2014 Playlist Review and the TBC Favourite

February Selection:

Dj Kicks – Brandt Brauer Frick 

BBC Essential Mix – Kolsch * 

BBC Essential Mix – MK 

FabricLive Vol.73 – Pangaea 

Watergate vol.15 – Kerri Chandler 

Live @ Output, Brooklyn NYE 2013 – DJ Tennis 

June Selection:

Decay – Efdemin 

It’s Album Time – Todd Terje 

BBC Essential Mix – Marcel Dettmann *

Do It Again – Royksopp & Robyn 

Fabric #75 – Maya Jane Coles 

September Selection:

Fabric #77 by Marcel Dettmann – Various Artists 

Too Slow to Disco – DJ Supermarkt 

Global Underground #40 by Solomun – Various Artists 

Defected Pres. Nic Fanciulli in the House – Various Artists *

Essential Mix of the Year Selection:

BBC Essential Mix – Bicep 

BBC Essential Mix – Caribou 

BBC Essential Mix – Jon Hopkins 

BBC Essential Mix – Joy Orbison *

BBC Essential Mix – Ten Walls 

December Selection:

Balance Vol.25 – Danny Tenaglia 

Watergate Vol.17 – Pan Pot 

Balance Pres. – Kolsch 

Verbalizer – Anthony Rother *

Sankeys 20th Anniversary – Darius Syrossian 

 

Introduction

This is probably the latest edition of any music website’s ‘best of 2014’ article but at TBC we like to do things differently and are not worried to break the mould from time to time when necessary. While you may have had to wait some time for this article it will not have had its relevance diminished by the tardiness in its publishing. 2014 was a great year for electronic music and the playlist above which shows the shortlist from each of our playlist’s last year and is a clear indication that we were graced with some great production albums, compilation CDs and live mixes/radio shows. If you were to have a listen through the best of selection above you would be spoiled by some of the best producers; Dettmann, Rother, Efdemin, CD series; Fabric, DJ Kicks, Balance, Watergate and the best (TBC’s favourite anyways) radio show the BBC Essential Mix. While the music industry life cycle process seems to shorten each year with individual tracks coming and going at an ever increasing pace these mixes and albums have captured and exhibited a key milestone in electronic music. Their ability to deliver such range and diversity in electronic musical genres while exhibiting such quality throughout the mixes and albums is something to be proud of as a music fan and a great indication of a buoyant and healthy industry.

In order to select our favourite of the year we have reviewed our previous favourites shortlists, taken heed of our own advice in the previous  favourite choices and had a listen through them again. Are our previous favourites still at the top of our list, are some still in our CD player or on our iPods, have we forgotten about some of our previous selections?! The review and selection process isn’t easy when trying to select your favourite from a whole year however in 2014 TBC can remember some mixes very vividly and these are the ones which we have homed in on in order to select our favourite of 2014.

Verbalizer – Anthony Rother (2014)*

Defected Pres. Nic Fanciulli in the House – Various Artists (2014)*

Fabric #77 by Marcel Dettmann – Various Artists (2014)

Too Slow to Disco – DJ Supermarkt (2014)

BBC Essential Mix – Marcel Dettmann (2014)*

BBC Essential Mix – Jon Hopkins (2014)

We are pleased to see a balance across our 2014 shortlist in both genres and format; electro, techno, house, electronics and disco are represented via production albums, compilations and radio shows. We always like to keep our options open and ensure that we capture as many formats as possible when we compile our playlists and review our favourites and this is nice to see.

Pete Tong always represents with his legendary and consistent Essential Mix show on BBC Radio One, our previous feature on the 2014 best mix highlighted his ability to maintain his curating excellence with such a wealth of talent on show. Our previous selection Joy Orbison we felt was the best of the year but for our enjoyment factor we only included Marcel Dettmann and Jon Hopkins as we are still listening to them into 2015 which is testament to their quality as they can still compete with the new shows which air every week!

Fabric continue to rollout their series which ties in with their Saturday night event along the lines of techno and house, they haven’t been that consistent over the last few years but continue to provide a few gems each year and Mr.Dettmann’s offering not only shows off Fabric’s techno heritage but also himself as he has two places in our shortlist for 2014 which is an amazing feat.

Our most recent playlist and review brought Anthony Rother back into the limelight, he is one our all time favourite DJ’s who has helped introduce TBC to so many of our favourite DJs and music styles, Bodzin, Huntemann, Gigolo style electro house, haunting/scary electro, techno and bleepy/freaky minimal techno. We were so pleased to see his new album Verbalizer bring back his signature sound with a 2014 twist and freshness.

Nic Fanciuli is a DJ who I have personally seen DJ since he began as a resident back in Club Class in Maidstone around the early 2000’s. He has provided so many good sets over the years and continues to represent all things Maidstone while taking over the DJ world with his club nights and also providing some of the best mix compilations we have ever heard; Renaissance, Mixmag CD’s, back to back compilation with James Zabiela etc. His new mix on Defected is another superb addition to his discography and another superb release on the Defect label which has been on a role in recent years with their In The House and Masters series. This two disc compilation lead to complaints in a hotel in Manchester when celebrating my birthday in July 2014, we listened to it on repeat the whole weekend while dancing around like wollies and it remains one of our first choices for any pre/after party.

Finally one of favourite DJ’s at the moment not just because of his great DJing ability, his excellent website promoting all things disco and electro pop; ‘How Do You Are’, but also because he is genuinely one of the nicest DJ’s out there. After some twitter correspondence with the disco king from Germany, he even invited us to one of his parties in Berlin when we visited this Easter (2015) to finally meet one of our heroes. His mixes are legendary and are well worth checking out via his Soundcloud page, his previous guise as Le Hammond Inferno is one of legend if you are into certain musical circles and his recent Too Slow Disco series (which is soon to be added to with volume two in summer 2015) is pure excellence. The track selection, the album art, the introductions to the tracks and the album itself are genius. Reviving leftfield classic disco from the 60’s and 70’s when others look to the standard classics from that era is both brave and highly commendable as it exudes that geeky side of music where he trudges through old vinyl and classics to find those forgotten gems. DJ Supermarkt always seems to strike gold and his brave selections are so exciting to listen to at home and in the club when you see him live. We can only recommend seeing him live and because of his musical history knowledge you could probably take your Mum and your Gran and they would have a ball too!

The Verdict

As ever the final decision isn’t easy but we won’t bore you with the small talk at this stage, this time round anyways! Based on both being selected as one of our favourite previously back in September and continuing to entertain us at TBC it has to be Nic Fanciulli’s edition of Defected In the House. We don’t think this release got enough attention when it was released back in July, it doesn’t seem to have many publicised reviews on any of the big music websites but this compilation is exceptional. It represents the Nic Fanculli sound, his attention to detail when selecting the tracks is simply a masterclass in set structure and this is just a mix CD! The way each CD builds and flows between house and techno is just like seeing him live when playing a long set where he has time to take you on a Fanciulli musical journey. Congrats to Nic and Defected for the best release according to TBC in 2014. Great to see Maidstone representing at the top of the electronic music industry. We expect Nic to continue his domination of the World in 2015, he already has a world tour planned and the Social festival later in the year, we hope he has a great year and TBC followers and fans get a chance to see him.

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We would like to commend both DJ Supermarkt for providing us with such entertainment with those Too Slow To Disco gems and Marcel Dettmann for featuring twice in our 2014 shortlist, you only just missed out on being selected our 2014 favourite.

Bonus Treat

We haven’t included a favourite track of the year before and its always hard to pick a favourite across genres and the whole year but 2014 belong to a track from I Break Horses called Faith which featured in the Jon Hopkins Essential Mix in one of the greatest mixes ever between the Gary Beck Alogoreal track and the Fields remix of Faith. Jon Hopkins is to thank for bringing this track to my attention and ever since at TBC it has been on repeat. It has featured on our recent TBC playlists that we create every so often, it has been played loud at TBC HQ, in the car on our travels, in Berlin on holiday, the list is endless. This track is perfect electro, moody, progressive, catchy, an amazing vocal, great bassline and simple but perfect track structure. The original version is our favourite and its 3 minutes and 48 seconds of perfection, have a listen using the link below, we challenge you to not dance around like a lunatic and avoid a massive smile on your face. The Fields version is also linked below to see the alternative version that Jon Hopkins used, it is an 11 minute techno stormer! We would recommend you also check out their album Chiaroscuro for an alternative listen.

 

Many thanks for all the support in 2014, we hope to see you all later in the year at our next TBC event and keep coming back to read our latest articles.

TBC

TBC Review – BBC Essential Mix of the Year 2014

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Pete Tong announced the shortlist for the Essential Mix of the year 2014 last weekend (6th December) and TBC thought it best that we had our own review of the shortlist and select our favourite.

The shortlist:

  1. Bicep
  2. Caribou
  3. Jon Hopkins
  4. Joy Orbison
  5. Ten Walls

Over the last week at TBC we have been re-listening to the Essential Mix of the year shortlist and boy have we had a good time. Boogying at lunch time at work, while driving in the car, walking to the shops and, of course, loudly at TBC HQ, basically whenever we got a spare second we have had the essential mixes on. It has been incredibly enjoyable to review some mixes which we hadn’t given too much time to when they were aired; Caribou and Joy Orbison, as well as reviewing the other mixes which we had thoroughly enjoyed on multiple occasions this year. It has to be said that 2014 was a great year for the essential mix and some great mixes didn’t quite make it into the shortlist. Amine Edge and Dance introduced us to G-House. Marcel Dettmann delivered a monstrous techno mix for the Easter holidays while we were away in NYC and Green Velvet blended his signature techno and electro sounds during the Summer which got us very excited at TBC. We were also throughly entertained by a multitude of music genres and diversity from the likes of Finnebassen, Bonobo, Anja Schneider, Gaiser, Matador, Jimmy Edgar, Kink, Steffi, Subb-an, Heidi and Huxley to name a few. We must all say thanks to Pete Tong and his team at the BBC for again curating an amazing year of Essential Mixes. Roll on 2015!

We have reviewed each mix individually, reduced the list to a top 3 and then selected our favourite, so here it goes.

-Bicep – Deep house’s representation in this years essential mix of the year shortlist. A great party vibe from the Northern Irish due Bicep with the odd harder edged electro or techno track thrown in for good measure, especially nearer the end. Highlights in the mix are; Agoria la Onzieme Marche and Ferrer & Sydenham Timbuktu (Jerome’s Afro Tonic Dub). There is also a superb sample courtesy of Arnold Schwarzenegger in reference to his body building days in Ireland which Bicep have found to introduce their mix and, we assume, hint at the basis for their DJ name. This mix is not quite a TBC favourite but is a great mix to have on at a party whether its pre/post clubbing.
-Caribou – A mix of two halves, one half by Caribou and one half by Daphni, who are the multiple personalities of the Canadian Daniel Snaith. The former is more eclectic, disco, alternative and the latter more dance floor and club focused. Unfortunately the mix doesn’t really take off at any stage and is mainly focused around the representation of the diverse musical knowledge of Caribou, which while providing a great opportunity to appreciate his musical talent does mean that there are less opportunities to get dancing and party hard. It is well mixed, the tune selection is excellent and it has a great structure but it doesn’t make it into the top 3 for TBC.
-Joy Orbison – This mix is raw, filled with amazing eclectic electronica with an urban feel that builds from slow, reggae style tracks at the start to banging techno towards the end. Turn the bass up, treasure the tracklist, find the artists and tracks who feature and track down a Joy Orbison live performance. This mix is so entertaining it had us listening to it back to back for 4 hours! That’s a rare occurrence at TBC, especially when considering we had missed this mix earlier in the 2014 Essential Mix calendar. The highlights of the mix; Lady Blacktronika Getting Heavy, Bruce Technostatic, Kowton Glock & Roll, Barnt’s double selection of Under his Own Name But Also as Sir and Chappell (one of TBC’s current big tunes), Fourtet Buchla and the tracks from Joy Orbison (solo and with Boddika).
-Jon Hopkins – the perfectionist live  show performance feel is what sets this mix apart. The progression and structure of the mix is excellent and is testament to Jon Hopkins skill as a live performer and composer. The mix is delivered via Logic, Ableton and various samples and tools which show off a more technical offering. A particular highlight is one of the best mixes and tune selections we have ever heard from I Breathe ak Horses called Faith (Field Remix) to Gary Beck’s Algoreal, this mix literally leaves you with goosebumps! The musical landscape created by Jon Hopkins is an aural pleasure! Also featuring are great tracks from Daniel Avery, Boddika and Joy Orbison, Clark and Mux Mool to name but a few.
-Ten Walls – This is the most club ready of the mixes and is brought to you by Mario Basanov in his live, progressive techno/electro guise Ten Walls, who produced one of the tracks of 2013; Gotham. This set is the tracklist of Summer 2014 for any one who ventured to dance music festivals at home or abroad, for TBC it was a perfect accompaniment to Melt Festival in Leipzig. The mix has the perfect balance; a great intro track from the Mass Effect Videograme Soundtrack (which is epic), then it builds through eclectic tracks such as Atom TM Ich Bin Meine Maschine to Helium Robots Jarza (Theo Parrish Translation 2). It then progresses with fan favourites such as &Me After Dark, Moderat Bad Kingdom (Dj Koze remix), his own Walking with Elephants. Ten Walls then shows off some of his favourites and less well known producers; a few tracks from Few Nolder (upcoming artist from Lithuania), an Eastern European sounding electro stormer from C.A.R. called Angelina, a beautiful moody track from Robinn called The Game is Now Over and ends with Plastikmans dark and haunting Consumer plus a final outro from the Mass Effect soundtrack.
The Top 3
  1. Ten Walls
  2. Jon Hopkins
  3. Joy Orbison

The top 3 is summarised by Club vs Perfection vs Raw, respectively. Ten Walls provides the mix most representative of TBC clubbing in 2014 and in particular Melt Festival which was one our highlights of the year, Jon Hopkins delivers a perfectionist live performance that you would expect from a live performer (similar to John Talabot currently, Paul Kalkbrenner a few years ago or, for the older ones, Junkie XL) and Joy Orbison hits you with a devastating raw mix of techno and dub that makes selecting one of the three as a favourite very difficult. The decision was difficult and the countless hours spent listening to the mixes, some a multiple of times for the full 120 minutes and others in segments to identify those key tracks, mixes and transitions that make a mix excel. However, finally after a lot of consideration, we made our call and gave Essential Mix of the year 2014 to Joy Orbison. It wouldn’t have been our selection when we first saw the list announced and choosing this mix over Ten Walls and Jon Hopkins was difficult when there were so many good things to say about these mixes but Joy Orbison literally blew us away. The style of the mix, the fact that he rarely performs live or records mixes, the severity of some of the tracks on the scale of heavy techno and the fact that we had rarely heard a mix from this DJ/producer before created a package that is hard not to love.

We look forward to hearing from the Essential Mix team and Pete Tong himself on who they will vote for the Essential Mix of the year 2014.

Looking forward to next year when we hope the level of the mixes remains of this calibre. The artists we would like to see next year are listed below, we hope that some feature.

Ellen Allien, Helena Hauf, Ben Klock, John Talabot, Modeselektor, Acid Pauli, Mister Saturday Night, Robert Hood, Pan Pot, Gary Beck, Shed, Oliver Koletzki, The Hacker, Oliver Schories, Objekt, Model 500, Tube & Berger, Spektre.
Thanks for reading and check out the mixes for yourself below. Tell us what you think.
TBC