The state of house, despite all the mediocrity and commercial saturation, is decidedly healthy from my perspective. 2011 was a truly memorable year, but three-quarters through 2012 and I’m feeling like this will be the best yet. Unfortunately, it’s also been my financially toughest year personally, so I’ve done my best to stick my head in the sand to numb the pain of missed records. Nonetheless, I am first and foremost a DJ and fan of music, so I can’t help but hunt, dig, and snatch up the best of the best as often as possible. With that said, here’s a snapshot of 11 releases that have been jacking my jock for the last while now.
1. PROPER TRAX 4 – Chris Mitchell & Grey People [Proper Trax]
This should be obvious, but I’m extremely proud of the fourth Proper Trax release. How could I not be, considering some of the tracks have been in my own DJ rotation for nearly a year or more at this point–and yet I never tire of them. Huge thanks to Chris and Alex for believing in the label and offering up their skills to proper it up.
2. TWENTY-THREE – Marco Zenker [Ilian Tape]
I like to think I have integrity and do my best to avoid tit-for-tat support of music for the sake of relationships or the continuation of free promos. Too often have I come across charts that are slathered with that mentality, and it is frustrating. I’ve been knocked off promo lists for giving honest feedback that may not be what was expected, because a lot of labels and artists are too caught up in their own greatness to accept that while I may appreciate gifts, I’m not going to kiss ass for them. However, when Marco sent me this EP a couple months back, I knew it was gonna be a fucking smasher from the first notes of “Anisa.” Each track here has its own distinct vibe, and it’s obvious that Mr. Zenker put his most into presenting a properly cohesive EP, the way it should be done. It doesn’t rely on big name remixes or filler garbage–it’s just one carefully crafted selection of top-notch techno. One of my favorites of the year!
3. EARTH CALLS – Joey Anderson [Deconstruct]
Even though its catalog is still in the single digits, Deconstruct has yet to do less than floor me with each release, and Joey Anderson’s latest is absolutely no exception. It’s rare I buy doubles, but in the case of this one, I was on top of it from the moment I caught Halcyon’s alert. Both tracks here are simultaneously tough, thoughtful, sexy and tense–the last of which is a staple of Anthony Parasole and Levon Vincent’s release mentality. Only kick out the best, and only when the time is right.
4. IDIOT SAVANT MASTERPIECES – Amir Alexander [Vanguard Sound]
Real. That’s all you gotta know about this one. “Realest of the Real” and “Sonic Weaponry” are my favorite jams here, but the whole thing, as with most of my favorite EPs, is a journey from start to finish. “Real” is just plain nasty, and sure to be rinsed for years to come. Driving, funky, and proper techno-house. Amir is on a roll!
5. ATLANTIC AVE – Anthony Parasole & Phil Moffa [The Corner]
“Atlantic Ave” is one (well, two) of those tracks that doesn’t really snatch your attention with a big hook or particularly polished sound design when previewing or listening on small sound. But when you take this fucking record out and put it in context…watch out! Both versions of the title cut are pure, unadulterated mindfuck jams that WILL melt faces when dropped at the right time. They’re particular beasts, and as is typical of Mr. Parasole’s (limited) discography, the time must be right…but when it’s that time, you will know. “Ocean Bottom” is a fine textural piece that I’ve not played out, but could see being just right for when you want to stir some shit up. Experimental, inter-dimensional techno that will fuck you up!
6. WHO CARES WHO WINS – Dense & Pika [Dense & Pika]
Awwww yeah. My kind of sleazy, trashy, shitty machinefunk techno-house. Hadn’t heard of these guys before, but got tipped off recently by Ste Roberts and received this one to preview. I like ‘em dirty, and this one does not disappoint with its degraded sound design and “fuck it, let’s roll” attitude toward arrangements. Just a selection of three proper fucking tracks, no bullshit, no dicky tricks.
7. NV ELECTRO – 2400 Operator [Tartelet]
Boss classic-tipped electro jams here from the one and only 2400 Operator, brought to you by one of my go-to labels for off-kilter dance tunes. Title track is my favorite, but once again, this whole EP has a cohesive quality to it that makes it worthwhile as a whole. It’s a little retro in approach, but to my ears it is skips out on the reverse-engineered retro revivalism of so many others and has no qualms presenting a polished piece with contemporary flair. Goddamn, that sounded like such a douche RA reviewer line. Tight shit, buy it.
8. MUSIC FOR COSMONAUTS – CCO [Lux Rec]
NEW CCO, NEW LUX, FUCK YEAH! If you’ve followed my ramblings/charts/mixes over the last year, you know I’ve got a boner for all things Lux Rec. Those motherfuckers have yet to fail, and this is another one of those must-have acid jams from CCO. His first for the label has stayed in the crate since I found out about the label in late 2011, and I’d wager this one will be honorably serving my cosmic-acid-love needs for the next!
9. CRITICAL DISTANCE PART 2 – Tom Demac [Hypercolour]
This one’s been making the trend tossers all hot ‘n’ bothered recently, but with all my hipster foresight, my recognition of this one’s curb appeal was immediate upon receipt. Wonky vocals that sound like Thom Yorke on (more) drugs veering into a huge-as-fuck bassline that will make even the most ignorant brostep/moombatron/trap kiddie a house convert…all while keeping the bar high in “legit factor,” if you know what I mean. Could have done without the remix, honestly, as it kinda ruins the surprise factor of the original. Nonetheless, a dope track that makes me happy and still keeps the crowd on their toes.
10. OUTTA SIGHT – Mr. G [Phoenix G]
MISTER FUCKING GEE BITCH. PROPER TECH-HOUSE GOD. RAW AND NASTY. I DON’T KNOW WHY THIS IS #10 AND NOT HIGHER, EXCEPT THAT I FEEL LIKE I’VE CHARTED AND PLAYED G’S BEATS SO MUCH AND FOR SO LONG THAT I TAKE HIM FOR GRANTED. DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE LIKE ME. FOR HE IS TRUTH.
11. LET YOU IN THE SKY – Lando Kal [Icee Hot]
“Let You In The Sky” is just…just fucking great. The rest is aight, but honestly, I keep going back to A1 and forgetting to listen to the rest. One day it will be that record that I flip over and go “oh yeah, I totally slept on this B-side.” Featuring a remix from Anthony Shakir. But don’t ask me what it sounds like, cuz I’m too busy listening to the title.