28-12-2012 | 16.02
The year's almost over now and all its music is released. Off course I haven't heard all of 2012's music, but I can say I did hear a lot.
2012 was a year of some really good music, but in all fairness I need to confess that I listened mostly to Blue by Joni Mitchell, Strangeways, Here We Come by The Smiths en Harvest by Neil Young; LP's released in 1971, 1987 and 1972.
Instead of an album list, I made a toplist of 2012's music in people. Because Trouw is a club, and clubs aren't ruled by albums, but by hits, records and deejays. Therefore I made a list of people, so everything and everybody's able to participate. And so it covers everything at once: tracks, hits, albums, EP's, labels and deejays.
Yes, starting off with Actress. After R.I.P's release in April, this album was on repeat for weeks at my place. While Actress' previous LP consisted some stand-out songs like Maze and Lost, R.I.P. contains no songs at all. It's a coherent piece, that should be experienced from the first to the last second, on proper sound so Actress trademarks can fully reveal themself.
Olde English Spelling Bee is a label that released lo-fi music. Sometimes their music is so lo-fi, you can't barely hear the music. On Cohen's Pink Keys, this is not the case: her poppy songs are marvellous and perfectly recognizable.
Sometimes it happens that deejays stop playing a hit, before it even is a hit. Because they don't want to play hits. I never liked this, good hits are cool and should be played every night. New For U by Andrès fortunately was played almost every night and every club, resulting in audiences that recognized the song from the first seconds.
For Geoff Barrow BEAK> is a hobby band, for me it's one of the bands of this year. After transforming Portishead from a triphop band into a krautrock collective, there was BEAK>, the ultimate embodiement of Geoffs sound; dark and hypnotic like they used to make it.
John Talabot once tipped this band on his blog, I still need to thank him for that. Belbury Poly is a band that plays weird pop with lots of synthesizers. Their last album, The Belbury Tales deserves more listeners, if not only for its sweetest song Green Grass Grows.
Ben UFO was crazy this year; Lentekabinet, Nachtdigital, Trouw, everywhere he stood out. Ben mixes fast and hard without sounding rude. While his labelmates sometimes drown in their own, radical hard sound, Ben plays everthing. We should him be thankful, for creating a new deejay standard of allround skills mixed with modesty and kindness.
His new EP is good, but Kindred was out of this world. The opening track is beautiful, so is Loner, but Ashtray Wasp is even more: it's the best thing Burial produced these last couple of years. Or ist it Nova, the record Burial casually released together with Four Tet this year?
When Shackleton is too intense for you, try Burnt Friedman. For me this is the case and Burnt Friedman's album made me dance around in my room. Without hardly anything but drums he produced one of the most exciting albums of the year. And also he's responsible for one of the best remixes of the year: for Shangaan Shake (tip!) he transformed Zinja Hlungwani into a true gentleman.
At the start of this year, Dan Snaith was the guy who leaded Caribou, played some records in a small club from time to time, and released edits as Daphni. At Melt Festival Caribou was the absolute main act and after their show Dan played one of his wild, fuzzy deejay sets at the beach.
This autumn Dan played a deejay set in Trouw. He had became an excellent deejay, who just released one of 2012's best dance records. Dan has superpowers.
From time to time I stumble upon the term nu-soul, for me a warning sign telling me to stay away. Sabrina Starke, or whatever her name may be, I have no clue what's nu or soul about her. With Black is Beautiful Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland (also known as Hype Williams) released an abstract concept album this year. It was good, but not as good as Blunts december mixtape, soulful and as nu as it gets.
Erol Alkan is the coolest deejay ever, this has been my opinion for as far back as I can remember. For Bugged Out this year he mixed a double album; the first CD is full of electro-energy more or less to be expected of Erol Alkan. The second CD however is by far the best mix of the year. Warm, slow pop and nothing else: from Buffalo Springfield to Jan Hammer and Chromatics. Aside from this he's the man who introduced The Space Lady to the world. Right before Jai Paul, you can hear Major Tom, a track that's unbelievably beautiful.
This year Four Tet collected his singles and released it as an album, spread words of wisdom through interviews, connected musicians and different scenes, organized festivals, did some splendid radioshows and delivered a proper remix on monthly basis. Four Tet is my man of the year.
Jai Paul released exactly one track this year, at the end of March. I have played Jasmine on a daily basis ever since.
Text: Luc Mastenbroek