LWE’s Top 25 Tracks of 2013 (25–21)

25. R-Zone, “Romijn Ravine”
[R-Zone] (buy)

While it remains to be seen whether the surging rave-ival will prove a lasting one, here’s proof that fresh thrills can still be found in a well-deployed breakbeat. Anonymously produced for the sixth installment of Crème’s excellent R-Zone line, “Romijn Ravine” benefits from glimmers of recognition, but its throwback isn’t confined to any one reference set, evoking memories of A Guy Called Gerald and the Artificial Intelligence series as readily as it does Shut Up and Dance. And all that’s great, but prior knowledge of 90s dance culture is no more a prerequisite here than familiarity with flop game consoles or MTV’s House of Style (though it seems those figure in as well). Citation may switch the burner on, but deft composition gets credit for the exuberant roaring boil. There’s the vigorous shake of that metallic break of course, but also an incredibly punchy interplay of the drums woven round it, the intermittent sighs of swooning pads, and best of all the delirious pivots of the rubbery bass line. Genuinely distinguishing itself from its inspirations, this was peerless in a pack of similarly extroverted UK flashbacks. There’s no need to parse things so narrowly, though; “Romijn Ravine” was as bright, exhilarating and delectably strange as anything we heard this year, breaks or no. (Chris Burkhalter)

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24. Axel Boman, “Hello”
[Studio Barnhus] (buy)

For a deep-house banger, “Hello” is limpid, almost transparent — you could take it as further proof, outside of DJ Sprinkles, of a kind of latent Talk Talk influence on the genre. But it’s faint and slippery enough to make even that band’s later works sound strident. Formally, it even courts incoherence, letting the logic of its sounds dictate its rickety, but emotionally potent, shape. Woodblock hits cut through the mix, boring holes into the song’s cozier components: that melancholic vocal sample, warming jets of flute, wavering synths, and an almost jaunty piano roll. The track ebbs and flows at a tidal pace. Its final surge hardly needs to raise its voice above a whisper to tear things apart. As the centerpiece of Family Vacation, it’s a powerful distillation of what makes Axel Boman’s approach so idiosyncratically effective. (Brandon Bussolini)

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23. Pépé Bradock, “Lifting Weights”
[Absurd Recordings / Acid Test] (buy)

I can’t claim to know much about Pépé Bradock’s typical production process, but “Lifting Weights” is certainly a divergence from it. Recorded quickly in L.A. on borrowed gear, and focusing on one piece of gear in a way that the sample-minded Bradock rarely does, the Frenchman’s surprise appearance on the Acid Test series was a head-turning moment from an artist not exactly know for his use of the 303. But perhaps it’s because acid is somewhat uncharted territory for Pépé that makes “Lifting Weights” such a triumph. The sunburnt, sampled guitars lend the kind of nuttiness that Bradock typically brings to house music, but his (relatively) straight-laced percussion and sequencing make it the most floor-centric production Bradock has released in years. And then there’s the 303, darting from buried and obscure to sitting remarkably high in the mix: not so much the glue holding everything together, but rather another unstable element threatening to throw everything into disarray. By the time the big, ravey bass line takes over, it becomes clear that somehow, remarkably, everything has worked out — the seventh Acid Test is perhaps both the most radical and the most groundbreaking to date. “Lifting Weights” is, like many of Pépé’s finest moments, a fucking mess — a glorious one. (Chris Miller)

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22. Bookworms & Steve Summers, “Unknown Number” [Confused House] (buy)

The hookups between Steve Summers and Bookworms for the former’s 2013-minted Confused House label have been consistently mesmerizing. “Unknown Number” is perhaps best emblematic of their partnership. In spite of a booming undercurrent, most of its drums seem almost tinny, rustling and puttering along while a sparkling melody ascends and descends above a nervous bass line. The producers use their elements’ brittle balance to convey a supremely dazed ecosystem. Ultimately it is the track’s unusual construction that makes it sound so fresh. It is not particularly lo-fi but it conveys a precious, dream-like fragility all the same. (Steve Kerr)

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21. DJ Sotofett feat. Madteo, “There’s Got To Be A Way” (Vision of Love Club Mix)
[Wania] (buy)

If David Lynch had a bit of a lost weekend and ended up watching Party Monster on repeat for several days, he’d probably start formulating a few ideas about the follow-up. It would be centered around the hungry ghost of Angel Melendez as he wanders club-land purgatory, searching for Michael Alig and figuring out how to squeeze the life from his body. The only thing is, every club he enters is the same, and for the duration of the movie, Madteo’s sexually sinister tones play out over DJ Sotofett’s “There’s Gotta Be A Way” (Vision of Love Club Mix), mocking the vengeful specter and just generally scaring the shit out of everyone.
(Per Bojsen-Moller)

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

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LWE’s Top 25 Tracks of 2013 (21–25)...  on December 16, 2013 at 4:46 PM

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LWE’s Top 25 Tracks of 2013 (5–1) – Little White Earbuds  on December 20, 2013 at 1:02 AM

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LWE’s Top 25 Tracks of 2013 (10–6) – Little White Earbuds  on December 20, 2013 at 1:15 PM

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