Top Ten Records from the First Half(ish) of 2016

Photo: Google

OK so we’ve been less than active on here this year. What with increasingly time consuming toddlers (I’m not complaining like, promise), all-important wedding plans (we look forward to welcoming Mrs TF Wizard to the BoR family at the weekend) and an almost Troy McClure level of obsession with fish(ing), we’ve been a bit out of it all. Well, except for discovering new tunes, we’ve still been doing that.

And in a lovely twist of fate this morning I’ve found myself in a position to write a few words about some of the tracks that have brought me intense joy over the past 7/8 months . So here we go, the best tracks of the year so far according to me, in no particular order – get stuck in…

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NB – A number of these tracks appear in my Variations #2 mix, so in a move of shameless self promotion I’ve embedded it above. It’s also available for download to play on all portable listening devices – saaiiifff.

Silent Servant ‘Run’

The best techno producer in all the land does it once more with this stunning, if pricey EP for Elektron Grammofon (although it is for a good cause). ‘Run’ sees Jealous God co-boss-chap Juan Mendez go for the dancefloor jugular with this ‘insistent, biting’, beast of a track. It kicks off at full tilt and just keeps tightening the screws throughout, with poly-rhythmic synth lines keeping things trippy as fuck. Also check out his ‘Hypnosis in The Modern Age Vol II EP’ for LIES.

Metropolis ‘Uberall Polizei, Nirgendwo Gerechtigkeit’

I can’t imagine this one leaving my record bag… ever. Metropolis has been in searing form this year, his recent EP for Broken Dreams being another stonking effort, but for standalone tracks the extravagantly titled ‘Uberall Polizei, Nirgendwo Gerechtigkeit’ is an instant favourite that I still can’t get enough of. The EBM vocals, the thin, sleazy bassline and a kick drum heavier than Rik Waller (insert more current cultural reference here) make this one of the very best tunes of 2016.

MJ Guider ‘Fiction Control’

In Precious Systems MJ Guider has delivered a longplayer I doubt anyone will top this year, and the album’s closer (starts at 35’52”) is just about the most heartbreaking example of the New Orleans shoegazer’s skill. The vocal delivery is reminiscent of Grouper’s prettier moments (‘Heavy Water/I’d Rather Be Sleeping’ springs to mind) but it’s the electronic elements and frozen tundras of crushing bleakness that see the Kranky debutante deliver something truly majestic. Feels, bro.

Cute Heels ‘Verge’

Just a relentless, finely honed, mucky piece of EBM from Rivet’s outstanding Kess Kill label. It’s not flashy, it’s not particularly complex but therein lies it’s charm, and what is there is done so well you’ll be nothing less than hooked by its delivery. Also check out the Colombian producer’s Third Skin EP for Dark Entries and Kess Kill’s second release by Xao Seffcheque. In fact, make sure you keep tabs on Kess Kill, with the mighty Celldöd due to drop an EP in a matter of weeks.

Segv ‘xsy’

Acid so fucking tasty it actually makes me salivate, the degraded 303 licks are just dripping with brutal menace. The restrained percussion and gloomy atmosphere masks an out and out acid house banger that’s impossible not to lose your shit to.

Alessandro Parisi ‘Cosmica 1999’

Soaring synthwave has never sounded better – the second entry on this list from Marsman’s formidable Charlois imprint is a starry-eyed slice of intergalactic bliss. In fact it was hard to pick a favourite from the EP, but ‘Cosmica 1999’ was the first track from it that stopped me dead in my tracks, and I’ve no doubt that it’ll do the same to you.

Drvg Cvltvre ‘There Were Rumours’

It wouldn’t be a respectable ‘best of’ list without at least one entry by hardware badman Vince Koreman. Some tracks have to be admired for the sheer punch they pack, and the muscles being flexed in ‘There Were Rumours’ are enough to terrify even the hardest of hard lads.

Sciahri ‘Eremite’

Beautiful doesn’t quite cover it. The subdued low end vocals that creep into the track at the two minute mark send this weighty piece of atmospheric techno into another realm of brilliantness-ness. Any more words, made up or not would do this track a dis-service – just stream it above and form your own superlatives.

Violet Poison ‘Radio Veronica 100.6’

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Violet Poison has released two mammoth EPs this year, the first (which this track comes from) The Game came with a photo of a man with bandages covering his eyes and lips stitched together alongside a sachet containing a needle and thread, which gives you a visual clue to the nature of the music. Sordid, sleazy and intense, like a head-crushing poppers high minus the headache, Radio Veronica 100.6 is the track where Francesco Baudazzi hooks up his motifs best to build a no-holds-barred banger from start to finish. Look out for the new Bakunin Commando LP arriving in the next few weeks, and pretty much everything released on his Veleno Viola label.

Boy Harsher ‘Morphine’

Dreary darkwave with drum programming to die for, Boy Harsher’s new LP Yr Body Is Nothing is bulging with dance-able bleakness, with atonal vocals soaring over funked up basslines and skeletal percussion. There are many highlights on the album, but it’s ‘Morphine’ that sees the Massachusetts duo play to their strengths most comprehensively – those chords actually make you feel like you’re on industrial strength sleepers. Utterly flawless.

Schwefelgelb ‘Bis Zum Nächsten Tag’

The kind of track that makes you want to break out the lino and start spinning on your noggin, if only you weren’t such a disgusting fat slob (mind you, the dad bod is meant to be all the rage these days). The whole EP is a triumph, but it’s the 80s electro drums, BDSM bassline and distant Germanic vocals of the opener that I can’t stop revisiting. Also check the Phase Fatale remix, which is obviously a killer.

Hang on, there’s more…

Ten really isn’t enough is it? Vapuateen’s double header for LIES, Circling Vultures’ EP also on LIES, Murray CY’s Edits on Knekelhuis, Polypores incredible full length debut on Polytechnic Youth (above), Field Lines Cartographer’s hefty ambience on Concrète Tapes, Ancient Methods’ In The Mouth of the Wolf EP and Phase Fatale and December’s Jealous God instalments should all be checked out and then purchased immediately.

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