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GSH Music Review 2007


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It's only 8 days until the New Year, and I'm bored, so I guess it's time to write my highly subjective and biased review of this year's musical output like I did last year. First of all I would like to say that this probably has been the best year for me personally ever since my last two years of high school in any which way imaginable. I'm getting laid a lot, I'm doing very well in my MBA studies sitting atop of my class with a GPA of 4.0 (all A's) and I managed to turn my body from kinda chubby into solid and somewhat muscular through regular workouts without too much annoying dieting. So I guess that's why this year I have been very much into happy music, and whenever I search music on beatport or somewhere else my main goal is to find tracks that have a happy vibe, whatever way that happy vibe might manifest itself. Generally I try to steer away from the cheese, yet I have to admit that sometimes there is nothing better than a big fat stinking piece of cheddar, as evidenced by the fact that I was completely infatuated this summer by Talamasca's new album and listened to nothing but for one whole week. Luckily that was just one week, and I managed to pull myself out of Talamsca's stinky stranglehold.


Anyways, for me, 2007 was a great year in music. Whenever I go on Beatport, I can't get outta there without spending a small fortune. Actually, I think I deserve some kinda preffered customer card or something, like those "Senator Cards" airlines give out to Frequent Flyers. However, there isn't really one artist that stands out amongst the pack, and I can't really put my finger on a "Track of the Year" either. So that's why I decided to arrange this music review as a rundown of my favorite tracks of the year, and sometimes use these tracks as a segway for further explorations. The following is in particular disorder:


Aril Brikha - Akire - Poker Flat

Aril Brikha definitely occupies his own niche in the world of electronic music. I like to call his style "Detroit Trance", but that's my very own invention. Anyways, you will hard-pressed to find anyone else producing dance music so stylish, slick and elegant with so many out-right in your face melodies. He has a very particular sound, and I would argue if I heard a new track of his in a club, I could definitely say it's his without ever having heard it before. He released quite a number of tracks this year, including an album on Peacefrog, but I chose Akire because it represents his body of work like no other and because the melody is just so classy and timeless. In my head I picture a velvet ray of light reflecting on a chrome surface as I cruise through a big metropolis at night...


Kollektiv Turmstrasse - Tristesse - Connaisseur

These guys are probably my biggest discovery of the year. I call their sound "techno with a heart", including great tribalish percussion and very warm and comfortable basslines. They make great use of detroit chords and are masters at creating soothing, if not to say entrancing (in the original sense of the word) atmospheres. Every track of theirs I have heard is good, but Tristesse is nothing less than a masterpiece. It has a clicking percsussion loop not unlike D-Nox and Beckers "Shanghigh" that leads through the track, but along the way they create one of the most beautiful soundscapes I have heard in recent times, including orchestral strings and other melancholic arrangements. It is one of those tracks that really put you in a better place when you listen to it. Also check out their remix of Marek Fuerstenberg "Juni KK", it just came out the other day and is awesome.


Len Faki - Mekong Delta - Ostgut Tontraeger

The biggest organ riff ever. Period. Four organ notes methodically work their way through this track with the help of a pounding beat and a really smart and original arrangement that is full of surprises. I also like the way Len Faki uses sound effects to accentuate just the right parts of the tracks to make it seem even bigger than it already is. He also released Odysee parts 1+2 this year, both are great, even though I personally prefer part 2.


Paul Nazca - Legende / Kukrapok - Stolen Moments/Giant Wheel

I have bought records by Paul Nazca and Scandium before, but only recently I discovered that there is a really cool scene of producers from southern France centered around Scandium records, which happens to be run by Paul Nazca. All of these guys from southern France, including Delon & Dalcan, Sebastien Thibaud and Maxime Dangles (I guess Oxia is part of this as well, but I'm not sure) have a very particular ravy and melodic sound that I really like, kinda like what trance would sound like had it not been perverted by the Tiestos of this world into a sad caricature of itself. Even though Scandium seems to be their home label, they all release all over the place, and are all worth checking out. But I am most impressed by the boss himself. And because I couldn't decide, I chose two tracks to represent him. Legende is somewhat atypical of his stuff and sounds like a more melodic and more epic Extrawelt. Or to use the codified language of record promo texts, "this track is huge!!!!" Kukrapok on the other hand is "real trance", including hypnotic glitchy bleeping over a massive string section, without ever even getting near cheddar territory. If you are not afraid of melody, check it out.


Daso - Meine - Spectral Sound

Have you ever heard of an android whale? Me neither, but the lead in this track sounds like just that. I have been buying everything Daso releases for quite some time now, and I wouldn't be surprised if this guy used to go to psytrance parties before he started producing his particular blend of techno, because you can defnitely feel the psychedelic element in everything he does. This track is probably my favorite, though, because that android whale is just spectacular. You can really feel him talking to you. Another favorite of his is the chilled out "La Fee Verte".


Luciano & Thomas Melchior - Father - Cadenza

This track is actually from last year, but it only came to my attention recently, so I am including it here, because after all, this is MY 2007 music review, so I get to decide what's 2007 and what's not. Anyways, let me tell you about the groove, better THE GROOVE. The track runs 13 minutes long, and apart from the beatless intro and outro, we are treated to one hypnotic percussive ever repeating groove that will 100% find its way into your brain and never ever leave again. It's really hard to put it into words, but the feeling i get from this groove is like a snake in front of the snakecharmer. On top of that, the track tells a real story, there are voice samples of an indian guru talking about spiritual things and another guy saying "I am the father of this world", as well as cool soundeffects and humming noises. Awesome, just really, really awesome. Must be heard to be believed, and give yourself some time and space to get sucked into vortex.


Minilogue - Space - Traum

This is the year that Minilogue aka Son Kite finally appeared to be showing signs of weakness after years and years of awesome. There were some awful remixes (Polyfemos rmx, WTF????) and mediocre own productions, but then the great Inca came out and towards the end of the year this instant classic, IMHO the best track released as Minilogue so far. I'm sure most of you know it anyways, so I'm not gonna get into it. I'm just glad Minilogue seems to be back on track. And I really love the B-side as well.


Beanfield - Tides (Ripperton RMX) - Compost

As most people who come from a psytrance background, I'm not much of a fan of singing in my dance music, and particularly not female R&B voices a la Vocal House. But this one is different. Ripperton uses only very few sounds, including a great synthetic lower end and well selected subtle synths and lets the vocals be the star. But the way he does it is just ingenious, because the vocals suddenly stop being R&B voices and start to become part of the fabric of track, creating a completely new kind of soulfulness. My kind of soulfulness. These very same vocals were actually first turned into a dance music track by the great Carl Craig, but I think Ripperton does a much better job. I would definitely recommend that you check out anything Ripperton does, he definitely has a very unique sound, I would call it "synthetic soul". His other project Lazy Fat People is cool, too.


Timewriter - Soulsticker - Plastic City

Timewriters album "Soulsticker" was the album of the summer for me. He is just the master of that laid back relaxing deep house sound that all the ladies just love to shake their booties to. I couldnt imagine anything better for a day at the beach or at the pool. What I love about his sound is that it is so subliminal, after one or two listens all these tracks are engraved somewhere deep into the reptilian brain and feel like they are old friends. Standout tracks are "This is Life", "Handsome Machine" and I really have a soft spot for the vocal "Flicking Pages", even though I hated it at first.


Estroe - Driven - Connaisseur Superieur

This is what I wrote about this track back when it came out: "I really don't understand why everything is called minimal these days. When I think minimal I think about Mike Ink, Plastikman or such, not about music of this kind. Even though this is filed everywhere in the minimal category, there is actually a lot going on. Imagine a long worm with thousands of little feet dipped in lysergic acid that enters through your ear and slowly crawls into your brain. Once inside, it twists its way through the place where your memory sits, passes by the spot where the happy feelings are, on to deeper territories to become one with the part of your anatomy scientists commonly refer to as the reptilian brain. And there it rotates and turns and contracts and convulses and the thousands of little feet tickle the millions of nerves bundled here ready to travel to the rest of your body having a warm fuzzy shiver aboard that you immediately feel running down your spine. Does that sound minimal to you?" Well said, me :)


Ok, there's more to come, but I am tired, so I will continue tomorrow if I have time or the day after.


Merry Christmas everyone :)

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Ok, here comes the rest, I'm sure I forgot something, but it's hard to compile one years worth of music in one post.


Dubfire - Ribcage - Desolat

It seems like Dubfire released around 500 tracks and remixes in the last two months alone, but it is Ribcage from August that stands out to me. It runs 12 minutes long, and really is split in two parts. The first 7 or 8 minutes just have one of the coolest shuffling grooves I have heard in a while. It just keeps chugging along, slowly morphing and evolving into one hypnotic beast of a track. I love the part when the snares join in on the fun, it's amazing sometimes how easily I can be pleased with the simplest things like the addition of a stupid snare. Oh well, simple music for simple people. The second part of the track is cool, too, it all builds towards a distorted crescendo and kinda reminds me of Doppelwhipper. I usually just play the first part, though, and then mix it out.


Shackleton - Blood on my Hands ( Ricardo Villalobos Mix) - Skull Disco

Ok, since this is a remix of a Dubstep track, this is the perfect place to start my diatribe against this latest "fad du jour" never to be heard of again in 2 years. First of all, what kind of a retarded name is dubstep anyways? The name already sounds so stupid if I saw a section in a record store entitled dubstep, I would dubstep away faster than you can look. The music itself sounds like it was composed by a bunch of kerosene sniffing inbred hoodlums, and I can imagine anyone dancing to it would look like a orang-utan on crack. Most musical developments are associated with some kinda drug (case in point LSD and Goatrance), Dubstep has to be associated with sniffing kerosene/gasoline/pain thinner.


That being said, Ricardo Villalobos literally turned shit into gold. He produced an 18 minute long piece of epic minimal house with weird syncopated drums and a gloomy as fuck atmosphere that never, ever stops, as is to expected from his royal weirdness. It's really fun to mix this track as well, you can lay it under any other track to create some cool effects. I like this one the best out of anything he did this year, even though I have to admit I don't own his Fabric 36 CD.


Martin Buttrich Rmxs

Allright, talking about great remixes, this guy definitely has to be the remixer of the year. He turns anything he touches into deep subliminal masterpieces. I don't know how he does it, but all of his remixes sound like this is exactly what music is supposed to sound like, it all just makes perfect sense. He has some great tracks on his own as well (check out "Hunter" on Cocoon), but to me it's always the remixes that stand out. His best is probably the remix of Holy Ghost Inc "Mad Monks on Zinc" but also the Tracey Thorn dub mix and his latest Friendly People "Music is improper" are fucking awesome. Not to forget the remix he did with Loco Dice for Kevin Saundersons "Bassline". I heard he will release a full album next year on Planet E records, I can't wait!


The Field - Good Things End - Kompakt

The Field's album "From Here we go Sublime" got a lot of great press when it released, even in outlets dedicated to indie rock and such. There was was definitely a hype sorrounding it that is very uncommon for electronic music, and it was definitely not completely undeserved. My only quarrel with the album was that while every track by itself was good, it was just too ethereal if you listen to it in one piece. After a while all those faded sounds and harmonies just got on my nerves. Two or three tracks really amazed me during the first listening session, but it was the unassuming "Good things end" that stood the test of time. Listen to it on a big soundsystem, and the lower end will run over you like a freight train gently chugging along on a cushion of air. Just a great track if you let it grow on you. Like I said, it is very ethereal, so you have to be in the mood.


Perfect Stranger & DJ Pena - Ode ao Sol - Flow

My favorite psytrance, or at least psy-influenced track of the year. I'm sure you all know it anyways, but I just wanna say I love the part after the break when the kick comes back in. PURE GENIUS! So subtle, yet so effective. Also I only got Perfect Strangers album from last year only a couple of month ago so it is new to me, what a great album.


Well, then, Santa Claus is about to come and bring me some presents, I hope I get the complete set of syringes that I wished for :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

To prove the often made point to not make best of year lists before its over, this beauty came out in late december:


Tim Paris- Ame Agaru - Marketing Records


Really trippy trancey melodic techno, right up my alley, with a cool 3 minute long intro as well. It will definitely be the opener of my next set :)


Awesome track to good to be forgotten.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

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