10 Parano – “Come Right through – Original Mix”
This Parano DJ certainly keeps a pretty low profile but does stake his claim to a pretty groovin’ brand of jungle-house, full of some pretty off-kilter sounds and a voluminous mass of hypnotic techno bulbous enough to let the drugs kick in.
9 The Koreatown Oddity – “MISOPHONIA LOVE”
“MISOPHONIA LOVE” is a goof-off track by a British rapper living in LA, with a simple, Cool-Kids-likening beat and bizarre lyrics like “Girl / I just wanna eat something really loud in your ear”, dubbing “misophonia” as something similar to tinnitus, a bombardment of imagined, inner sounds making for one whole new Festivus miracle.
8 DEEP LEARNING – “A Journal of”
I kinda knew this DEEP LEARNING dude would be like, obnoxiously, ostentatiously good, when I saw his stage name: but the music isn’t really ostentatious, despite, but rather a materialization of charming minimalism, ambient recordings that rest on innocent, almost naïve mixes, for actuation of their camouflaged beauty.
7 GUDSFORLADT – “Ride Forever in the Shadow of the Mountain”
LA’s GUDSFORLADT officially woke up on the wrong side of the bed and crank out uncomfortable, disconcerting speed metal for sacrificing your cats to, or just spacing out in the middle of the day when nothing else seems to be working.
6 Paddy Thorne – “Massively Distorted”
UK DJ Paddy Thorne derives his calling card somewhere within the sample-heavy techno of Four Tet, with a little more of a penchant for rough textures and abrupt starts and stops. “Massively Distorted,” track six on his new progeny Lost Cause, Pt. 2, represents the broadest stroke of this masked horsepower, with muffled percussion spasms wielding a way more mournful quality than the sum of their parts would seem.
5 Szun Waves – “In the Moon House”
Keeping it in UK electronica we now shift to London, the birthplace of it all, for some defiantly ambient, textural and structurally sound electronic tunes perfect for meditation and wintertime workplaces. “In the Moon House” finds its foundation on busy, muffled and beautiful piano, with found sounds then infiltrating the mix and mimicking nature, in an overall gorgeous and pastoral voyage.
4 Okzharp – “Incline Disconnect”
Ok, last London DJ, I promise… Okzharp though does seem to take rhythm and song structure and turn them on their heads as if they were contents of a lava lamp, with frenzied synth and string insulating some potently-mixed bass and cutting edge IDM drum runs. The wacky way this music has of coming across as infectious and hypnotic, despite everything that’s going on, is what sells it.
3 Maelstrom – “Acid Zdoch”
The Bandcamp page for France’s Maelstrom describes him as “FOR THE WEIRDOS” and “FU**ED UP ELEKTRO”… maybe I’m like those alt girls in Ghost World because I find this music incredibly normal. Like, it could actually play in a club, unlike most of the electronica I listen to. But it’s got ATTITUDE, with the relatively standards rhythms and basslines buoyed relentless, polymorphous synth riffing that kind of reminds me of Dennis the Menace given a studio budget and a pandemic shutdown.
2 Khruangbin & Vieux Farka Toure – “Mahine Me”
It’s 2022 and once again Khruangbin has unfurled an album of music that seems just defiantly academic, as in shirking the conventions, and even the influences, of Western rock music (they refuse to settle down and become Wolfmother, which is a good thing, in other words). Vocalist and guitarist Vieux Farka Toure hails from Mali and aids in this tune’s knack for fusing the joyful and the mournful with supreme charisma and rhythmic finesse.
1 Jack White – “A Tip from You to Me”
I have this weird habit of, after I get my mind blown by an album, putting it down and not really indulging in it too much, if at all, in the next few months. It’s almost like when you look at a girl from across the kitchen at work and you know your life will change forever if you look into her eyes. Entering Heaven Alive is a robust, heaping mess of gospel-tinged beauty, finding White in love with a closeby figure as well as with the ongoing quest of creation, of looking at things in new ways and plotting gorgeous key change on top of gorgeous key change, for music that exudes as much professionalism as it does excitement and artistic swagger. It’s like he right in this album opener: “I know for sure / I don’t need nobody’s help now anymore”.
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