My favorite (new) music from 2019

I apparently haven't posted a "favorite new music of the year" list since 2010. Whoops.

  • Album: Holy Ghost! - Work
  • Liveset: James Zabiela - High Tide Boat Party - The Final Voyage 2019.09.07
  • Gig I attended: Holy Ghost! - Taste of Randolph 2019.06.14 
  • Single: Kölsch and Sasha - The Lights

Of course, it's possible that I only listened to one new album and one new liveset this year, whoops...

My favorite (new) music from 2010

Another year gone. 2010 was pretty exciting music-wise.

Best new artist: 6th Borough Project
Most powerful track: King Unique - 2000000 Suns
Best remix: Robert Babicz - Dark Flower (Fever Mix)
Best vocal tracks: Holy Ghost! - On Board, Lusine - Two Dots
Best Essential Mix: James Zabiela - 3 April 2010
Best mixes: Sasha & Digweed - 2010 WMC Yacht Party, John Digweed - Big Issue May 2010
Best band: Holy Ghost!
Best label: DFA
Best local DJ: Slow Hands

There's no "best DJ" entry because no individual dominated my listening in 2010. Lots of good mixes from lots of talented people.

Note: Sometimes I'm ahead of the curve (Tensnake in 2009), and sometimes I'm a little behind (Holy Ghost! in 2010), so some of this may not exactly count as "new".

Previous incarnations: 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003.

The Groove Supremum (Oct/Nov/Dec 2010)

The Groove Supremum is a trilogy of mixes that I released over the last three months. Enjoy.

D.Squared - The Groove Supremum, Volume One

Here's the first release in a three-part series: 75 minutes of slow burnin' beats. Featuring releases from DFA, Instruments of Rapture, Future Classic, Gorillaz, Jazzanova, Mr Scruff, and others.

D.Squared - The Groove Supremum, Volume Two

Clocking in just over the one-hour mark, the second disc of the Groove Supremum trilogy continues where disc one left off. Chugging along just below the 120-bpm threshold, it features releases from DFA, Jazzanova, Mr Scruff, and others with a similar sense of funk. See if your ears can detect all the samples and loops I slipped in along the way.

D.Squared - The Groove Supremum, Volume Three

This disc picks up the pace a bit, blending driving drums, booming bass, and catchy melodies. Featuring releases from Juan Maclean, Robert Babicz, Runaway, and Big Nuz.

Fixed with Juan MacLean at Public Assembly, 5 June 2010

I went to Public Assembly in Brooklyn on Saturday night to see The Juan Maclean. I got there about 11:15pm to a very sparsely populated dancefloor.

JDH & Dave P warmed up the night. I was happier with their earlier nu disco/indie dance material (Tensnake - Coma Cat, Holy Ghost - Say My Name, etc) than I was with the more acid/tech house stuff they played after midnight, which was just hit-and-miss, to be honest. The dancefloor was at capacity by the time they finished.

Maclean showed up around 12:30, brought his own needles and turntable feet, took a little while to set up, tossed the CDJs aside, and was on the decks around 1:00am. Big respect to Maclean for rocking the "lumberjack DJ" look with his beard and shirt selection. :)

I enjoyed Maclean's vinyl-only mixing for a little over an hour, finishing off with Maclean's "Feels So Good" around 2:15am, at which point I was just too tired to keep it up and headed home.

(no subject)

I attended a total flop last night.

Greg and I attended an excellent talk on Friday evening at Angels and Kings. Dave Haslam, former Hacienda resident and now a music journalist, gave a lecture and took Q&A on the role of Manchester's economic and social circumstances in shaping Joy Division, New Order, and the city's musical output in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I was impressed with the insightful, scholarly nature of the discussion.

So on Saturday night, I headed out to Brooklyn to see Dave Haslam and DJ Shred play a load of Hacienda and Manchester classics. But it didn't really pan out.

I arrived shortly after midnight. Dave was behind the decks, but when the track ended, there was an awkward pause, he tried to figure out what was going on, and it was about 20 seconds before the next tune began. The same thing happened after that tune finished.

While I was excited for a classics night, I wasn't exactly looking to relive the "Oakenfold on one turntable" story, which I assumed was the nature of the problem. It turned out not to be the case.

DJ Shred played for a bit, facing the same difficulties. I bought a beer, chatted with Carlos, one of the organizers, who suggested they were going to skip out on their own party. And then a while later, I noticed that Dave Haslam was nowhere to be seen.

Chatting with a few other folks who were involved, I learned that Haslam had some problem playing his CDs -- the CDJs simply wouldn't read them. He got frustrated and just ditched the gig.

But the problem had to be more than that, because as DJ Shred soldiered on to an incredibly shrinking dancefloor, she wasn't beat matching. Somehow the pitch slider on the CDJs wasn't working? But why didn't she switch to the turntables? She had a number of vinyl records on hand, and the Technics didn't look to have any problem. I would guess the cue function on the mixer was busted, but she kept using her headphones and trying to cue up tracks.

Anyway, it's a bit rough to DJ without pitch adjustments. The tunes were great (Hashim - Al Naafiysh , 808 State - Pacific State, Inner City - Good Life [Derrick May Remix], A Guy Called Gerald - Voodoo Ray, Orbital - Chime), but it's tough to get through trainwrecks-cum-transitions, and by 2:00 am the crowd had dwindled to a dozen people. Time to go.

How should you DJ without the capacity to beatmatch? This could have been an exercise in the DJ Challenge series that some friends and I used to do in undergrad, in which we'd propose tasks or obstacles for a mix. The entire time I was watching DJ Shred, I was wondering why she didn't

(1) EQ the crap out of the tunes, both to reduce the clash and to allow herself to use a high-pass filter as a false build up before slamming over to the new tune
(2) transition during breakdowns rather than percussion outros, so that even if the crowd had to bear a melodic clash, they weren't listening to horses galloping

Other suggested techniques?

So I heard some really good tracks last night, but it was a pretty big flop. Easily the most disastrous gig I've attended.

My favorite (new) music from 2009

Best new artists: Tensnake, Moderat
Most powerful track: Bottin - No Static
Best remix: Depeche Mode - Wrong (Frankie Bromantic Club Mix)
Best vocal track: J. Axel f. Astrid Suryanto - Don't Go
Best mixes: Sasha & Digweed - Live at Lady Windbridge in Miami, 2009.03.26 (dl); Tensnake - Beats In Space 2009.06.23 (dl)
Best Essential Mix: Laurent Garnier - 2009.05.23 (dl)
Best amateur mix: Rob Turner - Speakeasy (Winter 2009 Promo) (dl)
Best DJ: Danny Howells

Sasha at Brooklyn warehouse 6-7 Nov 2009

I went to Brooklyn to see Sasha on Friday night/Saturday morning. It was advertised as a "secret location" party, which got a bunch of silly people worked up about those of us -- such as Sasha -- who publicly posted the address that was disseminated two days prior to the event. It was indeed a party at a empty warehouse with temporary facilities, but this wasn't exactly Groove.

Thanks to the quality of NYC public transport on weekends, I arrived around 1:45 and was greeted to a mix of hit-and-miss tunes from the warm-up DJs. Some were fun, but some were a bit dry/boring. Sasha took over at 3am. His opening hour was a bit boring -- the tunes weren't poor quality, per se, but they lacked the kick of energy that I needed after a long week. Finally he took it in the melodic/pumping/exciting direction around 4:15. I lasted until 6am, at which point I had enjoyed myself quite a bit but needed to begin the hour journey home. I'll need preparation -- a pre-clubbing nap and more than one Red Bull -- next time he comes to town.

A brief sample of the night's flavor:

And yes, a random Brooklyn warehouse beats the pants off of Pacha.

Trentemøller at Cielo, 17 Sep 2009

Nadia and I went to see Anders Trentemøller last night at Cielo. He was in top form.

Kasper Bjorke was spinning when we got into the club, and Trentemøller took over at 1am. He launched off with a pop/rock remix, I think it was a Killers single. The percussion programming was excellent. And for the next two hours, Trentemøller destroyed the dancefloor with his intelligent blend that ranges from straight minimal to pop remixes. Tunes included a mashup of Moan, Killers - Somebody Told Me vs Clash - Rock the Casbach, Nina Simone - Feelin' Good vs Sea Lion Woman, and then formidable stuff like Aphex Twin - Windowlicker and Minilogue - Inca. Starting around 3am, Bjorke and Trentemøller went back to back trading tunes. Fantastic night.