It’s been 3 years since I wrote my “Best Dub Techno of 2009″ article and I think it’s about time I bought this back as a special annual feature for the blog. I know I’ve missed out a ton of tunes and names, it’s inevitable trying to squeeze a years worth of music into one article. Hopefully this will be a broad view of the scene and I hope you discover some new music from reading it.
This rundown of 2012 will cover various different categories and within each I will pick my favourite 5-10 releases (free and commercial). My picks are not listed in any order.
Overall it’s been a great year for Dub Techno, many labels are still going strong, a few seem to have retired from the scene but I’m seeing new labels and artists pop up every week. Vinyl and CD releases still seem to be very popular with many of the limited vinyl pressings selling out quickly (and going for extortionate prices on discogs).
So let’s start this guide to the Best Dub Techno of 2012 with our first category:
Best Dub Techno Track
These are some of the tracks that really stood out for me in 2012. These tracks have that ‘wow’ factor, and I usually remember them thinking back over 2012 because when I love a track I REALLY love it and usually play it nonstop for a few days. Below are 10 Dub Techno tracks that encompass what I love about Dub Techno, pure, deep and hypnotic.
Echospace – Orbiting
One track that really stands out for me in 2012 was ‘Orbiting’. I can’t really describe how amazing this track is, you are just going to have to listen to it yourself. Definitely my #1 favourite track of 2012.
Textural Being – I Felt
This was a great EP but this track really stood out for me, I just love the way the drop and melody creeps into the track, such an uplifting track.
Federsen – On The Surface
As soon as I heard this one I just couldn’t get enough of that first chord stab, it progresses beautifully from there. This was a brilliant album, but On The Surface is the one the tune that stood out for me.
Axs – Filtered Lightning
So glad to finally see this track get a release, the epic ‘Filtered Lightning’ (which was originally called ‘Locked Frame’) is a long, deep journey, it takes a while to build, but it’s well worth the wait to let the layers culminate together.
Nikosf. – Welcome To This World, Emily!
Who would have thought a baby sample would fit so perfectly in a track. Instantly uplifting, and a beautiful soft melody.
One of my favourite EP’s this year.
Giriu Dvasios – Vargas
This track really stood out for me this year, it could be argued that a lot of dub techno sounds similar (to be fair they are probably right but that’s a good thing because I love it). Vargas popped out of nowhere and it’s safe to say I haven’t heard a track like it before. There’s just something about the chords and melody that make it stand out for me. It’s an instantly recognisable track if I ever heard it out, and that’s quite an accomplishment in my opinion.
DeepChord – Windfarm
More of an ambient (lets call it dub ambient) track as opposed to DeepChord’s usual Dub Techno explorations, I’ve refrained from crossing genres too much in this article but this is just one track that I couldn’t leave out of the list!
One of the most atmospheric tracks I’ve ever heard, stunning!
Ali Khan – Yantra
I just really love the melody in this track, the build up of chords to the drop around the half way point is light, floaty and quite wonderful to listen to.
Josef Gaard – Chariot
Probably the most recent discovery to be on this list, but it’s definitely deserves to be in the top 10 list, starting off very mellow and ambient it soon builds into an emotional array of sounds. I recently played this too my friends, and while they usually tell me to turn off my ‘crappy slow music’, they all went silent when listening to this track.
Convex & Basicnoise – Paradroid
Feel like I’m in Ghost In The Shell as soon as I listen to this track. Had to go in the list purely because of that!
Krisz Deak – Regeneration
Trademark Krisz deep chord sound! This one just seems to get deep and deeper as the tune goes on.
Flo – The Most Beautiful Place
Immediately takes me back to my travelling days riding my bike through beautiful lush scenery, seeing beautiful local women as a zip past and maybe even stop off to have a chat, some pork and rice, and a nice cup of sugar cane juice. Any track that evokes those types of memories is definitely going to be in my list.
Best Dub Techno Compilation
Below are a few compilations that I listened too entirely and was impressed by most, if not all the tracks on them. I feel some compilations have “filler” tracks on them to boost up the tracklist but the ones listed below are nothing but quality.
Drift Deeper Presents – Slow Living Vol.1
Yes this is one of my own release on my net label but honestly I’m very proud of this release. All in all it’s simply a top quality compilation. No filler tracks on this (and it’s why it took so long to put together).
G.R.I.T. – Expanse Remixes
An epic 30 track remix compilation from pretty much everyone who is anyone in the Dub Techno scene. Released on Entropy records this was probably my favourite compilation of the year.
Various – Futur[e]cho 2
Great 12 track compilation and I was obviously super excited to get my hands on this one as it had ‘Filtered Lightning’ on it.
Various – In Dub We Trust
There were quite a few tracks I weren’t feeling on this but it’s understandable from the sheer amount of tracks that are on this compilation. I think it deserves to be on here simply for the amount of work and the collaboration of all the artists put in to create such a huge compilation under creative commons.
Best Dub Techno Album
A great year for albums, so much quality and we were even lucky enough to get DeepChord and Echospace releasing albums this year!
DeepChord Presents Echospace – Silent World
The best album of the year for me and I’m sure for many others. Liumin was great but I felt something was missing and wanted to hear more techno in the tracks. Silent World does not disappoint and see’s Echospace at their best with some utterly amazing tracks. My fav from the album are Orbiting & Lisbon.
Federsen – For Future Times and Beings
Federsen teaming up with ZeECc for the first time and it turned out to be a wonderful journey. We interviewed him about the album and a few other bits on the blog too.
Alteria Percepsyne – Mydriatic LP
A new discovery for me in 2012 and this album was a great collaboration of ambient, field recordings and techno. A very immersive albums which makes me feel like being in a big bustling city every time I listen to it.
Purl & Deflektion – Growing
Dewtone put out a lot of quality over 2012 but this album was the highlight of their label for me. A damn right emotional affair.
Kogyo – Astral
Another artist who has been churning out quality track after quality track this year. His soundcloud is constantly being updated with new tracks, with a lot available for free. This album is a nice mix of dub techno, deep house and chillout.
Deepchord – Sommer
Another big release this year, “Sommer” was described by some as another ‘cookie cutter’ album from DeepChord. I don’t care what the haters say, and neither should you! Grab a copy and I’m positive you will not be disappointed. It’s an amazing album and I really enjoyed listening to it, some of the tracks on this album were the highlight of the year for me. Most notiably “Glow” & “Wind Farm”
Liquom – Sintetico
The pads & chords in this album are so warm and yummy. Released under the creative commons with a few remixes thrown in for good measure I couldn’t help but love this album as soon as I heard the first 5 seconds of each track. It’s rare that I get captivated by almost all tracks on an album after quickly skipping through an album. We start off with some sumptuous chords on the first track and I remember thinking “this sounds great I hope the album carries on in this fashion”, my wish came true!
Fingers In The Noise – Sounds From The Moon
Came out in the early part of 2012 and has FITN sound written all over it, which is a good thing. Pretty much every track FITN has put out this year has been amazing (and a lot of it for free too).
Zander One – Echoate
A great debut (free) album from Zander One who has only been producing electronic music for little over a year! The Coppice Halifax remixes of Iceberg where also a very nice bonus to this album.
Martin Schulte – Slow Beauty
Very excited to hear some new material from Martin, one of my favourite producers over the recent years, fans of his previous work will not be disappointed listening to this.
Best Dub Techno Remix
G.R.I.T. – The Furthest Outpost (Octal Industries Remix)
My fav remix of the year. I LOVED the orginial, and this remix added an uplifting, playful twist to it with what sounds like children playing in a school playground and warm vocals.
Zander One – Iceberg [Coppice Halifax Blue Shape III]
I love what CH did with this track, this is definitely one of my favourite tracks from 2012, it’s part of a 3 track bonus, limited disc from the Echoate album I featured above.
Nikosf. – Sensual Colours (Nikosf. End Of Summer Colours Mix)
Probably the most relaxing track of the year, there is just something about the intro that seems to just make me want to sit in a big comfy armchair, sipping a cup of tea whilst watching the world go by. BEAUTIFUL!
Deepwarmth – Released Air (Statek Unreleased Air Remix)
Subtle and delicate, almost like the movement of a summer breeze, I love that Statek took my favourite sound (albeit a very faint one) from the original and turned it into the main melody of the track.
G.R.I.T. – Endless Waves (P.Laoss Remix)
Another one taken from the Expanse remixes, I could add so many from that album onto this category but will limit it to two.
Advanced Dreams – Yet another day in dreams of whale (Kogyo RMX)
2 of my favourite artists from 2012 team up and execute a beautiful dub techno track.
Mr. Cloudy – Transaction With Mind (Dub Edit)
This has Mr. Cloudy sound written all over it, I think his sound is one of the most unique in dub techno. He was a VERY busy man over 2012 with a slew of releases but this is his finest work from 2012.
Textural Being – The Sixth Gap (Ohrwert Reduct)
Ok so it’s not actually released but it’s forthcoming and it features 2 of my favourite artists EVER!
Prune Flat – Market (Seamless Rogue Trader Remix)
More of a deep house track and I’ve tried to refrain from posting any deep house on this article as I’ll be writing a Best Deep House of 2012 so want to keep it seperate but this track needs a mention on here because it’s got some dub techno elements to it and I just love this remix.
Subforms – Sensuality (Dub Version)
A very nice dub retake by Subforms. Taken from the very nice vinyl release on Bio Recordings
RQ – Hounds (Mindspan Remix)
It was tough choosing between the Sam KDC, BvDub and Mindspan remix but this one just had the contrast of cold, empty beats with warm deep, pads and it goes together very well.
Best Dub Techno EP
Organon – Jupiter Mission
Classic Organon, loved the originals and the 44Mind remix was great.
Textural Being – Insight EP
My favourite release from Fundii this year, very nice progressive deep techno.
Nikosf. – Seasons & Circles EP
Nikosf. really can’t do any wrong, I don’t think Ive ever heard a track from him which I do not like.
P.Laoss – Lake District EP
4 absolutely quality tracks from P.Laoss. Bamboo Hut is gorgeous!
Mr. Cloudy – Night Shining Stars
One of my favourite 12″ this year. Out on Millions Of Moments, proving they are still one of the top labels in the scene.
Pulse Code Modulation – Hakuro
Pumping 2 track EP from PCM. Another artist with an unmistakable sound. I love the combination of slightly faster, more industrual techno sounding beats matched with the dub techno chords. The artwork for this release was also very beautiful and striking.
Low Orbit Satellite – Imprints EP
I could have picked so many EP’s from L.O.S. They have released so many great tracks this year. I urge you all to go and have a listen to their complete discography on bandcamp. Most of it is for free and there is something in there for everyone.
Textural Being – Oceanic EP
ZeECc treated us with the beautiful 5 track EP from TB, it was a great start to 2012 from both artist and label!
Subforms – Sensuality EP
Excellent vinyl release from Bio Recordings with a nice contrast of soft and more harder techno tracks on the flip.
G.R.I.T. – As I Look To The Sky From The Surface Of The Water EP
One of the most talked about and popular EP’s of 2012. I know many people who were very excited to get their hands on this.
The entire album has an intensely claustrophobic feel to it, as if G.R.I.T made the tracks then EQ’d out the high frequencies. He only occasionally lets a hat or stab emerge from the abyss, allowing you to briefly come up for air.
Ross Jackson (Resident Advisor Review
Matthias Springer – Erosion EP
Matthias with some really nice progressive, driving techno.
Best Newcomer Artist
Some of these may have been producing and releasing music since 2012 but this year is the first time I have come across them and have been very impressed with their output.
Really been loving all the free tracks they have released this year, although unfortuneatly it seems their soundcloud account has lost all their music. They still have some killer tracks on their Bandcamp page available to buy, my favourite from them this year has to be ‘Air In Trees’. I’m also really looking forward to hearing their live dub techno act, it should hopefully be something very special.
A few releases this year have shot him up to one of the most exciting new artists in dub techno. His “Up Then Back” ep was one of his first releases and is an excellent introduction into his sound.
I’ve already told you my thoughts on this guy and am very happy to be releasing one of his tracks in 2013!! Look out for another album too (fingers crossed)
I have been following this man’s soundcloud page all year and have been nothing short of breathless by the amount of quality deep house and dub techno he has been producing. Miruga first caught my ear with his deep and jazzy house tracks (mostly from his first album) back in 2008. It’s very nice to hear him exploring the dub techno sound because he is capable of creating some trully amazing tracks. I was lucky enough to get to release 3 of his tracks earlier in the year on the “Delaying Shadows EP“.
Has done some very good remixes over 2012 and his ep “SD Airline” was one of my favourites of 2012.
Best Dub Techno Podcast
I know there are a lot DJ, mixes and podcasts out there. Too many to mention, the 5 that I list below are what I look for in a podcast:
1 – Consistency (once a month)
2 – Quality
3 – Up to date/Freshness
Deep Afterhour Podcast
Probably the most consistent, quality podcast around, should soon be hitting 100 at the rate they are doing them
Deep In Dub Podcast
One of the busiest net labels in dub techno, in between all the releases they also manage to put out a quality podcast from various guest dj’s
Monthly dose of the finest, dub techno, deep house, ambient and everything in between
Can’t fault them for consistency, and always quality guest mixes.
Dub Techno Blog Podcast
Shameless self promotion yes, but hey I put a lot of work into my podcast each month and play the finest selection of new dub techno & deep house
Unfortunately, here in London, dub techno nights seem to be non-existent. This is a message to all promoter – Please put on some dub/deep techno nights. Then hopefully next year when I write this I will be able to contribute something.
Ok so that’s it, another year done. I wish everyone a happy new year and let’s hope we have even more deep dub sounds this year