Finally we are at the last part of the 2012 review. In the first part of our review, the preferences of our followers are shown, according to the number of click and stars. Top 3 albums of the years, top 3 EPs, compilations and mixes loved by our followers can be seen here.
In the second part, I presented some of my favorite events and performances from last year. For more details go here.
Now it’s time for the big list. In this third and last part of my 2012 review, I will present my favorite albums from last year. I was very hard to make a list. I had to split it somehow not to mix apples with pears, and this is how I came with a gender list, with a top 3 list for each gender.
The list is covering all the genders that I like and are featured on The Hipodrome Of Music, so I came up with no more than 14 gender lists, going from house to techno, disco and funk to electro and new wave 🙂
Here we go.
Orgue Electronique – Strange Paradise [Creme Organization] link
This is one of my favorite albums of the year and I was very happy to have the privilege to see Brian Chinetti’s live show at Intergalactic FM Night @ Panorama Bar in May. For me it was the top live performance from last year. The description on clone says everything “What lies here before you is sculpted out of the blood and tears of 5 years of life, and all the dreams, imagination, tristesse and longing that goes along with it.”
Legowelt – The Paranormal Soul [Clone Jack For Daze] link
For this list it couldn’t miss Danny Wolfers’ new album, a true genius of our time. “Steamy and mysterious as ever The Paranormal Soul is advancing the trademark Legowelt sound into new directions. Mangling up the historical foundations of New York, Detroit, Chicago and early U.K Rave, mixing it with seedy witchcraft rituals and deep space psychedelics for a boundless journey into techno mysticism.”
Nick Anthony Simoncino – The Dream of Amnesia [Thug Records] link
The third album in the Chicago House list is the debut album from Italian producer and “house warrior” Nick Anthony Simoncino. The album was produced exclusively on analog hardware andrecorded to an old cassette tape, and is Simoncino’s ode to early Chicago House music.
D’Marc Cantu – A New World [M>O>S Recordings] link
The second album by Michigan resident D’Marc Cantu, “though essentially a house and techno producer, often goes further than most, calling on a world of influences to ensure his jacking productions are as far away from standard as possible, yet still do damage on the right dancefloors … His latest offering, A New World, aims to capture, detail and relay many different stories from within the re-born city of Detroit. Across the course of eight tracks, many different moods and styles are explored from dark and abstract to more synth lead and serene. There are plenty of squelchy acid lines and frantic percussive workouts, but so too are there pockets of slower, deeper, dubbier introspection that speak of mystery and intrigue as does the city of Detroit itself.”
Delano Smith – An Odyssey LP [Sushitech] link
Detroit veteran Delano Smith has been an integral part of the city’s musical landscape for nigh on 30 years and this is his long-promised debut album. “Musically, An Odyssey is typical of Smith’s previous output, mixing smooth, hypnotic groovers and jazz-flecked deep housers with just the right amount of basement soul and melodic complexity. Given that the tracks – all previously unreleased – were recorded in the last two years, it’s no surprise to find that the tracks sit together beautifully. Making a high quality deep house album is notoriously tricky, but Smith has achieved that feat – and with a style and grace that marks out house music’s true masters.”
Jacob Korn – You & Me [Uncanny Valley] link
Top of the deep house list is the debut album from Uncanny Valley’s Jacob Korn. “You & Me” sees the producer take a unique approach, collaborating with a different artist on each track, and if anything, the effect of his fine musicianship is only enhanced.
Iron Curtis – Soft Wide Waist Band [Mirau Muzik] link
“Some warm and especially funky treats on Iron Curtis’ longplayer-debut on the Hamburg-imprint Mirau Musik. Of course, the man has earned his four-to-the-floor stripes navigation between deep house and soulful techno leanings, but he has also managed to steer clear of genre silt. Thus the task of creating a coherent, yet amusing album without blinkers is passed with distinction here. It streaks all the places and spaces in the past, present and future: the basic knowledge of engineering skills hones in New York, Chicago and Detroit left its traces here as much as a touch of British freewheeling mixed with the flow and indie poetry of a German country boy who has heard of electronic pop music before.”
Makam – Dreams Of Tomorrow [Sushitech] link
Makam’s album is the second album released on Sushitech listed in these carts. “It’s hard not to be impressed by the immersive world of Makam on Dreams Of Tomorrow, which sucks you in from the opening thick bars of “Unconscious”. Maintaining a near constant sub-aqueous poise, the track glides along the edges of your affections and prepares you fully for what follows. A real treat for fans of “proper deep house”.”
Mantra – After Dark [Bunker Records] link
The first album under Acid gender comes from Craig Stainton under his Mantra alias with 9 bumping, searing acid jack, classic ’88 UK dark acid house tracks on the Bunker imprint.
Baz Reznik – Scream From The Shore [DYFR Records] link
Next is one of my favorite albums of the year, and it is the first album on DYFR Records and Baz Reznik. A diverse album, influenced by the life in a costal city, with jackin ghetto style acid, techno beach anthems, underground house, electro with disco influences and slow beat electronics.
Automatic Tasty – Speech And Silence [Wil-Ru Records] link
The full length album from Automatic Tasty released last spring and Wil-Ru Records is a 10 track album loaded with bouncy acid hooks and bubbling hyper-color melodies.
Ambient / Industrial / Leftfield
Silent Servant – Negative Fascination LP [Hospital Productions] link
Opening this ambient / industrial / leftfield subchapter is the mesmerizing album from Silent Servant. “Negative Fascination is a 7-track affair said to couple Basic Channel vibes with post-punk and shadowy industrial cues.”
Vatican Shadow – Kneel Before Religious Icons [Type] link
Dominick Fernow with his Vatican Shadow project has steadily delivered in the past two years a great string of releases, and this is one of the best albums of 2012. “Revolving around themes gleaned from Iraq war propaganda and yellowing stacks of newspaper clippings, the tracks on ‘Kneel Before Religious Icons’ are a perfect representation of Fernow’s modus operandi. Behind a wall of tape hiss, drum machine rhythms beat out memories of early Ministry and AFX while sickly FM synthesizer pads crawl and heave into the abyss.”
Jahiliyya Fields – Unicursal Hexagram [L.I.E.S.] link
Very strong LP of beautifully executed synth explorations by Jahiliyya Fields on one of my favorite labels out there L.I.E.S. “This double lp evokes emotions of equal pain, passion, beauty and disgust as it delves into areas of the psyche many are afraid to come in contact with. Read between the lines, close your eyes and listen. Not unlike new age music of the past meeting the harsh textures of the early industrial pioneers, this music serves as another narrative to our quickly deteriorating Western societal structure. Outsider music for those of us pushed to the side and living on the fringe.”
Regis – Dead Head Said [Downwards Records] link
The techno chart is opened by the new album by Regis, with some proper raw banging techno tracks.
Shifted – Crossed Paths [Mote Evolver] link
Shifted’s identity has remained somewhat of a mystery in 2012, but his debut album pushes the formal possibilities of techno. Subtle and devastating, Shifted’s methodology is like that of a sculptor, he works principally with textures knowing precisely when to leave edges raw and fault lines exposed.
Mike Dehnert – Fachwerk 25 [Fachwerk] link
Mike Dehnert is know for releasing a long strings of EPs and long players, but in 2012 this is his “only” full-length. “This new album sees Mike experimenting somewhat. Away from the dubbed out, functional and raw techno funk of his usual output, Fachwerk 25 shows some concession to the album format, with more mysterious tracks of ambient buried amongst bits of acid, rave and plenty of unhinged sound design.”
Drone / Minimalistic Techno
Peter Van Hoesen – Perceiver [Time To Express] link
The second full- length album by Peter Van Hoesen is evidence of his continual experiments into sound. “The textural, shifting and dynamic synth elements, hooks and arpeggios that characterize the album’s voice often reach into abstract zones, but never too far that the listener cannot easily delve into the hypnotism of the moment.”
Dino Sabatini – Shaman’s Path [Prologue] link
“Dino Sabatini has spent much of the last five years building his reputation as a maker of voodoo-strewn minimalism and hypnotic darkroom techno. Here, he continues to explore the possibilities of intoxicating rhythms with his debut full-length. As the title suggests, Shaman’s Path is a concept album based around witchcraft and voodoo, featuring the sort of hypnotic grooves and off-kilter synths that should probably be sound tracking a weird fertility ritual in a rain-soaked South American forest.”
Oscar Mulero – Black Propaganda [Warm Up Recordings] link
Oscar Mulero’s new album reflects a new twist in his sound, going deep into dark territories; a black and white approach to dance electronics, where shades and echoes and drones are mixed with obscure rhythm treatments that go from slow tempos to more uplifting beats. Sonically speaking, his sound has become simpler, with less elements but better sound design.
Deep / Dub Techno
Claro Intelecto – Reform Club [Delsin Records] link
Delsin releases last year the third full-length album by Claro Intelecto. This new album deals in all the usual moods and textures you’d expect from Claro Intelecto… lush deep house and techno soundscapes awash with dubby undercurrents, it’s warm and cuddly, comforting and inviting right from the first track, despite the rough edges and well defined analogue details which pervade throughout.
Luke Hess – Keep On [FXHE Records] link
The new album by Luke Hess released on Omar-S’ label FXHE proves his class in the modern dub techno field. It is moving from hypnotic deep house to robust techno via beatless interludes.
Echospace – Silent World [Echospace] link
New album by the Echospace duo Rod Modell and Steven Hitchell. The LP is a soundtrack to Silent World, an independent film produced by Rod Modell that will come out on DVD sometime after the album.
Robert Hood – Motor: Nighttime World 3 [Music Man] link
“Robert Hood is techno’s undisputed minimal master, but previous instalments of Nighttime World – especially the jazz-fuelled inaugural release in 1995 on Cheap – have afforded him the opportunity to go off script and indulge his conceptual whims. Will he do the same again on Motor? The answer is a resounding yes. Inspired by Julien Temple’s 2010 documentary Requiem For Detroit?, which charts the fall and decline of America’s former car manufacturing hub, the album is full of references to the effects of man’s interaction with technology. If Kraftwerk’s shimmering Man Machine was a testament to the benefits of humans harnessing technology, then Motor is the gloomy riposte, emerging from the rubble of a shattered metropolis to tell this sad but compelling tale and crucially, to offer some hope for the future.”
Louis Haiman – Soul Purpose [Indigo Aera] link
Louis Haiman’s ‘Soul Purpose’ is a real journey trough time. Haiman’s music is a balance of gentle synth arrangements swimming atop a sea of low-end frequencies. Ambient soundscapes drift among layer after layer of meandering melodies while deep, syncopated rhythms and bass keep listeners grounded. A study in contrasts, his compositions are both tranquil and urgent brought on by some of his earliest influences.
Jeff Mills – The Messenger [Axis Records] link
“The Messenger is the fourth chapter of a musical science fiction series. Conceived and produced by the futurist Techno musician Jeff Mills, this chapter explores the recycling of Planet Earth and the end of all Earth’s life forms. Doomsday appears to be nothing more than an agricultural reconditioning phase controlled by an alien life forms, they reveal the explosive reality of creating the Human animal for the production and harvesting of Dreams. Caught between secretive human+alien relationship, The Messenger pleads the case for more time so that humans can evacuative Earth and save innocent lives – but time has run out.”
Delta Funktionen – Traces [Delsin Records] link
Niels Luinenburg aka Delta Funktionen is one of the DJs and producers that I much appreciate and this is his debut full length for Delsin. Needless to say that it is one of the best albums on 2012. Though still very much couched in techno, the album sees the Dutchman explore plenty of new sonic territory, as he often does in his long ranging DJ sets. It’s adventurous, basically, and is an album that doesn’t loose itself in intricate sound design, but instead pairs a raw, machine made aesthetic with plenty of real human soul and palpable earthly emotion. “Traces is about my long time research into electronic music. It covers tracks that make reference to my favourite subgenres within electronic music: techno, house, electro and (Italo)-disco. There was no specific idea behind it because the album contains tracks made over a long time. Some are 3 years old, others were made this year, but in the end I think it sounds like a coherent piece of work.
Versalife – Rate Of Change [Frustrated Funk] link
“Versalife is electro-techno in it’s purest form. Deep and intense analog rhythms with crisp percussion patterns slightly touching the more experimental side of things. This release is a nice balanced mixture of industrial drone material to more classic sounding electro with Versalife’s own signature strength.”
Photodementia – Figure 3 [Photodementia] link
Cosmic electro futurism from Photodementia, Victor Beaudet and Bernard Davies. This album is mind-altering material, ear worming electro dynamism that realigns the elements of the brain like a true listening experience should.
Disco / Funk / Italo
Elitechnique – Intrusion [Clone Loft Supreme Series] link
Elitechnique (Remco de Jong and Florentijn Boddendijk) find an ongoing source of inspiration in disco and electronic obscurities, but combine this with their fascination for the great 60’s and 70’s soundtracks. The result is a timeless imaginary sound track that adds sex and intrigue to their music and unleashed from the chains of dancefloor productions. ”
Asso – Do It Again [private Records] link
This is an official release of the previously unreleased album of the famous 12” classic. Italo Disco, Space Funk and balearic grooves are combining to an unique Italo Disco release.
Cyril – Saturday Night [Peoples Potential Unlimited] link
“Sadly passed away nearly two years ago, Cyril ‘Chuck’ Walker left this album in his wake, reportedly his life’s work as an aside from featuring in the band Juicy. For an album only just seeing release now, there’s no mistaking the era that Saturday Night comes from, as the impeccably executed boogie tumbles forth from Walker’s compositions. There are some surprises in store such as the shockingly fresh electro of “Partay”, but really this is a boogie album plain and simple, with the mood switching from relaxed lounge situations to steaming club funk with an ease that comes only from living in a time of less genres.”
Soviet Soviet – Summer, Jesus LP [Mannequin] link
One of the best new wave albums for 2012 was re-released by Mannequin, after being released last year on Tannen Records. This post punk LP includes 6 tracks and is burning mix of new wave and dark geometric linear reflections that are then.
Lives of Angels – Elevator to Eden LP [Dark Entries Records] link
Dark Entries has reissued a lot of great new wave/post punk/minimal wave albums in the last years. “Elevator to Eden” is the debut album of Lives of Angels. “Lives of Angels was the brainchild of Gerald O’Connell from London, England. In 1974 he worked at CBS studios mastering recordings from tape to disc. By 1977 he joined his first band Mystery Plane, led by school mate Mark Harvey and later joined by his soon-to-be wife Catherine. Gerald branched off in 1980 forming Lives of Angels as an outlet for his own compositions. He recorded, produced and played all of the instruments on “Elevator to Eden” between 1981 and 1983, using a primitive set up of drum machines, one keyboard, guitar and a tape echo. Influenced by the Krautrock sounds of Neu! and Amon Duul II as well as US psychedelic rock, Lives of Angles crafted their own unique post-punk sound.”
Stress – Conspiracy Theory LP [Dark Entries Records] link
“Stress is the duo of Alan Rider and Phil Clarke from West Midlands, England formed in 1981. Stress combined electronic rhythms and keyboards with bass guitar, vocals, percussion, and cut-up samples. They created catchy electronic pop songs that fused accessible & experimental elements with a pointed lyrical edge. “Conspiracy Theory” is an 11-song ‘best of’ compilation album featuring tracks from the first two cassette albums with “The Prayer Clock” from Third Mind Records, ‘Life At The Top’ compilation LP and “Tear It Down” from the ’Compulsory Overtime’ compilation LP. Each song has been carefully remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley.”
Minimal Wave / Post Punk
Hard Corps – Clean Tables Have To Be Burnt LP [Minimal Wave] link
The best minimal wave of 2012 in my opinion is Minimal Wave the full length LP release entitled “Clean Tables Have To Be Burnt” by UK legends Hard Corps. “Hard Corps gained some notoriety for their unique and uncompromising live shows throughout the 1980s. It was the juxtaposition between their hard edged industrial sound and the fragile and enigmatic vocals of French frontwoman Regine Fetet that created an unusual dichotomy, lending to their strength of character as a band and thus allowing them to stand out from the rest. Now for the first time ever, rare unreleased versions of Hard Corps tracks from the 1980s have been remastered and are being made available.”
Linea Aspera – Linea Aspera LP [Dark Entries Records] link
This is the third album from Dark Entries in this review and it is the debut album of contemporary British band Linea Aspera. “Linea Aspera is the London duo of Ryan Ambridge (Synths/Programming) and Alison Lewis (Vocals/Synths). They began the project in November 2011, technically drawing inspiration from electronic music from the early 1980s. For their debut album they utilized small, simple analog synthesizer set up: Roland SH-09, Roland Juno 6, Vermona DRM MKiii, Korg Poly 800 and Analogue Solutions Semblance. Linea Aspera’s sound includes clear influences from early electronic body music, classic synth-pop and, in some instances, industrial and noise. Lyrically the band incorporates the sciences of osteology, neuroscience, and anthropology weaving a new medical language around themes of desire, despair and renewal. Linea Aspera serve up an icebox of dark doom riding on Alison’s powerful vocals with a soft but sharp touch.”
Degada Saf – No Inzro [Mannequin] link
“Degada Saf was a transgressive-dada-ist musical combo coming from Veneto, Italy. Degada Saf played a synth-electronic music, a kind of involved no-disco with no-sense lyrics in esperanto. Their music suggests a peculiar mixture of post-modernism synthesized electro assaults, new wave’s imaginative minimalism and pop art aesthetic vision. “No Inzro” makes constant interferences between rigorous avant-gardism, alternative music styles and colorfully plastic electro pop. The spectrum of musical imagination reveals a lot of good surprises, notably with the opening theme “La Rhumba de Shang Hai” which directly gives the tonality of the entire album: kitschy retro-popish ambiences based on dancing minimal hypno pulses and efficiently cold melodies. A groovy and captivating electro experience and a pretty decent introduction to the band’s very own musical universe.”
Innergaze – Mutual Dreaming LP [Cititrax] link
Innergaze is a synth dou from Brooklyn, the musical project of Aurora Halal and Jason Letkiewicz (Steve Summers), and their debut album was released on Minimal Wave sublabel Cititrax. “Their music, crushed and static, obscured by sound. EBM, coldwave, early techno fight it out for dominance of the drum machine. Casually brutal vocals force their way through from the Death Factory. Celestial synths coexisting with the industrial landscape bellow.”
Alan Hurst – Nzambi LP [Emotional Response] link
Jason Letkiewicz is one of the best producers around and this is his second album in this chart. Under the side project called Alan Hurst, he makes deeper exploration in to the experimental, ambient electronics. The results are a darker mixture of hypnotic rhythms and uncertain soundscapes, hinting at soundtrack and library forms. Known for his productions under a series of alias’, including Steve Summers and Innergaze, this is Jason’s sophomore album under his Alan Hurst moniker and is the perfect way to launch the label.
Tanz Ohne Musik – Red Cavity [Red Cavity Records] link
The only Romanian appearance in the 2012 album review in the album from Tanz Ohne Muzik, the newest project by Dan Serbanescu. The Release includes 8 tracks with lush synths and haunting vocals.
Breakbeat / Drum & Bass
PRPLX – Fabric Of Space [Tempo Records] link
Some of the best Breakbeat/DnB from 2012 must be the PRPLX’s album “Fabric Of Space” released on Tempo Records.
Karriem Riggins – Alone Together [Stones Throw Records] link
A very nice album, that I enjoyed a lot this year is the debut solo album from Karriem Riggins, jazz drummer and producer, featuring 34-tracks of instrumental hip-hop. He is currently musically involved with Diana Krall, played on Paul McCartney’s recent album, and has a long history playing on and producing hip hop alongside J Dilla, Madlib, Common and Slum Village.
So, this was it for 2012. Looking forward to 2013.