits into the sub-genre spectrum. And under the umbrella of year’s best lists, the point is distinguishing why these tracks stood out from the rest. Personally I don’t spend a lot of time talking about that in my reviews and LWE’s reviewing staff don’t either. I save most of my arguing about genres and stuff for ILM :)

sma  on December 23, 2008 at 10:16 AM

I get what your aiming at, Steve, but isn’t that criticism that is really more aimed at the PR industry than the music itself? I have to say that I don’t read much reviews anymore, but neither do I read PR messages besides the occasional on wordandsound. What de:bug magazine always aimed at in their reviews was a description of the sound that was, to me, always very subjective, which I always liked. But I guess it’s just part of the business of being a writer to make distinctions.

No offense, but what I didn’t really enjoy reading was probably that bit about “kiddie pools”, which seemed to jump on that real vs fake wagon, cause to me, it seemed that you were using this to illustrate how “real” and therefore great “Ruling” is.

But maybe I’m just being a bit of a stickler here, dunno.

littlewhiteearbuds  on December 23, 2008 at 10:31 AM

The PR industry has a greater reach than is recognized at surface level, but I understand what you’re getting at.

No offense taken. Again, I felt the need to elevate the track above its “peers” in “deep-house” and express just how gorgeously full-bodied “Ruling” is. Most producers haven’t had the guts to use as much sound or write as many arrangements as Todd Osborn. That’s less about “real” versus “fake” so much as full versus mostly empty. That’s a subjective description as much as anything else.

Will C.  on December 23, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Great list, but #12 doesn’t play.

littlewhiteearbuds  on December 23, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Thanks for the head’s up, Will. Should be fixed now.

struggle  on December 23, 2008 at 12:17 PM

thanks for part 2. hadn’t really given most of these a real listen yet.

as for what’s real/not..let time be the judge.

eric cloutier  on December 23, 2008 at 1:19 PM

http://techno.org/electronic-music-guide/music.swf

call me stupid, but as kitschy and retarded as this thing is, its still got better definitions and descriptions than most websites out there. and “deep house” sure as fuck doesn’t sound anything like what’s being labeled that lately.

regardless, i’m of the “play / listen to what you like regardless of its label” ilk – thus why i kinda gave up on telling people anything more than “techno and house” when they ask what i play.

eric cloutier  on December 23, 2008 at 1:24 PM

secondly…

i don’t condone using anything on that ishkurs site for anything more than entertainment purposes. hell, a good portion of the track names are wrong in his examples, and some of the genre’s he downright rips apart (though some deserve it).

sma  on December 23, 2008 at 4:15 PM

think i get you point now, steve. elevating something that seems to be above the average, i’m totally fine with that. it’s just the way it happens, that with elevating something, people nowadays always seem to be mentioning how “blurred”, “average” or just mainstream something has become. i’m just asking myself why you couldn’t just say “stands out” or is “above the average” and leave it there and talk about the track itself, how it sounds, how it feels, what it reminds you of (in case it reminds you of something), stuff like that, which would be more interesting for me. but then, that’s just me.

ra’s review of the new 2562 is a good example for this attitude towards writing in my opinion: http://www.residentadvisor.net/review-view.aspx?id=5760 . tryggvason just describes the tracks and their sound without opening with the usual rant about the current state of techno, where nothing seems to catch anybodys interest any more or that the world is lacking forward thinking producers or something like that.

sorry about the lengthy posts here, guys.

sma  on December 23, 2008 at 4:22 PM

but then again, you already wrote about osborne in detail, for example, steve, so maybe this was just a place to make a distinction using a little rant for the end of the year wrap up. 😉

Shawn Khan  on December 24, 2008 at 9:52 AM

i totally missed that osborne track. nice picks

tom/pipecock  on December 24, 2008 at 12:55 PM

whats funny about the osborne is that when i bought it, i liked all the tracks on it equally. and then when i started playing it out, it was “fresh” that was so minimal and dirty that caught my ear in the headphones. and now i’m regretting not hammering “Ruling” all summer long. i’ll make up for it next year, i never heard anyone play it out.

Trackbacks

Little White Earbuds » LWE’s Top 20 Singles of 2008 (Part 1)  on December 22, 2008 at 8:41 PM

[…] Read Part 2 (15-11) here. […]

Little White Earbuds » LWE’s Top 20 Singles of 2008 (Part 4)  on January 3, 2009 at 12:40 PM

[…] 15-11 […]

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