Flexed-out disco muscle, stomping rave and a beautifully designed ode to Eddie Murphy: DJs, producers and label bosses pick their track of 2012

To add some spice – and credibility – to this year’s annual best of round-up at Juno Plus, we enlisted some of our favourite DJs, producers and record label bosses to pick one record that didn’t leave their bag in 2012. We asked the likes of Gerd Janson, Levon Vincent, Veronica Vasicka, Bill Kouligas, Bok Bok, JD Twitch and Ron Morelli to take part, and their selections veered from the rickety techno of Powell to the bass heavy polyrhythms of Soundway Records, Omar S’s Eddie Murphy homage and much more.

Powell – Body Music (Diagonal)

2012 was definitely a good year for records. There were many great singles, that like other people, I played the hell out of – Joy O’s “Ellipsis”, raw Kyle Hall acid cuts, Kowton’s “Des Bisous”, everything on Trilogy Tapes, Objekt’s Hessle 12″, two mind-blowing singles by Metasplice on Morphine, all the Sensate Focus releases, a ton of killer L.I.E.S. 12″s, Flatliners & Mr. Foul 7″, Kareem/Ancient Methods, Theo Parrish “Any Other Styles” & Running Back sides, the amazing Paranoid London A-Side, and so on. But, the one that stood out for me was definitely Powell’s Body Music. Since my friend Paul Purgas handed me a copy, I literally played it every single time I DJ’d. Without ever being the key record of the set, it always found it’s place. It’s a record that, despite its extremely minimal character, isn’t forced to sound different or necessarily obscure. It definitely sounded very refreshing and like nothing else. I especially love the physical sound of all the drum parts, which gave a whole new flavour to the overall sound. I was lucky to witness Oscar Powell DJing twice this year, and both times he was just great.

Jam City – How We Relate To The Body (Night Slugs)

I don’t think there was a single night I DJed this year without dropping this track. Released earlier this year on my label Night Slugs as part of Jam City’s debut LP, for me it nails so much about what I love about music for the club. The intro builds such an intense, intimate atmosphere and then the payoff is so stripped back, with forward propulsion via nothing but ghosted-out kick drums (a technique borrowed from the modern Club sound of Jersey/Philly) and a reverbed sawtooth synth line that engulfs the whole room. All the key dualities are there: minimal elements vs maximal impact, intimacy vs extremity, human warmth vs machinery pumping. It’s a great track.

Cowboy Rhythmbox – Shake (Comeme)

From Comeme, the most criminally overlooked label in the land, I’ve picked “Shake” because I’ve played it in literally every single DJ set since it came out. An apparently one-off collaboration between Richard X and Nathan Gregory Wilkins, it’s a huge sounding drum track with vocal chants that sound straight out of a post-punk record. For me, it always works as the perfect transition into the harder part of a set: it moves a crowd and tees things up perfectly. A timeless, un-categorisable club record.

Parking Attendant – I’ve Heard It All Before (JTC Remix) (Creme Organization) & Legowelt – Elements of Houz Music (Clone)

The answer is two fold. The track I’ve been playing out most this year is probably the JTC remix of Parking Attendant’s “I’ve Heard It All Before”. It’s a triple edged sword. I usually don’t know who I’m gonna be playing after and this track helps me to clean the slate. It’s relatively slow so it gives me lots of room to start building something of my own, but at the same time it’s so commanding that it doesn’t feel like an energy drop to the audience. On the contrary really. This one is guaranteed to turn heads wherever its dropped and it sounds absolutely lethal on a good system. But now that I finally got around to releasing it I’m probably done with. On the other hand, for me track of the year is Legowelt’s “Elements Of House Music”. The quality of his output is very consistent but every now and then there’s that little meteorite that spins out of orbit and goes on an interstellar rampage.

Classified – Say To You (Unknown To The Unknown)

My favourite track has been Classified’s “Say To You”. It wasn’t released this year – it’s coming out in January 2013 so that’s close enough, plus I have played in pretty much all my sets since I got my hands on it. It’s one of those records that even though no one has heard it, it always goes off in a club as it seems to give people a feeling they already know it – the mark of a great record. It’s kind of a version of Zibba’s  2006 bassline classic “Say To You” but takes its cues from modern day producers such as Disclosure, as well that classic Todd sound. Just fucking perfect!

Andrew Field-Pickering: Unknown Artist – Journey 1 / Echo Drugs (L.I.E.S.)

Both tracks on this are super sick; I dropped “Journey” during most sessions that ended up at its tempo, and “Echo Drugs” just impresses me over and over again. Demented business from the home team buds on L.I.E.S., label of the year for me without a doubt!

Mike Petillo: Tambien Project – Indignados (Tambien)

Serious flex-out disco muscle from this Munich crew.  Thanks to Marvin, Valentino and Bartellow for squeezing this out and keeping the people’s feet stomping through 2012 and beyond.

Omar S And OB IGNITT ‎– Wayne County Hill Cop’s (Part.2) (FXHE)

If there is one thing that’s even worse than compiling end of the year lists, it’s probably picking the one record of the year that made it for you. It only gets bearable if it’s about the record you probably played the most. In this case it’s definitely the Omar-S mix of this beautifully designed ode to Eddie Murphy’s most prominent role. Poignant, yet forceful it made for many “tops off” moments this year. Unbeatable in combination with the third instalment of the Italojohnson saga. “Inspector Norse” wasn’t too bad either.

Crooked Man – Scum (Crooked Man)

In a year when good old house music seems to have once again dominated many dance floors around the globe, we have heard a legion of artists try to emulate past greatness in their music. I love a lot of old music but I am rarely a fan of revisiting (or even blatant cloning of) music from previous eras. Perhaps that’s why the Crooked Man label from Sheffield was such a breath of fresh air to my ears in 2012. As a devotee of Sheffield music, it was a true joy to have the long MIA Sheffield great Parrot back making records again as the man has been involved in several of my all time favourites. There were three Crooked Man label 12″s this year; two by Crooked Man, one by The Shangri-lies, featuring the psycho-house intoning of another long missing Sheffield alumnus, Peter Hope, plus there is one other stunning record imminent (X The Beat). All of them have featured very heavily in my sets this year to the point that I have played a couple of sets that featured a solid hour of Crooked Man music. All four records have a timeless feel to them but while they work within tried and tested tropes, they sound inherently modern and push the template in compelling new directions, both sonically and arrangement wise. Beyond that I am enthralled by their use of singularly great vocalists and excellent song writing. Most songs in the house canon tend to have fairly banal lyrics but not since Ralph Falcon’s “Every Now And Then” has such a dystopian lyric tripped off the tongues of people losing it on the dance floor; “Scum always rises too the top”. I can’t really pick a favourite as they are all so good but I’m going to go for “Scum” as it came out first and is the one that has probably seeped into my being the most. I’m full of trepidation to hear what they have in store for us in 2013 and have heard rumblings that there will be some sort of live presentation. I’ll be doing my very best to make sure Glasgow sees some of that Crooked Man action.

 Various – American Noise Sampler (L.I.E.S.)

If this is the direction things are moving to, I’m one happy camper! Can’t wait to see what L.I.E.S. has in store for 2013

Eamon Harkin: Lord Nelson – Shango (Daniel Haaksman & DJ Beware remix) (Soundway)

For me it was Lord Nelson’s “Shango” (Daniel Haaksman & DJ Beware remix) on Soundway. I explored polyrhythms and my interest in African music further in 2012 and naturally so those sounds started to come through in my sets. This record hasn’t left my bag or my sets for that matter in the second half of the year.

Justin Carter: Leonel Castillo – 1974 (Groovear)

If I had to pick one, the track of the year for me would be Leonel Castillo’s “1974”. It lays down a stone cold Basic Channel-style dub techno groove for about five minutes before opening up into the most melodic, Chateau Flight-esque brilliance anyone could ask for. So good I bought it twice. If I got to pick honourable mentions, I’d pick Juju & Jordash’s Jewsex and Devin Dare’s Policy.

Giegling Records

I really liked the Giegling Staub series this year. There wasn’t any one release that stood out – their entire approach is nice.

TR / ER – UC (Brothers)

Of course the MPIA3 and Truss releases this year have been big for me, but this collaboration between Truss and his brother Tessela adds a broken beat edge and klanging industrial percussion to the MPIA3 acid formula, making it perfect for my sound. It cuts through any soundsystem and its ever changing arrangement is a world away from the glut of droning, endlessly looped techno kicking around right now.

Detroit In Effect – Burn It Down (M.A.P Records)

The choice was purely magnetic and very hard to elaborate on verbally – as most fulfilling music inclinations are – but as we proceed to over-rationalize our pick we notice that it pretty much cuts through all the crap that kinda annoyed us in 2012. There’s no artsy distortion on it to make it sound eroded – much respect to the Jakbeat pioneers Jamal Moss, Traxx, JTC, Daryl Cura, Cantu though – neither does it alienate you with boring layers of dull atmospherics over “deep” techno beats – basically no boring gimmicks. It’s just Detroit In Effect stepping out of their electro template (their comfort zone?) to offer us a direct, honest track that can truly move you on the dancefloor and still take you to this deep, intense and emotional zone. It’s excellent in every way, in our opinion.

DJ Sotofett – Pulehouse (Wania)

This has been one of my sure shot records during my three month tour of Europe. I had wanted to get my hands on it earlier this year, but somehow there were little to no copies in the States. Anyway, I was able to find a copy early on tour and played the “Pulehouse (Reggi-mix)” just about every night on the road. After beating people over the head with various strains of techno, it was great to slam the out of sync stacco snare rolls and the bouncing, “reggae inspired” riddim kick into the mix and watch people react. That and the fact there is a 3-minute tropical break with a flute solo just before the snares come in and kick drops again is amazing too. This extended break builds the tension and makes the crowd think you’re either a genius or complete moron for playing this record. In my opinion, it is complete genius move to drop this. Top notch work once again from the Sex Tags crew. Essential.

Population One – I Program My Computer Right (Specifically “Computer Rights”) (Harbour City Sorrow)

Trackman Lafonte: ‘Cause it’s about computer programming, doing it right and creating real deep magic. It’s cool ’cause the samples are all out of sync but also not. Fresh deep magic wizardry.

Bonquiqui: Program it right, or else don’t program it at all. Respect your craft. Keep it real.

EDMX – Cerberus (Power Vacuum)

Stripped to the bone, stomping rave monster from Ed DMX. Sounds huge on any system and is a guaranteed winner. The only problem is knowing what to play afterwards.

In Aeternam Vale – Dust Under Brightness (Minimal Wave) & Russell Haswell – Chua Rave (Regis Remix) (Downwards)

There are two tracks that tie as mainstays in my Minimal Wave DJ sets from the past 12 months. The first one is In Aeternam Vale’s “Dust Under Brightness”, mainly because it’s such a great opener. The track was recorded in France, originally released on tape in 1988, and recently reissued on Minimal Wave. It has an expansive, hypnotic feel and brilliantly sets the tone for a long, killer set. The second one, Regis’ remix of Russell Haswell’s “Chua Rave”, was released just this year on Downwards. It’s ideal at the peak of a set, as segue between the early industrial, EBM sound and more recent forward-thinking techno. And it really infects the crowd, it just makes them go wild!

Simoncino – WereHouse (Echovolt Records)

I normally play this early in the night.. it’s a good transition record from new stuff to classic house. It’s also one of those 12″s I can change the tempo on because it has an intro you don’t always have to beat match with.

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