The Year in Under-the-Radar Awesomeness
With concision and urgency, I aim to inform you in this year's final Data Breaker column about crucial releases of 2009 that I've not discussed in The Stranger or on Line Out, our music blog. Ready, steady, blurb!
Moritz Von Oswald Trio, Vertical Ascent (Honest Jons): Basic Channel dude, Vladislav Delay, and NSI's Max Loderbauer merge the lithe, febrile percussion juju of Can's Soon Over Babaluma and Miles Davis's On the Corner with classic streamlined Berlin techno sangfroid. JPLS, The Depths (M-nus): The minimal-techno backlash continues to rage, but fuck it; this is serious rhythm-and-tone science, a microcosmic mindfuck and body massage for the long-attention-spanned. Bruno Pronsato, The Make Up the Break Up (Thesongsays): Ex-Seattle producer conjures a Villalobos-sized 39-minute opus that's experimental techno's equivalent to Bitches Brew—a sprawling, harmonically and texturally adventurous work that takes several listens to absorb. The haunting Nico sample—"It Was a Pleasure Then"—Pronsato weaves throughout its slithering peregrinations lends this epic a chilling, spectral glow.
White Rainbow, New Clouds (Kranky): Portland's Adam Forkner continues to emit optimal healing tones for mental therapy, channeling Terry Riley and Deuter in his pulsating, atmospheric calmbient (yep) excursions; give this man a Nobel Peace Prize already. The Clonious, Between the Dots (Ubiquity): In the vein of Flying Lotus and Hudson Mohawke's tonally bizarre take on instrumental hiphop (call it "wonky" if it makes you feel better), the Clonious— 23-year-old producer Paul Movahedi—creates from some virtual-reality 1972 a skewed jazz funk that seems to be encrusted with algae and stardust. Etienne Jaumet, Night Music (Domino): Zombie Zombie member emulates Zombi (how zeitgeisty) soundtrack composers Goblin (with production and mixing aid from Detroit techno legend Carl Craig) and creates throbbing, tenebrous, imaginary-horror-flick pieces for the 21st century. ZOMG! Nocturnal emissions, indeed.
Oh No, Dr. No's Ethiopium (Disruption Productions): Madlib's younger brother rifles through Stones Throw employee/ cratedigger Egon's collection of rare Ethiopian jazz, funk, psych-rock, and soul vinyl for samples, threads his snappy hiphop beats with said snippets, and, before you can say Getatchew Mekurya, peppers the spicy, spacey results over 36 brief but riveting tracks. Edan, Echo Party (Five Day Weekend): This 29-minute DJ megamix from the unconventional hiphop rapper/producer converts ADD into an irrepressible asset. Edan turns the (echo) party inside out, psychedelicizing the funk in rapid-fire segues that'll discombobulate you properly. Nosaj Thing, Drift (Alpha Pup): Immaculately produced abstract hiphop and IDM compositions—some of the most melodically succulent and crisply rhythmic music coming out of L.A.'s fertile underground. Ill Cosby, "Hold On Dub" (Car Crash Set): Eerie dubstep track with some of the most elastically expressive bass tones I've ever heard by a rising Seattle producer/DJ/label honcho, whose impeccable musical taste is matched by his sophisticated, variegated productions.