Monday, December 14, 2009
quality, not quantity
well, it is getting to that time when charts and 'best of' lists appear for the year. i know pete has done some. to be honest, i'm not sure whether i have the energy or desire to. i certainly know i wont be compiling or publishing any lists yet, because 2009 hasnt ended. last time i checked a year had 12 months. it'll be interesting to see how dj sprinkles does in the charts, or whether he'll be forgotten due to the january release date.
anyway, what i might do if i have the motivation is offer some thoughts on interesting trends/developments etc in 2009. i can start writing this first one now because i doubt what i am going to say will be altered much in the next 2 or 3 weeks (unless any of these artists suddenly release a shitload of records, but i think it is a safe bet to presume they wont).
when i did have a brief think about some of my favourite EPs and tracks from 2009, i quickly noticed something. quite a lot were from artists who only had one or two releases this year. BUT. but the few tracks that did appear were such massive bombs the impact was far greater than a handful of EPs from many other artists.
probably the clearest example of this was function. as far as i know, he had only 2 tracks this year, his remix of miss kitten and the hacker, and the variance edit. can you tell me a techno track that has been more played, and has had a bigger impact than variance? there have not been many. i have seen this record in so many tracklists and heard it in so many mixes, but i am yet to get sick of it. i still get a shiver down my spine every time it drops.
pretty much the same could be said for function's label mate, silent servant. he has had one or two tracks on his split label with santiago salazar, plus his 'negative fascinations' EP on sandwell. and 'discipline' is my favourite techno track of the year hands down. my jaw dropped the first time i heard this record and like with 'variance', it still has a massive impact on me. also, mendez co-produced with camella lobo the tropic of cancer 10" on downwards, which is just quietly one of the best releases of 2009.
and then there is one of the biggest revelations of this year for me - oni ayhun. in 2009 oni only released one EP and a remix. just in these 3 tracks, though, are some of the most exciting and worthwhile sounds i've heard in 2009. in a year where i found plenty of music to get excited by, the B side of OAR003 hit me the hardest. there is nothing overly complex about the track, but much like donnacha costello's records, the impact comes from the reduced number of elements and the expert production. an impossibly beautiful record. much respect to oni. this is someone who has me excited about the future.
and when thinking about techno's future, in 2009 a lot of people realised kassem mosse is someone we should be putting our faith in. after a string of seriously good eps - which got us interested in him last year for a podcast - it was with workshop08 that people started to realise how special his sounds are. this was his only release in 2009 (i think), and that's just fine, when it is this good.
i could keep going, i am sure there are plenty of more examples - john roberts and tin man are 2 others that quickly come to mind. the lesson i take from this is the pretty obvious one: it is quality, not quantity that counts. this observation is all the more important at a time when digital technologies mean it much easier to make and release music. when combined with the considerable creativity and work ethic of many artists, there must be the temptation for some to put out more and more. even if m-nus completely fail to follow - or even understand - the concept, often there is definitely something to their formulation:
less = more.