It’s been an amazing year for music and it was really tough to select just 50 - In fact I prepared a Spotify playlist that highlights some of the other favourites that didn’t make final 50 which you can find here (mind you, sadly some tracks are unavailable on Spotify). So let’s start from the top:
1. Lone - Airglow Fires It was a no brainer with “Airglow Fires” - simply the best track of 2013 - for me this is what comes close to perfection. Sunny, futuristic synths, certain optimism and production that makes me smile wide open every time I hear it. If there’s anyone out there who defines 2013 and beyond, it’s Lone.
2. Open Eye Signal - Jon Hopkins This is the track that came very very close to number one - Open Eye Signal is stuffier and a little bit darker to Airglow Fires, though they seem to share a common DNA. Accompanied by one of the best videos this year too, Jon Hopkins just lets you lose yourself in his enormous soundscapes.
3. Bo Beep (Do U Right) - Shlohmo ft. Jeremih I feel it was also a good year for reviving R’n’B - and Bo Beep… epitomised the dark, mellow and ridiculously sexy vibes, oozing throughout the track. Jeremih’s sensual vocals combined with Shlohmo’s glitchy yet still epic epic production made up an instant classic. If they only made an album together…
4. A Tooth For an Eye - The Knife There were different reactions to the Knife, and there was an argument that “this doesn’t sound like the Knife anymore” - maybe it doesn’t (personally I think it was the most natural way of progression for them), but it doesn’t change the fact that “A Tooth For an Eye” is probably some of the finest songs they have ever made.
5. Andrew - Blondes It’s so deep, it’s like falling into some dark, smokey, discoball-lit abyss. This stuff reminds me of the first night in Berhain (but what happened there, stays there!) and whenever I need to get my mind off things (and to be honest I have a lot to escape from), I just put “Andrew” on, turn off the lights and disappear. Majestic thing.
6. Papi Pacify - FKA Twigs I was going to list all four songs from her second EP, but let’s give the others a chance - FKA Twigs absolutely owned this year, releasing four absolutely stunning tracks. “Papi Pacify” stands out in particular the way it blossoms - at first timid and shy, the lush orchestration gradually takes over blowing the track into epic proportions. Arca’s (who is responsible for a great “&&&&&” mix and production on West’s Yeezus) production throughout her entire EP is stellar, but it is “Papi Pacify” in particular is that anchors her as the most exciting artist to look out for.
7. St8 Outta Mumbai / Track 2 - Jai Paul Whether he is fucking around with us, or has his demos really been leaked - is one thing. But that day, when sixteen tracks - including his legendary “BTSTU” and “Jasmine” leaked in form of an album - the Internet rejoiced. War footage stopped. No natural disasters happened. Kanye West had a quiet day. Twitter only cared about Jai Paul - everyone bonded over what was jaw dropping music. A brief listen to “Track 2” is just a taster. There’s no one like Jai Paul at the moment and sometimes I worry there never will be. 8. Break My Love - Nicholas Jaar No one does “classy” like Nicolas Jaar does - this is dance music taken to a new, intelligent level - throbbing synths and delicate drums so impeccably put together in a spacious composition you might think it’s music made for an art gallery after party. I would love to see more of things like that from him.
9. Rough Sleeper - Burial This is actually from very late 2012 but because of that I suppose I can include this in - and I really want to - Burial creates almost holistic compositions in shades of grey. Rough Sleeper sounds depressing, yet hopeful - the track breathes heavily and it’s dotted with dissected cathedral-like chimes, bringing a sense of finding peace of mind amidst the turmoil. Beautiful thing.
10. Shape - Glasser It’s hard to shake off the feeling that Glasser on “Shape” sounds like Björk from her “Vespertine” period. Stretched, glassy surfaces slide and collide with each other to somewhat haunting vocals. I only regret a little bit that this standout track wasn’t followed by similarly strong material, which I hoped would be similarly elusive.
11. Gun - Chvrches 12. #Beautiful - Mariah Carey 13. Do I Make You Feel Shy? - Connan Mockasin 14. Vampire Weekend - Hannah Hunt
15. Invisible - Annie 16. On Blue Mountain - Foxygen 17. Sea - Roosevelt 18. Something About You - Dornik 19. BIPP - Sophie 20. I Come From The Mountain - Thee Oh Sees 21. XXX 88 (feat. Diplo) - Mø 22. City’s Full - Savages 23. Afterlife - Arcade Fire 24. XE2 - Mssingno 25. La Femme - La Femme < 26. You’re Not Good enough - Blood Orange 27. Falling - Haim 28. Gunshotta - Machinedrum 29. Take Me To Church - Hozier 30. The Only Shrine I’ve Seen - Darkside 31. Superlove - Charli XCX 32. Eras - Juana Molina 33. New Summer - Young Galaxy 34. Childhood’s End - Majical Cloudz 35. We Were In Love - Ta-Ku 36. Safe With Me - Sam Smith 37. Boom Skit - M.I.A. 38. Mi Negrita - Devendra Banhart 39. Wenu Wenu - Omar Souleyman 40. Tennis Court - Lorde 41. Interlude - London Grammar 42. Hemiplegia - Haerts 43. Li Zhiid - Huerco S. 44. Place/Crusher - Lee Bannon 45. Mephisto in the Water - Jenny Hval 46. Numb ft. Rick Ross - Cassie 47. Magical Boy ft. Matthew Dear - DJ Koze 48. Birds - Death Grips 49. Slasherr - Rustie 50. White Noise ft. Aluna George - Disclosure
It’s been a while since i posted anything but I promise, I will be better now!
So let’s start off on a higher note: Seiho’s masterful work with synths and beats never disappoints and GOLD is particularly fun - ideal for an optimistic Sunday morning. Enjoy free download. <3
"Chilled and sexy" might be a bit cheddary, but I couldn’t think of anything more fitting for the new mix. Enjoy - I am going to update it a bit more, your suggestions are very welcome!
That’s a nice find - reminds me a lot of Taquwami which is always a positive comparison - I missed that sort of chilly, airy music. The EP will be available tomorrow as a free download.
Wow, it’s been a while.
I got into Portland about two years ago back when they were releasing some really nice pop tunes under “Birds Escape” moniker and just when I thought they called it quits for good, here they are, with a brand new song, “Deezy Daisy”.
Though I preferred their previous name I can’t wait for the new material they are preparing as Portland - think of Glass Candy going groovy.
Out on Kitsuné on September 15th.
Sam Smith continues with releasing very strong material. If anyone needed a soulful fix after Jessie Ware’s fantastic “Devotion” then there you go, Sam Smith provides
Oh Land turns into more mainstream, polished POP scene and Renaissance Girls from her upcoming album “WISH BONE” is the first single. I fell in love with the infectious chorus amd Oh Land’s hair - thinking of dyeing my hair that colour myself now! The video is everything we love about the Scandinavian idea of “quirky” but all done in a stylish and sleek hollywood way.
Can’t wait for the upcoming Oneohtrix Point Never album. OPN recently has been more prominent in various art collaborations, such as the drone installation for Saatchi & Saatchi Showcase and the video is a work of Takeshi Murata a digital artists whose still life pictures are an interesting play on hyperreality - at a glance those fantastic set ups seem extremely photorealistic to the point of appearing “too real” and at another time it’s easy to see low polycount of the objects and distorted, flat textures.
Watch that thing of beauty in HD.