Posted by: Dominic Umile | 12/09/2009

Memorable Electronic Music 2009: Part III

I enjoyed a fair amount of dubstep this year, but, as usual, I can’t say I have a lot of proper dubstep full-lengths from 2009. The compilations offered a wealth of riches (Hyperdub, Tectonic, RSD’s Good Energy), and I’ve played the hell out of the mixes now filling up my relatively new hard drive (FACT Magazine, Joker’s Purple Wow Sound, Sonic Router’s offerings, etc.). Just grabbed Grievous Angel’s mix for Blackdown. Getting a hold of his Margins Music treatment is a high priority of mine — Dusk + Blackdown’s is easily one of the strongest, diverse dubstep albums to date. I wrote about it when it came out for PopMatters last year, and I hope to post about the new edits. Anyways, here are a few more of my favorite electronic- and hip hop-oriented releases for 2009, a couple of which are stellar examples of recent dubstep albums.

10. 2562, Unbalance (Tectonic)
9. Madlib, Beat Konducta Vol. 5-6 (Stones Throw)
8. Worriedaboutsatan, Arrivals (Gizeh Records)
7. Nosaj Thing, Drift (Alpha Pup)
6. Clubroot, Clubroot (Lo Dubs)

The second LP from Netherlands-born producer Dave “2562” Huismans is built on a more melodic techno/dubstep approach, with loads of interesting sample work and staggering rhythms. I’ve said as much for Blurt, and you’ll see some more from me about Unbalance in the days to come. Also worthy of note is the self-titled Clubroot album. He’s getting a lot of Burial comparisons for ever-present air of mystery that just hovers over the percussion. As I’m loath to oversimplify the sounds that either artist produces, I’d like to avoid those kinds of comparisons altogether — there are enough terrible blog posts out there and unsubstantiated, aimless claims being made by major online outlets for that. In ambient, hazy synth melodies and wafts of empty street atmospherics, Clubroot finds his footing with just as much emphasis on unpredictable beats and patches of dreamy electronic textures. Without a skippable concoction in the bunch, a great debut indeed. Download his Mary Anne Hobbs mix here.

Beat Konducta, Vol. 5-6I posted here back in February about Madlib’s newest installment of his “Beat Konducta” series, and I’ve been listening a lot since then. There isn’t much more to be said about this guy. He’s one of the brightest, most curious producer/selectors out there, and I couldn’t be more excited about this way-out news concerning the The Madlib Medicine Show (“Announcing: The Madlib Medicine Show,” November 10, 2009). Check out an excerpt of his forthcoming “Fall Suite” at Wire Magazine.

Worriedaboutsatan’s Arrivals came my way via email in the early summertime. I don’t know that it’s a summer record per se, and I was fairly taken aback by the act’s name, honestly. It didn’t take long for Arrivals to completely consume my personal listening space. I wrote about it for Remix Magazine, and in listening again, I feel pretty strongly about confirming that this is one of the more displacing albums I’ve heard this year. A tide of competing textures and sounds — one minute, the Leeds, UK duo is crafting deep, minimal techno (“Evil Dogs”) and the next, it’s restrained but glitchy and sensuous ambient (“Arrivals”). What an extraordinary album.

By now, I have great hopes that readers here headed over to PopMatters during their summer vacation for my feature on Nosaj Thing (“Now Hear This! Nosaj Thing,” August 19, 2009). Alongside the meticulously techy Arrivals and the classic beat efforts on Beat Konducta Vol. 5-6, Drift makes an good neighbor. Jason Chung incorporates a whole world of influences into his work, and Drift makes for an excellent medium to communicate his appetite for pulling together really compelling beat music. Head to PopMatters for more, and to grab his Low End Theory podcast.

Check back for more thoughts on my favorite electronic and overall albums for 2009.

Read Part One of this series here.
Read Part Two of this series here.



  1. […] This post was Twitted by FiagoStay […]

  2. I’m very interested in that Madlib Medicine Show series. The one track they leaked of that is great.

  3. Thanks for reading, Sid. I pretty much love everything Madlib does — did you have a chance to check out his Brazilian mix on Mochilla? Good stuff. I’m really feeling the new record from his little brother, too.

  4. Have you came across this track by Babylon System called “Everyday Hustle” in your dubstep stompin’?

    They’re a collective out of San Francisco I think. I’ve been through both Soul Jazz Box of Dub comps and this track and Tayo Meets Acid Rockers “Dread Cowboy” are the best things I’ve heard.

  5. Thanks for reading, Joey. Check the Tayo Fabriclive mix from a while back — good stuff. I’m only just hearing this “Everyday Hustle” joint now, and because of the Rick Ross association (as I’m not a Rick Ross fan), I’m not really feeling it…..:) I’d recommend, recent release-wise, the compilation from RSD on Punch Drunk called ‘Good Energy’ — it’s absolutely overpowering. Extraordinarily heavy on the dub side, but not really like “stompy.” The Hyperdub comp is really good, too. Hotflush puts out great stuff — check in on their free podcasts, and Scuba’s and Mount Kimbie’s stuff is mind-blowing, in my opinion, too. I think the new Skream record will be great (Have you heard that Emalkay track he’s been championing?!), and I’m aiming at getting the Grievous Angel’s Dusk + Blackdown remixes (get ‘Margins Music’ if you don’t already have it!).

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