Year-end music lists are everywhere, for better and worse. Here at IASPM-US, we like popular music, too, so a few of us have sorted out what we listened to and enjoyed a lot in 2012 and are sharing it with you. There’s no pretension that anything here was the best of the year or even that it’s good. We just really liked it, that’s all.
Today’s music comes from Mike D’Errico.
Fez soundtrack, by Disasterpeace (@Disasterpeace)
Game designer Phil Fish describes the “cubist” world of Fez as “a nice place to spend time in.” The ambient 8-bit music of chiptune musician and videogame composer Disasterpeace provides a perfect backdrop to the game space.
Knife City, by Knife City
From Anamanaguchi drummer Luke Silas, this EP presents a concise overview of the various electro and dubstep-infused dance music styles that emerged as dominant idioms of pop music in 2012. Plus, it was composed entirely on a Nintendo Game Boy.
Jason Trikakis was the drummer for the hip-hop ensemble The Press Project, as well as the rock group The Honors, before moving out to LA to pursue his musical career as a beatmaker and producer. His unique breakout EP has already gained him the attention of the LA “beat scene” (producers like Flying Lotus and The Gaslamp Killer) as well as the international electronic dance music label, Tru Thoughts.
It could be argued that the explosion of “trap” music in 2012 was the result of this EP alone. The album is an enjoyable juxtaposition between the crunk aesthetic of Montreal’s Lunice, and the digital maximalist ethos of Glasgow’s Hudson Mohawke.
Jim Guthrie first made a name for himself as a video game music composer with his soundtrack to the 2011 iOS game, Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery EP. Since then, he has composed for the incredibly addictive Playstation game Sound Shapes—alongside Beck and Deadmau5—as well as a variety of solo albums. His soundtrack to Indie Game: The Movie provides a great overview of his unique sound, which may best be described as a cross between Sigur Ros, The Books, and Múm.
Calliope, by Dot (@i_am_dot)
Dot is a classically trained opera singer, pianist, and composer, who has helped shape the sound of the Los Angeles beat scene with her minimal, downtempo, and atmospheric arrangements. After releasing Calliope on Daddy Kev’s Alpha Pup Records, it became an immediate fan favorite at the East LA club night, Low End Theory, and has since influenced the more experimental wing of the scene.
Team Supreme weekly beat cyphers
The rules are simple. As stated on their website, “Every week a different producer picks two samples and a BPM. The files get passed around, and everybody has roughly 1 hour to use the guidelines and make a beat. Cyphers drop Tuesdays.” Team Supreme is one of the many beat crews to emerge from the influence of East LA’s instrumental hip-hop and electronic dance music night Low End Theory, and the group has been putting out beat tapes every week since April of 2012.
The Money Store, by Death Grips
When this album came out, I thought it was the most exciting music on the planet. Enough said.
Reign of Terror, by Sleigh Bells
Sleigh Bells has been bridging the gap between hard rock and electronic dance music since they started getting airplay. I first heard their music at Low End Theory, being played to a bunch of beat heads and electro-ravers. DJ Nobody would spin “Kids” every week, and the crowd would always go wild. In only a year or two they have gone on tour with MPC virtuoso Araabmuzik, and have had major remixes bestowed on them by electronic dance music producers from Diplo to Bassnectar. Definitely some of the freshest sounds of 2012.
Black Radio Recovered: The Remix EP, Various Artists (Robert Glasper)
Chris Dave’s drumming on “Dillalude #2” is enough to earn it a spot on my list.