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Wednesday, December 30, 2009 

Best music of 2009 part 1.

Best Song / Track:
dBridge - Wonder Where

Like with last year, it hasn't been an exactly stellar 12 months for the individual song, although the fact that I've become somewhat distanced from the indie scene and increasingly fascinated with dubstep and the liquid/deep/minimal side of drum and bass might somewhat account for it. Accordingly then, my choice is probably one which many normal readers (all two of you) of this blog probably haven't heard. Wonder Where by dBridge is though one of the most musical and soulful tunes to have emerged from what is ostensibly drum and bass for quite some time; originally a part of Bad Company UK, who cornered the jump up section of the genre at the turn of the decade, he became increasingly frustrated by the constraints which many within it feel they have to operate in. Alongside Instra:mental, with whom he's set up the Autonomic club night and podcast, as well as an upcoming Fabriclive mix, the break out was finally cemented totally this year, and Wonder Where is easily the finest moment which the blending of dubstep aesthetics with a drum and bass tempo has so far delivered. Other highlights in a similar mould have been from Instra:mental naturally, with their almost equally gorgeous Watching You, and from SpectraSoul, with the aptly named Melodies.

Other contenders, especially those from outside the above, were Bulletproof by La Roux, Remedy by Little Boots, Shelter by the XX, Hyph Mngo by Joy Orbison, almost anything from the Manics' Journal for Plague Lovers but Jackie Collins Existential Question Time if you had to pick one, Purple City by Joker and Ginz (and almost anything from Joker really), Technique by Kromestar, Cornerstone by Arctic Monkeys and Pearl's Dream by Bat for Lashes.

Best Remix
La Roux - In for the Kill (Skream's Lets Get Ravey Remix)

Almost certainly the most remixed artist of the year, none of the later ones came even close to equalling one of the very first, by probably the most popular and well-known dubstep artist and DJ of them all (excluding Burial). The thing about Skream's immense remix is just how deceptively simple it is: dispensing almost entirely with original's beats, using only a small part of the melody and the vocal, to which more than adequate amounts of echo are added, it's the overwhelming sub-bass that kills it, all leading up to final breakdown and drop, finishing off with that mainstay of underground music for now almost twenty years: the Amen break. While still certainly dubstep, it's so far removed from the wobble and use of mid-range which has come to wrongly define the genre that it completely crossed over, resulting in the genre's very first gold disc. The very best from Skream though is almost certainly yet to come: his second artist album promises to include Listening to the Records on My Wall, a tune so massive and euphoric, again half-way between drum and bass and dubstep (it is after all a sort of follow up to his jungle tribute tune, Burning Up) that it promises to become one of the absolute classics of the genre.

Other contenders include again almost anything remixed by Joker, but especially Cruel Intentions by Simian Mobile Disco and Trouble Is by Turboweekend, Skream's remixes of Night by Night by Chromeo and Pearl's Dream by Bat for Lashes, Brackles' Remix of Crystal Castles' I Love London, Nero's Remix of The Streets' Blinded by the Lights, James Blake's Remix of Untold's Stop What You're Doing, and although more than a little cheesy, High Contrast's remix of Calvin Harris's Ready for the Weekend.

Best Reissue
The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses (I Wanna Be Adored)

Wasn't much competition on the reissue front this year, with only the entire Beatles catalogue being remastered and rereleased (not to mention Kraftwerk's, which received similar treatment), but what is probably the greatest debut album of all time still managed to triumph, with the Stone Roses' eponymous release enjoying it's 20th anniversary with the now customary special reissue. Remastered by the producer John Leckie and Ian Brown themselves, even if it wasn't in exactly unlistenable form before, it now sounds even more thrilling than before, making it a truly essential purchase.

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sheeeeeeeeeet! I didn't know you did music reviews!

I hunted down the Skream remix and thought your writeup was spot on. cheers big ears

Only been doing them for the last three years. Search worst music and best music in the box at top and should get them all.

Nice posts here (particularly about the state of music in 2009): although our tastes in music are a little different (my best of the year rundowns are on my last.fm blog)!

Although I must take issue with The Stone Roses reissue being the pick of the year's (many) reissues - the Spiritualized reissue of Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space is untouchable. Although saying that, it was even more astonishing live.

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