Whomst do I think I am with these EOY lists? Anyway here is a collection of things I listened to and loved in the big year of 2k22. Have a butchers, there might be something in here that you would enjoy playing at unsociable volumes whilst driving in your motor, or use to bond with a mate that sincerely describes themselves as being “into music”, or at worst offer a lifeline in a pass-the-aux situation where ur other selections are bringing the vibe down.
DJ Python — Angel
DJ Python makes music you can dance to, cry to, have a bubblebath for a little too long to. The first time I heard Angel, my mind transported me back to a track from his first album (Dulce Compañia) called Todo Era Azul (Versio n Afuera). Both pieces gently hold your hand and offer up sincere beauty. I love artists whose work slowly reveals a congruent world that you feel yourself revisiting and reinterpreting with every new work. I love these “liner notes” from the release page!
I have no interest in saying the right thing anymore…just the true thing
Knucks — ALPHA PLACE
In Three Musketeers, Knucks closes out the album in storytelling mode with a vibrant and moving tribute to longtime best mates L’s and T.P. It’s a heartfelt collage of memories and dreams, blessed music. It’s a full-length movie rapped out in about two-and-a-half minutes, followed by two snippets of audio. The first sounds like a recent catch-up between the trio, where the men embody gratitude and love for each other:
like this shit is a blessin’, bro…The fact that all three of us are here…And that dream’s still possible
The second is a back-in-the-day blast of young Knuckles on the mic:
Cause you get chewed like Trident Gum
This ain’t just a complex love letter to Alpha House, Alpha Place in North West London. It’s a considerate and intentional intertwining of drill sensibilities with jazz flourishes. Venna, who EP’d the album, is a long-time collaborator and friend, and it shows. From the moment he lands on sax duties for the album opener, Alpha House, there’s intimacy and chemistry between the musicianship and what Knucks is saying as he floats over it. In feeling and execution, I’m reminded of Mala in Cuba or Swindle’s The New World (which, incidentally, has a Knucks feature). The artistry is on a different level here and I just found out that he got to share MOBO album of the year w Little Simz so the flowers are rightfully flowing <3
Nate Scheible — Fairfax
Of everything I’ve rounded up here, listening to this record is the most emotionally exhausting and haunting of all. Not one I’ve got on heavy rotation or anything. It builds around a series of tape recordings that capture someone describing longing, despair and finally hope in a form so raw an alien would get it. I imagine that this is as close I’ll get to being a catholic priest listening to someone’s most private confession.
Angel D’lite — 303 Dalmatians
A Kode 9 RA Exchange episode this year has stuck with me. In particular, he explains how club music doesn’t change over time in a linear fashion but that it’s recursive and mutates (iirc). Whenever I feel a bit disillusioned with familiar tropes or genres coming back around, an artist like Angel D’lite appears and gives me the jolt I need to avoid straying into “old man yells at cloud” territory. Just like her Re4mat EP, also from this year, 303 Dalmatians is sugary-sweet pop rave bliss with a sour kick for good measure.
Vegyn — Don’t Follow Me Because I’m Lost Too!!
I wasn’t rly hip to Vegyn until quite recently but I knew I had to get busy in the back catalogue when I found myself chomping through this 75(!) track beat tape in one sitting. The last time I remember having this sort of experience was with Arca’s KICK series, or Dean Blunt’s Roaches. Don’t Follow Me… takes you down the rabbit hole, every door you peek in teases a different sonic landscape. Find a spare hour and get the incense going.
Kali Malone — Living Torch
I’m not well read in music theory and don’t play an instrument so I can’t tell you if this record is technically impressive or what not. It’s fucking intense and affirming to listen to it, though, and that’s enough for me. It’s a soundscape that goes on for bleedin’ miles, requires you to listen deeply and patiently. I actually enjoy not knowing things, sometimes, so that stuff like this remains baffling and mystical.
HiTech — HiTech
Debut full-length of the cutest and catchiest ghetto tech bops from Detroit duo Milf Melly and King Milo AKA HiTech, rubber-stamped by none other than Omar S. Throw it on any time of the day you need a bit more pep and these two will have you on job in no time.
Novelist — 4 Tha Homiez
A new Nov record is “like a box of chocolates”, in the best way. On 4 Tha Homies we got a sun-drenched, South London reinterpretation of West Coast G Funk alongside things that go like R&B&drill just in time for summer. I had Quantum Leap in my 2020 round-up, a devastating set of avant garde instrumentals. I really like getting to listen in on his journey and am always inspired by the fearlessness on full display every single time.
Influenza Prods. — Mémoire
Sometimes you know a record is going to be hard from just it’s backstory. In this case, Bruno De Angelis and Giovanna Gulinello got together after one was rescued from a shit date by the other, moved back to Rome from London and starting recording bits and pieces (including dialogue from English soaps on their TV set and their family’s cutlery sets) on to homemade tapes. Fittingly, this collection is titled Mémoire, a snapshot of a point-in-time these two people found each other and honored this through intimate art that we get to treasure now.
Death Is Not The End — Pure Wicked Tune: Rare Groove Blues Dances & House Parties, 1985-1992
This label have been putting out the maddest, deepest treasure trove compilations of all sorts of goodness. I could’ve easily picked out either of the Pause for the Cause: London Rave Adverts volumes, but for pure static warmth and feeling it’s gotta be Pure Wicked Tune. It draws you in to the room the same way the best podcasts do, except the room is the most bless house party in South London circa 1990. Somebody pls pass your man a flashlight…
Moin — Paste
Paste is a heady trip through muddy guitar riffs and ruff electronics, full of heart and punchy vocals. It’s really got me back in to guitar music and wanting to go see some noisy bands as soon as possible. There’s so many quirky, unexpected turns in the record - Forgetting is Like Syrup sounds like a folk reinterpretation of Memphis rap, In a Tizzy bumps up intimate field recordings with yelping samples and tender guitar licks.
Frisco — Tottenham EP
Scratcha (DVA) playing Bad & Clean at Lente Kabinet festival was one of my dance floor highlights from the summer. Every INFAMOUSIZAK stutter begs the reload. Albany Close is another track from this EP that has stayed in my cups to this day. Love to see Frisco about and firing on all cylinders.
rRoxymore — Perpetual Now
Probably the only record on here I’d (broadly) label as techno, but that doesn’t tell half the story. Each track is a heads-down, wigged-out excursion into the deepest techno depths. The tracks are noticeably long but they earn it. Just as comfortable on an open-minded dancefloor as it is at the afters, or past midnight coming down the M25. Chill but hard at the same time somehow?!
KAKUHAN — Metal Zone
I’ll leave this one to the Hardwax dons:
Superb, traditional/futuristic Eastern/Western, sparse Grime to Ambient to Neo Classical inspired Electronica explorer - one per customer only
- Afrorack — The Afrorack
- Main Phase — HARD08
- Noda & Wolfers — Tascam Space Season
- Malibu — Palaces of Pity
- Madalyn Merkey — Puzzle Music
- Manga Saint Hilare (everything)
- Mosca — RENT
- Torus — 333 Mirrors
- Cucina Povera & Ben Vince — There I See Everything
- Nick León — Xtasis
- Blackhaine — Armour II
- JAMAL MOSS — Thanks 4 The Tracks U Lost
- Shy One — From The Floor To The Booth
- Rat Heart — ‘Ratty Rids The Clubs From The Evil Curse Of The Private School DJ’s’
- The Maghreban — Connection
- Driss Bennis Pres.OCB — Transhuman X-Press
- Tony Price — IBM CONTRA
- ABADIR — Kabbut ft ZULI & 3Phaz
- INVT — LA CHAMBA
- Hudson Mohawke — Cry Sugar
- Machine Girl — Neon White OST 1 - The Wicked Heart
- The Blindboy Podcast