PM V/A Vol. 1
Hardest track of 2017 by a massive distance for me. Even on headphones, you can almost feel the cool breeze of a good, properly air-conditioned club being shoved in your face from the weight of those kicks, and it makes for a genuinely refreshing and revitalising listening experience. Few tunes had a moment as instantly rewarding as when that wild tape-saturated clap comes in too. Taps into simple pleasures, sure, but it is just completely astonishing in its execution.
Sakamoto's entire career is overflowing with incredible and deeply moving music. So it says a lot that his most recent solo album, written not long after battling and surviving fucking cancer of all things, contains some of the best music he's ever put out, solo or otherwise. He has such a way with using very niche and unconventional sounds and melodies (or lack of) to tap into universal emotions and I could go on and on about how well he achieves this on async, but I won't. I'm just immensely grateful to be alive while he is making music and will forever recommend his work to absolutely anyone.
Your Glossy Camry
Every month I put together a collection of ambient or relaxing music to play at New Atlantis, and every month I will usually have more Mary Lattimore tunes on there than any other artist. The harp is such a ridiculous, amazing and timeless instrument, and no one plays it quite like Mary does. She manages to evoke both the huge, euphoric highs and darkest lows of emotion I associate with softer, melodic music with great ease. I can't imagine a time where her music won't sound relevant.
Mindmaze / Pumpkin Emoji
E.M.M.A. has long been fighting the good fight of getting floaty, romantic and grand medieval melodies away from rubbish straight-to-TV period dramas and into the club where they bloody belong. From day one she has inspired me to stay true to the sounds that reflect your own personality when making music, but never more so than on her shimmering UK funky interpretation of Encarta 95's Mindmaze theme. Her glittering synths, groove and ear for melody are entirely her own. No one else on earth could have made that tune. And it's a total barnstormer too.
The Revenge Of Shinobi
Yuzo Koshiro has probably had more of an influence over the music I like and make than anyone else. This, the 'good ending' theme from Revenge of Shinobi has long been a favourite, and the vinyl reissue Data Discs did for the soundtrack this year looks and sounds stunning. They did the boy good.
Deep Summer (Burial Remix)
Deep Summer (Burial Remix)
I feel like this one got overlooked by a lot of Burial fans for some reason. It's a shame, because it's one of the best pieces of music he's put his name to, and the sound is so refreshingly optimistic for him too. It still has everything you want from a Burial tune - those sexy, shuffling hi-hats, acapellas and soundclips from the deepest corners of YouTube elevated to extraterrestrial atmospheres, interference, and having perfect subs so sparsely scattered around those vivid forests of high and mid frequencies he makes that turn everyone talking about him into a wanky first-year poetry student - but it just bursts with a summery optimism you rarely see from him. It suits him, too.
Ikonika featuring Andrea Galaxy
A friend introduced me to one of Andrea Galaxy a few years ago; this incredible tune called Never Have To Fear that's sadly no longer on YouTube. I was totally baffled someone with a voice as good as hers wasn't getting more attention and ever since I hoped she would team up with a sick producer at the top of their game who could let her soothing tones shine and be appreciated by more people. Ikonika was the perfect match, and their collab made for a particularly special highlight on an album already rammed with gems.
I'm pretty confident the grime resurgence that resulted in so much good music being made between 2012-2016 wouldn't have happened without Zomby's then unreleased take on devil mixes that found their way onto Rinse via Dusk & Blackdown in 2009. I had long written off the chances of hearing them outside of radio rips so having them suddenly appear on a Modern Love 12" was a very welcome surprise. They sound colder than ever and is a testament to how timeless Wiley's minimal bass meditations always were.
Most of the attention surrounding Mr. Mitch has understandably been centered on his incredible music b2b being a Rad Dad, but his work as a curator and A&R has always been something worthy of praise. Whether it's through collaboration or running Gobstopper, he has this subtle and consistent ability to really bring out the best, weirdest or most ambitious ideas of the artists he works with - myself included - and the confidence he fosters within them is clear throughout the entire Gobstopper catalogue. Loom's growth from making oddball trancey grime weepers into fully-fledged club screamers like Aacccid is just one example of that, but one I've particularly enjoyed watching develop.
My Voice Would Reach You
My Voice Would Reach You
Yeah, alright, I made this, but I'm including it mostly to celebrate Christian Harrop's work as an artist. His drawings and ideas was a constant source of motivation to bring out the best of a very personal and difficult project to do, and I couldn't be more grateful for his involvement and how it shaped the final product. I just wish my mum could have seen it.