LWE’s Top 30 Tracks of 2011 (15-11)

15. Mark Ernestus, “Mark Ernestus Meets BBC”
[Honest Jon’s Records] (buy)

While Honest Jon’s Shangaan Electro remix series brought a heavyweight line-up on board to remix a selection of raw South African Shangaan tracks. Anthony Shakir, Theo Parrish, Ricardo Villalobos, and Peverelist all contributed, but the pick of the bunch was the offering from ever-elusive Hard Wax boss/Basic Channel legend Mark Ernestus. Sounding totally compelling yet maddeningly effortless has always been his stock in trade, and this 12″ saw him lock down a damn near perfect groove while respectfully retaining a number of recognizable elements of the BBC original. But where many previous Ernestus productions have been covered in layer on layer of static and hiss, this release showcased his talents in a slicker style than aficionados may be used to; each element of the track is buffed, polished and sitting just so. Also, in true Rhythm & Sound style we had the requisite “version,” which dropped out the more aggressive elements of the rhythm track and bumped up the atmospherics: a true master class in understatement and emotional resonance. (Harry Sword)

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14. Gerd, “Palm Leaves”
[Royal Oak] (buy)

The most recent of what’s beginning to look like a long line of undiscovered treasures from Gert-Jan Bijl’s archives, “Palm Leaves” further mines the euphoric interplay of woozy chords and giddy synth lines that had already garnered our admiration with such tracks as “Freedom” and “Friendly Fire.” He really treated us this time, though, enlisting the breathy coos of OlivierDaySoul (aka Dr. Orion) to outfit Gerd’s entrancing aurora with the pop accouterments of an anthem. So while Dr. Orion’s breezy vocal caresses describe sun-bleached horizons, it’s moon boots and quasars that “Palm Leaves”‘ dazzling sound design trades in. Ably handling double duties as debonair lifestyle track and hypnotizing head music, Gerd’s neat trick recalls the work of Rick Wade or even Larry Heard. And those aren’t just casual comparisons; Royal Oak’s already pressed the “Mr. Fingers Afropsycojungledub Mix.” (Chris Burkhalter)

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13. Oskar Offermann & Moomin, “Nasty Nate”
[Aim] (buy)

House music, especially at this point in time, is rarely about being ahead of the curve. Yet somehow, during a burst of creativity in 2009, that’s just what Oskar Offermann and Moomin were. The fertile period gave birth to both sides of Aim’s debut single and “Nasty Nate,” their contribution to the label’s recent Sun Avenue doublepack — both of which were perfectly tailored for their much later release dates. The continuity between the tracks is strong, but “Nasty Nate” takes the unifying traits to a higher level. Understated but capable of asserting itself, the track’s svelte arrangements give each melody the time and space to be deeply felt. Intrigue surrounds each tuneful progression, tugging listeners towards a glowing room where the clipped vocal sample reveals itself in earnest. Precise pacing helps, too: when a break comes as early as “Nasty Nate”‘s it can be a momentum killer, yet here it energizes audiences to stay locked in to the very end. With Moomin vigorously pursuing a solo career and Offermann moving in a different musical direction, it seems unlikely we’ll receive more treats like this one. But with “Nasty Nate” as my soundtrack, I’ll always look back fondly on the moments when the pair stepped outside of their milieu to create something timeless. (Anton Kipfel)

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12. Terekke, “Damn”
[Long Island Electrical Systems] (buy)

For having kept such a purposely low profile and draping his productions in a haze of tape hiss, Terekke’s sudden appearance has managed to create quite a stir. Normally it would be hard to justify that type of clamor — what with just the one highly limited white label 12″ on L.I.E.S. — but on the basis of “Damn” it is completely warranted. Owing a pittance to Chicago house, it rides a perpetual rhythm of dusty TR-707 claps, rimshots and springy bass contortions. But it’s what Terekke chooses to do with the high-end that sets the track apart. By submerging them in swathes of glowing tones, syrupy vocal mutterings and fuzzy ambience, “Damn” achieves a psychedelic, dream-like climate. Don’t let the comparatively low sound quality fool you; this man knows what he’s doing.
(Kuri Kondrak)

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11. Legowelt, “Sark Island Acid”
[Long Island Electrical Systems] (buy)

Chicago has been coming back in a big way for a couple years now, and acid was sure to follow. But what we saw with the acid explosion of 2011 was not just “Acid Tracks” rehashes but some really novel twists on what seemed like a spent sound. Legowelt, one of our artists of the year, teamed up with L.I.E.S. (ditto for labels) to issue a truly 21 century acid house anthem, full of his idiosyncratic quirkiness and warm, analog gear. Whereas much of acid in the late 80s was stark, hedonistic, and sexual, “Sark Island Acid” is instead like a plump Oma inviting you into the Alpine cottage that Danny Wolfers’ studio seems to inhabit. Beckoning you to gorge yourself on all of the savory 303 lines and sweet melodies you can handle, this one was home-cooked soul food that went right to your legs instead of your gut, keeping you gobbling it up well past your second, third, or 10th helping. (Chris Miller)

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Perseus Traxx  on December 14, 2011 at 2:59 PM

YESSSSS – Sark Island Acid – L.I.E.S are all over this chart – and rightly so!

Joseph Hallam  on December 14, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Palm Leaves is a future house classic imo.

134340  on December 14, 2011 at 9:29 PM

L.I.E.S. is just dominating this year. Can’t say I mind.

sven  on December 15, 2011 at 4:44 PM

love that offermann & moomin track

Trackbacks

LWE’s Top 30 Tracks of 2011 (30-21) | Little White Earbuds  on December 15, 2011 at 2:17 PM

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