Well, now you know what held the places between numbers 26 and 50 in the year's top downloads, as chosen by the readers of XLR8R.com. So today we share with you your own best of the best, numbers 1-25. (And yes, we're sure that Jimmy Edgar is indeed worthy of the number one and 20 spots, and that it has nothing to do with a bunch of pervs Googling "Hot" "Raw" "Sex" and unwittingly ending up on XLR8R.com.) Read more »
Manchester/Leeds-based beat craftsman Darren Williams (a.k.a. Star Slinger) has been blowing up some of our favorite blogs as of late, and we're starting to understand why. Along with making a ton of tunes and handing them out like so much Halloween candy, the producer's work is all over the musical map—making remix stops in Deerhunter, Small Black, and Cocteau Twins territory when he's not crafting his own glistening, sample-based hip-hop locales. Our first offering on behalf of the up-and-coming artist is the R&B-heavy "Baby Mama," an ecstatic head-nodder that brings to mind the wonky, neon sounds of Hudson Mohawke, Rustie, and the like, although this tune is perfectly quantized. Comparisons aside, Star Slinger shines not only as an expert sample user, but also as a musician who knows how to use a catchy, memorable melody to keep the listener coming back to his songs again and again.
Cologne's Kompakt imprint has been a leader in all things techno since its inception in 1998, so it is only right that a record compiling the work of one of its founding members, Jürgen Paape, be regarded as something special. "Take That," which originally appeared on this year's Total 11 compilation and now again as part of Paape's upcoming retrospective album, Kompilation, is an anthem with one foot placed firmly in the future and the other in the past. The track is dark and heavy, recalling some classic techno aesthetics in its sound and structure, but something seems to also be reaching out to the unknown. Maybe its the lazery rhythmic lines that carry the track along, or the stripped down, minimal bounce that Paape employs; either way, as you listen it becomes clear why taking a look at the work of one of techno's most influential label heads/artists is a worthwhile endeavor. Paape was also known as one of techno's most secretive artists, as he never did any interviews, played any shows, or published any pictures, until now. The image above is Paape's first published photo which, not surprisingly, looks like a German guy who has been making techno for over a decade. Kompilation will be released exclusively from Kompakt on December 17 physically and January 10 digitally.
Ann Arbor's now-legendary Ghostly International and sister-label Spectral Sound are set two release two new giant digital compilations next week with We'll Never Stop Living This Way (album artwork above) and Spectral Sound Vol. 3. Read more »
Well, it looks like the Inception ripples are starting to hit the shore. But what better pairing could those kinds of mind-bending visuals have than the hyperreal 3-D sounds of Bay Area producer Eskmo? Director/animator Cyriak Harris plays with some footage of a New York City street to the slow groove of producer Brendan Angelides' crunchy "We Got More" track from his recently released Eskmo (Ninja Tune) album. Read more »
For the third release on burgeoning Czech imprint Mean Bucket, Prague-based DJ/producer Tvyks crafted a two-song single, Prague to Berlin, filled with the skittering bounce of UK club rhythms, the airy pads of old-school rave tunes, and the expertly delivered verbiage of UK MC C.Monts. Here, we're given the opportunity to pass on one of those tunes, the solid dancefloor heat of "Mitte Riddim." The song kicks off already in high gear—a shuffling future-house beat follows some introductory blips and clicks, which is quickly joined by a handful of hyped-up synths and lyrical gymnastics. Just about everything thereafter climbs higher into the realms of late-night revelry, though Tvyks still makes way for a somber breakdown around the midpoint before he builds it right back up to the heights where we started. You can check out the whole Prague to Berlin single here.
Brooklyn techno veteran Alexi Delano (pictured above) has a new podcast available thanks to Berlin's Mobilee imprint. Delano's podcast comes on the heels of his recently released single, "Un Do Me" b/w "Watch Out," from Leena (a Mobilee sub-label) and he's delivered an hour's worth of slippery dancefloor burners to help spread the word. Read more »
Ed Upton has proven, for the past 15 years, that he's a pious disciple of '80s electro, but his 10th album as DMX Krew, Wave Funk, calls for an intervention to break his addiction. In the past, Upton and his arsenal of vintage analog synths and drum machines could easily melt away the 25 years since electro's heyday. On Wave Funk, he departs from his vocal-driven electro pop and falls into abstract synth instrumentals that often don't quite gel. Read more »
While we're over here at XLR8R HQ compiling, revising, and fine-tuning out year-end favorites lists, DFA just goes ahead and drops a new video for The Crystal Ark's massive "The City Never Sleeps" track on our lap, like we don't already have enough on our minds. But we're not too bothered by it, and now we might have to amend our Favorite Videos of 2010 list to include this well-made clip. Read more »
Benoit & Sergio's 2009 debut EP, What I've Lost, is a lesson in sophistication, each song displaying a level of musical maturity rarely reached by producers in a whole lifetime of work. Vocals, melody, and dancefloor-ready rhythms all come together to create a vision of house music that could live in the club or the solitude of your bedroom. Read more »
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