LWE’s Top 25 Tracks of 2013 (10–6)

10. Huerco S., “Apheleia’s Theme”
[Future Times] (buy)

Huerco S. certainly had a big year, and there was no bigger moment for him than this killer 12″ for Future Times. His productions up until that point hinted at what he was sowing, but while Colonial Patterns split open and fragmented his sonic world, “Apheleia’s Theme” was the long-awaited dance-floor payoff many were craving. Nine minutes of soot-covered kicks and hats, a floor-rattling bass line, and delayed chords, “Apheleia’s Theme” took the palette of dubby house and roughed it up a bit, projecting some of 2013’s most pervasive timbres onto a dance music construction as old as time. Unsurprisingly, it worked wonders. (Chris Miller)

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09. Levon Vincent, “???”
[Novel Sound] (buy)

Nowadays, it seems every time Levon Vincent releases a record is almost an event unto itself, and with good reason. Similar to 2012, this year’s Novel Sound release was incredibly stellar, yet again affirming a perfect fusion of his skills in making every single sound have immense, sharply delineated presence in space and time. It was hard to pick out the best of the four tracks it contains, but “???” must be the most astounding, troubling fans ever since it debuted in his mix for LWE in January. Starting off with a rudimentary skeletal percussion, it’s characterized by a monstrously swollen bass line whose funk feels like scaling and descending a steep slope over and over again, but strangely different with each bar. I’ve been lucky enough to see Levon drop it on an unsuspecting crowd to complete devastation, with people intensely revelling in their subservience to the bass. Equally impressive is the seemingly mechanical manner in which the track unfolds without losing its focused severity, as though the composer needed only supply a hint of activation energy before allowing the track’s finely balanced structure to bloom into a Kraftwerkian synth abstraction. With ‘”???,” Levon Vincent once again pulls it off like no one else, making such astonishingly complex club music sound like child’s play. (Dino Lalic)

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08. Terekke, “Bank 3”
[Long Island Electrical Systems] (buy)

The L.I.E.S. catalogue went from 019 to 041 (not counting a whole smattering of white labels) in 2013, a bounty that enabled a closer look at some of the label’s more mysterious personalities we knew only by a 12″ or two. Terekke’s YYYYYYYYYY gave us more of the noisy, unhurried mutations that characterize the rest of his scant discography, and “Bank 3,” the EP’s rotating jewel of an A1, is something of a stony revelation. Its first quarter makes such great use of a gleaming synth sample, ticking rimshots, and a syncopated clap refrain that the meandering bass that shows up around the two-minute mark seems less like a vital component than a bonus. Over the remaining six minutes, Terekke adds and distorts a faint R&B sample and lets the noise emanating from each of the constituent parts fill things out better than any sleeker production techniques might have done. “Bank 3” doesn’t tower over any of 2013’s other rougher house cuts so much as it sticks right out as being composed according to what we are learning is Terekke’s excellent intuition. (Brandon Wilner)

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07. Marcel Fengler, “Jaz”
[Ostgut Ton] (buy)

Based on the past few years, it’d be easy to believe that being retro equals being cool. It might finally be fading away, for example, but Chicago house hasn’t has this much cred since the late ’80s. And yet, only very particular old school flavors have found widespread appeal. No one’s had much success making say, an updated form of progressive house. Perhaps it was this factor which made Marcel Fengler’s “Jaz” so immediately arresting. The slick 303-led track was modern and fresh, but its hypnotic rhythm and rippling waves of tenderness seemed an obvious reference to trance, that much-maligned genre which all but the boldest producers have dared to re-animate. So while “Jaz” was the sound of Fengler wearing his influences on his sleeve, it didn’t sound much like anything, be it unimaginative retro updates, or the legions of generic, ultra-contemporary techno many of his contemporaries aimed for this year. (Nick Connellan)

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06. Elgato, “We Dream Electric”
[Elgato] (buy)

When I think about Elgato’s music, I think of the most luxurious, handcrafted thread used to stitch up couture garments. It’s not flashy or dynamic, and it never stands out on its own; but stitching it between other tracks elevates the music on both sides of the equation and highlights just how fine that thread is. Lots of people make DJ tools that attempt this level of usefulness, but few manage to achieve Elgato’s level of hypnosis — his music exists in its own world. So it’s fitting that his best work to date, 2013’s “We Dream Electric,” was self-released. Rife with the scything hi-hats that are his calling card, the track is little more than a perfect skeleton from which female vocal snippets chirp, watery chords welling up around the remnants of this lovely corpse. I reached for this record over and over throughout this year, finding it indispensable as a bridge between chunkier offerings or just as a lovely pacer for the early doors crowd. We would all be lucky if Elgato continued his streak of improving on his gilded vinyl threads next year, but he’s already solidified his place in DJs’ crates with “We Dream Electric.” (Steve Mizek)

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Tracks 1–5
Tracks 6–10
Tracks 11–15
Tracks 16–20
Tracks 21–25

Trackbacks

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