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Category: Reviews

He does?

Looks like I finally hit the big time…

Recap: Karl D’s Favorite Tracks/Mixes of 2010

I thought I would do something a little out of the ordinary to close up the year.  As you know, most of the content on this site comes from me and me alone, and I don’t “report” much on others’ work(maybe not quite as much as I should).  I wanted to take some time to recognize some of my favorite tracks and mixes I’ve heard over the last year.  Certainly many of these releases have influenced me and some of the work I’ve published.

Please enjoy this selection of mixes and tracks from these hardworking artists, and if possible, support them any way you can.  These lists are in no particular order.

Top 5 Tracks:

  1. Florence and the Machine – Dog Days are Over(Breakage Mix) – There were several standout mixes for Florence and the Machine this year, but this one really did it for me.
  2. Gaslamp Killer – Anything Worse – Nice, diverse mix of styles on this tense production.
  3. BRIGHT PRIMATE – Oh Well – I’m proud to say that BRIGHT PRIMATE is the project of a good friend of mine, who has(along with his bandmate/girlfriend) revolutionized 8-bit music as a whole as well as making it incredibly relevant in Boston, MA.  I really enjoyed this track from their latest EP for its excellent production values and entrancing vibe.  I love the 2nd half of the song.
  4. Pretty Lights – Still Rockin’ – Pretty much any Pretty Lights could make this list.  All their tracks have a great mix of glitch, hip hop, and electronica that never goes overboard  – it’s always super-smooth.
  5. Pendulum – Watercolour(Deadmau5 mix) – I’m not afraid at all to say I’m a huge Deadmau5 and Pendulum fan!  Since Deadmau5 and Rob from Pendulum worked together on “Ghosts n Stuff“, it’s great to see their working relationship continue and and put out this quality mix.  I’m hoping to see more collaboration between these two big-shots soon.

Top 5 Mixes:

  1. XLR8R Podcast 170 – DJ Food & DK vs. Coldcut – Crazy, epic mix.  This was released for Ninja Tune’s 20th anniversary and it does not disappoint.  This is an incredibly eclectic mix that spans the whole 20 years of the label’s rich history.
  2. DJ Steve Hill – Masif Podcast 11 – Truthfully, I have a hard time picking a favorite one of Steve Hill’s podcasts.  The King of Hard Dance showcases a lot of great material on this one, including Masif DJ’s – “Attention”, a track that certainly earned my attention this year.  Lucky for you Steve’s got lots of material for download.
  3. Electronic Explorations 133 – Shackleton – You can hardly call this dubstep – more like super-chilled future dub.  The first track, “Stripped III (version)” by Shackleton & Vengeance Tenfold, floored me.
  4. Elite Force – Revamped(Continuous Mix) – OK, so this list features one paid mix.  Big deal!  Elite Force has been releasing lots for free and also not for free in the “Revamped” collection, so a buck is not a huge price to pay for an awesome mix from his latest compilation. Also look for the”Smack The Force Up” revamp on his website.  There’s also a remix of Benga’s “26 Basslines” floating around somewhere…
  5. Major Lazer and La Roux – Lazerproof – I’m pretty pleased with all the work Diplo’s done this year, but this mixtape was a shocker when it came out.  Wild yet approachable, and contains several great La Roux remixes.

Review: Small Mammal – Self Titled CD

The following is a repost of a comment from Myspace from me to my new friend Matt Terrell, aka Small Mammal.  Matt is an independent electronic music producer based in Asheville, NC, and he and I recently conducted a CD exchange.   I thouroughly liked his CD and wanted to pass on the good word about it.

Read on for my review of Small Mammal’s self titled CD, which is a great value at $5.  Matt is distributing this title himself and can be reached via his myspace page.  You can also download a promo 2-track pack from the CD here.

Matt,

Got your CD in the mail yesterday.  I’ve had the chance to listen to it twice since then.

The CD is very intricate, from the moment you pick it up.  I loved the cover – I’m very in to the idea of CDs as a “tactile” format.  I like picking up a CD and looking at it, and the packaging certainly has an effect on me.  Unfortunately this idea is lost on a lot of people, since the days of going to the record store for a few hours is gone, having been replaced by iTunes.

The intricacy continued once I got it in my CD player.  I can tell that every sound on the disc is the result of a deliberate, programmed action.  The live guitar and drums sound great especially after you get them into your sampler for modification.  Nice glitchy chops and edits.  The quality of the samples and instruments was very consistent and pleasing.

My favorites on the disc were tracks 1, 2,and 3.  (10 is a close runner-up).  I can’t say I’m familiar with all of your influences(like Boards of Canada), but my musical heritage does include some Aphex Twin, Autechre, and Dntel(as well as Postal Service).  I can definitely appreciate the IDM(if that’s a word you’re comfortable with) influence in the first few tracks’ glitch-hop style.  The rest of the disc is simply fascinating and I can definitely hear the echoes of Phillip Glass’ complex chord composition, Corea-esque electric piano, and the great use of space found in Dark Side-era Pink Floyd throughout.

The disc definitely has made it in to my “rainy day classics” file, along with Massive Attack’s “Mezzanine” and Aphex’ “Druqs”.  Thanks Matt for conducting this experiment in the barter system with me.  I hope you enjoy your new CD.

Good luck,
Karl

P.S.  Matt contacted me directly on the “Contact” page here on randombeats.com, which began our exchange.  If there are any other independent musicians out there that want to engage in a similar CD exchange, I’d be glad to hear from you.  All it will cost you is postage.

URB.COM reviews Existential Funk

URB has posted a short review of the new album.  Although the picture is less than flattering(whose fault is that?), I find the review fascinating.

http://www.urb.com/promotions/next1000/profiles/1221-Karl+D.php

I love hearing about what people think of the album after hearing it for the first time.  I’ve listened to it probably a total of 10,000 times over the course of it’s production-but I already know what I think of it.  If you’ve heard it, let me know what you think in the comments!

Also, please register for URB.com if you can, and vote for me in the “Next 1000”.


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