Best Albums of 2017

In the 70s music critics had an edge on the fans – if Richard Meltzer is to be believed, they got free records, invites to parties studded with stars, drugs and other party favours. In 2017 it is becoming increasingly common to not get sent the biggest new releases at all, never mind before they come out. (I note the dry irony in Taylor Swift’s album cover art appropriating newspaper logo fonts – several critics I know still haven’t received the promo.) In the mid 2000s I used to keep stacks of CDs in my desk, ordered by release date. When you opened the drawer, they stared back at you – imploringly, for less known artists, and reproachfully for the big names. Now digital promos from the majorspo arrive in dribs and drabs, sometimes expiring before you have a chance to hit ‘Play’ on track one. You can hear practically everything on demand via streaming, which is not new, but for me the landscape has finally flattened into a featureless horizon – your access is limited only by your time management. Everything is available, and everything is passing you by.

The effect on my listening is two-fold: I focus on genres I know I like, because there’s no force pushing me to engage with pop – it isn’t playing in the bars I go to, it doesn’t cross my twitter feed, I never hear commercial radio. (Pour one out for the major label marketers.) But I also feel perpetually behind, listening to records only once or twice because there’s an endless supply of new records being pushed by my genre outlets of choice (media content farms and ever-scrolling social feeds) and the FOMO is real, y’all.

So aside from the emergence of two new sounds, ‘weightless’ beat-deprived grime and dusty electro-ish drum machine industrial funk I’m dubbing CabVoltCore – neither of which I’ve seen trend pieces about so I’ve just guessed they exist – my listening this year roamed in a vast but fenced-in auditory landscape. And really, aside from the FOMO, it’s all good. I don’t miss what I don’t know exists (or don’t put at the top of a playlist). For what I didn’t miss, read on.

1. Jlin - Black Origami (Planet Mu)

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I really liked Jlin's debut, but I was a little suspicious of it being named The Wire's disc of the year - arriving amid the explosion of footwork at the time it seemed more like they wanted to celebrate the idea of experimenting with its rhythms than the actual result. Now I think they were just more perceptive than me - Black Origami is not conceptually that different from 2015's Dark Energy but it hit me like a bolt of lightning, maybe not coincidentally because the micro-bubble in radically strange footwork albums seems to have burst. With the field now largely to herself, Jlin's vision comes across as truly her own - a haunted landscape of reptilian hihats and shakers snapping menacingly over sand-blasted vocal snippets. If David Lynch remade Dune this would be the perfect soundtrack, all alien tones and martial snares conjuring a frightening yet fascinatingly unique planet ruled by huge worms. I don't know what worms sound like but they're in here somewhere, I'm sure of it.

 

The List

*Canadian
*** Not on Spotify

1. Jlin – Black Origami (Planet Mu)
2. Kendrick Lamar – Damn. (Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope)
3. *Sinjin Hawke – First Opus (Fractal Fantasy)
4. Floating Points – Reflections – Mojave Desert (Luaka Bop)
5. Richard H Kirk – Dasein (Intone)
6. Eric Copeland – Goofballs (DFA)
7. Peverelist – Tessellations (Livity Sound)
8. Gnod – Just Say No To The Psycho Right Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine (Rocket)
9. Fjaak – Fjaak (Monkeytown)
10. Errorsmith – Superlative Fatigue (Pan)

11. Pissed Jeans – Why Love Now (Sub Pop)
12. Ekoplekz – Bioprodukt (Planet Mu)
13. Blondes – Warmth (R&S)
14. Wolf Eyes – Strange Days II (Lower Floor)
15. Kingdom – Tears In The Club (Fade To Mind)
16. Claude Speeed – Infinity Ultra (Planet Mu)
17. Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory (Artium/Blacksmith/Def Jam)
18. Sampha – Process (Young Turks/XL)
19. Delia Gonzalez – Horse Follows Darkness (DFA)
20. Bjorn Torske and Prins Thomas – Square One (Smalltown Supersound)

21. Yo Gotti and Mike Will Made It – Gotti Made-It (Gotti Made-It/EMPIRE)
22. Queens Of The Stone Age – Villains (Matador)
23. Mura Masa – Mura Masa (Polydor/Interscope/Downtown/Anchor Point)
24. *Drake – More Life (OVO Sound/Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money/Republic)
25. The Mole – De La Planet (Maybe Tomorrow)
26. Future – HNDRXX (Epic/A1 Recordings/Freebandz Entertainment)
27. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream (DFA/Columbia)
28. ***Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe – Kulthan (Latency)
29. Farbror Resande Mac – Farbror Resande Mac (Horisontal Mambo)
30. Kelela – Take Me Apart (Warp)

31. Sherwood and Pinch – Man Vs. Sofa (On-U Sound)
32. Dizzee Rascal – Raskit (Dirtee Stank/Island)
33. Joakim – Samurai (Tigersushi/Because)
34. Gas – Narkopop (Kompakt)
35. Clap! Clap! – A Thousand Skies (Black Acre)
36. *Egyptrixx – Pure, Beyond Reproach (Halocine Trance)
37. *Daphni – FabricLive 93 (Fabric)
38. Sote – Sacred Horror In Design (Opal Tapes)
39. Tyler The Creator – Flower Boy (Columbia)
40. *Jacques Greene – Feel Infinite (Arts & Crafts)

41. Special Request – FabricLive 91 (Fabric)
42. *Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Luciferian Towers (Constellation)
43. ***Craig Taborn and Ikue Mori – Highsmith (Tzadik)
44. Circle – Terminal (Southern Lord)
45. Oneohtrix Point Never – Good Time sndtrk (Warp)
46. Ikonika – Distractions (Hyperdub)
47. ***Weightless Vol 1 (Different Circles)
48. ***Weightless Vol 2 (Different Circles)
49. The Horrors – V (Wolf Tone)
50. ***Jay-Z – 4:44 (Roc Nation)

New mix: Weaving

Astute readers will notice that I haven’t posted a mix since March. I’ve been… busy? I moved continents (which required giving up freelancing music writing – so, blogging’s appeal is somewhat renewed), broke my spleen and tried to make some music of my own. Time to get back to other peoples’. Expect more regular updates again, starting with this simple little thing I threw together and continuing with my best albums of the year roundup as soon as I can relisten to about 60 albums…

Click here to download from Mediafire

Mixed 22 Nov 2017 by deemo for a-void.ca

1. Zomby – GASP! – GASP! EP (Big Dada)
2. Loleatta Holloway – Stand Up (Pangaea Mix) – Two Mixes (Hadal – Devotion17)
3. Blackdown – Ridge (XLR8R)
4. Martyn – Matt Hensley – GL Outakes (3024)
5. Chip, – Scene f Jammer, D Double E, JME, Miraa Mae and Wiley
6. Klein – Arrange – Joy Orbison Selectors 004 (Dekmantel)
7. Mala – Alicia – white label
8. Equiknoxx – Congo Get Slap (Mark Ernestus Remix) – Mark Ernestus Remixes (DDS)
9. Simo Cell – Storm Steven – Pogdance EP (Brothers From Different Mothers)
10. Phon.o – CLU5T3R – Schutt Und Asche (Cold)
11. Tessela – Hackney Parrot [10 Ton Mix] – Hackney Parrot (10 Ton mix)/Headland (Poly Kicks)
12. Boylan & Oil Gang – MurderOn – BOXED004 (Boxed)
13. Pinch & Mumdance – Control – Control/Strobelight (Tectonic)
14 . Om Unit – Despite It All – Self (Cosmic Bridge)
15. Untold – Watton Res – Tear Up The Club/Watton Res – Hemlock)

New mix: Turn Up

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Does what it says on the tin. Sorry it’s late 🙂

Click here to download from Mediafire

1. Maddslinky – Hammerhead – Hammerhead (Acquatic Lab)
2. Alex Smoke – Dust – Love over Will (R&S)
3. Lamont featuring Nico Lindsay – In The Field – Missed Calls (Keysound)
4. Pinch – Screamer (feat. Riko Dan) – Screamer / No Justice (Tectonic)
5. Klone – Cellar Door – Crunch (Badimup)
6. Tremble – Vex Fi Dat – We Nuh Care / Vex Fi Dat (Ruffcut)
7. Chevel – Watery Drumming (Lee Gamble Remix) – Blurse Remixed (Stroboscopic Artifacts)
8. Egoless – Primal – Like A Nuclear Bomb (Scrub A Dub)
9. Tom E. Vercetti – Fugitive – Future Perfect EP (Coyote)
10. JT The Goon – Oil on Ice (version 3) – Oil on Ice EP (Keysound)
11. Dullah Beatz – Oil Gang – Ballys On (Oil Gang)
12. Joey LaBeija – Joey’s Inferno – Shattered Dreams (Purple Tape Pedigree)
13. Mssingno – Scope – Fones (XL)
14. Terror Danjah – Mile Gully – Mars/Mike Gully (Hardrive)
15. Jahdan Blakkamoore ft Lady Leshurr – Ting Tun Up! – Ting Tun Up! (Lustre Kings)

Mix: Massive 2: Metal Plates

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Drum and bass was my first dance-music love (unless you count a flirtation with C&C Music Factory in grade school); I think it was a direct route from seeing Prodigy’s “Firestarter” video on MuchMusic to getting hold of MTV’s first Amp compilation and just playing and replaying Goldie’s “Inner City Life” over and over and over. I was all about the breaks, aside from a lingering fondness for Roni Size (firmly wiped out by paying UK import prices at the Eaton Centre HMV to get hold of the Breakbeat Era album… yurgh). I lapped up anything Goldie-related, discovered Alex Reece, Remarc, Plug, Wax Doctor, goggled a bit at Aphex Twin, Alec Empire and Squarepusher’s cuckoo-bananas contributions to the genre, and even made my poor mother turn the car radio to CIUT to catch a ragga jungle show that aired at 6am while we were on our way to school. (Sorry, mom.)

Tech-step pretty much killed the sound off for me, at which point I was deep into IDM anyway – anyone want to buy some Team Doyobi vinyl, not even slightly used, hit me on my beeper. Don’t all call at once. Anyways, the resurgence of Metalheadz, in the form of a flurry of new releases, is plenty of reason to make a sequel to the original Massive mix I did a while back. But all this grime and footwork business goes rather well with it, I must say…

Click here to download from Mediafire

Deemo – Massive 2: Metal Plates by Deemo on Mixcloud

1. Ishan Sound – Namkha (Kahn Remix) – Namkha (Tectonic)
2. DVA – Solid (feat. Zaki Ibrahim & Metrodome) – Hyperdub 10.2 (Hyperdub)
3. Tessela – Rough 2 –  Rough 2 (R&S)
4. Four Tet – Kool FM (Champion Remix) – Beautiful Rewind Remixes (Domino)
5. Cassius Select – Bruv – Tuff Sherm / Cassius Select (Plastic World)
6. Lunice  – Can’t Wait To – Can’t Wait To (LuckyMe)
7. Danny Brown – Smokin & Drinkin (DJ Sliink Remix) – Smokin & Drinkin EP (Fools Gold)
8. Emika – Double Edge (Pinch Remix) – Missing in Action: A Collection of Selected Tracks, B-Sides and Remixes from 2006-2010 (Tectonic)
9. Plastician – Aqua Riddim – Plasticman Remastered (Terrorythm)
10. Footsie  – War Dub 4 (Send For Everyone) – King Original Vol 3 (Braindead Ent)
11. Flowdan – No Gyal Tune – Serious Business EP (Hyperdub)
12. Cam’ron & A-Trak – Dipshits (feat. Juelz Santana) (clean) – Federal Reserve (Fools Gold)
13. Traxman – Da Geto Dj’z And Teklife Anthem – Traxman presents TEKLIVING the Bandcamp Album (Bandcamp)
14. DJ Rashad, MoonDoctoR & FreshtillDef – Don’t Blow My High – WTF! (Freshmoon)
15. Nucleus & Paradox – The Return Of…   – The Return Of… / Analogue Life (Metalheadz)
16. Mako feat. Detail – Tell Me Something – The Truthseekers (Metalheadz)
17. SB81 – Arq – The Blueprints EP (Metalheadz)
18. Lenzman – My Tearz (feat. Steo) – Looking at the Stars (Metalheadz)

EM15: A Day By Day Guide To The Festival

Comrades! Let us now praise the glorious union of Montreal’s MUTEK and Elektra festivals in EM15, whose roster of gigs between Tuesday May 27 and Sunday June 1 is so good, mine eyes can barely stand to look at it. Mostly because I can’t go this year. But for those who can, let me assist you in choosing from among the 85 (!!) performances. Why? Because it’s basically this site in festival form. From Ricardo Villalobos to Pinch to Shackleton to Oneohtrix Point Never to Lee Bannon to Jonas Reinhardt to Tim Hecker to Move D (the latter four of which I didn’t even get to in the festival preview that follows), the artists at this year’s fest are in my opinion among the best that ever did it.

Check out the festival preview below; full passes and some of the individual shows appear to be sold out, but many gigs and several of the packages are available.

 

Mix: Dark Days

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You may wonder why I only post reviews of albums on here and not singles. Or you may not. Anyways I’m explaining here, so STFU for a minute. I don’t review singles because, if I like them, odds are they end up in a mix like this. Thus I feel compelled to point out how totally fucking bananas-awesome Wesley Matsell and Gerry Read’s latest singles are, which is obviously why I included them. Also the Recondite track, which isn’t new. Did I mention you should listen to this? You should listen to this.

Click here to download from Mediafire

1. Pearson Sound – Raindrops pt. II – Raindrops
2. Kelis – Jerk Ribs (Mount Kimbie Remix) – Jerk Ribs (Remixes)
3. DMX Krew – My Metro – Hot Punch / My Metro
4. Recondite – Riant – Bleep: The Top 100 Tracks of 2013
5. Lucy – leave us alone – Churches Schools And Guns
6. Neneh Cherry – Everything (Villalobos & Loderbauer: Vilod high blood pressure mix) – Everything
7. Dave DK – Woolloomooloo – Perfect Like You / Woolloomooloo
8. Wesley Matsell – Future Beacon – Total Order of Being
9. The Lionheart Brothers – The Drift (Frisvold & Lindbaek Remix) – The Drift
10. The Analogue Cops – Second Disco Crime (ft. Steffi) – Heavy Hands
11. Christian S – Number One – Pitch Rider
12. Boddika & Joy Orbison – More Maim – More Maim / In Here
13. Pinch & Mumdance – Turbo Mitzi – Turbo Mitzi / Whiplash
14. Sam Russo – Wanderer (John Tejada remix) – To The Brink / Wanderer
15. Gerry Read – Shrubby  – Shrubby
16. Snow Ghosts – Secret Garden (Matthew Herbert’s Wash It All Away Instrumental) – Secret Garden
17. Pearson Sound – Raindrops pt. I – Raindrops

Deemo – Dark Days by Deejaydeemo on Mixcloud

 

Mix: Massive

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Producers have been dropping seriously fast tracks lately and try as I might, I couldn’t fit them in a mix. So I made a whole new mix that starts brisk and ends somewhere past breakneck speed. It’s a face-ripper, folks. Highlights include a cut from the banging new Machinedrum album and a killer 12-inch on Metalheadz by, of all people, Om Unit. This one goes to 11.

1. Pinch & Shackleton – Torn & Submerged
2. Boody & LE1F – Soda (MikeQ & Divoli S’vere Daughter’s Ha Remix)
3. Visionist – Escape
4. Nomine – Anxiety Tribe
5. Wiley – Flying (Bass mix)
6. Addison Groove – Footcrab
7. RP Boo – Steamidity
8. Traxman – War On Mars ft. DJ Fred
9. DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn – Brighter Days
10. John Wizards – Limpop
11. Ruffhouse – Greyscale
12. Machinedrum – Gunshotta
13. System – Sound Man
14. Mark Pritchard – Soundboy Fuck Off
15. Om Unit – The Hand
16. Addison Groove & Sam Binga – Ol Man Ek

Click here to download from Mediafire