1. Afrikan Sciences - Spirals (Deepblak) Buy
Kicking-off Deepblak’s 10 year anniversary was Afrikan Sciences’ debut album, ‘Means and Ways’. The album explored multiple genres, all with a heavy influence of (hi-tech) jazz running through-out. The dance-floor tracks (’Spirals’, ‘Ejercicios’ and ‘NanoRock Skank’) were subsequently released on vinyl. Afrikan Sciences also provided a killer remix of Aybee’s ‘Build Her’.
2. Ital - One Hit (100% Silk) Buy
There was a lot of hype around 100% Silk in 2011. I personally wasn’t feeling most of the releases but the Ital record really stood out for me - simple yet highly effective. All three tracks on this EP are great and have a similar raw energy found on early Chicago records.
3. Levon Vincent - Revs/Cost (Novel Sound) Info
After a year hiatus, Levon Vincent released two records via his Novel Sound imprint. ‘Man Or Mistress’ was inevitably going to be a huge track for the dance floor, but I preferred the more subtle tracks found on the ‘Impressions Of A Rainstorm’ EP. Either way, both records are essential.
4. Kevin Reynolds - Liaisons (Nsyde) Info
Kevin Reynold’s debut (released via his Todhchai imprint in 2006) was really impressive. This years follow-up (’Favis’) was a little underwhelming in my opinion. However, the ‘Liaisons’ track released via Nsyde more than made up for it. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another 5 years for his next release.
5. Tin Man - Nonneo (Acid Test) Buy
A real treat of a record, Tin Man’s ‘Nonneo’ caught the ear of many. ‘Nonneo’ saw Tin Man focusing on crisp, driving drum programming while keeping the sparse and emotive 303 bassline fairly restrained, producing both a trippy yet upbeat feel. The flip gave us the excellent Donato Dozzy remix, who kept things sparse and let the bassline breathe, which only added to the trippiness.
6. Vakula - You Cannot Resist (Shevchenko) Info
I was quite surprised to not see Vakula featured on more year end lists. The Ukrainian producer gave us great remixes of Herman’s ‘Rock Your Body’ and Steve Reich’s ‘2×5: Movement 3 Fast’, as well offering up 10 releases of his own material. The ‘You Cannot Resist’, ‘Unthank’ and ‘Picture Of You’ ep’s are all top quality and highly recommended.
7. Ethyl & Huxley - Reflexions (Tsuba) Buy
2011 was a busy year for Aybee and his Deepblak imprint. As well as providing stellar remixes for Ethyl & Huxley, Damon Bell and Afrikan Sciences, Aybee also gave us his own ‘11:11′ EP, a split release with Miles Sagnia as well as the ‘Build Her’ remix ep. Deepblak also celebrated it’s tenth anniversary with the ‘Ten’ compilation, which rounded up highlights from the label.
8. Recloose - Electric Sunshine (Rush Hour) Buy
Following-up from last years excellent ‘Early Works’ retrospective, Recloose gave us the ‘Saturday Night Manifesto’ EP via Rush Hour. Recloose’s first new material in three years, the EP is real return to form in my opinion. Both ‘Tecumseh’ and ‘Electric Sunshine’ are killer tracks.
9. Floating Points - Arp3 (Eglo) Buy
In two short years, Sam Shepherd (aka Floating Points) has released some of the finest music around. The early part of 2011 saw Floating Points release the excellent mid-tempo track, ‘Marilyn’ as well as the wonderful remix of Daedelus’ ‘Tailor Made’. The latter half of the year he gave us the acid tinged ‘Danger’, with the very nice (yet too short) ambient piece, ‘Miniature 27′ on the flip. The ‘Shadows’ EP released in early December finished off Floating Points’ year in very fine style. Hoping to hear a full album from Floating Points in the near future.
10. Kassem Mosse - Untitled (Workshop) Info
Wonderfully weird deep house from Kassem Mosse on the always excellent Workshop label.
11. Cosmin TRG - Amor Y Ortos (Fifty Weapons) Buy
A lot of techno coming out of Europe leaves me cold, but 2011 saw a number of producers who piqued my interest, including Romanian producer Cosmin TRG who gave us his debut album, ‘Simulat’ via Fifty Weapons - ‘Fizic’, ‘Ritmat’ and ‘Amor Y Ortos’ being the stand-out cuts for myself.
12. John Heckle - What Once Was (Mathematics) Info
Another producer that I was surprised at not seeing on more year end lists. John Heckle gave us a fine debut album, ‘The Second Son’ (the CD version was completely different from the vinyl, so essential two albums). The ‘Hard Sleeper’ release was also great but it was ‘The 4th Dimension’ EP that did it for me. Also, on Mathematics was the excellent ‘Traces’ EP by San Laurentino.
13. Mr. Fingers - Finger Fuck (Rush Hour) Buy
Obviously not from 2011, but (for most) these tracks only saw the light of day this year. Compiled by Gene Hunt, ‘Chicago Dance Tracks Vol. 1′ featured unreleased material taken from reel-to-reel’s given to Hunt during the 1980’s, with highlights from Virgo 4, Mike Dunn, Craig Loftis, Ron Hardy and Mr. Fingers.
14. Omar S - Here’s Your Trance Now Dance! (FXHE) Buy
Released at the beginning of the year, ‘Here’s Your Trance Now Dance!’ was no doubt going to ubiquitous. Omar S doing what he does so well.
15. Kyle Hall - Down! (Wild Oats) Info
On his only release this year, Kyle Hall gave us two raw looped based tracks. Simple, yet highly effective. Hall’s imprint Wild Oats also gave us the debut release from Jay Simon, ‘Faith’, a great rework of Faith Evan’s ‘You Used To Love Me’.
16. John Daly - Sea Level (Further) Buy
Seattle’s Further Records have released some great music all across the board over the past couple of years. Last year’s amazing Donato Dozzy album, ‘K’, got a much welcomed CD release this year. Other highlights from this year included o1o’s ‘Futurespective’ EP - a collection of Aybee’s headier material from the past few years, as well as the excellent John Daly record.
17. Space Dimension Controller - Max Tiraquon (R&S) Buy
Yet another one that should have turned up on more year end lists. This was billed as a prequel release to next years full length album, but this is really a great album in itself. You can clearly hear Detroit’s influence on SDC but he makes the sound his own. ‘The Pathway To Tiraqoun6′ provides great listen from start to finish.
Direct download: JGM_79_-_Best_Of_2011_1.mp3