LWE’s Top 25 Tracks of 2009 (10-6)


10. Black Jazz Consortium, “New Horizon”
[Soul People Music] (buy)

Though we techno nerds often tout a preference for music that’s emotionally restrained, hardly anyone can resist a tour de force like Black Jazz Consortium’s “New Horizon.” Even if you spend most of your time listening to beat work-outs made “emotive” or “melancholic” by just handful of minor chords (not least other tracks by BJC), this kind of climactic bomb is pretty much impossible to deny. It grabs your attention from the very first a beat, a perfectly EQ’d, leathery bass kick, joined within a few measures by some kind of panning, delay-affected shaker. And then it all rushes in: solemn piano, epic chords and positively triumphant strings soar across the pumping beats to create a track that should hold you completely agog through its final measures. “New Horizon” is one of the best songs of the year because, like any truly exceptional house or techno track, it manages to be startlingly expressive despite its lack of lyrics or concrete meaning. Anyone who hears it (including, say, your parents) would probably agree that it evokes a distinct feeling of challenges surmounted, the epic home stretch, and the pivot toward, well, a new horizon. Fred P. usually operates in much more minimal territory, but this foray into emotional maximalism proved to be his most sensational piece of work yet. (Will Lynch)

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09. LCD Soundsystem, “45:33” (Theo Parrish Remix)
[DFA] (buy)

The first time I (unknowingly) heard Theo Parrish’s remix of LCD Soundsystem’s “45:33” was in July almost two years ago in London’s Plastic People at one of Mr Parrish’s monthly residencies. Frankly bizarre, even by Parrish’s standards, it had a stumbling, drunk groove, only held together by a chorus that I thought went “Feels so gooooood, when your body’s loose” (let’s just say my body was pretty loose). The next day, mindblown and hungover, and assuming it was an old disco tune, warped and welded to Theo’s template by his extreme EQ-ing, I turned to the famed truffle pigs at the DJ History forum, but even they couldn’t help out. I put the record on the mental pile marked “amazing but forever lost.” Fast forward to September this year, and I was idly listening to new stuff on Honest Jon’s website when I heard something familiarly unfamiliar. Turns out I completely misheard the lyrics (“Feels so flyyyy, when you’re out in space”) but this interstellar jam was no less brilliant than when I first heard it. Opening with steady snares, Theo’s ten-minute “Space Cadet” discombobulation of James Murphy’s Nike-sponsored work-out never stops sounding extraterrestrial. Echo, keys, stubby synths, a rambling monologue, hell, I think I even heard the kitchen sink make an appearance towards the end. The weirdest and wildest of Theo’s weird and wild oeuvre, it’s also one of his most anthemic. Well worth the wait. (Peder Clark)

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08. Rainer Trueby, “To Know You” [N/A] (buy)
Long ago, re-edits were relatively simple, cut-and-tape, studio operations that put the good times right where the DJ needed them. Circa 2009, things aren’t as straightforward. In the Ableton age, edits are technically simpler to make, making them theoretically more difficult to pull off. The original and its merit are undercut as often as they’re overstepped, proving the effortless balance of Rainer Trüby and Danilo Plessow’s “To Know You” all the more impressive. Their elegant use of such a simple sample satisfies the aficionado’s concern for contextual constraint, while the complex accompaniment implies a theoretical commitment to the edit you know we’d all love to hear more often. (Andrew Clapper)

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07. Walter Jones, “Living Without Your Love”
[DFA] (buy)

Walter Jones may not have had a prolific 2009, but by my count one for one is still a 100% success rate. That an artist could release a single EP and still stand out among the unremitting flow of new records that managed to take up browser and shelf space this year is something of an accomplishment. I had a tough time picking between both sides of this record, and although “I’ll Keep On Loving You” and I go way back (to when it was just a demo on Jones’ Myspace page years ago and he was kind enough to send me low bit-rate version to tide me over), “Living Without Your Love” connected on more levels with less resources. It manages to freely maneuver within disco and house idioms without seeming overly derivative. Contrary to some stories, Jones did not sing on this song, instead employing a fellow art school student to sing the lyrics. Never mind that it doesn’t have a chorus or that there’s only one lyric (“Live without your looove”) repeated throughout; it’s the phrasing placed on the words and the placement within the song that give it currency. Jones lays down a bass line dripping with funk while the lead synth dictates a moody and yet uplifting melody, finished off by rhythm guitar from Juju of Juju & Jordash. It all came together to form a song that left disco-fetishists drooling for more, but as the rest of the year would show it never came. A sign of Jones’ extremely high level of quality control, saving us from a string of merely good releases, and allowing us to savor one helluva great song. (Kuri Kondrak)


06. Joker, “Digidesign” [Hyperdub] (buy)
Even Joker’s most rabid champions must’ve been taken aback when Hyperdub left this brash trunk-rattler on the doorstep. A sizzling reunion of electro and hip-hop, DJ Quik and Timbaland both figured into the “Digidesign,” but this was no pony ride. The kicks, clacks, and boings moving at a stop-start jerk, numb bass lines pursued darting surges of what sounded like a bug-zapper while, overhead, swirling video game trills battled for space with inebriated wails of pitch-bent pads. And then there was that bratty keyboard melody, the sort of chorus audiences couldn’t help but sing along with. If it burst out the speakers as the Bristol boy wonder’s most distinctive creation, only a few months later we’re casually calling it a masterpiece. (Chris Burkhalter)

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Dan  on December 17, 2009 at 7:54 AM

Very nice list, up there with the one the hhv-guys came up with: http://community.hhv.de/magazin/kolumnen/1091/100-76

One thing I found a bit weird is that you guys would use multiple tracks by one artist in list that is so short

littlewhiteearbuds  on December 17, 2009 at 9:17 AM

These top 25 are the result of our reviewer balloting system, so I opted not to massage the numbers and cut one of the Kassem Mosse tracks. It speaks to how good that record is that both sides made our list.

tom/pipecock  on December 17, 2009 at 10:30 AM

i’ve got 4 of these 5, and 3 of them made it onto my top 30 chart for RA (the only actual chart i’m gonna make). i love that BJC, but i had to give the nod to “Believe” out of all the things he has done this year. you can’t go wrong with any of his tracks, it seems….

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