Best music of 2012 part 1.
Blawan - His He and She She EP / Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage
This year more than ever there's the question of how you truly quantify when a song actually came out. Among the year's very best releases, a number were first heard either last year or even further back: the latest 12" from Mala, Stand Against War and Maintain Thru Madness comes at least five years after the former was first heard in clubs, while Coki's Dry Cry bootleg was of a similar vintage. Night Slugs put out the first vinyl release of KW Griff's jaw-dropping Bring in the Katz, which had been knocking around for at least a couple of years, and we also finally got our hands on Joy O and Boddika's Swims, as well as Joy O's own Ellipsis, both of which were anthems from last year.
Having said in yesterday's post that straight-up dubstep had for the most part been dismal this year, Distance had a superb year, whether working alongside Tunnidge on Blame, Pinch on Hysteria, or on his own with Blue Meanie and Troubles. Jack Sparrow put out a fantastic 12" in Afraid of Me / Good Old Days, while three tracks from Mala's Cuba album are up there among the year's best, Calle F, Curfew and Cuba Electronic all able to work on their own.
Grime saw something of a resurgence, even if it came by incorporating elements of other genres, with Champion's funky influenced Crystal Meth a crossover anthem, Silkie teaming up with Swindle on Unlimited and Quartz by Bloom also blowing up. On the post-dubstep side of things Cactus by Objekt packed them in, as did anything from the three Joy O and Boddika joints which came out on Sunklo. Fantastic Mr Fox put out a limited 12" in Power, which delighted those who got a copy. Burial and Four Tet teamed up again for Nova, with Mr Bevan also releasing a further two EPs. Julio Bashmore turned out Au Seve, a great follow up to Battle for Middle You, while Lone went back to acid in Crystal Caverns 1991.
Best of all though was Blawan's EP on Hinge Finger, a four track 12" of industrial techno that sampled the Fugees to devastating effect, and sounded quite unlike anything else this year. Apart from the other stuff released by Blawan and Karenn, his collaboration with Pariah, naturally.
Best Remix / Bootleg:
Animal Youth - Try Again
Another fairly barren year on the remix front, thankfully somewhat alleviated by the number of white labels that continue to emerge. L-Vis 1990's dub of Bring in the Katz was the perfect excuse to release the original; Dry Cry, formerly known as Soundboy and sampling Sizzla, got pressed after years in the wilderness; and DJ Q put out two old school garage tracks sampling Brandy on red wax. Distance performed his magic on DJ Madd's already dark Life You Chose, Toddla T wrecked Trojan Sound System in the best possible way, Koreless got to grips with Bloc Party's Octopus, and the 15-year-old Happa entered the hype machine with his take on Four Tet's Jupiters.
Unsurpassed by my reckoning was Animal Youth, who turned to the much sampled Aaliyah and still managed to do something new with her vocals.
My Bloody Valentine - Various
With so many to choose from this year, the long-awaited remastering of both of MBV's albums and a compilation of the EPs is simply impossible to top. Loveless came with two separate masters, although whether you'll be able to tell the difference is doubtful, while there's also a new album to now look forward to. For those with £120 to spare, Blur's entire back catalogue was reissued, and Massive Attack's debut also got the deluxe treatment. You can probably guess which one I've yet to get my hands on.