This year, FACT Magazine offered me the opportunity to compile a “25 Best Club Tracks Of 2015” list and after weeks of agonizing over the selections, it went live last week to many readers’ consternation. Unfortunately, a good deal of tracks that I would have liked to include didn’t fit in to the feature’s scope, which was more of less limited to club-focused material and original works (a self-imposed limitation). The following 25 tracks either aren’t aimed at the dancefloor, fit the club-theme or just didn’t quite fit the rubric for the column. Like the FACT list, we’ve kept this one in alphabetic order and considering that these songs come from across a ridiculously wide spectrum we felt there was no need to order them otherwise. Hit the links below to listen to each respective track and enjoy. Big thanks to anyone and everyone who has stuck with us, enjoyed our releases and/or followed the FACT column.
Acre – Always Crashing
Acre x Justine Skye – Never Physically Leave (Prince Will Edit)
Angel-Ho – Yah Cunt
DJ Haram & Mhysa – No Ordinary Love
DJ NJ Drone – Banger (Fools)
Elysia Crampton – Lake
Faro – Hold U (Hi Tom Edit)
Fis – Kal
GAIKA – Sodium
Haleek Maul – Medicine (ft. Kit) [prod. Haleek Maul & Shy Guy]
Iglew – Urban Myth
Jacques Gaspard Biberkopf – Spirit
Joey Labeija – Euphoria
Kadahn – Arc Eye Matter
Kuedo – Cellular Perimeter
Lotic – Heterocetera
Mechatok – Mass Appeal
Mr. Mitch – Dru (Peace Edit)
Rabit & Myth – Lonely Backseat Love
Pan Daijing – DISEASE 疾
Pitcheno – K1. 不明白” (feat. Organ Tapes)
Smurphy – Missing2MyBB
Strict Face – Into Stone
Teeflii x Mr. Mitch – 24 Hourz x Feel (Rabit Blend)
Tim Hecker – Stab Variation (SHALT Edit)
Last Japan‘s technical abilities, derived from a music-filled childhood and “computer music” school, are undeniable, but his production output has always left this listener particularly cold. His Circadian Rhythms show on NTS and general DJ work is consistently excellent, but his original work, even collaborations with Trim, have too often come off as safe and carefully mediated through a nostalgic sheen. That’s not to say that his sound design and focus on structural perfection aren’t impressive though. The basis for success has always been there, but the London-bred artist has rarely shown the inventiveness necessary for widespread critical adoration. That being said, his latest collaboration-filled mixtape, Ride With Us, is one of the more visceral, genre-bending efforts to come about all year. The tape, meant as a “musical journey through the dark fringes of London city,” spans pirate radio culture, merging frigid squarewave grime, delightfully swung 2 step and a refined conception of sub-bass into an emotional melange of desperation, anonymity and paranoia. An impressive list of collaborators is highlighted by Trim, Prince Rapid, Mr. Mitch and a surprise vocal performance from Emma DD on “Eclipse”, the song that functions as the proverbial sun-coming-up moment on the tape. The mixtape ends with the Cliques-assisted “Alpha Logic”, a roiling jungle update that utilizes elastic aluminum percussion to maximum effect and one of the more intoxicating breakbeat-led tracks to come out in recent memory. Summer in Los Angeles is about as far from the proper context to listen to Ride With Us, but it’s clear that Last Japan has zeroed in on a cobalt blue aesthetic, as well as a sedulous tribute to the London underground. Stream Ride With Us below and head to Bandcamp to download the full tape.
It was only two months ago when London’s Boxed club night, led by Slackk, Mr. Mitch, Oil Gang and Logos, released their eponymous, scene defining Vol. 1, but it appears that grime’s premier shapeshifters weren’t totally satisfied with their first offering. Boxed Vol. 2 picks up where the first edition left off, drawing from London’s rich musical fabric and subsequently tearing it apart, reconfiguring it and presenting it in a perfectly coherent melange of dancefloor and non-dancefloor oriented songs. The Boxed usuals all appear as do Dark0, Strict Face, Rabit, Chemist and Murlo, and the track list actually mirrors many of our most recent Astral Plane mixes. We’ve never had the pleasure of attending a Boxed night, but if Vol. 2 is anywhere near an approximation of Dalston’s finest instrumental grime happening then all of the hype is spot on.
For the last 12 months, Slackk, Mr. Mitch and Oil Gang’s Boxed club night has set the bar for what a grime night should look like, drawing in just about every instrumental grime producer of note. To celebrate their one year anniversary, which is occurring this Friday at Birthdays in Dalston, the crew has put together a wildly colorful 18 track compilation featuring some of the most exciting producers in the game. Astral Plane mix contributors Strict Face and Logos appear, as do a host of other transcendent talents including Rabit, Mumdance, DJ Milktray and Inkke. In another year, we might be looking back at Boxed Vol. 1 in a similar fashion as we do Grime 2.0 these days. There’s really no excuse not to grab this masterstroke immediately.