Things I Loved In 2012: Part 1

Oh. Hi there. It’s been a while. Let’s get this thing going again, yeah? I’ve missed ya’ll. Enjoy this brief look back at 2012 over the next week before I start tackling 2013.

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DJ Rashad – Teklife Vol. 1: Welcome to the Chi

The hectic 160 BPM rhythms of juke continue to be transformed by a number of brilliant producers, including some of Chicago’s legendary progenitors of the genre. Founding father of footwork DJ Rashad put out one of the year’s finest LPs with the innovative and inspired Teklife Vol. 1: Welcome to the Chi, pushing the genre to new limits.

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DJ Rashad – Feelin’

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DJ Rashad – iPod

Buy: Pick up Teklife Vol. 1: Welcome to the Chi over at Beatport.

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LOL Boys – Fader Mix + Edits

With the highs must come lows… sadly, 2012 signified the dissolution of my favorite rising electronic duo: LOL Boys. With little more than a brief farewell on their Facebook page, this internet-borne collaboration was ended just as they were on the brink of truly breaking out. In their parting, LOL Boys released a zip file of the edits that made up the awesome mix they put together for The FADER back in July. One of the most refreshing and eclectic blends of pop tunes I’ve heard in a long while, this breezy masterstroke was on repeat for weeks after it dropped. Stream that mix and download Edits below.

And hey, it’s not all tearful goodbyes. The silver lining here is that Jerome Potter still carries the LOL torch as Jerome LOL and Markus Garcia is starting to release tracks under the alias Heartbeat(s). Perhaps now we’ll get twice the goodness from these two talented DJs and producers.

Download: LOL Boys – Edits

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Schoolboy Q – Habits & Contradictions

Kendrick Lamar’s instant classic good kid, m.A.A.d city was enough to solidify 2012 as the year that TDE delivered handily on their promise. I just hope that Kendrick didn’t overshadow Habits & Contradictions, the excellent LP that fellow TDE member Schoolboy Q dropped earlier in the year. Between some excellent sample work and production, Schoolboy’s agile and aggressive flow, plus some dope guest spots, this is definitely not to a record be slept on. Stream Schoolboy’s heavy collab with K-Dot himself down below.

Buy: Grab Habits & Contradictions over at Amazon.

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Mrs. Magician – Strange Heaven

If you’ve been following my Facebook, Twitter, or Soundcloud feeds, it’s become readily apparent that I am listening to a lot less guitar-centered music these days. However, the infectious garage rock haze of Mrs. Magician‘s stellar debut album Strange Heaven was an undeniable force in 2012. Produced by San Diego legend John Reis (Rocket from the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes, The Night Marchers) and released on his label Swami Records, this effort has helped earn these hometown heroes some much deserved attention and acclaim. They even snatched up a San Diego Music Award last year for “Best Pop Album”, proving that they actually do get some things right over there now and then. Check out the bitingly clever and catchy “There Is No God” below or stream the whole LP here.

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Mrs. Magician – There Is No God

Buy: Pick up a copy of Strange Heaven from their Bandcamp (digital) or over at Midheaven Mailorder (CD/LP).

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Jam City – Classical Curves

If the Night Slugs crew sounds like they came from the future, then Jam City is making music from the furthest reaches of that spectrum. His unconventional approach to electronic music cuts right through the time-space continuum, referencing the dark minimal sounds of early rave and house, but bending them like light through a prism into a refracted sound that is at once abrasive, mesmerizing and very new. Classical Curves is certainly one of the more challenging records I heard this year and requires a bit of time to process fully. But, the rewards at the end of that journey are well-worth it.

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Jam City – Her

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Jam City – The Courts

Buy: Get a copy of Classical Curves over at Bleep.

Kid Smpl – Skylight

Kid Smpl has had an impressive year— from his excellent Escape Pod EP, to his hypnotic performance at Live for the Funk‘s Decibel Festival showcase, his acceptance into the latest session of the Red Bull Music Academy, and of course the release of his beautiful debut full-length on Seattle’s freshest new label Hush Hush Records. A deep exploration of ‘night bus‘ music, Skylight is pure vibe; a slow and subtle atmospheric drone that builds patiently to emotive heights, only to reverberate back into an ambient vapor. This is necessary listening, so turn off the lights, put on your headphones and zone out in this ocean of lush tones and textures.

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Download: Kid Smpl – But I Don’t
Buy: You can buy Skylight over at the Hush Hush Records Bandcamp page.

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Korallreven (feat. Julianna Barwick) – “Sa Sa Samoa” (Elite Gymnastics Remix)

This Elite Gymnastics remix of Korallreven and Julianna Barwick‘s “Sa Sa Samoa” is a massive and authentic jungle rinse-out of the original balearic choral jam. However, to fully appreciate this track, you must watch the video. Equal parts seapunk, dump.fm, classic rave footage, and cosmically poignant Final Fantasy VII dialogue, this intense and assaulting visual speaks to life on the internet like no other. And when that Whitney Houston sample drops in… it’s all over. Ecstasy.

Buy: Download a copy of this track for free (along with the rest of the EP) over at the Acéphale Soundcloud page.