LWE’s Top 25 Tracks of 2013 (20–16)

20. Asusu, “Velez”
[Livity Sound] (buy)

The dark horse of Livity Sound, Asusu was responsible for one of the trio’s most seductive 12″s this year. “Velez” was a tough tribal roller built around various skeletal percussive elements that slowly built into a chest rattling cacaophony of sub pressure, hinting at an explosion that never came. It was a seriously clever gambit; a near perfect DJ tool that can be used to build tension to near unberable levels. Indeed, although not yet as well known as Pev and Kowton, Asusu provides a zen like counterweight to the Livity Sound trio, curbing the rowdier edges of Kowton and more hallucinatory styles of Pev with a clean and simple approach to music making that is both quietly devastating and technically brilliant. (Harry Sword)

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19. DJ Qu feat. Peven Everett & Josh Milan, “The Way”
[Strength Music] (buy)

Ramon Quezada is clearly a perfectionist. This release for Strength Music contained four deeply profound house tracks, engineered gloriously off-piste, trawling like smoke clouds towards an invisible, distant ideal, but it’s “The Way” that snatched the grand prize. A meditative exploration of textural hydrodynamics, it marks a significant excursion out of Qu’s established work methods, drafting in two very distinct house vocalists (Peven Everett and Josh Milan) to dazzling effect. Piling gentle latin percussion upon great tidal surges of sound, Qu carefully judges each compositional element before plunging it beneath lush melodic waves. With tiny percussive clicks, his signature whisper, beautiful soul earworms by top-notch collaborators, and a technicolor synth solo burrowing deep into your inner ear all at once, one gets the feeling that not a single note is wasted. It takes a lot of patience and confidence to establish this kind of compositional equilibrium, and with this song, DJ Qu certainly achieved yet another pinnacle of his career. (Dino Lalic)

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18. Blondes, “Elise”
[RVNG Intl.] (buy)

Even for a duo that usually focuses on the anthemic, Blondes’ “Elise” is a towering track. The science of writing a hit (or writing about a hit) is pretty elusive, but comparing “Elise” to, say, Tensnake’s “Coma Cat,” it’s apparent that both derive much of their success from a super infectious hook and a purposeful, uncomplicated throb, leaning old-school but with a contemporary polish. Writing about Blondes is pretty elusive too, to be honest. The duo are psychedelic but rarely self-indulgent, balancing each other’s tendencies, and their directness is really what sells “Elise.” It’s stoic, even majestic in the way it hauls forward, closing out the Swisher LP on a bang. Call it a power ballad. The real-life Elise must be pretty cool. (Steve Kerr)

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17. Jordan GCZ, “Crybaby J”
[Off Minor Recordings] (buy)

For what amounts to a debut solo release, “Crybaby J” is stunningly confident. Instead of feeling the need to resort to any tricks, Jordan Czamanski takes what he’s learned as part of both Juju & Jordash and Magic Mountain High and fashions from it his own interpretation of deep house. It doesn’t stray heavily from his previous work, but “Crybaby J” is a little more somber, a little more reduced than what you might expect. Wistful chords, driving bass lines, simple yet effective percussion: The elements here nod to classic examples of house, but its the wailing synth line, permeating the mix with its melodic touches, that makes the track so instantly recognizable. “Crybaby J” doesn’t sit still though it keeps its head down, knowing all too well that its got a good thing going and loathe to shake things up too much. Good thing, too: when it came to maintaining a groove, but injecting something memorable, “Crybaby J” was just about the best you could do this year. (Chris Miller)

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16. Omar-S, “The Shit Baby”
[FXHE Recordings] (buy)

Delivering his most cohesive and solid album to date, Omar-S’s 2013 long player, Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself, was full of highlights. It felt like the producer amplified his mastery of the different sound palettes he uses, turning out some of the strongest work of his career. “The Shit Baby” pairs up raw, untreated percussion, a simple-yet-devasting bass line and the virtuoso keys of D. Taylor to make for one of the strongest cuts of Detroit house for 2013.
(Per Bojsen-Moller)

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

Tom  on December 17, 2013 at 12:38 AM

Am I the only one that thinks the dub mix of Crybaby J is even better?

littlewhiteearbuds  on December 17, 2013 at 8:57 AM

Editor’s note: We have updated the blurb for “Velez” which was late in arriving.

aaron.  on December 17, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Strong list, still, but personally I preferred ‘It’s Money In the D’ from the Omar-S album.

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LWE’s Top 25 Tracks of 2013 (20–16)...  on December 17, 2013 at 9:24 AM

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LWE’s Top 25 Tracks of 2013 (10–6) – Little White Earbuds  on December 19, 2013 at 9:37 PM

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LWE’s Top 25 Tracks of 2013 (5–1) – Little White Earbuds  on December 20, 2013 at 1:10 AM

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