- Theo Parrish & Tony Allen – Day Like This (feat Eska & Andrew Ashong)
- DJ Rashad – Let It Go
- Kode9 – Uh
- The Bug – Freakshow (feat Danny Brown & Kiki Hitomi) / Dirty (feat Flowdan)
- Boddika & Joy Orbison – Mercy (Boddika VIP)
- Demdike Stare – Collision
- Tessela – Hackney Parrot (Special Request VIP)
- Four Tet – Kool FM
- Pedestrian & Jasperdrum – Kalkuta vs Zombie (PEDit)
- Culoe De Song – No Contest
- Jeremy Deller – Voodoo Ray (Optimo remix)
- Doc Daneeka – Trife Pt. II
- Deadboy – On My Mind
- Mala – Como Como (Theo Parrish remix)
Theo Parrish & Tony Allen – Day Like This (feat Eska & Andrew Ashong)
Two absolute legends link-up to launch Parrish's new label and the results are as brilliant as one could imagined. A master class in subtlety and dynamic rhythm. This was the perfect soundtrack to both the sweaty sun-bleached afternoons and cool summer nights of 2013.
DJ Rashad – Let It Go
Rashad's Hyperdub output demonstrated that Juke/Footwork is as much a technique as it is a musical style. Like a Cubist painter applying a series of techniques to reinterpret the world around her, Rashad applies the footwork's methods to a seemingly endless pool of musical raw material to produce unique takes on the sound. In this case he recontextualizes classic 'ardcore euphoria into a fresh and dynamic experience.
Kode9 – Uh
2013 saw the first Kode9 releases in some time. This track, released alongside his excellent Rinse mix CD, is a bit more straight forward than the excellent Xing Fu on Hyperdub, and more effective for it. Where some of Rashad's tracks saw him re-coding London bass music history through the lens of Chicago footwork, Kode9's recent work sees him taking the dynamic rhythms and quantized samples of footwork and running them through the filter of UK bass culture, the results are a new mutation of the UK bass virus that can still trace its DNA back to Sign of the Dub.
The Bug – Freakshow (feat Danny Brown & Kiki Hitomi) / Dirty (feat Flowdan)
I refuse to choose between these brutal sonic weapons. Both are slightly tweaked versions of the same Bug riddim. Freakshow finds Danny Brown's frantic flow juxtapozed with Kiki Hitomi's haunting hook to brilliant effect. Dirty on the other hand is the most recent weaponized strain of the always on point collaboration between Kevin Martin and Flowdan, possibly their best since the mighty Skeng.
Boddika & Joy Orbison – Mercy (Boddika VIP)
The mighty Mercy VIP finally sees release to the masses and it just seems to increase the longevity of what in better world would be a lock for Christmas No. 1. To hear this on the massive Output soundsystem is to witness the sound of steel girders that support reality itself being rend and twisted into unrecognizable new structures.
Demdike Stare – Collision
An estranged kin of the Modern Love's Hate series, Demdike Stare's Test Pressing releases see them mining the sounds of classic jungle and remodeling them for their own oblique purposes. This, the first of the series , sees Demdike Stare sounding much like classic Panacea built with strategies and technology the producer could only have dreamed of in '97.
Tessela – Hackney Parrot (Special Request VIP)
"Right listen - I've just been told anyone who's got a fiesta parked inside the Market, you best move it or you're walking home. Right? Come with the Music..."
Four Tet – Kool FM
The initial calling card, or warning shot ahead of Four Tet's masterful love letter to pirate radio. If this is not ruff e nuff for you check the huge Champion remix.
Pedestrian & Jasperdrum – Kalkuta vs Zombie (PEDit)
The original Kalkuta is a big tune in its own right, but this PEDit by the man himself, with it's afrobeat inspiration on full display, is even better. (also check for Auntie Flows redit for more Fela for the dancefloor love)
Culoe De Song – No Contest
In truth, my favorite track is De Song's mix of Bright Forest (remix) / No Contest / Birds of the Feather on his Red & Blue podcast, which I rewound so many times I'm surprised I haven't worn the bits away in the mp3. The brilliant rhythm of No Contest is the anchor and drive of that mix and certainly stands strong on its own.
Jeremy Deller – Voodoo Ray (Optimo remix)
What could be more quintessentially 2013 than a steel drum heavy cover of a rave classic created by an multi-media artist for the Venice Biennial and then returned to its dancefloor roots with a remix by Glaswegian House hedonists. All of that meta-narrative wouldn't mean jack if the track wasn't brilliant, but thankfully it is stone cold killer.
Doc Daneeka – Trife Pt. II
Walk On In has the dancefloor heft but something about this dark and deep, stripped-back slow burner hit's me in all the right places. That massive rolling bassline makes it absolutely addicting.
Deadboy – On My Mind
Deadboy's ability to craft haunting sub-heavy house tracks for dark cavernous rooms continues to grow in strength with each release.
Mala – Como Como (Theo Parrish remix)
Theo Parrish bookends the list with this absolutely beautiful remix. The master flushes out those elements that made Mala's original so appealing and then elevates them to another level. Quite possibly perfect.
BONUS: Four Tet – The Track I've Been Playing That People Keep Asking About and That Joy Used in His RA Mix
Four Tet handily beats Joy O for most over the top, and literal, track title ever. Despite being given away for free to the masses, and as far I know being nearly unmixable, this chaotic ruckus of a tune ignited more dancefloor riots than any other in 2013.