Before I lay 2009 to rest, a drive-by sweep-up of excellent 2009 items I didn't know at all until someone else testified on their behalf, either via year-end lists (FACT magazine, SoulBounce, Resident Advisor) or mixes (Kate Silver). Alphabetical by artist:
Altered Natives, "Rass Out" (Fresh Minute): It rattles, it skitters, it undulates, it lives. Oni Ayhun, "OAR 003 Side B" (OAR): Olof from the Knife spends 11 minutes channeling primo early Aphex over beats as soft and shimmering as his keyboards. Big Boi ft. Gucci Mane, "Shine Blockas" (RCA/Jive): When it sounds this good, it doesn't really count as boasting anymore. Cubic Zirconia, "Fuck Work (Dances with White Girls Remix)" (The Savant Guard): "I am unemployed/Anybody need some work?... I don't have a job, shit"—encompasses 2009 beautifully, including a nasty sine-wave synth that never stops building. De La Soul, "La La La" (Electronic Arts): Rap's grandest old men came to us courtesy of Nike and NBA Live 10, which, sadly, says everything about our epoch.
Jay Electronica, "Exhibit C" (MP3): grab-you-by-the-collar lyrics ("I've got a lot of family, you've got a lot of fans/That's why people got my back like the Verizon man") from a not-even-complete radio rip whose online dissemination makes the actual finished version, whenever it comes out, the front-runner for best track of 2010. Karizma, "Neccessarry Maddness"/"Drumz Nightmare" (R2): a Baltimore house producer minus the aural clichés "Baltimore" and "house" bring to mind; this is more like what broken beat would have been without the acid-jazz fussiness. L.A.U.S.D. ft. Miss Jack Davey & Blu, "iFeel" (L.A.U.S.D.): sticky-sweet, laid-back, soul-tinged rap that dares to use the phrase "beach chair" and wins. Motor City Drum Ensemble, "Raw Cuts #6" (MCDE): a lolling electric-keyboard-and-dusty-diva mid-tempo house record that both captures and diminishes the idea of "formula."
Nacho Patrol, Futuristic Abeba EP (Kindred Spirits): Africa-inspired, and you can hear that, but what I like about this is how early-'70s German it feels. Rustie, "Bad Science" (Wireblock): I love everything this dude's made and I didn't even know this was out—WTF, me? Shontelle, "T-Shirt (Crazy Cousinz Mix)" (Universal/CCRMX): Let's get them to remix every semi-yearning up-tempo song by a female singer. Andy Stott, "Brief Encounter"/"Drippin'" (Modern Love): gorgeous, inviting, and endlessly playable, just like everything else he does. Yeasayer, "Ambling Alp" (Secretly Canadian): They go sorta pop-indie with a bigger hook than (take your pick), and are bolstered by a pair of excellent remixes, by Memory Tapes and by DJ /rupture and Brent Arnold.