It's a tricky thing, picking 5 favourite tracks form a year, when you work with the artists whose music you love. So to broaden things a bit, I tried to stay clear of MethLab artists, but failed - and now I have a selection of 10 tracks - a mixture of some tracks from MethLab crew that can't be ignored, plus other things I've had on repeat since I've had them in my grasp. I'm all about diversity, and I simply believe in music that's good, without getting stuck in any particular genre - the same as the others who are part of the MethLab agency. I hope you enjoy my picks (in no particular order) :)
Richard Devine (Vaetxh Oort Cloud Remix) - Plonked Spectral (Detund)
Vaetxh // Rob Clouth is undoubtedly one of the most talented artists on the MethLab roster in my opinion. One of those people for whom music seems to be a natural expression to the extent that they are able to articulate themselves to a frightening and awe inspiring degree of complexity. He could easily have fallen into the bucket of being another sound designer, able to create great sonic landscapes, but ultimately lacking soul. However, this track precisely shows that not to be the case; with both meticulous attention to detail in sound design, but underpinned by a melancholic and soulful refrain, carried through by delicious structuring and pace. He has some really interesting release plans for this year, and I think 2014 will be the year that Rob Clouth will no longer be classed as underrated...
The Sect - Recall (The Sect Music)
I love everything about this track, and currently have to play it every time I'm playing DnB anywhere. It was a great day when The Sect announced the start of their own label, and 2013 was a year in which they consistently delivered and have continued to build upon the totem they erected with their Fractured State LP back in 2011. For me this track is like a thorough reinvigoration of the Prodigy spirit, brought to life through The Sect's unique take on Drum and Bass - thoroughly loveable, and makes me want to head to the nearest dance every time I hear it.
DjRum vs. Onoe Caponoe - Vs EP (White Label)
I had the pleasure of working with DjRum on our London-based Yardcore events and the subsequent Subfm radio show, and it's been an amazing experience watching his artform develop. A true pioneer and experimenter, unrestrained by genre and constantly exploring new ideas. 2013 saw some awesome DjRum releases, including the excellent Seven Lies LP, but this piece with Onoe Caponoe is one of my favourites, truly elevating - opening with growling distorted 808 kicks that really mean it, before evolving into something altogether more ethereal.
Machine Code - Red Unit (The Sect Music)
Machine Code for me is a name synonymous with excellent releases; with the combined minds of Dean Rodell and Current Value creating some truly forward thinking music. When I first heard The Sect play this at Prague's Radio 1 fm station, I lost my shit. This is music for a technical age, and I simply think that at the moment there are very few parties that can offer the kind of backdrop that it deserves. I hope this will change in 2014, with Machine Code releasing their 3rd LP - one of the tracks of which is already blowing my mind on a regular basis.
Ben Lukas Boysen - Eos (Ad Noiseam)
Hecq's journey has been keeping me happy for years now, and I've enjoyed every incarnation of his sound, but this separation in moniker is a special thing indeed. Although I identify Hecq's work with similar attention to detail, and the perfectly layered and warped field recordings that he (possibly) obsessively collects; the Hecq output often has a layer of precise and cold technology in front of the central emotive core. By self-titling his new work, it is almost as though Ben has removed the barrier and is allowing us direct access to music that his raw soul creates, and it comes through in the fragility of some of the pieces. I've chosen EOS particularly because it reminds me of some of Arvo Part's work, and I love especially this kind of fragile minimalism - in the wrong hands it can easily be boring.. but not in the case of Ben.
Plaster - Signals From a Gold Sky (Touchin' Bass)
While we're discussing minimalism, it's a good point to get onto this gem put out by Plaster last year on Andrea Parker's Touchin'Bass label. Stripped back Techno, perfect for a massive sound system in a darkened warehouse (I hope I'm not wondering too much into Boomkat review territory here :) ) - but really this track makes me want to be in an impersonal and dilapidated space, listening to Techno really fucking loud, and getting caught in it's grasp.
Rawtekk - A Magnaminous Kind's Will (Med School Music)
This is one of the tracks that alerted me to just how awesome Rawtekk have become. At a time where so much dubstep has become formulaic, the great tracks really stand out - this for me being one of them. It's the mixture of Christine's eerily beautiful vocals, and the pair's extremely keen production with its attention to detail. It's a perfect opening track to an album, arousing expectations with its excellent intro, before smashing you to pieces with the drop. I can't wait to be standing and listening to this from the crowd at a packed festival stage, and everyone going off...
Hecq (Dean Rodell Remix) - With Angels (Hymen Recordings)
Another track from the Berlin crew that I can't resist to include, but Dean Rodell is a producer worthy of a great deal of praise - someone who seems to be able to reach into the future, grab what he finds and bring it to the now. It's music for the imagination, designed by the machines of a dystopian future more vast than you can quite grasp hold of.
Anthone - Destabilize (Weevil Neighbourhood)
I don't know who this is, and I think it's purposefully being kept a bit of a secret for now, but I like it. Sounds a bit like Dadub (who I have entire love and respect for) lifted slightly from their sonic mayhem and sharpened - the kind of broken Dub'ish that I love. I think this label is worth keeping an eye on....
Paul Jebanasam - Rites V (Subtext Recordings)
Subtext are an amazing label, and between Roly Porter and Emptyset (both of whom I wanted to include) with their respective LPs in 2013, it was a great year for them. Paul Jebanasam's 'Rites' release was also awesome - totally overblown and caught up in its own mythology, but I can't resist it - I find it both tense and moving.