I'm basically at a loss for words for what an amazing year 2009 was for virtually all types of electronic music. I don't think I've ever witnessed such an intense creative burst within any other scene of music. It was a truly epic year. Live, on tape, and on record.
It was led by an amorphous seven-headed monster known as dubstep, a genre that is essentially defined by nothing other than a requirement for a snare drum hit on the third beat and some syncopated rhythms. And bass. Lots and lots of bass. But the great thing is that that broad definition left a ton of room for experimentation.
There were so many inventive offshoots and reworkings of whatever original dubstep sound might have existed, that it was basically impossible to keep up with them all. It almost seemed as if the best artists out there were creating their own sub-genres, not just their own sounds.
This is a list carefully put together by someone with a fiery romance-novel-like passion for this type of music, so I really hope you enjoy it. Within it there are some obligatory dubstep bangers, a whole gang of variations on the sound, and a whole other set of sounds that I can hardly define. But either way, Happy new year everyone. Here's some excellent music to welcome you into the future.
****First up is an initial set of artists that I think had the most original and captivating sounds of the year. There'll be more artists of the same calibre in the next entry, along with a list (and samples) of tracks that were totally essential from some less important but still pretty amazing people. Oh and of course this music must be listened to at extremely loud volumes. it must!
I decided to start the list off by reppin' the best town on the best coast: San Francisco.
This guy Eskmo has one of the crunchiest, craziest sounds I've heard in quite a while, and certainly one of the most original. You can hear an extended version of his sound on his Colorbrain Mix on Flying Lotus's Brainfeeder site. Or you can download either his Hypercolor EP or the Let Them Sing 12". But for now, here's 'San Francisco'.
Eskmo San Francisco (The Rhythm) uploaded by elpretentio
Joker is brilliant, that's about it. I could post any track he's released this year and it would be impressive. Like a lot of artists in his field his releases were mostly singles or 12"s, but if you want to understand his sound for 2009 just look to his and Ginz's DataTransmission Mix.
Zero 7 - Everything Up (Joker Remix) uploaded by elpretentio
Sketch On Glass and Maybes, both nearly perfect. After track after track of intense bass up the wazoo all year, it was incredibly pleasant to sit back and relax over something more subtle. I don't know how many more synonyms I can keep coming up with for original and brilliant, but they are certainly both those things. I'm just going to be quiet now and let you listen.
Mount Kimbie - Taps uploaded by elpretentio
Mount Kimbie - Maybes uploaded by elpretentio
Egyptrixx is pretty new to the scene as far as I know. At least he's just getting started. And what an awesome start it is. He's got a perfect handle on the heavy wobble sound (his has it's own Toronto twist), but also knows how to open it up like a psychedelic window. 'Godzilla' is a perfect example of a 'dubstep banger' done right. And 'Hexagon Ya', which for the life of me I could not find an actual copy of online (which is why it's ripped from a mix), is the dubstep equivalent of taking DMT. The space-time continuum gets torn apart and a gang of 5th-dimensional elves manifest spontaneously to teach you the nature of language. That's basically what it sounds like.
Egyptrixx - Godzilla uploaded by elpretentio
Hexagon Ya (Ripped from a Starkey Podcast) uploaded by elpretentio
Zomby and Joker have one major thing in common: they can do no wrong. Zomby relentlessly put out single after single, EP after EP, and they were all great. One big reason for that (which is true for Joker also) is that they did a brilliant job, from the outset of their career, of developing an iconic sound. Zomby's is playful, sinister, lush, and spritely. The One Foot Ahead of the Other EP is his major release for 2009.
Aquafresh uploaded by elpretentio
Zomby - Digital Fauna uploaded by elpretentio
Nosaj Thing has carved out a definite space for himself in the musical landscape. His LP: Drift was solid without a doubt, but his true talent lies in his ability to put on a show. His Visual Show at the Downtown Independent in LA was truly a breathtaking spectacle. The visuals were minimal but perfectly suited to what was playing through the speakers. The effect of that combined stimulation gave me chills on the back of my neck. It was awe-inspiring. For an extra dose of NT's stylings, check out his XLR8R Mix.
To be continued...