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various / 14 tracks - The best of 2010 - Part 1
Here we are at the end of another year and another look back at some of the most interesting new music and reissues of the last twelve months. It's been a genuinely diverse time for music, with a number of labels trading on the ice-cold heyday of synth-wave via choice reissues (Minimal Wave, Medical Records, Weird Records), while others appropriated the sound with sometimes brilliant results (Sacred Bones, Captured Tracks). Elsewhere, some producers revived the chopped-and-screwed aesthetic and applied it to new forms, with the likes of the Tri Angle label and Salem brushing off the Witch/Drag-House tags while creating something that followers of Slowdive and Cassie could relate to in equal measure. Established sounds from musically un-excavated locations once again taught us something new (think of Honest Jons' incredible Shangaan Electro just for starters), while the most basic and visceral forms of street music seeped into our open receptors and gave us much-needed access to properly mastered Juke/Footwork after a good couple of years spent mining the Youtube wilderness for clues. Bass music itself has also seen a healthy metamorphosis, with dubstep splintering further into a myriad styles-with-no-name, from the mongrel House variations of the Night Slugs crew to the next-level (and largely bass-free) productions of Actress, a producer who finally seems to have struck a chord with a wider audience in 2010. Over in the States, a bunch of bedroom producers and small imprints more or less single-handedly re-configured our expectations of pop music, tapping into an 80's nostalgia with a smudged, Hypnagogic effect evident in the out-of-focus power-pop of Autre Ne Veut and the shimmering amnesia of Hype Williams and Nite Jewel. We think it's been a good vintage - and over the next four weeks we're going to put together some of the music we've enjoyed most over the course of 2010, starting here with part one...