The best records of 2016

13. Elon Katz — The Human Pet 12″ [Diagonal]

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Extravagant Katz’ release is sort of portal into the future which shakes and changes its form again and again. The focus is on vocals, while other instruments, glitches, breakcore cuts and industrial bits are dancing crazy after it. The flavour changes from post punk to IDM. It is a post-pop music creating its own Alphas and Omegas.
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12. Facit — Mandag Mon Amour 12″ [Waving Hands]

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Swedish duo of Karlsson and Nestor stands out in a modern synth scene. Their music is a synthesis of vagueness, mysteries, riddles and fairy tales. It’s intimate. And their music is not for everyone. Spine minimalist synths, insinuating vocals and trusting, romantic-melancholic mood, sometimes under effect of robo-disco. It’s a story of love, which you should protect and cherish.
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11. Eye — Sabine LP [Knekelhuis]

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Who’s behind the Eye moniker? Who’s creating these harmonic, crisp and delicious songs-messages? It’s a girl and her name is Laurene Exposito. She’s curating Waving Hands Records since 2014 releasing minimal synth of the highest probe. I remember her records under Micro Cheval moniker and Prisma project with Jean Primault. The album starts from powerful There Is synth-mantra. Then horizons are expanding (or exposing because of track’s name — Undress) — it’s a rich proto-techno silver blade of any dancefloor. The biggest critics have no questions after You’re So Fine — it’s a deep personal musical confession, romantic letter opened furtively. It reminds me of George Sand. Then Eye continue with a series of clean coldwave songs. Perfect album.
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10. Tzusing — A Name Out Of Place Pt III 12″ [L.I.E.S.]

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Rule breaking Tzusing is bombarding us with magic releases last three years. This time he created tornado collecting mechanical parts on his way, quite acidized and soaked with hockey brutality mutating into breakbeat. After checking Tzusing’ Boiler Room you understand this techno punk’s creating madness on the dancefloor and in the studio as easy as piper from Hameln.
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09. Indirect Meets Nikolaienko — Ode To The Sea LP [Muscut]

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Ukrainian label Muscut released three records this year, and Ode To The Sea was created with participation of the most active underground representatives from Kiev and Odessa. The lion’s share of release material was created by the Indirect project and the label boss Dmytro Nikolaenko. «Miracle» and «Red Tent» were recorded featuring Ann Bryozone, and Danish experimental musician Mads Emil Nielsen played on percussion in the «Dazed Night». The album represents a result of program cooperation and ode to Soviet musical heritage with its jazz experiments, great space-age canvases, unique massive of library music and sentimental soundtracks. Deep respect to traditions and their reinterpretation took their shape in bits of dub and krautrock, jazz fusion waves, extensional sound textures and hypnotizing lo-fi vocal messages. Minding the traditions, the musicians succeeded to deliver the mood of an ancient mystery. It sounds like a psychedelic soundtrack to the movie that never existed. Just imagine listening to a Soviet jazz band being on ecstasy and you’ll get it.
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08. Lizards — NAAR 003 12″ [Not An Animal]

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It was a love from the first snippet, heads and tails landing on the edge, cutting party in «before» and «after» parts. Yin and yang, the sun and the moon, nature and civilization. Both original tracks from are perfect for extreme leisure. The first one, Tanni, dictating its imperial and domineering groove right from the start. It’s a barely hearable percussion and sounds of double bass get total control. I can compare it to Hera goddess or with discipline and code of honor of samurai. Ambitious powerful track leading you to sundown. I can easily imagine Chida or Man Power handling orchestra playing Tanni. But my favorite is International Track where I surprisingly admitted atmosphere of Earth Song by Michael Jackson. I feel the massive beat growing from under the ground. In the middle of the track balearic vibrations and leaping birds turning it into the dance of Earth.
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07. Toresch — Essen Fur Alle 12″ [Offen Music]

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Firm Detlef’s production, loud messages from Viktoria Wehrmeister’ vocals, surprising Gordon Pohl’ appearance and Ivkovic’ perfectionism under the boundless wing of their alma mater — Salon Des Amateurs. Virtuosos always hit on target. Astral LP creating fantastic musical structures. Offen Music party continues.
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06. Jonathan Kusuma — Black Magic EP 12″ [Cocktail D’Amore]

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We played a few gigs this year without Urban Sorcery — it’s still hard weapon in my bag, true dancefloor diamond. Jonathan never misfires, it’s like Clint Eastwood would play him if Jonathan would live on Wild West :) I feel like on an island of Circe and can stay there forever. Don’t know what Ojon’s relative is a real shaman, but there is magic in his last release.
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05. Wilson Tanner — 69 LP [Growing Bin]

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Perfect stylisation, original idea, impressive execution. The artwork for 69 reminds some 70s British folk rock covers. But the record is modern from ethereal duo of Andy Wilson and John Tanner aka Eleventeen Eston. Their musical experiment sounds encouraging, blossoming, green, colourful. Tanner’s clarinet and guitar play big roles here. Wilson’s synths and pianos sound just perfect. Hamburg finest Basso released one more beautiful record on his Growing Bin imprint and who knows, maybe this record will become a real digger British Guyane in 20 years.
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04. The Pilotwings — Les Portes Du Brionnais 2xLP [Brothers From Different Mothers]

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It’s a successful course work from our fave French boys. Some songs sound unfinished but it’s compensated with diverse structure, genres, elegant tricks and especially with boys’ obvious talent. It sounds like a mix with all logical parts: there are debut, evolution and the final. Starts from Les Portes Du Brionnais — pinch of dub, reggae echoes, slo-mo house with bright piano. Then the active part starts with Alladinde, tender subtle tribal house with cool drum breaks and shimmering synths constellations. Guillaume and Louis experimenting with synth pop, light breakbeat, Japanese ambient passages, new wave, trance and Chicago house. You can also feel the French blood, rich musical background and interest in the past. For example Debeurdinoir echoes with Black Devil Disco Club. Mes compliments, friends
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03. Lnrdcroy — Ooze City 12″ [Mood Hut]

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The first track meets us with a deep pushy beat, you’re surprised to hear it on the Mood Hut record, but then you forget it while noticing acid bass variations and sharp drum-machines here and there. Seems like it’s a deadlock but vague pad leaves you in the air in the second part of the track till the end dissolving in bassline. Ooze City really describes a slow rhythm of a big smoky city. Aquabus is jumping on the road, but there should be more water. maybe the most interesting track on EP, you wanna hear it to the last note. Kali Yuga ends the record with a mixture of minor deep house, tribal that sometimes is leading and loud, the mystery is disappearing a bit. All three tracks are different but united with a lazy atmospheric flow, sounds of FM-synths, light distortion and noise. Leonard Campbell shows a new important side of his talent on Ooze City.
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02. Black Merlin — Hipnotik Tradisi 2xLP [Island Of The Gods]

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George Thompson recorded one of the most mysterious records of last time. He spent some time experimenting with traditional Gamelan ensemble on Bali, listening and recording bamboo flutes, legendary kendang and bonang. There are a lot of percussions on the album, it sounds like we’re in the ritual mass, holding breath listening to every sound of its great sacrament. Black Merlin also added variations of drone music, slow techno, downtempo to the pot. Get ready to a long thoughtful journey. Thank Balinese connection Daniel Mitchell this work was brought to life.
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01. Odopt — Sickert Art Bartel 12″ [Born Free]

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This 12″ from Moscow-based duo of Grisha Nelyubin and Ivan Maslov is our favorite piece of dance music from 2016. Dark core of it, unexpected turns, explosive potential and unrestrained power won our hearts. The record contains three experimental techno novels. Sickert Art Bartel is a true avalanche, tested on the dancefloor. Sort of harsh noise techno punk, shifting during track, mutating and fire-spitting. Chaba Waltz creates feeling of the battle song of post-apocalyptic robots. Horrungruang is a mechanical techno tomahawk bursts into your heart like Black Raven into deep night. The common thing in all three tracks is its multilayered structure. It’s just interesting to listen the EP, to monitor the development of the plot. It seems like guys have crossed the border of imagination. Number one.
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Gifs Sasha Tessio
Texts Artem Super Ikra (1, 2, 4-13), Bohdan Konakov (3)