From DJ Mario Cotto:
It’s the end of the year which means it is list season, fersherrr.
Consequently, I’m going list crazy…although I’m generally unable to create a single item for a to-do list, when it comes to listing things I love it’s more than easy, in fact, it could very easily be labeled at best “an obsession,” at worst “a compulsion.” For example, I worked and re-worked my Top 10 album list. And, even after it was submitted, I found myself rewriting it for myself. Over and over and over again, adding and subtracting new albums, re-issues, eps, and so on.
The only way to stop that madness was to start focusing on other lists. So…I give you my Top 5 12″ singles of 2010:
1. Oni Ahyun: OAR-003B
This spring, I came across a low bit-rate version of this track on a blog. It may have been something like -4 kpps, and it STILL sounded epic. Efficient, precise and insanely expressionistic, the track is the musical equivalent of a Rothko.
Minimalist by definition, it is still so bold as to make an indelible impression. The creator of these self-released singles, each simply labeled 1, 2, 3, & 4, A or B, is in fact Olof Dreijer (of The Knife) and he’s pushed his dark synthpop sensibilities into an ambient trance realm that is just sublime. Since I don’t ever want to NOT have a copy, I purchased 3 copies at the same time.
2. Midnight Magic: Beam Me Up (Jacques Renault Remix)
This summer, THIS was easily THE afternoon pool party or late-night dance party jam.
A Hercules & Love Affair side-project, Midnight Magic pays tribute to its Herculean disco origins while toying around with more pop-oriented 90s MTV piano house.The track has all the sweetness and brawn of a mustachioed Hercules stomper, but with loose Hammer pants and more hair-gel.
Stream “Beam Me Up (Jacques Renault Remix)”
This 12” is a monster and should be handled with caution, with remixes by Gavin Russom, The Loving Hand, AND Jacques Renault of Runaway, this is custom crafted to make you sweat, and let the rhythm move you. Although they’re ALL super-fantastic versions, without question, Jacques’ has become the anthem. You could probably play this at the beginning, middle, AND end of any set and people would not be mad at you for playing it multiple times.
3. Discodeine: Synchronize
Cédric Marszewski (aka Pilooski) is a bona-fide musical genius.
Although ostensibly part of the mid-00s French New Wave of dance music, he showed zero interest in creating squelchy, distorted synth stabs. Instead, he decided to travel back in time, find “dirty diamonds” by Frankie Valli, Del Shannon, and Human Beinz and re-edit them into glistening club bangers. The last 2 years have found Pilooski creating original works with various collaborators under the name Discodeine.
“Synchronize” is the most recent single and is a collaborative release with DFA, and it features smile-inducing lyrics and vocals by Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker. This is the track you close your eyes, raise your hands and clap and sing along to when it drops.
4. Azari & III: Indigo
Indigo is as menacing as single as I’ve heard all year.
Between the bass and synth stabs, you may find yourself looking over your shoulder as it plays, just to ensure that a leather gloved maniac isn’t about to strangle you (not that you’d mind so much because you’re already losing your head anyways to Indigo.) It’s a thrill to hear a track that even if you’ve heard it dozens of times, STILL has the ability to sneak up on you. It’s a stunner.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
5. Locussolus: Gunship
DJ Harvey is a living legend. He’s like a wizard shaman philosopher King Midas…except everything he touches turns to awesome instead of gold.
His recent musical project Locussolus has a full length in the works, but has already released 2 sick 12″s this year. The first one “Gunship,” with all of its insane twitches and noodling is a strange and remarkably elegant thing. It makes me think of Star Blazers, y’know, that 70s anime about Battleships in space? On that show, the spaceship is essentially a massive laser gun in the guise of a spacecraft carrier. This track is like that.
A dense psychedelic voyage in the guise of a experimental disco jam. It has a consistently chugging beat that you can ride, but the odd clicks, wobbly Chapman Stick sounds, and haunting vocals weave in and out of the track in way that make you feel like maybe you’ve been imagining the track yourself. Like Harvey, it’s a lot of fun, has a great sense of humor, and it’s TOTALLY cosmic.
(Be advised, I’ve already started the obsessive replacement process and started working on other lists…stay tuned.)
– Mario Cotto