LWE’s Top 5 Downloads (From the Second Half of) 2009


For our fourth year-end report, LWE correspondent Will Lynch calls your attention to the top five free downloads from the second half of 2009

Here at the end of 2009, we find ourselves on the brink of a terrifying new decade. With Obama-shaped ecstasy pills, slippers made out of bread, and people saying “twitter” more than any other word in the English language, the road ahead grows increasingly strange and menacing. Then you’ve got assholes like Chris Anderson at Wired ranting about the power of “Free” and how it’s ultimately a good thing that newspapers only last a few more months, because the information just wants to be Free and there’s nothing we can do about that. Anderson’s ramblings may be reckless and ill-informed, but no one can deny he’s onto something — to point to an easy example, we are, after all, still waist-deep in an endless torrent of free house and techno mixes that shows no sign of abating. Due to an unfortunate dearth of free-time (and a work computer that has no soundcard), I unintentionally shied away from the regulars this quarter (The Bunker, mnml ssgs, ROOF.FM, Bodytonic) and surely missed some great mixes because of it. But thanks to social networking media and some particularly juicy Soundcloud accounts, I managed to find a handful of mixes that still haven’t worn thin after dozens of listens. So, while it would be unwise to call these the all-out best mixes of the quarter, here are five mixes you can play death once the media empires crumble and some kind of horrific Cormac McCarthy-esque scenario ensues.

Wolf + Lamb Variety Show
For Zev Eisenberg and Gadi Mizrahi, most of this past decade was consumed by one thing: Wolf + Lamb, the label and self-described “music community” that very discretely carries their namesake (in Hebrew, zev = wolf, gadi = lamb). 2009 was their most prolific year yet, with a handful of tours, notorious parties at the Marcy Hotel, and over a dozen sexy modern house records released since January (all of which can, quite snazzily, be downloaded directly from the W+L website at $0.99 per track). Earlier this fall, when Zev and Gadi were passing through London, they hosted a show on Diesel New Music Radio, during which they showcased new tracks by themselves and their friends, and chatted about their labels, Burning Man, and how to throw your own Marcy-style party. Now available as an installment in the incredibly rich W+L podcast series, the aptly titled Wolf + Lamb Variety Show offers two hours of amazing new music and plenty of interesting banter to boot, making it an easy choice as one of this quarter’s best downloads. (Note: Lee Foss’ Marcy recording and Deniz Kurtel’s tribute to JDilla also come very highly recommended.)

XDB – Beatdown Mix
Since 2006, Kosta Athanassiadis, aka XDB, has built an excellent catalogue of hypnotic, dub-infected records. He keeps things fresh by always trying different angles on his own sound, releasing polished techno tracks for labels like Sistrum and Delikat, and gritty, pounding house numbers on Metrolux, the label he runs with Arne Weinberg and Atheus. This month, he’ll make an appearance at Süd Electronic’s “Yuletide Knees Up” in London, a basement party where he and Levon Vincent are set to provide a flawless one-two punch of dubby, rough-edged grooves. To help promote the party, XDB put together this “Beatdown Mix,” which is really much gentler than it sounds, consisting mostly of lo-fi slow-jams like Omar=S’ “Miss You.” His aesthetic is warm, raw and trippy, and the whole thing chugs along like a slow engine with sand in its gears. In addition the exceptional Descap and Cagomi EPs, this mix is all I need for XDB to become one of my new favorites.

Reagenz – Live @ Neumo’s Decibel Festival Finale
Ever since Move D played “Keep Buildin'” at House n’ Home last January, I’ve been pretty much dying to get my hands on new material by Reagenz, his collaboration with Jonah Sharp. It was brutally cold in New York that night, and Moufang was cozily bundled up behind the decks, playing for a small loft space where hot chocolate was being served. The party peaked sometime around 3 am, and Move D dropped “Keep Buildin'” not long after to fairly devastating effect: the emotional interlude was perfectly timed — and even Moufang seemed moved by it, grinning ear to ear as he sashayed slowly to the beat. This live set, recorded in September at the Decibel Festival in Seattle, nicely captures the lush, glistening vibes Reagenz conjure, with lengthy cosmic jams interspersing new tracks like “Dinner With Q,” “Confidence,” and of course “Keep Buildin’ (feat. Fred P).” If you’re on the fence about whether to shell out on Playtime, their new album on Workshop, this recording should seal the deal.

Dor – RA Podcast 180
Without a doubt, one of this year’s strongest new labels was Laid, the all-vinyl Dial subsidiary that’s given us excellent house music by John Roberts, Rick Wade and Rndm. Laid is managed by a guy named Dor, a formerly Tel Aviv- (but currently Berlin-) based DJ who RA very shrewdly commissioned for a podcast this fall. Much like the music he releases on Laid, Dor’s mix is deep, punchy, and in equal parts classic and contemporary, with gems by Azymuth and Freddie Fowlkes blending nicely with new ones by Big Strick and Levon Vincent. His track selection and sense of flow are perfect, reflecting truly refined skill and sensibility. Considering he threw this thing together in his PJs on a borrowed set of turn tables, Dor seems like quite the nimble jock. No wonder Lawrence lists him as one of his favorite DJs.

Specter – Uzuri Mix
Another label that had a great year, if a little more discretely, was Uzuri, a gritty British house imprint who first caught my attention last year with the release of Move D’s “Quit Quittin’.” This year, Uzuri’s trademark sound has come a bit more into focus, with raw, clunky tracks by Lerosa, Jitterbug and IFM contrasting nicely with more colorful contributions by Anton Zap. Earlier this fall, Chicago DJ and producer Specter joined Uzuri’s ranks, and judging by this mix he recorded for the label, it seems he fits the bill to a T: dirty, stripped down beats mix with quivering Sci-Fi synths, and the end result is weirdly sexy and ethereal. Specter’s got some very intriguing records in his crate, and he gives them an excellent workout in these 60 minutes.

Sibonelo  on December 10, 2009 at 2:35 AM

Really loved ther Dor RA’s mix. now trying the Uzuri mix. thanks for the concept….

tom/pipecock  on December 10, 2009 at 10:58 AM

yeah i have to say i really enjoyed that Dor mix. gonna check that Specter mix now as well!

athousandclaps  on December 10, 2009 at 5:41 PM

Ditto on the Dor mix. Didn’t see the others, so thanks for the leads!

harrison  on December 11, 2009 at 12:11 PM

nice to see specter – uzuri mix included

have you heard prosumer – live @ the villa oslo?

thats my personal favourite along with

classic flowers – dachshund session vol 1
ernie – personal deeper summer mix 09
lerosa – dead slow mix
LWE podcast – black jazz consortium
talking shopcast – kez YM
random circuits mix 16 – cottam

Will Lynch  on December 11, 2009 at 4:41 PM

haven’t heard the prosumer mix, will definitely check it out. also intrigued by ‘lerosa – dead slow mix.’ thanks for the tips!

sven  on December 13, 2009 at 12:14 PM

is there another link for the raegenz mix? this one is not working

littlewhiteearbuds  on December 13, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Seems like a technical problem with Sendspace; check back later today and if it’s still unavailable we’ll see about getting a new link.

Shawn  on December 13, 2009 at 4:34 PM

That J Dilla mix is killer.

jonnyp  on December 16, 2009 at 9:12 PM

nice list. my favourite mix (from the second half) of 2009 has to be silent servant’s isolation mix for mnml ssgs. something i have returned to again and again.



LWE’s Top 5 Downloads (From the Second Half of) 2009 | uptownboogiedown  on December 10, 2009 at 12:28 AM

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