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.


  1. Anton Zap, DJ Qu (the whole UQ crowd really), 2562, Marcel Fengler, Joy Orbison, Kassem Mosse, Santiago Salazar, Reagenz, 6th Borough Project, Tensnake, Makam, and many more...

    For 2010 and beyond: Less quantity, more quality.

  2. i like monolakes earlier stuff much more , but the silence is a very good album , i would say that donato dozzy a lit bit dissapointed me in the production side this year. 2009 for me was the search for old beats much more than the new beats, but artists like ancient methods , pvh ,silent servant , oni ayhun, has had some great releases.. oh and the redshape album was a little bit dissapointing , but i got a hold of bonus 10" the coloured versions and that is just pure mind bending afterparty stuff which i dig a lot :)
    as dj sets or live sets , we had great year, all of the mixes in mnml ssgs made a big influence on me (thanks one more time), it is very hard to choose one set but i would say ancient methods because they sound so fresh for me. sandwell district guys are always great and i would say that the planet rose set is one of the best for me this year.
    And the surgeon i saw live this year was also one of the best experiences:)

  3. Nice list.

    Shed has good range too. His dub/dubstep/reggae sets in Berlin (at Horst Krzbg) this year were some of the best stretches of music I heard in '09. See his podcast for that crew.

    And 'Silence' gets a spot on the list of best records for me.

  4. "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" couldn't agree more with your words,

    as for vincent levan i soaked my socks dancing at the sud party in london next day saturday if you remember.. deep deeper than the deepest oceans sound.. i lurved it and everybody on this amazingly i-d (ish) style crowd that night,,

    a propo wish to all of you in this little community we have health in body, sunshine in mind & love at heart!

  5. To the Shed part I would add EQD (if not mistaking). On a general note, I would say that Luke Slater also had an amazing year.

    It is hard to beat Raster Noton, though.

    + Vertical Ascent, Marcel Fengler, Samuli Kemmpi (!!!), Dasha Rush's If techno, Milton Bradley, etc.

    + all the hand-stamped techno labels (+ Traversable Wormhole)

    Overall, great year (Robert Hood, Jeff Mills putting out quality EPs), and I really think that the mnml ssg blog went hand in hand with this quality! Thanks again, and have a productive new year with day-time parties and more ambiental music!


    PS: I would be curious who/what labels would be among the big letdowns for this year - those who did not meet the expectations formed in 2008.

  6. Haha Stefan Marx is a funny addition to the list : )

  7. hmmm i guess my other comment didn't go through... anyway, after a few years jumping back and forth between jam/'rock' music and edm, 2009 was the year i finally became truly obsessed with electronic music.

    i think the label i've really been paying attention to is prologue. every release has been well worth a listen, and i try to track down any mix by any related producers/dj's (obtane, juho kahilainen, etc); i just wish more was happening with the prologue blog podcast.

    the dasha rush ssg mix(es) have intrigued me as well, but i'm having a harder time finding mixes and sets from people on her label...

    regarding robert henke/monolake: he has a half-hour long, 320 edit of indigo_transform freely available on his website. for a while i had this run nonstop as my 'sleep music':

    i haven't gotten too cozy with 'silence' yet but i like the almost eastern flavor of some of the tracks. and don't forget 'atlas' - really cool release imo, and it was nicely placed in the middle of a ssg mix earlier this year (can't recall which one).

    and only very recently have i gotten into shackleton and his skull disco label. i really haven't listened to any dubstep in at least a year but it's nice to see some people (like monolake with 'atlas') take that aesthetic, subtract that womp sound i've grown to hate, and add some texture and atmosphere.

    after the (imo) excellent louderbach release, i'm interested to see what's next for troy pierce... i really think his production on that album is fantastic. i also can't wait to see what happens (if anything) with the new plastikman project...

    it seems like this blog is mostly focused on (if i may genre-fy) deep techno, but what have you guys thought of 2009 in terms of house music?

  8. hmmm well I know I am Cio D'or biased as I think she is just fantastic, Massive respect - but this really has been a great year for her. Die Faser and its remixes (especially the Doz's and Sleeparchives) have been fantastic and rate in my top 5 for the year. Not to mention her DJ sets that I've tracked down, or provided here.

    Huge thanks to the ssgs crew for an outstanding set of set downloads, links, animated discussions, and for keeping it real. A fine thing indeed, and we will all miss the sets with your changes next year, but granted, everything must change.

    Happy New Year all !
    We / Sydney, will experience if before most of you so we get the jump on '10. I just hope the NY brings us some DJ's and producers we read of in these pages. *please* (though I know it's just not financially viable in most cases).

  9. Srdic, can you link to any of cio's sets? i've enjoyed the mixes of her website (even if some of them are a few years old, they definitely don't sound like it, imo) but i've yet to track down a live recording of her in action. i know one was posted on here a while ago but the link was dead... thanks if you can :-)

  10. @ Brian - go to http://fairtilizer.com and search for 'cio'. You'll find 8 gems in there.
    Also check under mixes at Cio's website
    While you are at Fairtilizer - I recommend keying in 'modern heads' and grabbing the 'Prologue Portefuille Podcast 01 - Dino Sabatini' and Dino Sabatini '#2# mix'. gold.
    Enjoy !

  11. Thanks Guys ... And excuse - We were not able this year to do more prologue podcasts on our blog. We planed defently more. But this year was too busy for us... We didnt expect so much work :-) One good news.. Next week there will be 3 Prologue podcast published on Modyfier. And in 2010 we try to do every 2 month one podcast from our community. We would also say thank you to all of you for your support and nice comments. Last but for sure not least, Thanks to the mnml ssg team for the support, for the podcast series and for the interesting thoughts on electronic music. Its always a pleasure to read through the posts. Peace and quality music for 2010. Tom

  12. Well Tom - if Prologue were not doing such great work - then you would not be so busy : )
    You guys and your roster has definitely been my, and I am sure many others', rising star for 09 !
    Look forward to that next p/cast. Cheers and big ups.

  13. @ Brian

    Cio at the klickklackklub, Cologne 15-08-2008 =>


  14. yeaj i agree chris, some more people in 2009 which impressed me:

    Marcel Fengler
    and the whole hardwax and berghain posse..

    Joy Orbison

    Skream again



    Burial and Four Tet

    Cio Dòr

    and you mnmlssg, you makes make happy. every day i visit your website

  15. and if anybody wont to know MY track of the year, its the shackleton mix of modersat rusty nails.
    motherfucking deep.

  16. Lots of amazing stuff out there. But when it comes to producer of the year, for me it's hands-down Shackleton. Every release was sick, without a single exception.

    A lot of the artists doing the best work in 2009 were those putting their personal stamp on well-worn paths (nothing wrong with that!), but Shackleton conjured up an entire world of sounds that was his, and his alone.

    Very very few producers, in any genre, have that level of imagination and creativity.


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