Drose – Boy Man Machine
This is something of an anomaly for Orange Milk records (my Label of the Year), but is one of my favourites from them. There are no warped electronic beats, no future r’n’b, no indescribable juke/footwork (See Foodman in the next entry), just a dark, droney metal that to my ears sounds not unlike Nirvana in their more metallic moments, but that may be just me!
食品まつりAKA Foodman – EZ Minzoku
This record sums up a lot about the music I loved in 2016. First of all it came out on Orange Milk, and from (label founder) Keith Rankin’s incredible artwork on the cover to the uncategorisable, and at times inexplicable, music contained within the grooves, this is an album that looks to the future without giving a flying fuck about the past (or the present and future for that matter!) that it brazenly samples from. Call it juke, call it footwork, call it electronica, call it that’s-not-bloody-music-it’s-a-load-of-old-rubbish-my-4-year-old-could-make-on-his-speak-and-spell, call it modern dance music – whatever. I call it 2016!
Good Willsmith – Things Our Bodies Used to Have
For some reason I found myself coming across this name again and again on podcasts and blogs, so I checked it out and liked what I heard. Not quite sure how to describe it….ambient electronica with a twist? That’ll do.
Ital Tek – Hollowed
I think I first ‘Spilled Ital Tek nearly 5 years ago when they were dubstep upstarts with a penchant for deep deep bass. The 2016 version of Ital Tek are a much more restrained and minimal proposition with sparse electronica set against that ever-present bass backdrop. This is one of the records I took into my office this year to provide the BGM to pretending to be busy!
Kano – Made in the Manor
This didn’t get quite as much attention as Skepta’s Grime masterpiece, but for me it is every bit as good and deserves just as much recognition. It’s got new bangers (erm…”New Banger”), knowing nostalgia fests (“T-shirt Weather in the Manor” – think an updated and very English version of The Fresh Prince’s “Summertime”!) and chart-friendly pop gems (“This is England”). I love the unapologetic Englishness that runs through this whole album (“Mr Whippy 99, I’ve got just as many problems, but a flake ain’t one”!), although it does make me feel kind of homesick at times. In short: This is England 2016.