So here it is, our obligatory 'best of' 2012 post. Almost a week late, but better late than never right? As Kris just welcomed a babygirl into the world and as I am utterly exhausted from a long and hard year of slaving away for the man, we'll keep it short and sweet this year. No rants about the silly handstamping craze, shit 90s chords, boogie not quite overtaking disco as we expected it to and people shamelessly ripping our tracks from soundcloud, playing them in their sets and actually sending over the links to those sets to us to 'check out the sleazy love yo'..
Instead, we simply threw all our blog posts, charts and record orders together and picked the 12 tunes we liked best. There's tracks in there that worked really well for us playing out, there's some that tickled our collector's pickles and a few bits of proper 'homelistening' gear as well.
So without much further ado, here they are, our picks of the year:
12. Tip2Chip - Climbing Girl
Superlimited 12" from Japan (150 copies) we stumbled upon on the Clone website. Theo vibes all around. It doesn't do much but the little it does it does oh so well. Sounds fresh as a daisy on a decent rig and if you picked up a copy you know you'll be one of the few people on the planet playing this ditty. Fresh.
11. Homicide McBride - Listen (Sound of Speed White)
Another 12" from Japan, though it's not as stupidly expensive as those Crue-L records we left out of this year's list (sorry Eddie C, your Aim 12" definately deserved a mention in this list though) and definately not as obscure as it's trusted old 6th Borough Project behind the controls here. We desperately tried to sign this since 2010 (the demo that did the rounds was originally called 'Ike's Mood') but we obviously failed miserably. Feels good to finally be able to play it though, great downtempo soul.
10. Watson - Get it On (Rack and Ruin)
Disco edit done the way it should be, beefed up - without resorting to overcompressed house drums, might I add - extended, re-arranged and perfect to play out. I liked Tom Trago's 'Use Me Again' that came out earlier but didn't quite get what all the fuss was all about. Then Watson lovingly reworked up the same Millie Jackson's tune that Trago sampled. Big record for us this year.
9. Ben Sun - You Should Know Better (Delusions of Grandeur)
Listen kids, if you want to make 'proper' or 'vintage' house, please move away from those 90s chords and buy every track Ben Sun has made so far for inspiration. He's definately one of our favorite house producer out there at the moment, everything he makes is original, forward thinking, classy and works a treat on the floor. Really happy to see him getting a release on the big Delusions of Grandeur label (who were in fine form in 2012) even if that means the chances of us ever signing anything by senor Sun are close to zero now.
8. Blundetto - Walk Away Now (Blackjoy rmx) - Heavenly Sweetness
We both bought this on record store day. Together, in an actual record shop in Amsterdam, where it was recommended by the staff. A few hours later we went to see Eddie C play a killer set at Canvas. It was like being 19 again. Fantastic tune by Blackjoy, who really should be putting out more music.
7. Vakula - Asuwant (Shevchenko)
The word enigmatic is used so often in reviews and sales notes these days it pretty much lost its meaning, yet somehow sums up Vakula best. We've been following the Ukrainian's rise to house royalty over the past years and while he seems like a proper spacecadet sometimes (his Facebook updates can be proper confusing) and puts out tracks that do absolutely nothing for us, he also manages to make exceptional music that tingles the spine in the most pleasant of ways. Like this timeless piece of midtempo deephouse, which is never far from the decks at my gaff.
6. Luvless - My Heart (Rose Records)
It's been a real joy to see our pals from Rose Records get the attention they deserve for all the love and hard work they're putting into their boutique vinyl-only imprint. All of their output is class but Luvless' tracks really stood out in 2012. We flipped a coin to decide whether we'd go with this or Motion Clapture that came out on Ali Ooft's great Foto imprint, as we wore out both cuts this year.
5. Marcello Giordani - Coming Down (Endless Flight)
Sampling Ms. Badu is a bit of a faux-pas in my book (seriously, it's been done a million times before, enough is enough) so the fact this track made it into our bags is quite a feat. It sort of flew under the radar, which is odd as it's an incredible slice of moody, driving, chuggy headsdown house. Without a doubt one of our biggest secret weapons this year.
4. Tommy Awards - Blind Andy (Magic Feet)
Without question the record I played most at home this year was the Tommy Awards EP on Craig Bratley's Magic Feet label. Four tracks of incredibly deep and moody balearica, of which this is our favorite cut. Magical stuff. This along with the new ESP Institute 12" will go down as the best home listening release of 2012 for us no doubt.
3. JV - EditchannelXXX (Golf Channel)
Okay so last year Justin Vandervolgen did that monster edit of 'Get to My Baby' on Golf Channel that blew everyone away. This whitelabel release by the same people (yeah doesn't take an MSc to figure that one out does it) might be even better and was our go-to peaktime disco number for the second half of the year. Once the guitar solo comes through towards the end of the track it's beer smiles and air guitar galore. Firm fav of 2012 this.
2. Sir Own - Hooked (Kon's remix) (Basic Fingers)
Kon's done up some of the finest disco and soul edits this year in our humble opinions. While the Love Everlasting/Get It Together 12" on Basic Fingers definitely rocked, it was the edit of Cerrone's 'Hooked On You' that came out earlier this year on one-sided gold wax that we really love. Everyone and their dog snapped it up quickly, but then soon got repressed and made it a bit less special. But the tune itself didn't lose it's golden qualities. Keeping much of the original intact, the tune is easily taken to the next level with minimal production: looped trumpet and bass riff, and amazing vocal combine forces to create an incredible tune that you can't stop whistling once you've heard it. An absolutely essential tune for us for 2012 that has gone down a treat each time we've played it out.
1. Gilbert Graef - Are You There (Box Aus Holz)
Could have picked any of the cuts off the third BAH release - an amazing new label that popped up this past year, probably our favourite. All cuts combine the absolute best of what we love about music: deepness, grit, groove and genuine badass-ness. This one in particular is a peaktime monster with a rolling bassline fatter than that kid that sits on the Smarties. We fell completely head over heels in love with these tunes that we had to go and commission Gilbert Graef & partner in crime Andy Hart for a forthcoming Black Ops release. Just that good.
That's it then, our best of 2012. We hope you like our random selection and wish you all the best for the new year!
PS1 We decided to leave our own output out of the above list, even if we honestly think we managed to put out some of our best records yet. Both Frank Booker's EPs and Ben La Desh's first on our new Black Ops offshoot sold out in recordtime and still get played all over the place. A big thank you goes out to everyone that picked up one of our records this year!
PS2 With even more kids between the two of us, demanding dayjobs and a tough market for vinyl we'll take things easy in 2013 with two (or maybe three) releases. Black Ops 3 will be Ben La Desh's follow-up EP, Black Ops 4 will be a collab EP by Max Graef (Box Aus Holz) and Andy Hart (Melbourne Deepcast). We're seriously in love with both records so we hope you'll like them too.