I feel like a bit of an outsider submitting a list of what I consider to be the best underground electronic/dance tracks (that are available on Spotify) to the Ardent Music Blog, but the music represented here is what I love the most, and it provides the outlets that occupy almost all of my free time (apologies to my wife). I sincerely hope I am able to represent myself and what I do well and that you are able to find something you love on this list. Click to Listen:
1. Worthy & Eats Everything – Tric Trac
What’s not to love about traditional electro? This near perfect collaboration between San Francisco’s Worthy and Bristol UK’s Eats Everything sums up the striking new ‘grass-roots’ direction being taken by deep house producers. I am in love.
2. A1 Bassline – Falsehood
This is the new Booty House. I bet it never gets old.
3. Hudson Mohawke – Thunder Bay
Hudson Mohawke shows us what happens when a production genius from the UK decides to thumb his nose at dubstep and try his hand at Trap music… Brilliant.
4. Marble Players (Surkin, Para One, Bobmo) – Marble Anthem
Marble anthem, an understated number revolving (somehow not annoyingly) around the theme of a marble bouncing on a hard surface, challenges most the most entrenched notions of what dance music is and can be. It’s simply marvelous.
5. LOL Boys – Heartache (Jim-E Stack Remix)
Every producer in the universe would love to know how Jim-E stack made the ‘boing’ sound in his remix of Heartache.
6. Panteros666 – Kegstand
Kegstand should not be as marvelous as it is. On the surface, it should be awful. It’s lo-fi Native American chanting samples, overly distorted kicks and overtly weird minimalism should relegate it to the exclusive domain of French hipsters. But Panteros666 has the uncanny ability to combine rough elements to create the transcendent, and he has never done a better job.
7. High Powered Boys (Surkin & Bobmo) – Work
When the powerhouse French label Institubes announced it’s demise in March of this year, I mistakenly mourned. The label split in to two even more prolific entities (Sound Pelligrino & Marble) that are both spearheaded by Institubes founders, Surkin & Bobmo (see the entry for Marble players above). Their collaborations produce some of the most cocky & innovative dance music in the world. Work is no exception.
8. Say Dubai – Fast Prey
This tribal masterpiece by Italian duo Say Dubai in many ways defies description, but it might be the strangest thing you’ll ever dance to.
9. Crookers feat. Carli & Style of Eye – That Laughing Track
Crookers’ Dr. Gonzo LP is my pick for album of the year, and it represents a new direction for Crookers after a very unsatisfying foray into mainstream pop with 2010’s Tons of Friends. Every cut on Dr. Gonzo is incredible, expressing a playful defiance of the ‘rules’ of dnace and pop music. That Laughing Track is my favorite because it’s the only song from the LP I had to listen to more than once before I liked it. t needed to grow on me, and it did.
10. Prince Club – Olivia (Slap in the Bass Remix)
Slap in the Bass gives Prince Club’s Olivia (originally a rather tame house track) a treatment that lampoons all things tribal in the most enjoyable way possible. It’s way over the top, but I love it.
11. Witches – Sanbenito
Sanbenito represents the first collaboration between the three founders of my label, Voodoo Village Recordings, and it is taken from our first release. I initially felt strange about including work that I was directly involved in producing in this list, but it has been such a part of my life during 2011 that I could not exclude it. Sanbenito embodies the playfully dark spirit of the Voodoo Village brand better than any description I can give. After hundreds of listens, I am still able to enjoy it.
12. Force Feed Radio – Alkaline
Alkaline is taken from the second release on Voodoo Village Recordings. It’s the culmination of Force Feed Radio’s obsession with Grindhouse cinema. Despite my vested interest, it is my favorite big club track of the year, and it contains some of the best synth production this side of Boys Noize.
13. Bok Bok & Tom Trago – Timemaster
What can I say? I have a weakness for obtuse French techno that makes me feel like I am about to have an epileptic seizure. I don’t know why.
14. Dillon Francis feat. Maluca – Que Que
Moombahton (sexy, down-tempo Mexican club music), as well as other forms of Latin and tropical inpsired rhythms, took over in 2011. Mad Decent’s Dillon Francis seems to have Moombahton figured out, period. Que Que is, without hesitation, my favorite Moombahton track of 2011.
15. Tittsworth & Alvin Risk feat. Maluca – La Campana
La Campana again represents the incursion of Latin and South American rhythms in to dance music worldwide, though less directly than Que Que (above). It’s one of the most exciting cub tracks I have ever heard. I am surprised it doesn’t cause riots.
16. Switch & Andrea Martin – I Still Love You
Grammy Winning producer and remixer Switch (M.I.A., Major Lazer) has been a bit reclusive for the past year or so. In September, he made public a promise to release one single a week for the rest of 2011 on his imprint Dubsided. He release two before seemingly giving up, but the first of them is absolutely legendary. I still Love You is literally so good that you might have it in your head for the rest of your life. Rumor has it that Switch recorded songwriter Andrea Martin’s vocal in the kitchen at a party.
Brandon Thornburg has been a player on the local and national music scene for close to a decade. He is a founding member of Electrocity and is a member of the production/dj trio Witches. His newest endeavor is co-founding Voodoo Village Recordings. The next blowout Electrocity event will be at Senses on December 10th.