Instead of compiling the usual list of our favourite songs, releases or events of the year as individual lists, we have decided to put them together as a list of the most defining moments in the electronic music scene this year. So here it goes:
20. Dub Police – Past, Present & Future
With forum posts and Facebook comments murmuring and echoing the death of the dubstep scene, it seems Dub Police were going to take this opportunity to prove everyone absolutely wrong. Past, Present & Future is a 25 track mega-album designed especially to portray the best of the old and new. Highlights of the album include the new Caspa and The Others pieces and the hugely anticipated ‘SC Connection’ from Matty G and J:Kenzo. If you haven’t copped this, be sure to grab it now!
19. DJ’s fighting on Twitter
This has been a fantastic 12 months for pointless yet hilarious Twitter beefs. The usual culprits, Deadmau5, DJ Sneak, etc, were at it and as always neither side comes out looking good. Some of our highlights were Wiley telling the Glastonbury crew to ‘fuck them and their farm’, Seth Troxler putting Sneak in his place and Tyler, The Creator telling Will.I.Am he’s making ‘butt shit’.
18. Ben UFO – Fabriclive 67
I’ve selected this particular album as I have listened to it so much throughout the year but it’s just been an all round good year for the man. I’ve seen him play out in various venues throughout the year and he always has you thinking as well as dancing. I try to emulate Ben’s style and hugely look up to his selection and those aspects are shown fantastically on this mix. A much darker mix with heavier techno influence than some of his previous mixtapes but he is still blending that UK bass music sound in there with a grittiness that is hard to describe and an ability to blend that few can rival.
17. Red Bull Revolutions In Sound, London
The aptly named ‘Revolutions’ saw an obscenely wide variety of artists take to the London eye for a 30 – channel radio broadcast; one for each pod on the eye. Using a youtube video/ audio stream you could browse through them all freely. This was one of the most innovative musical events of the year and highlights Red Bull’s dedication to forward thinking art and media.
16. Logos – Cold Mission
This highly anticipated album really hit home this year. It is part of a wider movement uniting disparate strands of bass music such as jungle and grime whilst having a sound all of its own. James Parker has deconstructed grime and rebuilt it as he sees fit incorporating many of the much loved tropes of grime whilst keeping an original sound.
15. Dusky – 9T8
Few individual songs have earned a standalone place in the 2013 round up but if there was any beat that stood out this year it’s Dusky’s ‘9T8’. This bass driven house banger sees the perfect balance of grit and euphoria brought together in classic Dusky style. Benny Ill’s remix is the icing on the cake for what is easily tune of 2013 for me. Forthcoming School records Jan 13th.
14. Sub Faction, Stoke
Yes, we are biased with these guys but it’s been a huge year for them. A year has passed since SF brought Youngsta to one of the grimiest clubs in Stoke, a night which represented them beginning to take real risks for the sake of quality soundsystem music in Stoke. From that strong starting point they have taken 2013 by storm which culminated in their festive Uprise Audio take over which just tore another hole in everyone’s expectations for a Stoke night out. Along with Djing at Outlook, still keeping up with resident nights these guys still find time to have a big headlining night at least every other month. Leaping above any other night in the North West, 2014 really will be their year. Attend the next event if you can, and the one after, a sick night is always guaranteed!
13. Quality electronic music in the mainstream
You can say what you like about artists like Disclosure, Duke Dumont and MK “selling out” to get in the UK singles charts but I think it’s ridiculous to imply that some of this music isn’t prime dance floor material. The success of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, whilst partly due to a monumental amount of marketing, is primarily attributable to the quality of the music on offer. Yes, it featured straight forward party anthems which we all got sick of hearing before they were even released but there was plenty of intelligent electronic music in there as well. Keep in mind this is an album that contained an almost ten minute long musical odyssey featuring synth legend Giorgio Moroder and it was number one for two weeks. I’ll take this sort of thing over manufactured boy bands and mindlessly autotuned RnB any day of the week.
12. Sonar Festival
Sonar festival in Barcelona has risen to become one of the leading super festivals in the world. What makes the festival special is that alongside the day time parties and seminars and night time super rave, the already vibrant city comes alive with innumerable “Off Parties”, unoffical parties from outside promoters. Whilst there, my highlight was a typically eclectic R&S records party which featured, amongst others. Mala, the soothing electronic indie of Vondelpark and a headline set from Belleville Three, techno originator Juan Atkins. The official Sonar party on the Friday night also offered my first opportunity to see Kraftwerk, with their 3D show that was truly breathtaking.
11. Minimal Mondays
Younsta’s weekly show on Rinse FM is the thriving heart of the dark and minimal dubstep sound. The combination of the man’s deep selection of dubplates and mixing ability is the highlight of most Monday evenings. Alongside regular guest DJs and MCs, this show highlights the current cutting edge dubstep sound and gives Youngsta an opportunity to showcase a breadth of new music from established and up-and-comers alike.
10. Mak & Pasteman
Lobster boy’s bassy front men have been producing pure fire all year long for Redlight’s label and more and with support from Loefah, Skream amongst others their 2014 is looking even livelier. Regulars in Bristol and London, their songs bring together low sub growls and light percussion; the perfect balance making for some real attention grabbing tunes. Their boat party with 5127 in the summer was a real highlight of the year for me, 2/3rds of Spectrum (just about) made it through the two parties they held that night and we had an absolute whale of a time!
After a quiet few years and with both their London and Leeds regular dances disappearing into the ether it’s been an anxious time for DMZ fans curious about the future of the original pure bred dubstep label. Mala, Coki and Loefah have made some big movements this year, few larger than their 8th Birthday which saw an utterly outrageous line up take over the whole of Great Suffolk Street Warehouse for a night of pure vibes. The best set of the year came at Outlook festival though, where DMZ was rightly given back their stage takeover and as well as sublime sets either side, their own two and a half hour musical adventure was a highlight of both the festival and year; easily the best DMZ vs Loefah set I have seen.
8. Hip hop
There were a huge number of hip hop albums/mixtapes/singles I wanted to include in this list which made me realise just how good a year this was for hip hop. Danny Brown’s ‘Old’, albums from Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler the Creator, Ghostface Killah’s essential ‘Twelve Reasons To Die’, Chance The Rapper’s ‘Acid Rap’ and Kanye’s ‘Yeezus’ were among the most impressive for me but the list could go on and on.
and well, this video:
7. 5127, Bristol
For the past few years few nights have provided such consistent quality bass music for such a reasonable price. Weekly at Thekla in Bristol, for free if you arrive early enough, 5127 have had at least 1 headliner supported by their talented residents and it is never a dull night. Recently they’ve expanded into Nottingham and have began a radio show with Dusk FM. Having just made the announcement to switch from their weekly slot to a monthly party, we hope this will allow them to bring in bigger and better line ups and wish them all the best for 2014.
6. Uprise Audio
Tour, album, a constant stream of releases and a rota of DJs to bring any club to capacity; these guys have made some serious movements in 2013. With huge support from Vivek, Youngsta and J:Kenzo, combined with the promotional drive of Verity and Seven these guys have made a huge imprint in the modern dubstep scene. Keep your eyes locked on them if you’re interested in where 2014 will take 140, some massive releases rumoured and confirmed.
5. James Blake – Overgrown
In the land of the internet where the supply of music is endless, it has become an irregular thing for me to listen to albums in their entirety, let alone give them repeated listens. Overgrown has blown me away in this respect, since its release in April I have listened to this album on a weekly basis if not more. The maturation of his sound is undeniable, though I was happy to hear him giving nights that originally inspired him like dmz and FWD>> a shout out after winning his Mercury Prize. This album was a mesmerising swirl of deep electronics and Blake’s soulful crooning.
4. School Records
Since the release of ‘Dusky – Calling Me’ Loefah’s new label School Records has gone from strength to strength. Various room take overs, nights of their own and more forthcoming fire than any label around on the house/techno scene at the moment; the artists behind this label have an arsenal to destroy any dance floor. With Paleman, Dusky and various others with tunes coming in the New Year these guys are definitely ones to watch.
3. System 1st Birthday
This was the best dubstep dance of the year for us. System represents everything that dubstep should be. VIVEK takes a minimal approach to advertising without even releasing a lineup prior to the events, resulting in a crowd of people who actually care about the sound. This particular party saw incredible sets from originators Benny Ill and Kromestar and new shining star on the scene, Commodo. No egos, only good vibes.
2. Paul Woolford AKA Special Request
This was a huge year for Paul Woolford, he continued to smash his residency at We Love Space in Ibiza and his one release as Paul Woolford this year, Untitled, was globally revered, working its way into a whole host of DJ’s sets. However, it was his work as Special Request that really got us going in 2013, building on the hype from last year. This music is a chaotic and gritty romp through UK sounds of the last 20 years; experimental yet distinctly dance floor ready, all drum breaks and jittering bass lines. His album, Soul Music, has been on regular rotation for us since release and hearing his music in a club is an experience for the body and mind.
1. Tokyo Dub
Leaving their indoor home of Motion and setting up in Castle Park at the end of September was a risky move to say the least from Tokyo Dub, one of Bristol’s most renowned sound system culture promoters. Luckily, the sun shone consistently through the day, echoing the vibes through and through. System outside a church, RC1 in the woods and numerous dub setups made this one of the most musically varied and enjoyable days out I’ve had in the UK. The afterparty equally smashed it and I’m really excited to see what they pull out of the bag in 2014.