Music List | posted 01.12.2021
End-of-year review 2021
Top 20 12inches
12inches are mostly, but not always, made for the club. A look at the 20 best records in 2021 shows that in this year, not only was dance music rethought – but that also quiet counterpoints were set.
Text Sebastian Hinz, Kristoffer Cornils, Benjamin Mächler, Pippo Kuhzart, Andreas Brüning, Christoph Benkeser, Franziska Nistler , Translation Sebastian Hinz
Jrb_2021_magazin_12inches_3000px_2000px

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Al Wootton - MaenadsVinyl 12inch Al Wooton – Maenads EP (Trule)
The story of dub techno has been told again and again, and the ingredients are well, if not too known: bass, reverb, delays, echoes. But you can still tell a gripping story within this genre, very gripping even, as “Al Wootton has proven with his EP “Maenads on Trule early this year, in which he mixed polyrhythmic percussions under four sharp-edged yet cavernous grooves. Just the right music to listen to while you lose your mind dancing in the confines of your living room. Sebastian Hinz
 

Bassae – Untitled EPVinyl 12inch Bassae – Untitled EP (Few Crackles)
To dismiss Bassae and Few Crackles as elusive would be the easiest way to deal with this second untitled release. But what is most remarkable is how creatively the four tracks weave rhythm and percussion into these meandering collages without ever really being noticeable. Next to the Oi Les Ox album, »Untitled« offers perhaps the most concise take on the avant-grade sounds cultivated by Allnightflight Vlek, Dizonord and Salon Des Amateurs, while at the same time representing their most stylistically intangible interpretation. Florian Aigner
 

Blawan – Make A GooseVinyl 12inch Blawan – Make A Goose (Ternesc)
That the British DJ and producer Jamie Roberts, known as Blawan knows a thing or two about rhythm and percussion is hardly surprising, since he started playing the drums at an early age. In 2015 he founded his own label Ternesc, home of his vinyl EP »Make A Goose«, which was released on February 16th. The record starts in medias res with the plaintive bass sounds of »My Guide To Dancing On Carpet« and reaches its peak with the EP’s title track, equally rich in bass and topped with some nicely distorted synthesizers. Franziska Nistler
 

Cucina Povera – SeesteyttääVinyl 12inch Cucina Povera – Seesteyttää (Offen)
Cucina Povera returns to Valdimir Ivkovic’s label. The underlying formula has remained the same and so did the results. Maria Rossi keeps layering her meditations on top of instrumentals that seem both minimal and sacred and will either drag you down or elevate your spirit, or both at once. This is the kind of stuff that’ll make you pop some strong painkillers and escape into the wild. Pippo Kuhzart
 

Delay Grounds – GenusVinyl LP Delay Grounds – Genus (Lapsus)
British producer Patrick Tipler played bass and guitar in psych bands before he turned to playing synthesizers and electronic music. His solo project Delay Grounds often sounds psychedelic and works with field recordings, voice samples and analog, tribalistic percussion. It’s a sound that navigates seamlessly between The Orb’s ambient escapades, hard-hitting techno and broken beats. While mostly extremely danceable, this music can also be enjoyed in the safety of your home. Andreas Brüning
 

Equiknoxx – Equiknoxx Meets Feel Free Hi FiVinyl 12inch Equiknoxx – Equiknoxx Meets Feel Free Hi Fi (Label)
Even with dozens of reminder emails, it remains difficult to cope with the sheer quantity of creative output from what I consider the most important collective of the last 10 years (yeah, I said it). So, accordingly, physical releases from Gavsborg and Time Cow remain welcome, like this one created in collaboration with Feel Free Hi Fi, who resolutely resists the inevitable dominance of Equiknoxx’s riddims on this EP. All in all, everything just as expected, namely the future of dancehall, packed with more ideas than other people’s entire discographies. Florian Aigner
 

Imaginary Number – Imaginary Number EPVinyl 12inch Imaginary Number – Imaginary Number EP (Yuku)
The Czech experimental bass music label YUKU has so far released tracks by Audeka, Yunis, Balatron, Ténèbre and Current Value, among others, music somewhere between IDM, experiment, downtempo and jungle. »Imaginary Number« is the first part of a white label series on which well-known acts release their music under a new name. Oscillating between bass, grime and garage, this EP is a very dubby affair despite its break-neck pace of 130 BPM and integrates the voices of sampled MCs and rappers, heavy beats and bass, bass, bass into its sound. Andreas Brüning
 

Innere Tueren – Welten EPVinyl 12inch Innere Tueren – Welten EP (Kann)
»In the beginning there are always the track titles«, says Ergin Erteber, the sound whiz behind Innere Tueren. The Heidelberg native, who released his debut on Kann Records in 2019, picks up where he left off closing his last Ableton project: ambient, techno, and ambient techno. Sometimes this may converge the kind of kitsch that sound bath hippies have on their Spotify lists, but much more often it pushes open the — sorry — door to pieces that have you feeling like you tap along barefoot on moss. Christoph Benkeser
 

Kokoroko – Baba Ayoola / Carry Me HomeVinyl 12inch Kokoroko – Baba Ayoola / Carry Me Home (Brownswood)
That the British jazz scene has been the talk of the town for years is also due to the efforts of Kokoroko, an eight-piece combo from London. After being featured on the Gilles Peterson-curated compilation »We Out Here« and presenting their acclaimed debut EP in 2019, this year saw a long overdue musical sign of life in the form of the double A-side single »Baba Ayoola / Carry Me Home«. Sheila Maurice-Grey’s band stands in the tradition of West African music legends like Fela Kuti or Ebo Taylor and wants to bring jazz out of the elitist circles and back onto the streets – and into the hip playlists. They have succeeded in doing so once more. Time for a debut album, innit? Benjamin Mächler
 

Lee Ranaldo - In Virus TimesVinyl 12inch Lee Ranaldo – In Virus Times (Mute)
How damn lazy can a record title be, how damn lazy can an entire EP be at all? Sonic Youth’s actually coolest members noodles around for 22 minutes and 13 seconds on his guitar, strumming a chord here and there, letting a few harmonics ring, or fingerpicking himself towards ecstasy while, fuck, whistling in between. So those are supposed be four different tracks, and on top of that it’s allegedly worth our time, yeah!? But well, actually, in virus times even the seemingly lazy shit takes on new meaning. So speaking while preparing for lockdown: there wasn’t anything clocking in at a mere 22 minutes and 13 seconds that offered so much consolation in this terrible year. Kristoffer Cornils
 


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Move D – Inside The Freero DomeVinyl 12inch Move D – Inside The Freero Dome (Smallville)
The Smallville record store: closed. Smallpeople, the house duo: done. Smallville, the label: restructured. Everything changes, but Move D stays the same. The title track of »Inside The Freero Dome« is a tune that you can cling to, a track like Daso’s »Meine« – music that never seems to end, that makes you feel like it should never stop. The kind of tune that suspends the life it has so abruptly broken into, that turns back the clocks and makes everything whole again. There are two other tracks on this EP, they might be of interest to DJs. The first one here though, that’s to one that is essential to this whole fucked up world. Kristoffer Cornils
 

NICO. - The Driving Rain Vinyl LP NICO. – The Driving Rain (Midnight Shift)
It’s been a long time since Nicolas Guerrero released roaring minimal in the vein of Terrence Dixon and heavy dub techno under the pseudonym White Visitation, seemingly preferring consistancy over innovation. Tonewood-led dub techno, trance dubstep, gqom techno, Balearic acid hop: these are four genres that NICO. invented on his second release for Midnight Shift, only to leave them behind again in the very same move. Here’s someone reinventing not only himself but also music styles themselves – you better listen up! Kristoffer Cornils
 

Perel – Star● ###HHV:834199 :Vinyl 12inch### Perel – Star (Running Back)
Whether new wave, house, synth-pop, techno or experimental music: Perel, real name Annegret Fiedler, is known for her timeless sound, which is characterised by dynamic vocals, disco basslines and techno synth lines. On June 18th, the artist from Saxony announced her Running Back debut with the release of »Star«. The EP offers captivating vocals on the eponymous track, that creates deep, intense and delightful atmospheres. Perel invites you to revel in pre-Corona times with mesmerizing sounds. Franziska Nistler
 

Perila - 7.37/2.11Vinyl 12inch Perila – 7.37/2.11 (A Sunken Mail)
It doesn’t really matter what exactly Perila does, because it’s never really clear what exactly she’s been doing anyway. What is clear however what this results in, that is, what her crackling ambient pop does to those with two ears and a slowly beating heart. The albums of the Berlin-based Russian are like bathtubs filled with ether: both extremely tempting and a potentially lethal trap, because it’s easy to sink into them. »7.37/2.11«" is even more abstract, muddier, more evocative and less communicative than its predecessors and thus actually a Perila release in its purest form – a veritable vortex. And who would want to escape it? Kristoffer Cornils
 

Poly Chain – Lake LemuriaVinyl 12inch Poly Chain – Lake Lemuria (Die Orakel)
»Is it 1992 again?«, asks colleague Hinz while listening to this record. Understandable! After all, the Kiev-born producer Poly Chain crashes over »Lake Lemuria« with basslines reminiscent of early Aphex Twin. For those who don’t know the spot in Ukraine: it’s pink water for the best Insta-moments! No wonder Sasha Zakrevska gets carried away at the sight of it and loses herself in gentle melodies. Presented by yours truly Die Orakel from Frankfurt. Christoph Benkeser
 

Rhyw – The Devil's In The DlzlzlzVinyl 12inch Rhyw – The Devil’s In The Dlzlzlz (Fever AM)
Techno may be cheerfully undead by now, but Rhyw is its very own van Helsing: the guy who, armed with a stake and garlic, finally bring the deadly beast down. »The Devil’s In The Dlzlz« is a four-part exploration of how techno could sound if all the generations after Jeff Mills had finally dared to kill their proverbial father – exciting, exhilarating, and stimulating. This is IDM-infused, massive, thundering music that still maintains an understanding for the needs of a dancefloor that finally wants to come alive again. Kristoffer Cornils
 

Sedef Adasi – Fantasy ZoneVinyl 12inch Sedef Adasi – Fantasy Zone (Public Possession)
In her DJ sets the Augsburg artist Sedef Adasi serves a broad spectrum of genres, ranging from techno to pop. This summer, the DJ and HAMAM Nights party series promoter released her debut EP »Fantasy Zone« on Public Possession and allowed her Turkish roots to flow in, as can be easily heard on »Gel Gidelim«. On »Fantasy Zone«, Adasi creates a euphoric and at the same time melancholic mood that allows everyone to dive into her both colourful and shrill worlds of fantasy. Franziska Nistler
 

Sweepsculp (Upsammy) - SweepsculpVinyl 12inch Sweepsculp (Upsammy) – Sweepsculp EP (Nous’klaer Audio)
She has established her vision of liquid techno that lets the dancefloor melt away under your feet as Upsammy in recent years. In 2021 however, Thessa Torning has shown a whole new facet of her artistic self under her new alias Sweepsculp. The five tracks on her »Sweepsculp EP« blend post-rock, clicks’n’cuts and electronica into a rhythmically flowing whole. Sebastian Hinz
 

Tara Clerkin Trio - In Spring EPVinyl 12inch Tara Clerkin Trio – In Spring EP (World Of Echo)
The most exciting band of the past year remains the most exciting band of the current year. The Tara Clerkin Trio’s »In Spring EP« is an inkling of actual future, a truly new idea in a year in which quite a few start-up bosses promised us to have »rethought« all sorts of things, a breath of fresh air in the confines of circumstances, a blessing even for non-believers. The three bring together jazz, hip-hop, and folk and somehow turn all of that into pop music that sounds as if Duke Ellington had produced the latest Tirzah record. A huge step in their development, but certainly still not the final form of this most beautiful of all beasts. Philipp Kunze
 

ZULI – All Caps 12"Vinyl 12inch ZULI – All Caps (UIQ)
You can take away Zuli’s machines, but you can’t take Zuli away from the machines. The Egyptian producer shreds amen breaks for Lee Gamble’s UIQ label and tears a big fat hole in the bass box with his sonic hand grenades. »All Caps« is the smash hit of the year, a massage voucher for both mind and body — the rare record that catapuls footwork and jungle into the 2020s in one fell swoop. This is electronic music in the rhythm of contemporary life. Christoph Benkeser
 


DER VINYL-JAHRESRÜCKBLICK IM WEBSHOP VON HHV RECORDS.

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Small In Japan
Japan, a Vinyl Nation? Not really.
Elaborate packaging, audiophile listening bars and the highest number of record shops in the world: Japan, a vinyl paradise? No. For decades, the medium has only played only a minor role there. A cultural history of Japan’s music industry.
Music List
Evidence
10 All Time Favs
Evidence is a producer, cratedigger and rapper, and one who in 15 years of career has never lost the desire to discover. Now his album »Unlearning Vol.1« is released. We asked about 10 vinyl records that have shaped, improved and educated him.
Music List
Record Store Day 2021 – 2nd Drop
12 releases to look out for
On July 17, 2021, the second Record Store Days this year will now take place. Again, several dozen exclusive releases have been announced. We have again picked twelve records that we want to recommend to you.
Music Column
Records Revisited
The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead (1986)
Released in 1986, »The Queen Is Dead« is the culmination of the British band The Smiths’ career, which lasted only five years and four studio albums. It still sounds refreshingly idiosyncratic even after so long.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Porter Ricks – Biokinetics (1996)
When Porter Ricks released the album »Biokinetics« in 1996, it was more than just a collection of their first 12inches flanked by two bonus tracks. It was a utopian attempt to expand upon the dub techno formulas.
Music Portrait
BBE Records
The influencer's influencer
Peter Adarkwah is the reason why some lives have been changed by J Dilla, why Roy Ayers experienced a second spring and why Japanese jazz albums are reviewed by Pitchfork. In other words: BBE Music turns 25 years this year.