Daniel Givens (Other Music Staff)

  • Best of 2013

    I'm feeling inspired this year by the wealth of electronic music that graced our shelves, some releases throughout the whole year, others that lasted  just a few days. As usual there was lots of great music to get lost in, so I've decided to use the titles of Kraftwerk albums to help me break things down and group things together. So it's not a top 10 per se, instead I offer your imagination several lists that would make great mix-tapes, or should I say playlists. These were releases that welcomed comebacks, completely surprising, soothed a few heartbreaks, got me up-n-pumped at the gym, and effectively became my 2013 soundtrack in and out of the shop. Thanks to all our customers for continuing to support the music makers and small businesses (labels, distributors, and shops) that provide everyone with their audio fix. And to the 4-on-the-floor crew for making the days go by effortlessly! Enjoy and may 2014 be filled with positive vibes and good tunes! 

    These were expansive collections, compilations, & reissues.
    DJ Sprinkles "Where Dance Floors Stand Still" and "Queerifications & Ruins" (Mule Musiq)
    "Mutazione & Trevor Jackson Presents: Metal Dance 2" (Strut)
    "Kill Yourself Dancing" and "In the Dark: Detroit Is Back"  (Still Music)
    "Purple Snow" and "Good God! Apocryphal Hymns" (Numero)
    Cleaners from Venus "Volume 2" (Captured Tracks)
    Deux Filles "Silence & Wisdom/Double Happiness" (LTM)
    "Night Slugs All Stars Vol. 2" (Night Slugs)
    "Think and Change" box (Non Plus)
    MK "Defected Presents MK in the House" (Defected)
    "Traxx: The House That Garage Built" (Future Boogie) 
    "We Love… Detroit: Compiled by Derrick May & Jimmy Edgar" (We Love Records)

    These were albums that possessed a deep rumbling, earthy and/or synthetic cosmic atmosphere.
    Samuel Kerrdige "A Fallen Empire" (Downwards)
    Roly Porter "Life Cycle of a Massive Star" (Subtext)
    Emptyset "Recur" (Raster-Noton)
The Stranger "Watching Dead Empires in Decay" (Modern Love)
    Forest Swords "Engravings" (Tri Angle)
    Shifted "Under a Single Banner" (Bed of Nails)
    Rainer Veil "Stuck" 12" (Modern Love)
    Huerco S. "Colonial Patterns" (Software)
    Logos "Cold Mission" (Keysound)
    Actress "Grey Over Blue" and  Helena Hauff "Actio Reactio" 12"s (Werk Discs)

    Expansive transmission from world's dance floors.
    Walton "Beyond" (Hyperdub)
    "Livity Sound" comp (Livity Sound)
    Echo 106 "Choco & Cherry" and Audio Atlas "Window 2 the World" (Mathematics)
    Special Request "Soul Music" and Akkord "s/t" (Houndstooth)
Tuff Sherm "Struggle Smell" cassette (Reckno) + "Burglar Loops" and MM / KM (Mix Mup & Kassem Mosse) "s/t" 12"s (The Trilogy Tapes)
    Forever Forever/Prayer "Play Fight/The Two Halves" 12" (Cult Music)
    Cosmin TRG "Gordian" (50 Weapons)
    Kingdom "Vertical XL" and Nguzunguzu "Skycell" 12" (Fade to Mind)
    Egyptrixx "A/B Infinity" and L-Vis "1990 Ballads" 12" (Night Slugs)
    Omar S "Thank You for Letting Me Be Myself" (FXHE)
    Kyle MF Hall "The Boat Party" (Wild Oats)
    George Fitzgerald "Thinking of You" 12" (Hotflush)
    DJ Rashad "Double Cup" (Hyperdub)
    Bloom "Maze Temple" 12" (Lost Codes)
    Jay Daniel "Scorpio Rising" 12" (Sound Signature)
    M Gun "If You're Reading This" 12" (Don't Be Afraid)

    These were albums led by one man/woman incorporating vocals and electronics. 
    Dean Blunt "The Redeemer" (Hippos in Tanks)
    James Blake "Overgrown" (Republic)
    Lucrecia Dalt "Commotus" & "Syzygy" (Human Ear Music)
    King Krule "6 Feet Beneath the Moon" (True Panther)
    Vex Ruffin "s/t" (Stones Throw)
    Thundercat "Apocalypse" (Brainfeeder)

    Space Lady "Greatest Hits" (Night School)
    Otis G. Johnson "'Everything - God Is Love '78" (Numero Group)
    Dwight Skyes "s/t" (PPU)
    Inga Copeland "Don't Look Back, That's Not Where You're Going" 12" (World Music)

    These releases were digital only: the life of the mixtape.
    James Ferraro "Cold" (Hippos In Tanks)
    Dean Blunt "Stone Island" 
    Cassie "RockabyeBaby" (Bad Boy)
    Le1f "Fly Zone" (Greedhead)
    Jai Paul "s/t"
    Pusha T "Wraith of Caine" (Re-Up Gang Records)
    Acra "Forgotten" (Lost Codes)
    Oneman "Edits + Remixes 2013"
    Jam City "Memories…Of How It Used to Be"
    Zebra Katz "DRKLNG & X X M I I" 
    Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) & Preservation "The REcstatic" (MonDieu Music)
    Q-Tip & Busta Rhymes "The Abstract & The Dragon" (G.O.O.D. Music/Cash Money)
    Gianni Lee x Mike Blud "Yeezus" (The Samples)
    Lil Silva "The Distance EP" (Good Years)

    Exactly what it sounds like. The next generation in smart lounge, soul nouveau, quiet storm, chillwave, and poppy electronica.
    Jessy Lanza "Pull My Hair Back" (Hyperdub)
    Sampha "Dual" and FKA Twigs "EP2" 12" (Young Turks)
    inc. "No World" (4AD)
    Toro Y Moi "Anything in Return" (Carpark)
    Disclosure "Settle" (Interscope)
    Young Echo "Nexus" (Ramp)
    Knxwledge "Anthology" cassette (Leaving) and "Kauliflowr" LP (All City)
    Ras G "Back on the Planet" (Brainfeeder)
    Romare "Love Songs Part 1" 12" (Black Acre)
    Lapalux "Nostalchic" (Brainfeeder)
    Saint Heron comp (Saint Heron)
    Mount Kimbie "Cold Spring Fault Less Youth" and Darkstar "News from Nowhere" (Warp)
    Evenings "Yore" (Friends of Friends)
    Fatima "Circle" 12" (Eglo)

    Music from around the world, a hodgepodge of motifs and rhythms.
    Ali Mohammed Birra "Ethiopiques 28" (Buda Musique)
    Hailu Mergia "Hailu Mergia and His Classical Instrument: Shemonmuanaye" (Awesome Tapes from Africa)
    Sekou Batourou Kouyate "Et Sa Cora" (Tembo)
    Mammane Sani et son Orgue "La Musique Electronique du Niger" (Mississippi)
    Keith Hudson "Torch of Freedom" (Hot Milk)
    Saada Bonaire "s/t" (Captured Tracks)
    Finis Africae "El Secreto De Als 12," "A Last Discovery" and Sheriff Lindo & The Hammer "Ten Dubs That Shook the World" (EM)

    Examples of artists at the top of their game, or at least offering solid albums that showed why they are valuable. 
    Zomby "With Love" (4AD)
    Pusha T "My Name Is My Name" (Def Jam) 
    Burial "Rival Dealer" (Hyperdub)
    Matana Roberts "Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile" (Constellation)
    Kanye West "Yeezus" (Def Jam)
    Blood Orange "Cupid Deluxe" (Domino) 
    The Asphodells "Ruled By Passion, Destroyed By Lust" (Rotters Golf Club)
    M.I.A. "Matangi" (Interscope)
    KA "The Night’s Gambit" (Iron Works)

    Examples of artists using minimal sound to create maximum effects.
    Laraaji "Celestial Music," "Essence/Universe," and "Two Sides of Laraaji" (All Saints)
    Colin Stetson "New History Warfare Vol 3: To See More Light" (Constellation)
    These New Puritans "Field of Reeds" (Infectious Music)
    Dirty Beaches "Drifters/Love Is the Devil" (Zoo Music)
    Deux Filles "Silence & Wisdom/Double Happiness" (LTM)
    Queens "End Times" (Dial)
    Jace Clayton "The Julius Eastman Memory Depot" (New Amsterdam)

    Guilty Pleasure(s) of the year: Half of Justin Timberlake "20/20 Experience Part 1" (thanks Timberland!) (RCA), Kele Rowland "Dirty Laundry" single (Republic) and Lil Durk "Dis Ain't What You Want" single (Def Jam)

    Not new this year, but blew my mind just the same: Jackie Mittoo "Wall Street from the Keyboard King at Studio One" (Universal Sound-2000)

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