Tag Archive: year end list

The Year In: “Records”

Forget the rise of mnml, the revival of deep house, the Berghain, civil rights vocal samples, the very existence of Richie Hawtin — was there any more rift-causing development over the last couple of years than the ascendence of digital technology in dance music production, dissemination, and DJing? While the vast majority of club revelers probably couldn’t have cared less what was happening behind the DJ booth, DJs and the journo-bloggers who obsess over them spent the years after Serato Scratch Live (the hardware/software package that most successfully merged a ones-and-zeros music collection with the technique and physicality of spinning real vinyl) debuted in 2004 wringing their hands over what this all means for dance music. We wouldn’t have the word “techno” without “technology,” but is soul not an equally weighty part of the equation? And isn’t vinyl culture a pretty big part of techno’s soul? To paraphrase what practically everyone inclined to grapple with such a thing grappled with: When we put the quality of the tunes aside, can a 300 gigabyte drive stuffed with ID3-tagged files not too fundamentally different from Word documents begin to approximate, to use Dapayk & Padberg’s phrase from their 2007 album of the same name, the indominable “black beauty”?

LWE’s 5 Artists Who Defined 2009

It’s likely we all know the events and stories for which 2009 will be remembered: global recession, the first year of Obama’s presidency, a seemingly endless stream of celebrity deaths, the stolen Iranian and Afghani elections and Japan’s historical shakeup, and Twitter’s penetration into almost everything. But when we look back at the year and remember the dance music artists whose significance was widely felt in 2009, whose faces and vinyl sides will spring to mind? This is tricky territory to parse while still standing inside its confines, but a worthwhile pursuit nonetheless — if for no other reason than to see how accurate I am a few years down the line. The producers I chose made artistic decisions whose deep impact is still creating ripples now, perhaps into 2010. My list overlooks many influential artists (special apologies to STL, Fred P., Moritz Von Oswald, Appleblim, et al.) and shouldn’t be seen as necessarily an endorsement of each selected, but rather acknowledgment of their importance to the dance music climate created this year. Together yet apart, these individuals contributed to the broader narrative none of us can yet decode; here’s my attempt to make some sense of it.

LWE’s Top 20 Singles of 2008 (Part 4)

05. Matias Aguayo, “Minimal” [Kompakt] (buy) In the year that minimal either went cynical or cyclical, or simply gave its critical audience more to harp about than usual, Matias Aguayo played devil’s advocate with “Minimal.” Aguayo’s late-night lover-man persona can be hard to read, so who really knows if this is smackdown or pisstake (I […]

LWE’s Top 20 Singles of 2008 (Part 3)

10. Sascha Dive, “Deepest America” (Moodymann remix) [Ornaments] (buy) Building up from a classic Motor City stomp into a looped-out masterpiece with energy to spare, Moodymann’s frenetic take on Sascha Dive’s “Deepest America” was a timely reminder of Kenny Dixon, Jr.’s mastery over the sampledelic end of the spectrum. Tastefully limiting the now-cliched Afrocentric speech […]

LWE’s Top 20 Singles of 2008 (Part 2)

15. Melchior Productions Ltd, “Who Can Find Me (I Can’t)” [Cadenza] (buy) “Who Can Find Me (I Can’t)” has to be one of the best emotional minimal tracks of 2008. It’s brittle structure and softly plodding drums are classic Melchior, but something about the shimmering arpeggios and mournful vocals make this one especially heavy-hearted. “Choir” […]

LWE’s Top 20 Singles of 2008 (Part 1)

In the face of critical malaise, 2008 was a great year for techno and house singles. As the landscape shifted further from minimal, deep-house (already as broad a term as “minimal”), dub and tribal sounds came back strong, joined by brand name Berghain techno, dubstep and its techy (as of yet unnamed) brother. There was […]

LWE’s Top 5 Worst Ideas of 2008

For our final year-end column, LWE staff writer Todd Hutlock takes to task the top five worst ideas of 2008. Pundits can argue back and forth all they like about whether 2008 was a good year for music — that’s a matter of taste. What can’t be argued, however, is that for any and all […]