We bring you ten essential 12”s from October, the final selection of the month, in which only the very best is allowed, after strict scrutiny. The names and styles vary, starting with the duet between Machinedrum and Jimmy Edgar, way down to the flaming number 1.
Like every month, we're looking back on what we feel have been the ten best singles and EPs of the past four to five weeks. Music on short format that makes as much of an impression as a full album does. Here's our selection, from 10 to 1.
10. JETS: “JETS EP” (Leisure System)
JETS are Jimmy Edgar and Travis Stewart, aka Machinedrum, who we know, thanks to Twitter, have been working together in the studio over the past four years, under the effects of Berghain. Those nightly encounters are now being released, and it will definitely get Leisure System going properly as a label. Machinedrum's trademark syncopated rhythms go hand in hand with Edgar's lascivious electro, et voilà, four tunes synthesising both artists' essence in complete harmony.
9. John Talabot: “Fin Remixes part 1” (Permanent Vacation)
With John Talabot’s “ƒin” consolidated as one of the great albums of the year, Permanent Vacation has now released the first round of remixes of the album on a 12” and a 10”. The work is taken up by three remixes by Pachanga Boys, starting from different elements of the elegiac “When The Past Was Present” to create some reworks that share the idea of simplification and an openly functional nature. Two gems are reserved for the 10”, by Kenton Slash Demon and Bullion, which gravitate around the epic melody of “Last Land” and wrap it in broken rhythms.
8. Happa: “Beat Of The Drum / Bring It Back” (Church)
The name Happa has to ring a bell if you've been paying attention to the blogs and online magazines. Yes, yes, it's the 15-year old everybody's talking about. It's not just his youth, it's the quality of his productions that's so surprising in this kid, who's already had the honour of being played by Mary Anne Hobbs. His debut release is the first title on the Church label, the people who have so far only been operating as party organisers around London. The two original tracks on “Beat Of The Drum / Bring It Back” show Samir Alikhanizadeh's skills in the new breed of obscurantist techno in the vein of Blawan and Objekt.
7. Fennesz: “Fa 2012” (Editions Mego)
There is no longer any surprise factor to play with, but surprise wasn’t exactly what Mark Fell was banking on using to make his mark on the contemporary house circuit; with his sober, meditative, very personal work, every 12” he releases becomes even more necessary: dance beats muffled by clicks, soulful vocal samples inserted into an artificial landscape, glitches and deep atmospheres that bring together the concepts of Chicago and his experimental band, SND, in a logical yet shocking way. It’s also true that “Fa 2012”, the original song, makes it easy: Fennesz is as shoegaze as he is at his best, but with an underground drum that seems to find the missing link between My Bloody Valentine and Detroit.
6. Two Dogs In A House: “Eliminator” (L.I.E.S.)
The L.I.E.S. label continues to show its excellent shape, releasing records at diabolical speed. Just like the great Ron Morelli said in the interview we had with him, the label's new delivery is by Two Dogs In A House, the project by Jason Letkiewicz (Steve Summers, Malvoeaux, Innergaze) and Morelli himself. In this case, the couple double their bet and deliver one of the roughest and dirtiest singles in months. Two cuts of point-blank house, as asphyxiating and evil as they are pleasant for those who are in favour of brute, mechanical force.
5. Cashmere Cat: “Mirror Maru EP” (Pelican Fly)
He's been playing the anonymous game while delighting us with his artificial angora beats on his remixes for Lana Del Rey, Jeremih and Drake and 2 Chainz. The stage name is perfect, because everything we've heard so far from Cashmere Cat has the majesty of a well-fed and well-groomed Persian or Siberian cat. In the end, the man came out of the closet. His name is Magnus August Höiberg, and in the past he's won the Norwegian DMC a couple of times under the name DJ Final. So what do the four tracks sound like? There's a bit of the splendour and depravation of another Pelican Fly name, Sinjin Hawke, the evocative and maximalist forms of Ryan Hemsworth, the sinuous cadences of the most orthodox slow jams and a naïve touch in the form of self-recorded cat samples.
4. Fatima Al Qadiri: “Desert Strike” (Fade To Mind)
Vatican Shadow isn’t the only producer who has an on-going fascination with the Gulf War and its effects on geopolitics, the civil population and popular culture, as his creative incontinence over the last year testifies. Fatima Al Qadiri is on the same wavelength - there’s a reason why, as she was born in Kuwait and experienced the invasion of her country in 1991. “Oil Well” is full of samples of hammering and shots that rock over a dreamy ambient fabric and Arab-influenced synths, while Sufi influences - especially in the singing, which she filters in the form of spectral voice samples - fill most of “War Games”, an overwhelming track that is finished off by throbbing bass and a break that seems like it’s going to turn into a banger at any moment for Lil Wayne to start rapping over.
3. S-Type: “Billboard EP” (LuckyMe)
S-Type is the latest example of the excellent shape the Scottish capital is in music-wise. And, as could be expected, the 25-year old's debut is sponsored by the double-eyed brand, which back in the day also supported Hudson Mohawke and the scene Rustie grew up in. Bobby Perman's productions are reminiscent of those two, although he also drinks from the well of American sampledelia, on this “Billboard EP” . Six instrumental hip-hop cuts that scream for attention from the rap CEOs on the other side of the Atlantic: “I'm your new favourite producer!”.
2. BMB: “Where Pail Limbs Lie EP” (Liberation Technologies)
They were supposed to have split up, but this 12” symbolises the return of British Murder Boys (Regis + Surgeon). What is unmistakeable is their martial, bouncy, harder-than-reinforced-concrete sound, a spurt of tarry techno, a steamroller beat and un-breathable atmospheres from which a squeak, an agonising voice, or a furtive conga occasionally emerges. It’s the first time that Regis and Surgeon have taken the British Murder Boys project to a label outside of their hermetic circle - Liberation Technologies is Mute’s new techno sub-label - but the result is at the same level as when they quit in 2005 with “Father Loves Us”.
1. Randomer: “We Laugh, We Scream” (Hemlock)
Since his landing at Hemlock, Randomer seems to have found the best conditions for spouting out his sound at us, spraying acid spit and rowdy techno beats with astonishing ease. It’s no surprise that an almost fanatic cult has arisen around the Londoner, celebrating every one of his EPs and sessions as if they were the coming of the Messiah or something. The truth is that on the entire scene built around bastardised ideas about techno and the sharpest extremes of bass, Randomer stands out the same way that Blawan does: for being a pig and not having a complex about it. This is something that the best Aphex Twin would do if one day he got the urge to twist post-dubstep breaks. Randomer: the fine art of the troglodyte.