The Ten Best Tracks of 2015… So Far
Photo: A Clockwork Orange
It’s been a supreme year for electronic music already, so this was a tough list to complete. I’ll start with the ones that didn’t make it to compensate for the fact they’re not in the list. That works, right?
Legowelt’s ‘XYZ South West British Airways‘, Green Gums’ ‘Cestoda’s Labyrinth‘, Joey Anderson’s ‘Under Water‘ and Marco Bernardi’s ‘Porcelain Candy‘ all didn’t make the top ten, which is saying something. The ones that did are, in no particular order:
John Heckle ‘Bon Voyage’
I bloody love John Heckle. Everything he does is so fucking abrasive it makes your head hurt – until you’ve listened to it a few times. He’s been in serious form recently, but with ‘Bon Voyage’ from the Blues For A Red Giant EP he’s on an electro pop meets sci-fi tip that makes for one hell of a ride.
I’ve no idea how many times I’ve listened to this track, but the moment where the hook comes crashing in and the cymbals start kicking off gives me chufties each time.
Polypores ‘Lord Summerisle’
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Taking cues form the analogue hauntology of Ghost Box and the weirdness of Actress, with more tape hiss, retro synths and creepy sound effects than you can shake a stick at, Stephen Buckley has knocked out three quality EPs of stunning, decayed excellence under his brand new Polypores pseudonym.
It’s when he’s at his darkest and most unforgiving that I really tune in. I’ve spent a good two hours of my life listening to this track, a song born from the death of Christopher Lee, and my god, it gets better each time. Like drifting along a foggy lake unable to see more than two feet in front on a particularly paranoid acid trip, it’s insidiously brilliant. That bass line is just mega. Also check out ‘You Are Being Followed’ for more grey scale beauty.
Mono Junk ‘Little Elephant’
Mono Junk is a genius, let nobody tell you otherwise. Last month he had two records released, each and every track of which was pure gold. Responsible for pioneering electronic music in Finland in the early 90s, Mono Junk’s fairly recent resurgence has consistently delivered (I waxed lyrical about ‘With You’ a few month back).
On this EP for Skudge, there are highlights galore, but the rugged structure and luring melodies in ‘Little Elephant’ stopped me dead in my tracks. This is a track you need in your life.
The rough, harsh frequencies at play in ‘Goodness’ are almost too much, but a strange thing happens a minute in, your ear naturally compensates, and under all that violent grit is a gorgeous piece of music. The crunchy, piercing stabs are ingeniously placed, whilst the serenity of the actual music is a headfuck against the overt noise of the rest of the track. It’s an absolute monster of a record.
Nicuri ‘Holding The Four Winds’
It’s weird, Nicuri’s been held in such high regard by the likes of DJ Qu and Joey Anderson, two artists I can’t get enough of, but I’ve never really connected with his music… that is until I heard ‘Holding The Four Winds’. Soaring, opulent chords and a dripping wet acid line keep you hooked throughout the duration – one of the best eight minutes you’ll spend this year.
It reminds me of my favourite periods of both Autechre and Untold, whilst in the process makes something very unique to Arad, one half of lauded duo Lakker. It’s weird, it’s dubby, its got a groove, but it’s not for the dancefloor. It’s tough to know how to describe it, but it’s incredible. Also, get the Lakker album.
Timothy J Fairplay ‘Dr Lazarus’
I’m ashamed to say, until I heard this in one of Johnny Wilson’s mixes earlier this year, I didn’t know much at all about Tim Fairplay.
The whole EP Love & Columbium is immense, but this tune is just something else. There are touches of early Boards Of Canada and the soundtrack work of John Carpenter, held together with the dance floor presence of our mate Heretic and the ALFOS crew, its a tune I’ll probably never tire of hearing. Check out his and Scott Fraser’s Crimes of the Future label too if you’ve not already – beaucoup bangers.
Trickfinger ‘After Below’
I’ve always slagged off the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and with good reason, they’re fucking shit. But apparently, original member John Frusciante was actually good, and made loads of insane but brilliant acoustic-y records after he left the band. As with most things, I intended to check that stuff out, but never got round to it.
The next I heard of him he was writing acid house. I was initially sceptical, till I heard it. His Trickfinger album is the Aphex Twin album I wanted Syro to be. I’ve included the first track because it’s the one where all my preconceptions died a brutal, sudden death. Apparently he won’t be releasing more music – on this evidence he doesn’t need to, where do you go from here?
Drvg Cvtlvre ‘My Houz’
It’s chunky, fists in the air techno, with menacing, tetchy synths over the top – it’s exactly what I want in my dance music – trippy but thumping as fuck, getting you all animalistic and what not. This is Drvg Cvltvre’s houz, bitches.
Luke Haze x IVVVO ‘#1’
Rough and ready, intoxicating techno at it’s finest. It’s haunting and aggressive at the same time, and it’s just about flawless. There’s a Legowelt remix on the other side that isn’t a shade on the original, what does that tell you?