Sunday, December 26, 2010

a subjective, incomplete list of my favourite tracks from 2010

reading the various end of year lists that have been appearing over the last month has been an interesting experience. it seems my 2010 was different from plenty of others out there (or perhaps not). i didn't even know that horrible steaming pile of shit 'without you' existed until it appeared number 1 on the RA top tracks. over at LWE kassem mosse's track on laid was their clear choice for track of the year, but i certainly didn't connect with it to the same degree. we've got the vinyl, but it hasn't been played much. meanwhile i've only heard 2 of the tracks that made it into FACT's top 10. those guys are a bit too on it for me. i'll catch up to some of it in a couple of months in my own good time... my favourite tracks are mainly ones i've found and fallen in love with by myself, and what follows is certainly not a 'best tracks of 2010', it is a 'chris' favourite tracks of 2010'. i think they are all awesome, but shit, who the fuck am i to say they are the best, whatever the hell that means in this context. if the RA top 50 showed us anything, it was the limited use of these exercises... nonetheless, if in listing these tracks if you find one or two gems you'd missed, this will have been worthwhile. and from my perspective, at least, the artitsts and labels involved with these tracks deserve recognition for some quality efforts.

please keep in mind that like with my favourite mixes, this list has been shaped heavily by what i've listened to, and listened to the most. there are plenty of other great tracks out there, but if they are not ones i've heard or played heavily, i don't see much point including them here.

chris' favourite tracks of 2010 (in random order)

sandwell district - 'falling the same way': ok, probably you are all going to think i'm a prick for starting off with a track that has only just hit the stores. whatever, it's my list, and this track is one i've been playing on repeat since i got it. function played it right at the beginning of his monumental set at labyrinth this year. when i listen to that, it brings back echoes and memories of that special event.

senking - 'V8': on an album full of highlights, this is the clear winner. what a fucking epic track. music for a party on the ocean floor.

svreca - 'utero' (regis remix): i don't know quite how to describe this track, but there is so much depth and meaning in it. if i had to pick one track from 2010, this would be it. i have listened to this so many times, and it still hits me just as hard.

shackleton - 'bastard spirit' and 'mukuba special': i am glad sam shackleton exists. we need more people like him making electronic music.

mika vainio - 'it's a muthang': this is about as close as i can imagine mika vainio will ever get to being loose and wild. hell, it is even funky. i am looking forward to playing this at our mnml ssgs party.

the panamax project - 'maximum height': wax30003 might have been the one everybody charted in 2010, but that left me cold. this is the one that gets me hot.

space dimension controller 'journey to the core of the unknown sphere': well, 'temporary thrillz' was very appropriately named, as far as i am concerned. i got nothing out of that release. but 'journey...' is a different story. i'm not as sold on SDC as most others seem to be, but this track is clear evidence that the guy has a lot of potential. the build and kick on this are just awesome.

gunnar jonsson - 'morgonånga': i don't have much to say about this track. it is just beautiful. it could keep on going forever.


peter van hoesen - 'irrational x' (slow mix): peter has had another impressive year production-wise. i am not sure this is the best track he has put out in 2010, but it's my favourite, simply because it brings back very strong echoes of his incredible 2009 livepa at labyrinth.

desolate - 'heroic death': special track, special memories.

conforce - 'pretty far from here': i was a bit slow jumping on the conforce train, but i have now well and truly rectified that problem. while it was his 'grace' EP on delsin that put him on the map in 2010, it was this track that i fell for. there is nothing that complicated or new about this. it's just a classic sound executed to perfection.

move d - 'aspiration 2010': in comparison to the last couple of years, 2010 was a much quieter year from move d on the production side of things. but that is just fine by me, because this is the best thing he has done in ages. an absolute gem. move d at his very best.

benjamin brunn - 'my heart': ah, you gotta love benjamin. his music is just so warm and friendly. listening to this track is like a big musical hug.

donato dozzy and claudio fabrianesi - 'fade out': i really love this whole EP. i am not quite sure why it didn't get more attention. slow burners from the italians...

donato dozzy and dj say - 'your eyes': absolute killer. not much more to say (pun intended).

nuel - aquaplano ltd 01 (A2): while i'm talking about the italians, this one definitely needs to be in there too. the techno cuts on this EP are very strong, but it is this ambient one that kills me. beautiful music from a beautiful person. full respect.

martyn featuring spaceape - 'is this insanity?' (ben klock remix): there isn't anything too complicated going on here, it is just an incredibly effective track. this is not normally something i'd like but klock makes it work.

the black dog - 'sleepdeprivation 2': on a great album, this was definitely my favourite track. it's very powerful and atmospheric, and it manages to convey / induce some very ambiguous emotions. delicate, complex and beautiful.

sigha - 'light swells (in a distant place)': gorgeous ambient track. for me this track was a clear indication of sigha maturing as a producer. the title of this track is actually not a bad description of his future, except the 'distant' part! expecting big things from him in 2011.

l.b. dub corp - 'take it down (in dub)': how the hell this EP hasn't been featuring in more EoY lists i have no idea, as both sides of this are totally awesome. what has been rating high is the ostgut label, and again, i don't quite agree with this. they've had a good, but not great, year in my books. this was pretty clearly their strongest release of 2010. what i love about this track is how perfectly it encapsulates berghain itself. this really sounds purpose built for that space.

urban tribe - 'insolitology': urban tribe really had a great 2010. full respect. probably my favourite track of theirs for 2010 was this one, and interesting enough, if you look at the credits of the record it is not produced by the core group in detroit, but a relatively new producer by the name of mariska neerman. i haven't heard much from her besides this (you can check a live recording of her playing at bleep43 here), but this track makes me keen to find out more.

raime - 'we must hunt under the wreckage of many systems': i could have easily included here any of the raime tracks released on blackest ever black, i love them all equally, and both EPs have received heavy play from me. very strong start from this label and these producers. looking forward to see how their trajectory continues in 2011.

forest swords: 'if your girl': again, basically any and all forest swords tracks could be put here, but i'll choose this one. the  way the track develops, and then the drums come in... ah, this one is beautiful. i still don't know what to think of these new sub-genres forest swords is associated with, but i do know this guy is doing something very powerful and special.

ANBB - 'ret marut handshake': the ANBB album was a bit of a disappointment, mainly because we'd already heard all the best tracks on the EP. there are a couple that i really love ('one' is also great), but this is where the combo really works best, creating a strong and powerful feeling of controlled aggression. powerful track.

kanding ray - 'pruitt igoe' (alva noto remodel): the standout on a very strong EP. when carsten nicolai makes more techno orientated music, the results are always special. raster-noton has had another incredible 2010 and the fact that i don't think i've seen them on any top labels lists (except ours, which are forthcoming), shows you just how bullshit and arbitrary such exercises are anyway.

ok, i am sure there are more tracks, but those are the ones i've remembered... going through this list one thing that is clear to me is 2010 has been a great year for music. looking forward to what 2011 holds. other ssgs, please add your lists in the comments!


  1. you know, i bought that desolate ep the instant it came out, and its sat on my shelf, basically untouched, since i got it, and i'm really regretting not having used it in a podcast or a performance...though i see both of those changing in the very near future.

    as for're missing out on some great shit. he's phenomenal.

    and i'm slowly liking that move.d track on soul people more and more. at first i was pretty annoyed that it was just "acid eiffel with a snare drum," but i'm liking it a lot more now, and wishing i would have nabbed the vinyl when i had a chance.

  2. Svreca, rather than sverca. Svreca - Obscur (Marcel Dettmann Remix) is a great track, also.

  3. typo fixed. thanks for spotting it.

  4. Nuel - Aquaplano ltd 01 (A2) - most magical track this year.
    Svreca - Utero (Regis remix)
    Sandwell District - Falling The Same Way

    absolutely support it )

    and add:
    Hector Pizarro - Agua Loca
    Frozen Border - Frozen Border 06 (B)
    MD2 - MD2 (B)

    but .. 100% favorite in 2010 .. it:
    Donato Dozzy - K

    Happy holidays )

  5. Expert selection, no more top lists needed. I would only add:

    Ancient Methods - B1 (AM-5)
    Stingray 313 - Sentiment
    Delta Funktionen - Please Identify

  6. That Move D track is masterful. Thanks so much for keeping it from slipping totally past my radar.

    I had kind of a weird year. The vast majority of what I listened to didn't come from this year (or century). So I'm pretty unqualified to make a "techno tracks 2010" list.
    Everything on here sounds great though. Should serve as a great jump off point for those of us who've been living under a 12" techno rock these last months.

    Also- When is that Sandwell Album finally coming out? I'm getting antsy. ha ha

  7. @brad: the SD album is in stores now.

  8. 2010 was a strange one, imo. I can't remember another year when I've heard so much good music - or another year where I've heard so few truly outstanding releases.

    The two tracks that stood out for me were the Function track from the SD Sampler singles, and Move D's Aspiration 2010.

    Mentions in dispatches go to:

    Jouem - Drifting
    Raiz - Raiz
    SP-X - Signal Path Experiments
    Frozen Border 6
    BF - Indica
    Iori - Galaxy
    F - Energy Distortion
    1XA - Impairment
    Omar S - Plesetsk Cosmodrome
    PCB - Deft
    DJ Rum - Plead With Me

  9. Best of the year for me & best artist of 2010 for me too.

  10. James Blake that is. Surprised to not see his name mentioned... and next year he is going to blow up big time i have no doubt!

  11. is the Desolat one of dozzy's closers from Laby this year Chris? guessing it must be... sure sounds familiar

  12. Looks like a great list - look forward to giving all the tracks a proper listen as most of them have passed me by. Not normally that keen on dubstep stuff but the Panamax track sounds tasty.

    Shame that some of these (e.g. Move D) don't seem to be available on digital. I hate to illegaly download tracks - it's cheap, doesn't support the artist and the quality is often lacking - but there's no other option when the track isn't otherwise available (other than investing in at least one turntable and a suitable recording setup - not a practical option for me right now, and seems like a ridiculous workaround considering every track these days must have existed in the digital domain at some point!). Definitely don't want to hear the vinyl vs mp3 debate again, but it does really frustrate me when labels don't release digitally.

  13. I would respectfully add at least B1 and B2 from this:

  14. I enjoyed reading through this list, and especially checking out a lot of the music that I hadn't heard this year. Agree whole heartedly with the Move D track being included - that's some sublime slice of house music right there!

    @Tom D - I'm in the same boat, for plenty of reasons I don't purchase my music on vinyl. I love vinyl, always will, but right now a download will do me fine. However, I don't agree at all with having to download illegally. If I can't get hold of a track through a legal download then I will not try to get hold of that track through an illegal site. I think you've got to respect the artist and label and their decision on how the music comes to their market. If it's only out on vinyl and I don't want to buy vinyl then thats the way it is - I don't get a copy of that piece of music.
    If its a track that I really love, why would I want them to lose out on getting something back for their work?

  15. Oh, and that Senking video is just fantastic!

  16. Here are a few of my favs 2010:

    Anthony Collins - Away From Home
    Brandt Brauer Frick - Bop
    Robag Wruhme - Robadella
    Nicolas Jaar - Mi Mujer
    Lucien-N-Luciano - Somewhere We Got
    Kyle Geiger - Ode To The Elders (Perc Remix)
    Giorgos Gatzigristos - Broomientje
    Caribou - Sun
    Actress - Splazsh

  17. Nothing to be frightened of re: Forest Swords. You're approaching it from the techno side, but do some exploring and you'll see that these are people after the same headspace... they're just using different methods of getting there.

    On that note, I'd highly recommend to you the On Patrol LP by Sun Araw if I didn't think you'd hate it (and then grow to love it in a year's time, as we all tend to do ;) Would be #1 or a qualified #2 on my Top 10 this year had I put together a list.

    Having said all that, I like this list. Echo Eric re: Conforce, he's been doing what he does, exceptionally, for a few years now. Also agree with you on Move D - I personally never much liked his sound outside of a few stray records (Cube EP on Running Back is a favorite) but what he did put out this year was excellent.

    Best wishes to ssgs crew for 2011.

  18. I hadn't heard many of these tracks. 2010 was more about catching up with the past for me. I guess now 2011 will be about catching up with what happened in 2010. You've given me a good starting point for this though, thanks.

  19. @Housetunes: yeah, I was exaggerating in all honesty, most of the time I'll just forget about a track when it isn't available digitally, but there is the odd track (e.g. the Move D one here) which I don't want to miss out on. I understand some artists/labels have certain attitudes towards mp3/vinyl releases, but I think in this day and age, choosing to release a track on vinyl only means accepting some degree of illegal downloading will occur. The music industry has already reacted too slowly to mp3s once so you assume by now most people have learnt that lesson - so anyone deliberately restricting the availability of music to non-digital formats is aware that some people may find other routes to obtaining a track and is somehow accepting that.

    The vast majority of the music I like is now available legally digitally, so it makes no sense for me to invest in a vinyl recording set up just for the odd tune. Maybe when I have more living space - I'd still love to have a pair of decks and a collection of really great records on vinyl if just for the tactile experience of it :)

  20. Portable - Find Me.

    His live PA blew me away this year. Very nice list Chris!


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