Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Top 100 Tunes Of 2007 (70-61)

70. Gui Boratto - Mr. Decay (Kompakt)

It's trance, kids, but not as we know it. Trance has become a by-word for all that cheap, nasty, emotion-deficient, dead-eyed crap that clogs up the top 40 and commercial radio stations these days, but whereas that kind of stuff is 10p mix-up trance, Gui Boratto's 'Mr. Decay' is foie gras. A warm, meaty complexity courses through its shuffle and sway, before exploding in a mass of big spacey sonics towards the end. A peak-time anthem disguised as fuzzy mini-opera. One of the best things Kompakt have put out in quite some time.

Gui Boratto - Mr. Decay (mp3)

Bonus: Gui Boratto - Mr. Decay (Robert Babicz Universum Disco Mix) (mp3)

69. Zombie Zombie - Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free (Versatile)

France's Versatile label had such a good year, with big releases from Chateau Flight, the already-mentioned-here Cave Bear Cult, Joakim, I:Cube and Etienne Jaumet. Jaumet is also one half of cosmic-kraut-proggers Zombie Zombie, alongside Herman Dune drummer, Cosmic Neman and this, their first release for Versatile, is a chunky wedge of turbulent synths, horror soundtrack piano and surging drums. In keeping with the title, this is akin to driving down a desolate, barely-lit road at nighttime with the devil himself on your tail.

Zombie Zombie - Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free (mp3)

Bonus: Zombie Zombie - Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free (Joakim Remix) (mp3)

68. Lexx - Axis Shift (Permanent Vacation)

It's a shame that Alex Storrer isn't more prolific than he is as everything he releases oozes pure class (his 'Sirocco' made this list last year). When he does put something out though, he more than makes up for the gaps inbetween releases by making the closest thing the nu-disco scene has to 'event singles'. 'Axis Shift', taken from his first 12" for Permanent Vacation is just one of those, a euphonious amalgam of florid synths, burbling bass and urgent percussion, it was barely pressed up before the heads were bigging it up as one of the tunes of the year. Modern disco music with a tech-y twist, let's hope he doesn't procrastinate too much before gifting us some more of this.

Lexx - Axis Shift (mp3)

Bonus: Taken from his edits 12" on Big Bear: Disconnection - Bay City (Lexx Edit) (mp3)

67. Deerhoof - +81 (All Tomorrow's Parties)

Often sounding like virtuosos at play in the toybox, Deerhoof have gotten more 'pop' and accessible over the course of their last two albums, without sacrificing the wilful strangeness that made them so cherishable in the first place. '+81' is a rock stomper with a sideline in proggy weirdery that marks it out from so much grey indie schtickers. Deerhoof are becoming a catchy proposition, embracing memorable melodies more and more, going for the jugular more often but still sounding like art-damaged freaks for the most part and they're becoming a better band for it.

Deerhoof - +81 (mp3)

Bonus: Deerhoof onstage with Busdriver video.

66. Joakim - Lonely Hearts (Versatile)

Joakim can't seem to decide whether 'Lonely Hearts' is a chiming, harmonious pop song or an off-kilter dancefloor workout in keeping with most of the rest of his output. It's this dichotomy though that makes 'Lonely Hearts' so ear-tickling. Equally in debt to 70s new wave (check the sultry retro-synths) and acid house (don't believe me? Listen to that bleepy 303 line), it recalls early Ministry or The Cure jamming with The KLF circa 'What Time Is Love?', this is both sweetly melancholy and joyously danceable. What's best is that it sounded like such a beautiful anomaly amongst the Goblin-like freakouts on Joakim's album, Monsters And Silly Songs.

Joakim - Lonely Hearts (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the video for 'Lonely Hearts'.

65. Aeroplane - Aeroplane (Eskimo)

Disco-freak Belgians, Stephen Fasano and Vito De Luca announced themselves as top-line Balearica producers extraordinaire with this essential release back in August. An immediate hit on the underground it featured (like so many other big leftfield dance summer hits) on Lindstrom & Prins Thomas' zeitgeist-nailing Essential Mix. Its shelf life seems to expand and expand (heard it played out on Saturday night and it sounded as good as ever), but that's all down to the peerless production and its multifarious hooks (if the wonky synth line doesn't get you, then the running arpeggios and never-quitting bassline will). Aeroplane are most definitely ones to watch the ether for. And no, I won't apologise for that crappy joke.

Aeroplane - Aeroplane (mp3)

Bonus: Milky Globe - Magic Waves (Aeroplane Magnification Mix) (mp3)

64. Dizzee Rascal - Da Feelin' (XL)

Summer songs often suffer out of context, but occasionally, the really good ones sound great all year round. This collab between Dizzee and Shy FX falls into the latter pool. Apparently 12 months in the gestation, this track still sounds as breezy and effortless as if it were knocked up in five minutes. God knows how much Joss Stone would have ruined it (she sung the chorus on the original version, which will hopefully never see the light of day) and that this wasn't massive all over the summer was either due to Britain's shitty weather or the bizarre lack of a single release (d'n'b just doesn't sell these days I guess), but for me at least, Dizzee's horndog diatribe, coupled with Shy FX's upfront liquid production still makes it feel like the sun is shining.

Dizzee Rascal - Da Feelin' (mp3)

Bonus: Dizzee interview from this year's Glastonbury.

63. The Field - The Little Heart Beats So Fast (Kompakt)

All of The Field's music is about finding the inner melody in friction and repetition and 'The Little Heart Beats So Fast' - arguably his most immediate number - is an object lesson in Alex Willner's oft-pulled parlour tricks. Snippets of vocalese pinball off each other creating a disorientating effect, before the hitherto-foregrounded vocal element sinks into the background, allowing the other to rise up from behind, giving the song depth and shading. All the while, a jerky two-note synth line and a wobbly 303 (?) jostle for position. In the end, when it all breaks down, each facet of the track has had its glorious moment in the spotlight and you're left with the satisfaction that only the most value-for-money producer in techno (in terms of bulding expanse out of the smallest fragments, that is) can provide.

The Field - The Little Heart Beats So Fast (mp3)

Bonus: Suitably shaky footage of 'The Little Heart Beats So Fast' live in Monterey.

62. Lucky Soul - Lips Are Unhappy (Ruffa Lane)

'Lips Are Unhappy' starts with a "Shake! Shake! Shimmy!" command before documenting loss and longing in the manner of the best '60s girl groups. Lucky Soul work best when pitting opposites against each other; sugary harmonics with bittersweet lyrics and suchforth. It's grace notes like these that separate LS from anyone else out there with a Spector fetish. Whereas others recreate the surface, Lucky Soul are more concerned with reimagining the bigger picture. They haven't quite made a 'And Then He Kissed Me' yet, but they will at some point and this is as close as anyone in this day and age has come to doing just that.

Lucky Soul - Lips Are Unhappy (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the video for 'Lips Are Unhappy'.

61. Brennan Green & Studio - Escape From Chinatown (Chinatown)

Brennan Green's work is always, for me at least, enlivened by his collaborators, as evidenced by Lindstrom's take on Green's 'Little Ease', '900lb Man' a weirdo-disco hook-up with Ron Morelli and 2002's 'Potato Emperor' EP which had Daniel Wang on keyboard duties. Wang pops up here, although seemingly only in an engineering capacity, but the light Balearic touch of co-conspirators Studio is all over 'Escape From Chinatown'. It's a marriage made in heaven as Green toughens up the Swedes' more floaty tendencies, while in turn Messrs Hagg and Lissvik temper Green's fondness for going a bit too left-of-centre with a spot of harmonious counterbalancing. They fit like a glove and, I suspect, there may be more to come from these bedfellows.

Brennan Green & Studio - Escape From Chinatown (mp3)

Bonus: Vintage Green; Etc. Whatever (mp3) (taken from the aforementioned 'Potato Emperor' EP)



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