Top 25 Singles of 2014 so far

You better stop, children what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
No but like, seriously, what the fuck was that? It was hella loud, yo
– Buffalo Springfield, “For What It’s Worth”

There have been a lot of records this year in the burgeoning BANG! BOOM! CRASH! subgenre, where the samples and/or drums are so loud they feel like they’re jumping out of your speaker and hitting you in the face, even at low volume. But the best of them remain undeniably musical, and even catchy. Evian Christ and Bok Bok are tops in this department, through different approaches; the American upstart is relentlessly melodic even with his noisiest bits (a skill he shares with Skrillex, of all people) while the Brit turns even the rawest repetitions into R&B, whether it’s with 80s quiet storm synths or the very Aaliyah-like vocal stylings of Kelela.

Looking down the list, melody is the thing, however subtle. It’s there in Martyn and Four Tet’s twinkling kalimba samples, Toronto’s Jex Opolis’ Zither EP (especially “On The Cliffs” with its stabs of vocal “aaaahs” and gently burbling drums), DMX Krew’s oddly compelling lounge-pop and even H-SIK’s amped-up breakbeat science. I used to think a hummable tune was optional, even quaint, but maybe the years of minimal tech – and the waning of the prog house sound in favour of who knows what in EDM-land – have made it more palatable, if not outright necessary.

You’ve got your grime-oriented and just plain weird producers in there, of course – Mumdance coming with a couple of collaborations (with Logos and Pinch respectively) that make it sound like there’s a vacuum cleaner and/or a rogue mobile phone behind the boards, as well as Phon.o, Lakker and L-Vis 1990 all delivering sides that are more not-there than there. But the tunes predominate, however simple — from Vitalic’s uncharacteristically pop-oriented take on Paul Kalkbrenner’s “Altes Kamuffel” to the chugging grooves from Melchior Productions Ltd., Todd Terje and KHLHI (a.k.a. Four Tet).

*Oh, and in light of the Polaris Music Prize short list announcement, it’s worth remembering that – without taking anything away from Jessy Lanza’s accomplishment – there’s plenty of Hot Canadian Electronic Action happening outside the album sphere. Jex Opolis, Tiga and Hobo on this list, plus Adam Marshall’s New Kanada label (and Graze alias), Guillaume and the Coutu Dumonts, Caribou’s Jiaolong imprint, Lunice, Kaytranada etc. Don’t sleep on the frozen north.

1. Evian Christ – Waterfall (Tri Angle)

2. Bok Bok – Your Charizmatic Self EP (Night Slugs)

3. Martyn – Forgiveness (EP) – (Ninja Tune)

4. Jus Now – Bare Wine (feat. Swappi) / Vodou Riddim (Gutterfunk)

5. Jex Opolis – Zither EP (Good Timin)

6. H-SIK – Sonic Rage / No Promises (Black Acre)

7. Sam Russo – To The Brink / Wanderer (Air London)

8. Jamie XX – Sleep Sound (Young Turks)

9. Mumdance & Logos – Legion / Proto (Tectonic)

10. Alex Coulton – Murda / Break Pressure (Black Acre)

11. Gerry Read – Shrubby (Aus Music)

12. KHLHI – Percussions (Text)

13. Komon and Appleblim – Jupiter EP (Aus Music)

14. Paul Kalkbrenner – Altes Kamuffel (Vitalic Remix) (Paul Kalkbrenner Music)

15. Juju & Jordash – Waldorf Salad/Third Planet from Altair (Dekmantel)

16. DMX Krew – Hot Punch / My Metro (Fresh Up)

17. Pinch & Mumdance – Turbo Mitzi / Whiplash

18. Melchior Productions Ltd – The Return Of The Cosmic Kids (Aspect Music)

19. Lakker – Containing a Thousand (R&S)

20. Todd Terje – Spiral (Full Pupp)

21. L-Vis 1990 – Ballads EP (Night Slugs)

22. Tiga & Audion – Fever (Remixes) (Turbo)

23. Flava D – Home / Hold on VIP

24. phon.o – Cracking Space Pt. 1 (50 Weapons)

25. Hobo – Mind Games (Soundz)

Mix: “Connecting”

deemo-connecting

*cover art lovingly appropriated from the poster for the 1980 Japanese movie Crazy Thunder Road

This mix is not new, but it’s too much fun to sit on any longer. I feel funny big-upping my own stuff, I keep hearing the kid from De La Soul Is Dead going “it’s slammin! Yo, it’s slammin!” So I dunno, here’s some free music and stuff. Enjoy.

Click here to download from Mediafire

1. Jex Opolis – On the Cliffs – Zither EP (Good Timin)
2. Jamie XX – Sleep Sound – Sleep Sound (Young Turks)
3. Joakim – On The Beach (Joakim’s Cray76 remix) – On The Beach (Tigersushi)
4. In Flagranti – Outsider House – Ten Years of Phonica (Phonica)
5. Moodymann – Hangover (Moodymann mix) – Hangover (KDJ)
6. Fort Romeau – Pirouette – Her Dream (Live At Robert Johnson)
7. Florian Frings – Shift – Backspace (Minus)
8. Booka Shade – Crossing Borders feat. Fritz Kalkbrenner (Booka’s Dub Mix) – Crossing Borders (Blaufeld)
9. ZZT – Givin In – Givin In (Turbo)
10. Samo Sound Boy – Divine – Open / Divine (Body High)
11. Graze – Scrap – MWeapon (New Kanada)
12. Addison Groove – Bad Seed – Presents James Grieve (50 Weapons)
13. Golden Teacher – Love – Party People/ Love (Optimo Music)
14. Melchior Productions Ltd – Sightings – The Return Of The Cosmic Kids (Aspect Music)
15. The Black Dog – Too Many Isms – Sound Of Sheffield Vol. 01 (Dust Science)
16. Komon and Appleblim – Beach Trek – Jupiter EP (Aus Music)

Mixed April 19 2014 by Dave Morris for a-void.ca.

“Connecting” by Deemo on Mixcloud