Having bid a fond farewell to 2013, it’s time to reflect on the year’s key musical moments. The brouhaha this list caused amongst the specially-appointed Human Drizzle panel will take time to die down but, as time goes on and wounds heal, we would welcome your thoughts in the usual places (the comments below, and here and here).
Oh, and listen to them on our Best of 2013 playlist. It’s lovely.
1. CHVRCHES – Lies (Tourist Remix): It’s always difficult to put one tune above all others after a year like 2013, but we’ve had to do it for you guys. For you, the reader. We think this rework of bright young things CHVRCHES (who also blew us away live) by HD favourite Tourist, deserves that acclaim. It’s a slow-burning, ear-worming piece of vocal house and it hasn’t left us since it landed in our inbox all those months ago. Expect an awful lot more from both artists in 2014.
2. Paul Woolford – Untitled: Along with Todd Terje’s ‘Strandbar’, ‘Untitled’ was the summer house anthem of 2013. Released whilst Paul Woolford was prepping the primal ‘Soul Music’ under the Special Request moniker, it was heralded by pretty much everyone who clapped ears on it. A thrilling combination of crushing bass and slapping kick-drums leads into the echoey piano loop, which is then chopped and re-chopped over the track’s six minutes. Together this produces hands-in-the-air euphoria on a scale that was rarely matched this year.
3. Breach – Everything You Never Had (We Had It All) (Ft. Andreya Triana): Ben Westbeech had quite the year. Human Drizzle were perhaps in the minority when we didn’t fall arse over tit for ‘Jack‘, Breach’s huge hit in the first part of 2013. However, when we first heard ‘Everything You Never Had’ on T Williams’s Rinse FM show, we were spellbound. It may not be fashionable to say it, but the final drop is pretty much perfection in terms of what we would want to lose our shit to in a club.
4. Wayward – Love Jones: The hot-as-you-like London-based label Aesop’s third release came in the form of ‘Love Jones’, by London duo Wayward. The infectious vocal loop and glorious piano intertwine wonderfully, gradually building to a heartfelt crescendo. Very much looking forward to hearing more from these guys in 2014.
5. Agoria – Scala: Regular readers will know HD’s feelings towards Innervisions, and that we are partial to the odd piano-driven house banger too. So, when French producer Sebastian Devaud aka Agoria released ‘Scala’, a piano-driven house banger on Innervisions, it was highly likely to be welcomed into our top 10 with open arms. Innervisions have been releasing elegant house and techno since they started out, but they seemed to reach new highs in 2013, with Ten Walls’ ‘Gotham‘, Marcus Worgull and Peter Pardeike ‘Lenoix‘, and then the exhilarating ‘Scala’. After lush synths open the track, ‘Scala’ pauses to finally introduce a rolling piano line that is just perfect. No surprise that it was a monster hit at the end of the summer.
6. James Blake – Retrograde: Despite an eye-catching collaboration with RZA in 2013, James Blake was at his most intoxicating on ‘Retrograde’. The track constituted less of a departure from 2011’s eponymous album but it is a gorgeous piece of haunting, fragile, atmospheric music.
7. Midland – Trace: When it first came out, ‘Trace’ was unlike anything else we had heard. A warped, indecipherable sample repeating over and over on top of an infectious beat, it builds to a shuddering crescendo that melted the dancefloor every time it was dropped. It feels as fresh and exhilarating now as it did on first listen. Released on one of our favourite labels – Aus Music – Midland’s biggest hit so far is an instant classic and has paved the way for his meteoric rise. 2014 promises to be a huge year for Harry.
8. Todd Terje – Strandbar (disko): In Todd we trust. This summer we were treated to the return of Mr. Terje. The unstoppable producer penned over eight minutes of D.I.S.C.O fun that soundtracked festivals far and wide. With the recent release of ‘Spiral/Q’, he shows no sign of slowing down. HD royalty.
9. George Fitzgerald – I Can Tell (By The Way You Move): This one was everywhere in 2013, and rightly so. Taken with the thumping remix by renaissance man Paul Woolford, the tune stands out as house with one eye on the future. Bring on his new album on Double Six.
10. Clean Bandit – Dust Clears: It’s been a huge year for Clean Bandit and, with their live show winning plaudits and recent single ‘Rather Be’ heading for chart success in January, you suspect 2014 is going to be even bigger. ‘Dust Clears’ is an altogether gentler affair, but its lush melodies and brilliantly barmy video epitomise what we love about the band.