Tuesday, December 29, 2009
shining bright in '09
as 2009 comes to an end, i thought it'd be good to highlight some of the people that i thought really owned this year, took things up a level and pushed the sounds forward. this list is definitely not complete, but it's a start.
rené pawlowitz (shed): this guy is scary good. i dont think there are (m)any producers about the moment better at the moment. following up his breakout year, in 2009 everything he touched was bang on. i havent properly compiled my tracks of this year, but i can tell you 'wax20002' is right near the top. he is someone who makes me excited about the future of techno. cant wait to see what 2010 has in store for him.
levon vincent: an obvious choice, but hard to dispute. he came on strong in 2009 with a series of great releases, and fittingly his final EP for the year - 'double jointed sex freak' - is his best to date. he nailed his RA 'cast, making it clear that he can spin as well as he can produce. at a time when so much there is so much average shit about, levon really stands out.
paul rose (scuba): if there was a techno apocolypse and i was in charge of noah's techno ark, paul rose is one of the guys i'd be letting on board. this guy is a couple of steps ahead of everyone else. his SCB mix was the most popular ssg mix of 2010, hotflush was clearly one of the best labels about, and his own productions are of the highest order. respect.
robert henke (monolake): i know most people talk about him in revered tones, but truthfully, i have not been that impressed with much of his output for a while. his monolake stuff has never been bad, but for quite a while it definitely was not progressing. it was all getting a bit too cold and clinical. i am happy to admit that 2009 has been a change. it is definitely worth reflecting on how good and diverse a year henke has had, releasing 3 impressive albums: 'atom/document', 'indigo_transform', and 'silence'. of these, it is the last one that i've been most taken by. under his monolake guise he is really pushing things again. unfortunately it came out too late in the year for most lists, but 'silence' is definitely in my top albums of 2009.
sandwell district: ok, everyone else on this list are individual artists, but it feels a bit inappropriate to list the sandwell gang separately, because they are such a collective endeavour, as was made clear by the way 'variance' was released. silent servant continued his impressive run with 'negative fascinations', and a couple of killer mixes. meanwhile, with 'variance' function delivered perhaps the biggest techno bomb of 2009. not to mention his DJ sets - his 'cast for RA and the sandwell mix on beatport were of the highest order, and well, what more needs to be said about his set at labyrinth... he simply owned the festival. and we should not forget regis, who - from what i can gather - plays a huge role driving the whole sandwell thing and is probably producing more than we realise.
peter van hoesen: i'm definitely biased on this one. i consider peter a good friend after experiencing two labyrinths together. regardless, it is hard to dispute what a killer year he has had. a string of impressive releases have been matched by some super tight dj mixes floating around the net. but for me, it was his livepa at labyrinth in september that was his defining moment in 2009. like with function, a few months on and i'm still in shock. despite holding his productions in high regard, his livepa completely took me by surprise. it was ridiculously good. here's to another great year for the hose.
shackleton: again, an obvious choice, but impossible to leave off. like with scuba, this is definitely someone that gets a spot on the techno ark. i dont have much to say abot shackleton, i think we all know how good he is. in a world of similar sounds, he manages to sound unique. that ain't easy.
ancient methods: one thing which took us slightly by surprise was how big a reaction there was to the mix ancient methods did for us. of course we knew it was excellent, but it really exploded. it was the 2nd most popular ssg mix after SCB, and there was a huge amount of buzz about it. i dont know what exactly it is about their sound, but what ancient methods are doing is definitely a barometer of where the techno winds are blowing. they suffered a setback after having their laptops stolen off stage at a gig, but lets hope they are back big and better in 2010.
raster noton: again, like sandwell, it seems inappropriate to single out one person. these guys are light years ahead. techno for the future made in the now. i must admit, i've been very slow fully getting into the raster sound, but i'm glad i finally have. a seriously impressive year for raster noton, and you just know they will be pushing things further forward in the years to come.
stefan marx: ok, he doesn't make music (at least that i know of). but he makes art. and some art for music. specifically the smallville and mule labels. i've found his pictures and drawings a great source of inspiration and enjoyment over 2009 and while i dont know much about art, i love what he does (the picture above is one of my favourites of his).
anyway, i know there are plenty of other people, and this list is just a start. please add who you think have been the real standouts of 2009 in the comments.