LWE’s Top 25 Tracks of 2012 (6-10)

10. Real Cool, “What About Our Weekend Adam?”
[Geography Records] (buy)

A friend who just moved into her new place invites you over for a drink. You arrive expecting to see boxes everywhere, bare walls, and a frantic search for a bottle opener. Instead, you find a thoroughly lived in home where every detail is attended to and considered. Listening to and learning about Real Cool’s spectacular “What About Our Weekend Adam?” is a similarly baffling experience. It’s the B-side of the Swedish duo’s debut, one which documents their first ever attempts at writing house music. From the moment its dark, gooey bass line oozes between the cheerful chimes and blushing chords, it’s a house you’ll never want to leave. You won’t need to, as all is provided for you: sinuous guitar notes, a juicy synth lead, and snatches of forlorn saxophone greet you at every turn. Member Patrik Andersson’s background in hip-hop lends itself greatly to the tune’s gleefully swung garage house rhythms, which keep all the loveliness on point and dance floors at capacity. Real Cool were one of the year’s best surprises; and now that we know what they’re capable of, we’ll want to see a lot more of their house next year. (Steve Mizek)

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09. Burial, “Kindred”
[Hyperdub] (buy)

As American Vice President Biden might put it, it’s a big fuckin’ deal when Burial drops a new single: hashtags trend, critics pontificate, and everyone from Pitchdorks to Resident Head-visors to DMZ OGs salivate Pavlov-style. “Kindred” confirmed it ain’t all for nought. One of the strongest sides in the no-longer-mysterious London producer’s oeuvre, the track bottles up emotions and memories and twisted rhythms as no one else could hope to. Clocking in at 11 and a half minutes, it also shows Burial’s still up for a challenge long after plenty of others would have either cashed in or dropped out. As large-scale and sonically heavy as the track is, though, it’s eminently approachable and deeply personal — a down comforter you curl up in to ride out the end of the world. Maybe that’s why this guy’s gruff, morning-after music still hits so hard: even as the canvas they’re splattered on grows wider, those scribbles of sooty drums still sound like they’re jangling just for you. (Jordan Rothlein)

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08. October, “String Theory (Feat. Borai)”
[Simple Records] (buy)

It took rather a special track to pull Will Saul’s much-loved Simple imprint out of retirement. October’s “String Theory,” featuring Borai, was a breezy yet deceptively sinewy powerhouse roller; a simple piece that managed to bring a collective kaleidoscopic grin to every floor it graced. Pivoting on a summery groove that built, broke down and rebuilt — time and again — it was that rare beast: a great tool that worked wonders in long intricate mixes, and also a nigh on perfect mid set pacer which added body and soul to pretty much any journey, and could happily be left rolling for the duration. And while overtly “summery” tracks can all too often find themselves in the “play for a season then retire forevermore” bracket, October ably anchored “String Theory” with a particularly well oiled kick and sub combo, betraying both his Bristolian roots and considerable engineering prowess. That it was backed with two belting up tempo Danny Wolfers remixes — in both Polarius and Legowelt guises — was a highly satisfactory bonus, but “String Theory” was a 12″ that was truly all about the a side, and represents something of the modern classic from October and Borai. (Harry Sword)

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07. Bookworms, “African Rhythms”
[L.I.E.S. (Long Island Electrical Systems)] (buy)

Of the many L.I.E.S. releases this year, it was “African Rhythms” by the (naturally) hitherto unknown Bookworms that seemed to get the most love (and currently commands the highest second hand prices). It’s not hard to see why: its sampled rhythms bounce and clash with other, seeming on the verge of colliding and shattering at any moment, but magically kept in order over its eight-plus minute runtime. Vocals sourced from a rather well-known dub record float in and out of the mix almost like ghosts, while a simple three-note sequence lends only the faintest hint of melody. It does remarkably little over its extended length — most of the elements are introduced upfront and pretty much just loop away — but the deep, hypnotic state that its grooves summoned didn’t need anything else. It’s no surprise that it was so thoroughly embraced by UK funky types, as its hand claps and barrage of toms seemed particularly suited to that genre’s rhythmic cadences; but like a true renaissance track, “African Rhythms” worked just as well amidst analog house or rough-n-ready techno. That it sounded nothing like any of those genres, nor really anything else out there at the moment, made it all the more special, establishing both label and artists as forces to be reckoned with. (Chris Miller)

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06. Frak, “666”
[Kontra-Musik] (buy)

This year may have been most listeners’ first introduction to Frak, but the Swedish trio have steadily been churning out raw and uncompromising turns on machine music for a quarter of a century. They have proven adept at channeling their analog gear to extract raw kinetic-ism with what appears to be nominal effort. And over the course of what has already been an impressive body of work, one track from the Triffid Gossip EP exemplified their work with ruthless precision. “666” is charged with layers of grinding bass line arpeggios, percussion diffused in cavernous reverb and a hissing hi-hat pattern. Sinister synth stabs and an arpeggio sequence bear their head ever so silently before announcing their presence with a gripping intensity. Frak may only now be getting the attention they deserve but it also feels like they could be at the top of their game.
(Kuri Kondrak)

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veloziped  on December 20, 2012 at 3:18 AM

still missing Andres (New for u), Terje (Inspector Norse) other L.I.E.S. release…
😉

scherbe  on December 20, 2012 at 5:53 AM

Nice to see Real Cool in there! Beautiful well crafted tracks, def. one of the records 2012:)

Adam Lundberg (Geography Records)  on December 20, 2012 at 6:02 AM

Wow thanks! Means a lot.

Hugh  on December 20, 2012 at 7:04 AM

What dub record does African Rhythms sample?

andy  on December 20, 2012 at 11:37 AM

@ veloziped

Still 5 spots to fill.

In regards to Andres, I would bet it makes top 3, if not 1.

nathaniel  on December 20, 2012 at 10:29 PM

nice to see string theory on one of these lists. proper tune.

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LWE’s Top 25 Tracks of 2012 (21-25) | Little White Earbuds  on December 21, 2012 at 10:43 AM

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