Singles of the year: 11-20
Welcome back to in love with these times, in spite of these times, the fanzine that prefers Lion Youth to Sonic Youth, Tender Trap to Temper Trap and Sven Wittekind to Sven Vath.
11. Mønic “Four Sides Of Truth” (Tresor)
12. Simon Shreeve “Lust Product” (Downwards)
13. Simon Shreeve “Healing Bowl” (Downwards)
It’s achingly hard to separate out these three records (all by the same bloke, btw), but to be honest there’s no need to because they all deserve unstinting acclaim. The song “Four Sides Of Truth”, a poised and stealthy aggregation of subtle percussive pulses, is so beautifully clinical and controlled that you only notice just how eerie it is on the 18th or so listen.
The five tracks on “Healing Bowl” make it the most consistent of the three records, a glorious all-round slam dunk of an EP from the title track’s skittering wiles to the bliss-out fug of “One Thousand And One”. Whilst the title tune of “Lust Product” is peerless, spellbinding slate-sky techstep somewhere between “Cloud Seed” and New Order’s “Movement”, a happily cascading blend of industrial cadences and emotional resonances. It makes us think of Joy Division more than any techstep track has ever done, or even has the right to. And both own-name EPs from x-Kryptic Mindster Mr Shreeve are of course part of a wider, all-out assault on all discerning year-ends by Karl Connor’s Downwards label this year.
14. Milky Wimpshake “Interior/Exterior” (Tuff Enuff)
Blinding punk-pop power from the north-east, via ace Brighton queercore label. On 7”. This tune may technically be the B-side, but it’s pretty much the perfect two-minute punk/pop song. Mind you, “Velvet Pants” on the ‘A’ continues to ROCK HARD, just like it did when the postman first fed it through our letterbox.
15. Terror Danjah featuring Jamakabi "Juicy Patty" (Keysound)
Fearsomely fine 12” from Dusk & Blackdown’s roster which starts with Jamakabi taking a dodgem ride around Terror Danjah’s rinky-dink ice-cold riddim before Logos delivers a heaving, E-number packed remix which rips the joint apart, a little reminiscent of how Mumdance turned Novelist’s “1 Sec” into such a compelling proposition.
16. Cortechs “Atropine” (Sick Weird Rough)
Chunky and satisfying yet with a touch of class, “Atropine” is the Cadbury’s Ripple of contemporary electronic musicking – a delectable, alchemical chemical marvel, not inimical to an empirical miracle. “Tropane”, its equally urbane ether-B side, was no slouch either. We’ll stick our necks out and say that this was probably Cortechs’ best single to date, as well as SWR’s pick of ’16.
17. Mike Wall “If Only I Could” / “Inkognito” (Wall Music)
The label boss leads by example with this elegant 12” of two originals and two remixes: Mike’s “If Only I Could” is a pristine slice of superslick trilling techno, co-opting Frenkie V-style messaround glissando, but it’s Michael Schwarz’s relentless remix of “Inkognito” that really raises (the stakes) and razes (all else around it to the ground).
18. Tangible Excitement! “Effectively Wild” (Emotional Response)
This is, of course, one of four (count ‘em) TE! Outings on their feisty split 12” with the also-ace Ginnels, but we still reckon “Effectively Wild” is TE!’s best song, much as we know that others bear torches instead for “Northland Food Court” or “Muddled Whine” (actually, let’s face it, there’s a veritable army of torchbearers for “Muddled Whine”, and they’re probably coming round our place right now to set light to it).
19. JK Flesh “Nothing Is Free” (Downwards)
‘Kinell. The bassline on this towering second-city titan is absolutely shredding, as heavy as anything you’d expect to find on a Godflesh record. That would be enough, but there are other treats in store, for Surgeon then pops up with an astonishingly ace remix (ace despite removing said bassline pretty much entirely), in the process becoming one of the few producers to have remixed one ex-Napalm Death member (Broadrick) and to have been remixed by another (Mick Harris).
Which not only proves what good company Surgeon mixes with, but reinforces just how important Napalm Death are to the history of basically *all* good music.
20. Corvum “Serpentine” (Darknet)
Splash! Here at ilwtt,isott mansions we adore the Serpentine, not least in pedalo season.
Now. As the Finnish grindcore scene amply demonstrates, there’s plenty to be said for classically-trained musicians dipping their toes in the fast-flowing waters of more modern genres. And so it is that Greece’s Corvum, who can get a bit avant and over-ambitious on his more epic EPs, delivers this moodily outstanding single for Sydney’s resurgent Darknet label, loosely in the vein of those excellent Gal Tsadok-Hai and Enzinger/Hora platters that louchely hung out in our 2015 top ten last year.
According to our abacus, Corvum managed to release no fewer than 13 singles in 2016 (Gedge, eat your heart out) which, given the sheer amount of stuff going on in just this one track, would rather suggest the man doesn’t sleep at all.