YEAR IN MUSIC 2011: Pop goes the world -- a whirlwind year of nightlife and dance music. Plus a nightlife top 11 for 2011
PROJECT TEMPO, "GET UP AND CLAP YOUR HANDS" (PROJECT TEMPO)
Disco edits, re-edits, and general rejiggers kept flowing forth this year from laptops everywhere — great for rediscovering many "forgotten" artists, but kind of a poop-slush pile in the end. One would think most listeners' sensibilities have extended to being able to countenance the full-on originals of most tracks by now. (DJ Bus Station John's parties keep demonstrating this.) Still, many re-edits have a power all their own, as Tiger and Woods' lovely, loopy album of chopped-to-bits examples, "Into the Green," showed. This extended rework of Gwen Mcrae's "Funky Sensation" by Project Tempo stuck in my ears all year, as did the Psychemagik rework Paula Cole's "Feelin' Love" and the insane, ADD woofer-wobbling minimalism of Late Nite Tuff Guy's "One Nite in a Disco."
ANDY STOTT, PASSED ME BY (MODERN LOVE)
Six killer tracks of sludgy techno that out-menaced most witch house, out-bassed most dubstep, and buried a bit of Burial. The boomin' system from Hades, this, in an exceptionally nice year for deep roots techno from the likes of Kassem Mosse, Marcos Cabral, Levon Vincent, Planetary Assault Systems, Peter van Hoesen, and more.
THE WEEKND, HOUSE OF BALLOONS AND THURSDAY
Torontan Abel Tesfaye's immaculately produced, excellently sexy R&B Web releases of melancholy longing and Dionysian emptiness will make a great chillout soundtrack for the morning after the world — and caused me to dig out my old R. Kelly wet panties. See also: James Blake, James Blake.
THE GLOBE, "ADVENTURE PARTY" (INTERNATIONAL FEEL)
Dance maximalism may have moved on to the pop charts from underground floors, but that doesn't mean there aren't quality big tunes being released. This retro-disco-acid hurricane, cheekily pressed at only 120 copies, takes off from maximalist classics like Adamski's "NRG" and Hardfloor's "Acperience1" with a bit of breathless Chic-ing over the top. All that's missing is the exuberant saxophone (find that on M83's awesome "Midnight City"). Other top tunes to the max: French Touch revamp "Aurora" by Fred Falke, "We Bros" by canny Manchester baggy outfit WU LYF, and, in an over-the-top conceptual-cinematic way, "Replica" by Ohneotrix Point Never.
NICOLAS JAAR, "SPACE IS ONLY NOISE IF YOU CAN SEE (DAVE AJU REMIX)" (CIRCUS COMPANY)
If Rod Serling sang you a lullaby in the Night Gallery, this is what it would sound like. The young Chilean, here remixed by the veteran San Franciscan, proved that in an era of too many DJs singing, with results ranging from pretty brilliant (James Blake, Matthew Dear) to OK (Trentmoeller, Maceo Plex) to just atrocious (Art Department), ratcheting things up into spooky Trip-Hop Land makes you critic-proof. Other lovely uncanny audio valleys I fell into: Dapayk and Padberg Feating Caro, "Island (Nôze Swimming Circles Remix)"; Alessio Mereu Featuring Roberta Prestigiacomo, "Magic Key"; Agaric, "Who Made Up the Rules (Josh Wink Remix)."