… my dude at the Gilles Peterson show, Shazaming all the same songs as me.
Surprisingly compelling, rooting for the bulls.
Kenny Bobien – Why I Sing (Tama Sumo Edit of Louie Vega Expansions NYC Version)
Unsure if I have the right version of this bit of gospel house perfection, but I strongly suspect this is an edit by Tama – what a simple groove, what a simple pad, what a set of vocals, and what a set of moments.
FKA twigs – Cellophane
Folks, this is a demo vocal (to say nothing of the lovely production, that one FX hit, and more)
Carly Rae Jepsen – Want You In My Room
The most ridiculous bop from an album full of them. Party For One was an early leader here, but Want You In My Room is both the least mature, and secretly has a pretty sick drum track.
Tuarrah – Almost Invisible
What a vocal, my friends, what a line.
Four Tet – Teenage Birdsong (Avalon Emerson Scrub Jay Remix)
Prog breaks are back, which we knew, but I was not expecting this sort of multi-stage rocket to the stars.
Honorable mentions to KH – Only Human, Daphni feat. Paradise – Sizzling, and Sophia Kourtesis – Trains & Airports, and Eddie Flashin’ Fowlkes – Goodbye Kiss
Yes yes, another compilation of semi-obscure music from Africa, we get it – but just listen to the synths, the pre-reggae percussion, the vocals. Amazing.
Did FKA twigs have a spectacular year? Yes. There are one or two iffy moments on this disc, but the highs are immense, passionate, and hunting for a sense of a new future.
I wasn’t going to put this on here until I saw that I had at least five potential tracks from it in my top tracks longlist, so here we are – the pride of Mission, BC, continuing to reel off pop leviathans. The best part of Dedicated? There’s probably another 30 tracks of cuts that will come out next year.
I hang out with AI people, and ignore all that, and just listen to the sounds and the Sacred Harp singing and the Herndon drums – and, like with twigs, the leaps into a new and unforeseen future.
– boop beep boop beep boop bee boop-bee-boop-be-boop –
Honorable mentions to Ford – The Evening, Xylouris White – The Sisypheans, Oren Ambarch – Simian Angel, and Barker – Utility.
Tama Sumo at Mr. Sunday
I went to this show based on the strength of Tama Sumo’s delight of an RA Set from a few years ago … and was rewarded with a slow-burn colossus of a show of deep tunes, great house, and ecstatic dancefloor moments.
Kampire at FOMO
The Nyege Nyege magician played just about perfect at Elsewhere, going from 80 BPM to 190 in joyous, sass-heavy fashion.
Riobamba at Melting Point
Melting Point continues to prove that the kids are alright. Their one-year was H E A V Y, loud, vital – and had Riobamba’s rocketfuel post-Latin-dance-music masterpiece.
Zhorma @ Noite PuXXXa
An excellent night at MusicBox in Lisbon, won at a canter by Zhorma’s tropicalia —> kuduro/batida set.
Lauri Soini & Eliott Litrowski at Jolene
Went to Copenhagen and loved it, not least for the low-key wonderment at Jolene. Disco, italo, techno, “prog”, heartfelt go-go dancers, and yet more ecstatic dancefloor moments.
Honorable mentions to Total Freedom at Melting Point at Elsewhere, including the jellyfish and normcore costumes; to Timmy Regisford’s 1990s throwback and massive fader blasts at Nowadays; Jana Rush and her videogame footwork in a tiny pub in Bristol; and Awesome Tapes from Africa at Elsewhere.
FKA twigs at Park Avenue Armory
Of course. I saw her at RBMA, four years ago and that show was more astonishing, because I didn’t know what to expect – but this was amazing and emotional in every possible way.
Holly Herndon at Pioneer Works
What’s your play after helping drive the whole avent-club thing, when you have a Stanford PhD and write your own AI? Bringing a six-person choir to a knife fight, as it were, and still winning.
Honorable mentions to KOKOKO! at Baby’s All Right, Ndagga Rhythm Force at Yaam, Arca at The Shed, and Hadestown on Broadway.