If you’re feeling it, you can dance to ANYTHING. You can dance to a dirge. But, I’m not gonna write or suggest any dirges.
I’m gonna run down a handful of glittery, dancefloor bangers (mostly of the House varietal.)
Now, please take this with a grain of salt, as this year’s been a seriously banner year in dance music. There’ve been stunning full-lengths from Joakim & DJ Harvey. Soundtracks by Daft Punk & The Chemical Brothers. Remix comps. Label comps. I figure we are in the midst of an era, a kind of golden age that people will look back on and think, “WOW. This was happening? What?! Where was I? Oh, yeah, I was THERE!”
I digress, there were a bunch of fantastic releases by Pional, Bicep, Runaway, Caribou side-project Daphni, Orthy, LA’s Daytime Disco princes Poolside, and a 10″ by Gunnar Bjerk (which remains one of my very 2011 favorites) but these right here are my very very Top 5. Dance. 12″ singles. of 2011.
1. Benoit & Sergio – Let Me Count the Ways (Spectral Sound)
Out of fairness to other artists and the basic concept of a “Best Of” list, I resisted the inclination to actually make 4 out the 5 best 12″s of 2011 B & S singles, even though their 2 DFA singles and the Visionquest single are ALL some of the best dance music that dropped this year. I selected their Spectral 12″, because it distills everything they do well into a sprawling dancefloor epic that has shimmery highs and chuggy lows. Spacey, psychedelic, and romantic, it’s a template for what should happen on a classy dancefloor.
2. Blondes – Wine/Water (RVNG)
The last in a series of 12″s for RVNG (that started with an equally impressive Lover/Hater 12″) Blondes went deep on the closer and went with a Christic reference. No big deal, considering this will no doubt become a cherished Grail and 4am secret weapon. These guys have a working formula and a sound that is truly unique and will be exciting to watch in the coming years. A full length collection of the singles and remixes by JD Twitch, SFV Acid, Andy Stott and more are set to drop in early 2012. I’m more of a brunette dude, but I’m seriously in love with Blondes.
3. Paradis – Parfait Tirage (BIS)
He might not even be 30 yet, but Tim Sweeney is already a danceworld icon. He started his phenomenal WNYU radio show at the age of 18, and has played host to virtually every amazing living legend DJ and at the risk of being insanely hyperbolic, I think he’s broken more new dance heaters than anyone in the last decade. Whoa. This year saw the debut 12″ from Beats In Space (named after his show,) and it is an exquisite slab of downtempo French House.
4. Soft Rocks – We Hunt Buffalo (ESP Institute)
Specializing in stoney brand of slo-mo disco, the UK’s Soft Rocks have been consistently delivering on their moniker’s promise. And then over the summer things took a seriously dubby turn when the boys from Brighton released their first single on Lovefingers’ ESP Institute label. “We Hunt Buffalo” not only features snarly vocals from Indoor Life’s Jorge Socarras, but has a weirdly worldy instrumentation that sounds like a tropical, Middle Eastern fusion you’d hear in an Interzone bar. And to boot, the B-side is a sleazy, glam-workout by the one and only Andrew Weatherall.
This is dance music to lose your mind to, while losing your mind.
5. Maceo Plex – High & Sexy (Ellum)
Maceo Plex, like most of the other folks featured here, has been an MVP on the scene this year. With a full-length and a stunning series of 12″s on Crosstown Rebels, he had a super-busy year and didn’t slack on a single production. Each one was a unique world unto itself, while remaining unmistakably Maceo Plex. An aural marriage of his previous techno/electro incarnations, Maetrik & Mariel Ito, DJ/Producer Eric Estornel is creating robo-funk house that would make Afrika Bambataa and Moodymann smile. He repeatedly smashed it, but his last 12″ of the year High & Sexy (on his own Ellum imprint) that bangs to infinity. And beyond.