So its been a great year for all the netlabels & digital labels out there, releasing so many quality releases for us lucky fans.
Here is a little rundown of some of MY favourite releases over the last year, i will list a few tunes in each category, mainly Dub Techno and Deep House to keep on theme with the blog but ive included a drum and bass release which i think deserves a special mention for its dub techno influences. I know ive missed out so much music here, but these are just a few that come to my mind when thinking back over the year. This is by no means a complete run down of 2009, ive been traveling Asia for 8 out of these 12 months and have probably missed out on a ton of tunes.
Best Dub Techno Tune
For me it had to be Untitled by Optic from the Schall Netlabels 25th release (schall 025). In my opinion this tune is what dub techno is about, beautiful pads, synths echoing through soundscapes that take my imagination to the outer reaches.
Fading in, the intro gets straight to business, i fell in love with this tune within the first 10 seconds. Then at 1.40 the second pad drops in, wow!
When i hear this tune i feel like im waking up in an off world colony looking up at a beautiful nebula or something. The tune is so deep, i wish it went on for longer, making my mind drift deeper and deeper. I wont go on about it too much you will just have to have a listen for yourself to know what im talking about.
Following closely in second place is Flying Motor by Sraunus from the Variado EP on Ornithopter Records. Im a big fan of rainforest samples being used in tunes, it immediately lifts my spirit to a more calmer place so hearing the birds calling out straight away in this tune i knew i was in for something special. Then the lovely warm synth emerges out of the rainforest, this tune really reminds me of the opening scene of the anime Shangri La which is set in an overgrown future tokyo! I think the synth is so emotional its just pure beauty. Have a listen here.
Third is Phantom Planet by La Chriz from the Purple Mountain Meadows EP. Final Fantasy – The spirits within. That is the kind of world this song takes me to. Sci Fi, techy, other worldy. This tune is epic, like hunting down 8 spirits to save a world, i would like to think La Chriz drew influences from that film to create this track, i have played this track soooo much over the last year, it never ceases to amaze me and make my mind wonder off. The haunting pads and samples are beautiful.
Fourth we have Dawn by Delta Funktion on Electromagnetic Radiation Part 2 EP. I love the build up in this track, the way the hi hats filter in to create a hypnotizing, deep and emotional journey. Imagine whizzing along in a cab in Hong Kong at night with sprawls of people merging into a mashup of colours and shapes and multi coloured pavements lit up by enourmous digital bill boards and shop displays. This is what this tune makes me think of, and its probably because i was playing this song in a cab when whizzing through Hong Kong.
Best Dub Techno EP
I made this category to name some of the EP’s and LP’s that had great quality tracks throughout the release. This category lists some of the releases that had quality through the entire release, be it 2 track or 10, i will just sum up a few of my favourite tunes on each release that i really really loved.
Optic again, and its the same ep i mentioned him on for best dub techno tune. Schall’s 025 release comprised of 4 tunes, 3 of which, i think are amazing. First off it had ‘Falling in love again‘, a lovely tune that makes me think of couples enjoying the summer sunshine in the park. This tune makes me smile, even though the vocal could suggest pain, sorrow and confusion i like to think that this girl must really really like someone so its a good thing really.
Become the sky – I messaged Optic thanking him for this EP, its probably my most played EP of 2009 and while traveing around Asia i played this song so many times during those epic moments. When up on the peak looking down at Hong Kong’s skyline lit up like a scene from blade runner, i had this tune playing in my ears, and man was it EPIC! Or when in Cloud 9 bar, Shanghai, on the 86th floor looking out at the amazing futuristic skyline i had this tune playing. And when paragliding over the Annapurna mountain range in Nepal, i of course had to have this tune playing, as i was literally ‘becoming the sky’. The echoing synths in this tune are some of the best i have ever heard in any tune. I literally feel like im flying when i hear this tune. Thankyou Mr Optic!!!
Untitled – I have already mentioned why i love this tune so much in the Best Dub Techno Tune category.
Loud and Clear Netlabel launched in 2009 and wow did they come out with a bang – Various compilation 01 [L&C 01] has got so many quality track on it, just check out some of the artists on this one, Optic, Mr Bizz, Sraunus, Dominique Jacquinet, Ocralab and more! This VA Compilation has got so many deep tunes in it, Im not going to go into each tune on this one because it is going to be too long. If i had to pick my fav tune on the ep though it would be Sen – Needful Rev.
La Chriz gets another mention in this category with his ‘Worlds Revolving EP‘. 4 great tracks, my favourite, is ‘The future was better in the past‘. It’s got the same vibe as Phantom Planet which i mentioned in the best dub techno tune category, haunting pads and vibes that take me to a futuristic world. I love this track, the repeating pads draw me deeper and deeper into another world, i wish Optic – Untitled went on for 10 minutes, i get a sense of emotion from this track, maybe its to do with the track title, suggesting the grass isnt always greener on the other side.
The second track, “Of Course and Naturally” again had La Chriz’s signature haunting pads and synths. I love this man’s production, the tracks always take me to a futuristic city, with emotion and industrial simplicity, this EP had it all for me.
Purple mountain meadows ep – Of course Phantom Planet has already had a mention in the best dub techno tune category, but the other tunes i was feeling in this release were –
Do you believe in telepathy – La Chriz’s signature haunting pads kick in straight away with a beautiful minimal ambience being created. Blissfully chilled, i could watch the sun set over a cityscape, slowing watching the neon lights coming alive as the city opens it’s eyes!
Best Dub Techno Influenced Release
I come across the artist BOP in 2007, he immediately struck me as someone who doesnt really follow any trend in the drum and bass community, many people say he has created his own sub genre, and they are probably right.
The reason why i love this mans music so much is because he has somehow managed to merge drum and bass and dub techno to create a beautiful hybrid of music which combines my two favourite genres of music, i am always so excited to hear BOP’s new stuff because it is something you know you havent heard anywhere else.
Have a listen to see what im talking about, he has such deep pads in his tunes, and they are accopanied by lush, crisp, minimal beats, pops, and crackles.
FACT – Every single tune of the album is AMAZING, and i mean absolotely amazing.
Best other genre track remixed into a dub techno track
Ok so this category is simply made for one tune. Its from the BOP – Clear your mind EP which got a special mention in my Best Dub Techno influenced release category. The Kaskaad remix of Bop’s ‘Enjoy the moment’ is from the Deeplimit – Two Years Deep VA Compilation.
A beautiful remix of an already beautiful track. It’s really hard for me to say which one i prefer, and im not going to, because i cant choose one.
Warning this track is emotional. I was looking through some old pictures while listening to this track for the first time and when the synths come in at 3.20 seconds my heart felt all mushy! Weldone Kaskaad you have done us dub techno fans proud!
Best Dub Techno Remix
Claudio Mate’s – Dub Island (echoreshape mix). WOW!!! Dub Island was a great ep, with the original & the quantec remix being great tracks themselves, but its the echoreshape mix that really blew me away. This tune is DEEEEEP.
I love the build up of this track, the fast pace, filtering synths and pads and pulsing beats. Its all about the layers of sounds in this track, merging into a beautiful synergy of electronic sound waves, overlapping one another. This remix is my favourite track from the EP i prefer it to the original and quantec remix.
So that wraps up 2009, if you got any tunes you love that didnt get a mention feel free to post them in the comments section, i would love to hear your suggestions!
Let’s hope 2010 is as good as 2009 for the deep music we all love.
Keep Drifting people!