The measurement of time is a man-made thing.
Personally, I think it’s a psychologically dangerous thing to anthropomorphise a year, you will only set yourself up for disappointment the second a ‘2016 thing’ happens in 2017.
Upset that a famous actor/musician/writer you liked has died? Celebrate it. Let others know how they influenced you and revisit their works. Feel like a dickhead for taking that person for granted? Good! It’s perfectly natural, take that feeling and pass it forward to the things you currently do like, give it a little more respect in the future.
Want better culture? Worried about how these icons aren’t being replaced anytime soon? That really is something we have complete power over.
It’s trickier with all the horrible political stuff that’s happened recently. However, this isn’t a politics blog.
Here are some musics I liked from the year that was 2016.
Aware that there are some big omissions from this rather small section, I wasn’t kidding when I said I’d been in a bubble for the last couple of years….
M83 – Junk (iTunes)
M83 are pure nostalgia-bait. Anthony Gonzalez is a master of blending popular music from the 70’s/80’s/90’s and giving you that sense of melancholy, a past you can no longer hold on to. Optionally, you can also sing into your hairbrush and have a dance in your bedroom to an album such as “Junk”. Sounds like a back-handed compliment? It really is up to you to decide, I really wouldn’t change it.
Tiga – No Fantasy Required (Bandcamp)
Was surprised to see this album was on the receiving end of a somewhat gentle kicking from certain areas of the press. The inclusion of older songs is slightly weird, giving it the feel of a compilation and not that of an album. It still has enough on it to remind you how great Tiga can be at times though and whilst I’m not factoring cost in it’s inclusion on this ‘list’… it’s like £7 on Bandcamp, which is a steal.
Justice – Woman (iTunes)
When ‘Audio Video Disco’ came out I slated it and everybody called me an asshole. The majority of people had given it glowing reviews at the time. When I reviewed Woman, I said I liked it and the majority of people gave it mediocre to terrible reviews and pretended they never gave praise to the last album. Using this logic, three years from now people will backtrack on that and realise how this album led to the greatness their next album will be (I honestly believe they are building up to something special).
“Alakazam” needs a Lindstrom remix. xoxox
Review of ‘Woman’ here.
Tiger & Woods – On The Green Again (Juno)
A delightful reminder of how much fun sample-based dance music can be. An eclectic array of funk, house and disco all handled in a way that is designed to get the dance floor moving.
A nearly-review is here.
Soulwax – Belgica Soundtrack (Bandcamp)
Soulwax probably need to check-in to an alias rehab in all honesty. Creating a bunch of imaginary bands (that pretty much sound like Soulwax) for the Belgica soundtrack (I’ve yet to watch) on top of the 900 aliases they already have? It’s madness. The soundtrack is a lot of fun if you are a Soulwax nerd who has seen some of the live shows over the years. Probably less fun if you only take a passing interest in them.
More of a ‘best of the last three months’ if I’m perfectly honest….
Because, what he does is always pretty damn good. Enormous funk-disco tracks like “Rocketship”? Stop teasing mate, do an album already.
Metroplane – Mr. E (Beatport)
I guess you can vaguely describe Metroplane‘s “Mr.E” as being an old-skool house-banger, 90’s sounds. Usually when producers attempt these tracks they somehow manage to find all the most disgusting production gimmicks from the era and it sounds properly stupid. “Mr.E” gets it right because it focuses on attitude of that era and not the gimmicks.
This Soft Machine – Absence Of Rhythm (Juno)
My original post on this did a good job of covering what needed to be said. It’s Indie-Dance done right and the thought of catching this live at some point in the future is quite exciting.
Soulwax – Transient Program For Drums And Machinery (Free Download)
This may come as a shock, I really rate Soulwax. 😮
Dürerstuben – Goyud (Free Download)
I gave this a ‘Harold post‘. I was quite drunk at the time of writing (not all Harold posts are powered by Alcohol, actually Haribo fwiw). I didn’t post this long ago and debated with myself whether to include it. It would have just ended up in next years list if I hadn’t. It’s nine minutes long, if you listen to it casually, you’ll hear three good disco tracks. If you listen to it intensely, you’ll hear one gigantic amazing disco track. The former makes it very handy if you are DJ wanting to pop-off for a cigarette…. 😉
Du Tonc – Wonderland (iTunes)
If Du Tonc have a problem, it’s that their music sometimes isn’t ‘instant’. “Wonderland” is a good example of that. It’s the type of track that creeps up on you (in a good way, like a stalker you’d like stalking you) and I think in a few months from now it’ll do the rounds again because people will realise that. One of the few acts to have taken the whole ‘Nu-Disco’ thing, run with it and then evolve it further. Hopefully it’s only a matter of time until some stinky major label throws obscene cash their way and we can all enjoy an album.
Blossoms – Blown Rose (Alan Braxe Remix)
Alan Braxe ended the year with him at the height of his powers. It resulted in me doing a post on this remix which is essentially a love-letter of sorts. You should probably read it.
M83 – Do It, Try It (Loframes Remix)
It’s really nice to see a very talented emerging act given the opportunity to remix a very good song. It’s even nicer to see them knock it out of the park. Loframes glossy synth-pop (with hints of electronic house) sound really works a treat with this track from M83.
What I don’t want to see in 2017…
This is actually ‘dangerous’ territory for me to be in and a subject I’m a little bit fearful of entering. I’d really hate if oppression/protest was commercialised/branded in the coming year. I noticed this year was the time when areas of the dance music community began to attempt to have a social responsibility again.
Not judging people based on race/gender/sexual orientation is of course, fantastic and a no-brainer. Maybe I am overly jaded, however it seems more than likely that we will see some event that promotes this and yet, is sponsored by Nestle or something ridiculous. It cannot be justified. It is too conflicted and, important issues like this cannot be clouded in a way that could also be seen as being insensitive to others.
“Nestle allowed us the platform to blah blah blah”
I’m also concerned that some of this is a little preaching to the already converted. The social class and ‘image’ barrier needs to be kicked down for any of it to have a proper impact. Having events which showcase just how diverse something can be, it costing £30 for entry, having a dress-code and it being held at some niche arthouse venue? It runs the risk of just being self-righteous circle-jerking. Take the battle to places which are unknown and do it in a way that isn’t patronising to the audience you should be reaching. It’ll be scary… but, scary can sometimes be very rewarding.
What I do want to see in 2017…
Have a good man-made measured 2017.