LWE’s Top 25 Tracks of 2010 (20-16)

20. Fred P., “It Is What It Is”
[Strength Music] (buy)

House doesn’t get much deeper than it does on a Fred P track. “It Is What It Is,” the overwhelming standout from DJ Qu’s second Semesters collection and one of Fred P’s most poised productions to date, is positively narcotic even on his heavily handicapped scale: it’s not so much a dance track as it is a vinyl-induced psychedelic experience. With ghostly beats driving a melody that steadfastly refuses to resolve, the track suspends you in time and space, giving you the feeling you’ve been catapulted into the spirit realm. What universal truth is Shaman Peterkin nudging us toward? Like any mind-expanding experience, set and setting have a great deal to do with it, but side effects are as likely to include rump-shaking as they are total dissociation. But “It Is What It Is” goes well beyond mere headshop fodder, and it’s never deep for depth’s sake. If it’s hypnotic, it’s only because something this gorgeously sophisticated is difficult to ignore. Compositionally and maybe even psychologically, I’d say Fred P is hitting his stride. I’d recommend dosing now, lest your state legislature catches on. (Jordan Rothlein)

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19. James Blake, “CMYK”
[R&S Records] (buy)

The fact that, as 2011 looms large, James Blake stands on the brink of mainstream recognition owes a lot to the anthemic axle of his career so far, “CMYK.” A song that serves as a jigsaw piece between his earlier, lower frequency releases on Hemlock and Hessle Audio and the more overtly melodic pop inclinations of the Klavierwerke EP and recent Feist cover, “Limit To Your Love,” the title track from his first outing on R&S fuses both eras of Blake to marvelous effect. Focused on a pitch-shifted Kelis sample — providing the element of catchiness necessary to charm a wider audience — but with the intelligently deployed bass shudders and close attention to detail that generated all the fervent underground hype, “CMYK” has ingrained itself as one of Blake’s, and the year’s, defining moments. (Jack Scourfield)

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18. Addison Groove, “Footcrab”
[Swamp 81] (buy)

Rarely has a song made both so little and so much sense as Addison Groove’s “Footcrab.” If you’re like me, it may take several bliss-filled listens before it dawns on you that what’s causing you to flit around the room like a Riverdancer on mushrooms is essentially the sound of a man repeating the words “insane” and “Footcrab,” only one of which actually has an ounce of meaning. While Planet Mu has been busy snapping up producers from the juke scene over the past year, Anthony Williams (also known as Headhunter) chose to register another alias and see what he could do with the genre. The result is one of the most individual and gloriously outlandish tracks to have emerged in ages. Conventional? No. Brilliant? Yes. Insane? Footcrab. (Jack Scourfield)

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17. FaltyDL, “All In The Place”
[Rush Hour Recordings] (buy)

In an interview earlier this year Drew Lustman, better known as FaltyDL, proclaimed, “…in dance music, you gotta watch what you say.” Judging by his records, Lustman’s communication style is to keep dancers simultaneously perplexed and excited. Recalling the type of versatility practiced by early ’90s techno boffins, Lustman manages to create inspiring electronic music regardless of the genre it appears to resemble. And “All In The Place” from his Rush Hour release of the same name proved he could go even further. Moving briskly through wistful melodic refrains and brightly hued synth, its contemplative mood is imbued with gripping energy from squelchy bass, acid coils and a glimmering piano strain. The broken house rhythm is marked by wriggling, unpredictable hi-hat patterns and stuttered kicks that hint at a cross-pollination of electro and 2-step garage. If Lustman continues to make statements as rewarding as “All In The Place,” his music can do all the talking. (Kuri Kondrak)

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16. Szare, “Snake Cave”
[Horizontal Ground] (buy)

It’s no secret that 2010 trended toward gloominess and occult-isms. For all the valiant attempts made at capturing this zeitgeist in the form of a dance track, few came as close as Szare, whose “Snake Cave” appeared on the A-side of the fourth Horizontal Ground 12″. The track centers on a lurching, muscular, tabla-led swing with some of its parts in reverse; indistinct vocal murmurs dart around the edges, and its attempts at melody are warped rave stabs and unearthly synth tones, also partly in reverse, that spiral wraith-like out of the low-end. Working with organic, “ethnic” instrumentation can be a dubious endeavor — it can smack of Orientalism and is rarely done with much finesse. “Snake Cave” plays on that unintelligible other by universalizing it, its rolling tabla taking the nebulous ideas of drum rites and the shamanic trance and placing them squarely in the context of the contemporary dance floor. To grossly oversimplify, the world is convoluted with information. A labyrinth in itself, Szare’s track is true body music, offering movement as the path to clarity. (Steve Kerr)

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stripes  on December 14, 2010 at 5:31 AM

vintage year

Hannes  on December 14, 2010 at 9:13 AM

it’s controversial and confusing to see a track on this list (footcrab) which has been criticized on several occasions (in my opinion justifiably) by the same staff that now picked it. or do i remember it incorrectly? :)

Chris Miller  on December 14, 2010 at 10:34 AM

Footcrab is on here simply because it got enough votes. All of the LWE staff votes for their favorites and sometimes we disagree with each other.

I wrote a positive review for Footcrab while my colleague Anton included it in his “Overrated” tracks. Certainly a controversial track, but it would be boring if we all agreed 100% with each other, right?

igottasay  on December 14, 2010 at 1:00 PM

you guys seem to take dance music way too seriously.

littlewhiteearbuds  on December 14, 2010 at 1:01 PM

That’s pretty rich from someone who has been visiting the site all year.

Per Bojsen-Moller  on December 14, 2010 at 2:31 PM

@igottasay erm, sorry, that’s our job

Peter Skovgaard Andersen  on December 14, 2010 at 5:06 PM

The Fred P track has been one of my favorites this year.
Creat content on the site guys, keep it up in the new year.

Thomas  on December 14, 2010 at 10:30 PM

dance music is not something to be taken as a joke. Dance/electronic music is the most future minded music. IT ALTERS WHO YOU ARE INSIDE..LWE is a great review/selection, podcast/interview selecting site for sure. Thank you all for your efforts in discovering these amazing musicians and tracks.

J-Peezy  on December 14, 2010 at 11:10 PM

don’t forget CMYK also samples Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody?”…great song also!

harrison  on December 15, 2010 at 11:19 AM

love that fred p track, the jus-ed track on that record is also a slow burner!

Spons  on December 16, 2010 at 6:12 PM

@ Thomas : Word !

To quote Tony rodriguez aka Brother’s Vibe :

“Other types of music, I ain’t putting nothing down but, House just takes it to another level..”

And yes, ty lwe for the love and the effort! I don’t recognize a single track so far, so I look forward to adding even more to this years tidalwave of quality music.

kaputte hamster  on December 25, 2010 at 4:27 AM

Interesting to read how u guys describe the tracks listed . , “unusal, groundbreaking, innovative”.. but then i listen to it and to be honest it sounded all quite conventional.;Mmy background is more avant garde , electro-acoustics, experimental and i guess you allcome from a house/club background.Is this only perception or do u take other drugs? If i listen to electro-acoustic music (even the early 50’s like Pierre henry and defenitely the recent stuff on for instance the Empreintes Digitales ‘label i am more stunned and overwhelmed by haunting or occult feelings) Anywa&y,just this post to check where my ears are not hearing what u hear..i would love if somebody can guide me in a better way and have the same experience as you…
I think the man of 2010 is defenitely Dj koze..the pampa label blew me from the socks.;also just received is a 12″ from the sorry entertainers on Shitkatapult..In these tracks I hear the stuff where i can relate yr texts to. anyway, pleasure to read as u all are serious music lovers! Feel free to guide and criticise!
tom from belgium

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