Here we are at our final installment in the GDD™ 2010 Roundup. Below you’ll find sneevs and Matt’s picks for all things house and techno with a couple visitors from other genres that we couldn’t resist noting. Live shows, tunes, albums, and even a very special GDD™ Artist of the Year Award. Comment and let us know what you think.
Best Tracks of 2010
*All tracks with Beatport purchase links are in 160kbps.
Top 25 √+ Approved
Watch in 2011
GDD 3.0 😉
Best Live Acts
Riton + Mehdi were the acid jacking Carte Blanche this year, tearing through a much talked about world tour with 4 CDJs, a Roland TR-909 Rhythm Composer and even EP collaborator Kid Sister herself on stage. We were so taken by their deliciously curated juxtaposition of old and new — squelching acid basslines, classic house and techno anthems, mashing and remixing on the fly — that after seeing them in LA we immediately drove down to San Diego to catch their final show. Bonus points for T shirts of each other’s face, a fan made Carte Blanche flag and kissing Kid Sister on stage.
Along with Ghostland Observatory GA are proof that more lasers > less lasers. They’re also the leaders of the whole more trumpet > less trumpet movement. Raging dance party from start to finish when these folks get in the building. The energy at their shows is inspirational, try to tell me this video doesn’t give you chills.
Encircled in a massive circular LED curtain the man/myth/machine Richie Hawtin buried himself in an impossibly complex control deck of computers, synthesizers and midi triggers this year to give audiences a rare glimpse of his darker alter ego, Plastikman. Quite literally rattling us to the bone with a subsonic bass bath at Coachella, his surreal techno puppeteering behind a cage of light chilled and glistened. The audio visual experience was deliberately not about the man but the show and the ever ambitious Hawtin devised a system of smart phone apps only activated during the show, proposing an exclusive set of visuals and unique audience interactions. The consensus was that no one’s app worked but when you’re pushing the bounds of technology with each performance, not everything can.
Where do I begin? The new tracks sound flawless live and old tracks are still pure gold. Destructo brought the pioneers and legends to a typically younger crowd because he wanted to educate them about where the music the kids love came from. Hopefully you were all listening if you were there, because Underworld taught quite the lesson. Electronic gods without a doubt.
Yes, 2010 truly treated us to every act we had previously accepted as simply being born too late to ever be able to catch. With head lamps and another impressive array of technology encasing them, Orbital blew us away with a stunning little sonic voyage climaxing in the shimmering classic Halcyon + On + On touched up with Belinda Carlisle – Heaven is a Place on Earth + Bon Jovi – Living on a Prayer. Bonus points to the fans in Coachella’s Sahara Tent who brought in hundreds of glowsticks and orchestrated the eruption of said glowsticks during ‘Satan’ in the middle of the crowd.
Legends. If you didn’t catch them this year, don’t make the same mistake next year. With a headlining slot the last night of Ultra Music Festival in March, I’m willing to bet Chemical Tom and Chemical Ed will be making their way to the desert in Indio come April. Missing their previous live installment from a few years back the anticipation for this show was incredible for me, and I in no way was let down.
As long as they keep doing it, we’ll keep naming them a top act to see live. Unmatched in translating the energy and intricate melodies from the records to the live setting, innovators in the performance of electronic music.
Maybe we’re partial to our two favorite Swedes because we had the distinct honor of throwing the inflatable bananas and champagne bottles into the crowd at Nocturnal Festival but I can personally attest to the fact that the energy these two throw at the massive crowds they consistently engage is unmatched. Case in point: they rage so hard while they play that their onstage jumping shook the entire stage enough to knock their ever present champagne bottle on its side. Party.
From the first eruption of bass in the opener ‘Dance Yrself Clean’ to hugging the homies and jumping up and down during ‘All My Friends’ until the ten minute epic ‘Yeah’ fries and scrambles your insides LCD Soundsystem is an awesome live experience. Oh and I guess I have a thing for Nancy Whang. Nance, call me babe.
Yes, playing in a giant LED cube with a helmet displaying visuals with animations mouthing the vocals and melting away as the track digitally erodes gets you a spot on our list. We expected “another deadmau5 set” and were completely blown away by what was unveiled.
2010 GDD™ Artist of the Year Award
Seemingly not satisfied with slaying dancefloors across the globe with compelling, high energy DJ sets, Alex Ridha definitely stepped his game up in 2010. The superstar tandem of him and Erol Alkan teamed up yet again to provide two superhits, in “Avalance” and “Lemonade.” Then he had to create one of the best releases of the summer remixing for the legendary Chemical Brother’s “Swoon.” When autumn rolled around he pumped out one my favorite tracks of all time, “Yeah,” along with the b-side “1010,” a marquee track of the current acid house revival (soon to be led by the BNR Super Acid Compilation release this January.) All the while the man managed to run the best label in the game, start a new sub-division of that label for up and comers, begin to put together the pieces of a brand new live performance slated for debut in mid-2011 (pray for Coachella) and have a smile on his face the whole damn time. Oh, and he played the Tron premiere. Here’s to you, Alex, and to an even bigger and better 2011.
With that being said, what a year for techno and all of electronic music! Thanks so much for being with us this year. Feels good to look back, stay up in 2011.
All our very best to you and your new decade,
sneevs & dirty dirt
Bonus List: Things we wish would stay in 2010…
• Anything being described as “tropical.” We liked the whole steel drum thing over the summer. We like latin influences on a beat. Go ahead and sample world music all you like, heat things up, just don’t call it your tropical remix.
• Rave whistles. As always, no rave whistles. Dan Justice will reprimand you.
• People dying at festivals. On a serious note, let’s take a moment to respect those we lost this year all over the globe. Unsafe festivals and talk of “rave bans” in California is unacceptable. If you see someone in trouble worry about the legal consequences later and please do the right thing. Stay safe in 2011 everyone, we love ya.