As 2010 draws to a close, we at GDD™ have decided to embark on a recap for you guys, and summarize our favorites from a truly epic year in EDM. Every day between now and January 1, our contributors will be pairing up to share their top picks with you. Tre and I drew the short straw and are up first, covering the bassier genres, so without further ado let’s kick things off…
In my eyes, 2010 saw the start to a great number of full length albums from EDM artists, which is pretty uncommon. The genre of mainstream dubstep emerged and saw the release of Magnetic Man on a mainstream label (Columbia), as well as Rusko’s OMG! on Mad Decent. However, there was only one that really stuck out to me as worthy of my album of the year – Skream’s Outside The Box. A cracking album from start to finish that demonstrates Skream’s versatility as an artist, ranging from the beautiful and entrancing sounds of ‘Epic Last Song’ to the heavy as sin ‘Wibbler’, which was a longtime anticipated by dubsteppers early on in the year.
Essential Listening: Wibbler / How Real (Ft. Freckles) / Epic Last Song
2010 was the year that saw Breakage (aka James Boyle) burst through the EDM scene with his own unique style. Foundation is a groundbreaking album full of jungle inspired drums, haunting bass lines and an eclectic mix of drum and bass and dubstep. James Boyle has taken a futurist approach to the scene, cranking out tunes that give listeners the best of both worlds while maintaining percussive roots in a scene that has been flourishing since the early 90’s. Breakage follows the simple, yet crucial rule of quality over quantity and while his songs may not be the busiest they sure deliver a sound that can only be described as smooth, haunting and powerful.
Essential Listening: Hard (Ft. David Rodigan & Newham Generals) / Run ‘em Out (Ft. Roots Manuva) / Vial (Ft. Burial)
Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma [Brainfeeder]
2010 was also the year that IDM finally broke into the mainstream. This is one of those albums that stayed #1 in the unbelievably competitive billboard chart that is my car stereo. FlyLo’s intricate full length was a full force fusion of IDM, Jazz, Classical, 8-bit, hip-hop and so much more. Flying Lotus’ intense amount of work and emotion can be felt throughout the entire record, which arguably flows better than any other album I’ve heard this year. One can’t mention Cosmogramma without mentioning the enormous amount of collaborations that graced the album, from Laura Darlington to Thom Yorke.
Essential Listening: …And The World Laughs With You (Ft. Thom Yorke) / Do The Astral Plane / Nose Art
Horsepower Productions – Quest For The Sonic Bounty [Tempa]
Credited as one of the earliest pioneers of the dubstep genre, Horsepower Productions’ experimental UK Garage sound has been influencing scores of present day dubstep producers since the early noughties. The core duo consists of Benny Ill and Jay King, while Nassis and Lev Jnr drift in and out of the group, they worked together as a four piece for third studio album Quest For The Sonic Bounty which dropped last month. If you’re expecting high energy electronic wobble then this isn’t the one for you, but if you’re expecting a subtler more refined roots and garage album, then this is the one. For some the dubstep genre has begun to sound stale and monotonous, but when you listen to this record, you see that UK Garage is experiencing a second wind and will soon surpass it.
Essential Listening: Poison Wine / Water / Damn It
Underworld – Barking [Om Records]
While this record only touches the tips of bassier genres via some dank co production duties from Welsh DnB guru High Contrast, it’s definitely one of my top 5 records this year. Seeing an allstar lineup of co-producers including High Contrast, Appleblim, Dubfire, D.Ramirez and Paul Van Dyk, Barking is Underworld’s eighth studio album and it absolutely bangs. While it’s come under flak from some critics, I see it as some of their most ambitious and versatile work to date, ranging from the Deadmau5-ey prog house vibes of ‘Always Loved Film’, to straight up DnB jam ‘Scribble’. Those who were lucky enough to catch Karl Hyde and Rick Smith live this year will agree that these guys are one of the few acts whose live shows are even more mindblowing than their studio work, which is no easy feat.
Essential Listening: Scribble (co prod. by High Contrast) / Always Loved Film (co prod. by D.Ramirez / Strumpet Groove
01: • Nero – Innocence
02: • Bassnectar – Basshead √+
03: • Skream – Wibbler √+
04: • Plan B – Prayin’ (Breakage’s Bad Week Remix)
05: • Freestylers – Cracks (Flux Pavilion Remix)
06: • Magnetic Man – Perfect Stranger [Beatport]
07: • Plan B – Recluse (Netsky Remix)
08: • Zeds Dead – White Satin
09: • B-Complex – Beautiful Lies VIP
10: • 12th Planet – Juakali – Reasons (Doctor P Remix)
Thus, what can we say bassheads, glitch freaks, and IDM nazis…this was truly our year ; ) So grab these tunes, curl up next to the fire hugging your most massive sub and reminisce, because the best has yet to come (and we will keep bringing it to you).
Always with love,
Tre & SweetFA