Tuesday, January 20, 2009

FWD (Fast)

This Friday (23 Jan) in Johannesburg: a one-off night showcasing choice finds from the outskirts of the dance music universe, immaculately mixed up by DJs Chris Keys, James (aka Robot Boy), Offbeat and Dexterity.

Playlists will accommodate house, techno, disco, dubstep and other dancefloor oddities that defy description - basically beats you're not going to hear anywhere else.

Open-minded partygoers should apply at Hotel Sunningdales (88 Corlett Drive, Birnam) on Friday 23 Jan - door charge is a paltry, credit crunch-conscious R20.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

DJ Dexterity’s Favourite Albums of 2008

It's been interesting how much consensus there’s been on year-end best music lists. A handful of albums have been cropping up consistently across the blogosphere and on sites like Pitchfork: Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Cut Copy, Kings of Leon and the album in my top spot seemingly rubbed many people the right way in 2008. But barring Hercules And Love Affair's self-titled debut - a remarkable transposition of disco tropes into modern shapes that transformed Antony Hegarty into a torch singer every bit as worthy as Marc Almond or Chaka Khan - I thought these touted albums were effective (and affective) rather than radical.

In 2008, I located listening joy in the retro-future flights of fancy taken by Erykah Badu, Raphael Saadiq and Jamie Lidell; in the body-punching drums and sparkling rhymes of Q-Tip (as well as the wheezier and sleazier but highly questionable slant supplied by Lil Wayne); in brilliance from Bristol: the highly-anticipated returns - and returns to dirty, dazzling heights - of Portishead and Tricky; in acts like Foals, Vampire Weekend and Esau Mwamwaya, who turned their attention to Africa and found fresh avenues for alternative music here; in subsonic explorers like Benga, Zomby and Flying Lotus, who ensured that 'bass' music (which has been somewhat annoyingly broken up into a multitude of mini-genres, like dubstep, grime, wonky and aquacrunk) still does damage to dancers’ internal organs; in the strange and unlikely 'pop' music that Gang Gang Dance and Nôze stumbled across; in the audacious bootlegging of Pocketknife and Cousin Cole, who managed to make main floor fodder out of rock and folk oldies like Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen…

It wasn't a great year for electronic/dance albums (it rarely is), but promising emissions - 'wonky' ways forward, if you'll forgive the totally unnecessary use of this year's most shockingly-named genre - emerged from the aforementioned sub-bass operators, and I suspect that the likes of Joker, Headhunter, Rustie, TRG etc. will pull off similar feats in 2009.

There are some also-rans (or nearly theres) that deserve a mention: '808s & Heartbreak', a solid, slightly different issue from Kanye West that might have made the list had T-Pain not already smashed the Autotune to within an inch of its life; the psychedelic kiss that was MGMT's 'Oracular Spectacular', which was officially released in 2007; the so so clever and super-cheeky, but often cheesily cloying, Girl Talk album; Beck's 'Modern Guilt', which was just too flimsy and flyweight in places; and the head-spinning 'Dear Painter, Paint Me' from M_Nus man Heartthrob, which was a little too specialised (but had some of the most exciting moments of any album from last year). Add to these decent but not-too-daring records from Jay Haze, Bauhaus, Bloc Party and Osborne. And as always, because of the daunting mass of music released, I didn't/couldn't get around to listening to records from The Roots, Roots Manuva, Matthew Herbert, Neil Landstrumm, Morgan Geist, Mr. Scruff and Shed.

Here though are 25 albums that I did get around to listening to (most more than once!) and that I thought most effectively grasped the sonic possibilities available in 2008; albums that had my pleasure centres and synapses (and often limbs too) operating overtime…

25. Lil' Wayne - Tha Carter III
24. Esau Mwamawaya & Radioclit – The Very Best
23. The Bug - London Zoo
22. Nôze - Songs On The Rocks
21. Hot Chip - Made In The Dark
20. TV On The Radio - Dear Science
19. AmpLive - Rainydayz
18. Radiohead - The Best Of
17. Flying Lotus - Los Angeles
16. Loco Dice - 7 Dunham Place
15. Theo Parrish – Sound Sculptures
14. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
13. Zomby – Where Were U In '92?
12. Foals - Antidotes
11. Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It
10. Gang Gang Dance - Saint Dymphna
9. Q-Tip - The Renaissance
8. Benga – Diary Of An Afro-Warrior
7. Pocketknife & Cousin Cole - Tambourine Dream
6. Prosumer & Murat Tepeli – Serenity
5. Tricky - Knowle West Boy
4. Jamie Lidell - Jim
3. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War
2. Portishead – Third
1. Hercules & Love Affair – Hercules & Love Affair

Hercules & Love Affair - Blind (Frankie Knuckles Dub)
(not on the album - buy it!)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Top House & Techno Tracks of 2008

Another list for the mass of year-end (or beginning, as the case may be) lists, but I feel I've got to post something (plus I got Friday afternoon off work)...

This may be followed by a list of tunes I liked last year that weren't house or techno, and maybe even a Best Albums list... But don't hold your breath.

These tracks made me excited to still be deejaying in 2008 - a big thanks to Tim Sweeney for opening my ears to the epic in top spot. See if you can spot me in the pic, which was taken at his gig at Carfax last May - for my money (and alongside ?uestlove in the same venue), the party of last year.

But that's a whole other list...

50. Invisible Conga People - Cable Dazed
49. Photonz - Trembler (Discodeine Remix)
48. Syclops - Monkey Puss
47. Trickski - Move Me (Phonique Remix)
46. Henrik Schwarz & Amampondo - I Exist Because Of You (Live Mix)
45. Mlle Caro - Dead Souls (Radio Slave Remix)
44. Booka Shade - Planetary
43. Joris Voorn - The Deep (Jimpster Remix)
42. John Tejada - Torque
41. Prosumer & Murat Tepeli - Turn Around
40. Arto Mwambe - Une Seule Nuit (Mix De Danse)
39. Hot Chip - Hold On (Ewan Pearson Remix)
38. Fields - Song For The Fields (Ewan Pearson Remix)
37. Esau Mwamwaya & Radioclit - Wena
36. Falko Brocksieper - Lament
35. Sunburst Band - Journey To the Sun (Dennis Ferrer Remix)
34. Yazoo - Situation [Hercules and Love Affair Remix]
33. Friendly Fires ft Au Revoir Simone - Paris (Aeroplane Remix)
32. DJ Koze - I Want To Sleep
31. Marco Bailey & Tom Hades - Saint Paul [Gregor Tresher Remix]
30. Turntablerocker - All Night (Original)
29. Force Of Nature - Sequencer [Stefan Goldmann Remix]
28. Ben Mono - Jesus Was a B-Boy (Shir Khan Remix)
27. Fan Death - Veronica's Veil [Erol Alkan's Extended Rework]
26. Kuniyuki - All These Things (Theo Parrish Remix Dub)
25. Simon Baker - Plastik (Todd Terje Turkatech Mix)
24. The Laughing Light Of Plenty - The Rose
23. Noze - Ethiopo
22. Radiohead - Videotape (Man Make Remix)
21. Culoe De Song - Bright Forest
20. Mike Dunn presents The MD X-Spress - Na Na Na (I Walk With God) [Mike Dunn Main Vocal Mix]
19. Afefe Iku - Mirror Dance
18. Morgan Geist - Detroit [c2RMX1 by Carl Craig]
17. Loco Dice - Pimp Jackson Is Talkin' Now
16. Matias Aguayo - Minimal (Markus Rossknecht Remix)
15. Foals - Olympic Airways (Ewan Pearson's Return To The Villa of Joy Remix)
14. Sis - Nesrib
13. Ben Watt - Guinea Pig (Vocal Variation Mix feat. Julia Biel)
12. Ane Brun - Headphone Silence (Henrik Schwarz Remix)
11. Jazzanova - Let Me Show Ya (Henrik Schwarz Remix)
10. Primal Scream - Uptown (Weatherall's Long After The Disco Is Over Remix 2)
9. Mark E - Slave 1
8. Lovelock - Don't Turn Away (From My Love)
7. dOP - Just A Man
6. Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts - Chilly Willy
5. NUfrequency ft. Shara Nelson - Go That Deep (Charles Webster Acid Version)
4. Panthers – Goblin City (Holy Ghost Extended Disco Dub)
3. Hot Chip - Hold On (Mock & Toof Remix)
2. Hercules And Love Affair - Blind (Frankie Knuckles Remix)
1. The Juan Maclean - Happy House

The Juan Maclean - Happy House (Trim The Fat Jeans Edit)
(this version crams all the high points into half the time, but isn't nearly as hypnotically thrilling as the original - which you should go buy!)