Home In the Crates BrainScan Style Guide Reviews of Independent Music FLYpaper: All the News My Nightlife


Once again, the task looms of recapping the year in pursuit of a "Best Of" list ... as I've said elsewhere on this page, I believe the mmRadio Set-Lists page tells all there is to say about what caught my interest over the past 12 months ... in the interests of tradition, though, here's my short list rendition of that page-load of set-lists and a look at the the tracks and the albums that really stuck with me as year progressed:

Personal Musical Milestone: the return of Heights of Abraham with a new release, Two Thousand and Six  ... read more about my love affair with this group and their reappearance in my life here.

My rediscovered stack of Silent Poets CDs ...

The re-born emusic.com and all the great independent labels they are still supporting

Big Bud ... those tracks keep cropping up on my mixes ...

The realization that it doesn't have to be NEW music to be GREAT music

Puddu Varano, Blissom and Ashen, Protossov, Noiseshaper; Sanchez Dub, B.N. Loco and Julian Brody from the Modus Vivendi network of artists; DJ Krush; my friend K from Vancouver who released Krysalid this year and is working hard to bring the next one on; another friend, Afternoons in Stereo, keeping the world supplied with great music via his own compositions and his radio show, Urban Modernists; Doctor Echo, Adham Shaikh; all the folks at ESL, Tokyo Dawn, Citrona and every other one who is trying their best to make a go of the new marketplace independently. as well as services like RadioDirectX which is trying to help out the independents via new forms of promotion.

And more to be added as I think of it....

Immediately below is the original "what's hot" rundown that I started several years ago, along with some small label reviews ... followed by year-end wrap-ups from previous years below that.

MadameFLY's Chart

Favorites that Just Don't Quit

You can read more about the year in music at the bottom of this page, but here's the short list version of my picks and pleasures:

Recommended Compilations:

  • Digby Jones
  • Bonobo 
  • Boozoo Bajou 
  • A Forest Mighty Black
  • Charles Webster
  • Aromabar
  • Thunderball
  • Soulstice
  • Thievery Corporation
  • Jii Hoo (Jori Hulkkonen)
  • Muzique Tropique
  • Projections
  • Llorca
  • DJ Swingsett & J. Warrin and Lisa Shaw
  • Leftfield
  • Chris Lum
  • St. Germain
  • Physics
  • The Timewriter
  • Jon Kennedy
  • Guardner
  • MJ Cole
  • Tosca
  • Hefner
  • Jaffa
  • Yonderboi
  • Bent
  • Gerd
  • Bullitnuts
  • Kevin Yost
  • The Silent Poets
  • Alex Cortiz
  • Nicola Conte
  • James Hardway


Coming Home
Paradisiac (1-4)
Saint Germain Cafe II
 Lounge Deluxe 2
Select Cuts from Echo Beach (RMX)
Space Shuttle Lounge
ESL Soundtracks: Modular Systems
Upstairs Recordings: 
  01-Deepdown Tempos
  Blue Light One
Real Ibiza 4: Baleric Bliss 
Hed Kandi: Deeper
Coldcut: Stoned Chilled Groove
Xen Cuts
OM's Environments

Mixed compilations from The Downlow People and the MixMeister DJs rocked my world all year

Right Here Right Now:

Added some independent and small label reviews here.

You can always see what's fueling my fire by checking out the MixMeister Radio (mmRadio) set-lists
-- this is a running account of everything that's caught my attention in that great river of music
that's flowing past us all. 


Just look for the 2005 wrap-up above and
the 2004 wrap-up below.

I heard some exceptional music in October and November 2003 -- releases from indie label Citrona Recordings artists
Monta and SinQ and new things from Germany's Urban Phunk Society,
Praful's "Sigh" (how did I miss that track the first time I listened?)
and gorgeous stuff from Sweden's Plej -- all showed up on the latest set for November,
Impossible Freedom, which is currently streaming on mmRadio -- please check it out!

And there's still plenty of listening to do!

There was considerable activity in September 2003, including many remixed sets ... check the list for the latest. 

August has been hot enough to catch me cookin up some Drum&Bass sets -- 
check those out on the mmRadio set-lists page.

Most recently, I've added a set to mmRadio that features old favorites and music from friends:  
on the Strength in Dub set, you'll hear my favorite tracks from Afternoons in Stereo
the latest from First Floor Brothers and a number of tracks from
the New Sound Theory CD I recently discovered (both reviewed below.)
Add to this some favorites from back in the day (UB40 and Sade and
early Thievery Corporation) and you have a really sweet set.  As always,
you can find the full set-list here at BeatConscious, and you can hear
the music on mmRadio.

This spring, I've been listening to (and mixing with) selections from these compilations:
BamBuddha Groove, Real Ibiza V, Music for Modern Living 4, 
World of Chillin Lounge, Your Lounge Your Music,
Ayurveda Buddha Lounge Vols. 1 and 2, 
Loose and Juicy Funky Groove Collection, Mandarin Vol. 1, Chinese Chillin Thrills.
The results are streaming on mmRadio as The Money Groove, Parts 1, 2 and 3.  Enjoy! 

2002 End of Year Head-turners:

Taking the end of the year at a quick trot, here's what stood out:
Norah Jones, for when you want to be feeling warm and fuzzy;
Afterlife, for the same feeling, but calling you from out on the downtempo tip--
it's langorous, luscious and liquid, baby -- very liquid;
Physics -- their First Flight cd is great stuff, soulful and jazzy;
More soulful stuff available courtesy of Peven Everett's Studio Confessions;
Freshest instrumentation of the year award would have to go to DJ DSL;
In addition to Marius Melleby, the icy north dropped some cool jazz for us:
Calm's Free Soil and the Darand Land Calming Effects set,
David Darling and Ketil Bjornstad
Beady Belle, FragmentOrchestra, Marc Moulin and Bugge Wesseltoft.
Canadian Rise Ashen delivered Boreal Dubworks in 2001, but I just heard it this year -- very fine stuff.
A couple of single track remix sets stood out:  
Pet Shop Boys' "West End Girls" and Kinobe's "Butterfly" were among my favorites.
And, speaking of single tracks of interest, I rate these very high:
"Soul Freak Music" - The Timewriter
"Danger of Love" - DJ Krush & Zap Mama
"Lucky (K&D Suicide Mix)" - Lewis Taylor
"Latazz" - Funky Lowlives
"Just Like Music" - Eric Sermon / Marvin Gaye
"Troya" - Rue du Soleil (This year's "Pina Colada")
"Burnout" - Cinematic Orchestra
"Get Into This"; "Tell Me How You Feel (Bonobo Mix)" - Jon Kennedy
"Relaxin at Club Fusion" - Koop
"Dream of the Dendreons" - Telefuzz
"Hld Mi Hnd"; "Kingsburg" - Projections
"Builder" - Rithma
"Not Every Angel" - Alexkid

Ahhh, is that enough?  Well, there was more ... it was a great year for music --
despite the many grim predictions and threatening behavior by major players in the music industry 
-- people, if this is how you have a BAD year, a good year would probably kill you.

Fall into Winter 2002:
Once again, I would direct your attention to the Set-Lists page
to get an idea of what's been moving my body lately.
The really big discovery was Marius Melleby who posted to TDB in the waning days,
inviting us all to check out his MP3.com page -- this guy is phenomenal, and 
I find myself adding one of his tracks to just about every mix I do these days.  
Do yourself a favor and find his music.

I heard The Timewriter's "Soul Freak Music" in a mix made by my friend G,
and it was such a hot track, it convinced me to do a house set of my own recently.  
The tune is from an older release, Letters from the Jester:  well worth tracking down.

Jazztronik is another one that woke me up ... the S.O.W. remix of "Dizzin'" ought to wake you up, too -- find it.
And another Jori Hulkonnen track made my list: "The Moment" is ver' fine.

Go to the set-lists, or hear this stuff broadcast: my Live365 station or mmRadio will set you up.

Summer into Fall 2002:
As you can tell from the set-lists for August and September, I think these rock:
Classic funk and go-go like Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers
(Happy birthday, Chuck!)
and minimal tech house and IDM like Mum and Swayzak
Even though new music keeps rollin in, I found myself looking back:
Luniz and Crystal Waters (I kid you not!)
and a bit of early Moby, for all my Moby-hater friends.
Look for some newer stuff to surface in the next mix
and listen up over at Live365 and MixMeister Radio
to find out more about what moves me.

May, June and July -- breezing into summer with style:
Tracks from the Hefner Reworks set, including "Phonecall" and "Everyday"
Jon Kennedy label-mate, Quantic impresses with "Through These Eyes"
Cafe del Mar Vol. 9 had some stellar entries, including:
Rue du Soleil's "Troya" and Jo Manji's "Beyond the Sunset"
Don't know much about Guardner, but I know I like the sound ...
also Taxi and the Xaver Fischer Trio
You'll find all these represented on the MixMeister Radio sets

April has been good to me:
Telefuzz, Greg Long, the Tru-Thoughts artists, 
the Verve remixes, new stuff from Cinematic Orchestra and Walkner Moestl
and a boatload of Six Degrees' back catalog that just appeared on emusic.com.

Top of the chart for Feb-Mar 2002: 
Projections (from 1999), Charles Webster, Jon Kennedy, Bonobo remixes -- 
mighty fine stuff.


Releases from Independent / Small Labels:
OK, so "smooth as silk" is way over-used, right?  Sorry to offer a cliche, then, but there's no better way to describe the newest release from the fine people at basicLUX, unless I get right down and start talking about the sophisticated vibe they bring.  Much as I enjoyed the first disc (reviewed below,) New Sound Theory Vol. 2 has way more of all that, drawing on talent from around the world (Singapore, Germany, Spain) and down the street (Atlanta, L.A. and New York) to make the most of this new style lounge collection.  I found myself in deep with Beat Pharmacy's Living on Love, Paul T's Krush Groove, and Night Life from The GrooveOholics, and hitting the replay button for Chris Brann's Slo Motion, Lumiere's Pink Funk and Annapurna from Sasi Shalom -- quintessential chill to wrap up the set.  Among the notable advances in Volume Two are the exceptional vocals, including madison park's lovely track You Take Me Places.  

Without question, I find new things to like each time I listen to this disc ... but I always find just what basicLUX promises:  jazzy, sexy house and downtempo to suit the mood, whether it be celebrating or simply relaxing.

The good people at Citrona Recordings have served up another treasure:  First Floor Brothers "Fashionably Late" (Original and Thunderball mixes) b/w "Signal 106" (original and Greg Long mixes).  Thunderball brings some higher energy to this otherwise solidly downtempo four track release.  The original mix of "Fashionably Late" is swanky and sophisticated, an exceedingly smooth lounge vibe, while Thunderball is out on the beach, rocking under the palms.  The flip, "Signal 106", maintains the mood -- Greg Long's mix increases the tempo and sophistication of this track which sports a naturally deep bottom end, while the original mix has a slightly sleepier vibe.  

Keep your eye on Florida-based Citrona ... they are putting out music with their heart totally in the mix.

I heard about New Sound Theory when I investigated the offer of sound loops from Peace Love Productions.  Turns out to have been a good buy:  a track from Chris Brann ("Between Them") leads off the compilation with his signature bumpin' yet ethereal sound.  Among the other pleasures are: "Bleu Screen" from Transatlantic which is smoothly surging with a whopping big B-line; "Fly Away" from Auricle and Bryan Ogden's "I Can Change Your Mind" which are both hot tracks, very danceable; a track from JC Scott Project which is in the Timewriter style, and a couple of worthy house tracks from Madison Park.  There are another half-dozen tracks that may appeal to you even more.... In sum, a very nice offering from the BasicLux Records label out of Hotlanta...
The good folks repping Putamayo hooked me up w/ the Euro Lounge disc, a new entry in their series of World Beat / Chill Out compilations. Euro Lounge is graced with some particularly rich packaging which reminds me why downloaded music will never completely substitute for the purchase of the physical disc -- included here are extensive liner notes, photos and attractive art that add measurable value to the music experience.  The disc leads off with two rather well-known names, Thievery Corporation and S-Tone, Inc. The tracks chosen are from each band's most recent release, and likely to be familiar to downtempo heads. The Thievery checks in with "Un Simple Histoire" (from The Richest Man in Babylon) which features the silky vocals of Lou-Lou. Next up is "Limbe" one of my favorites by S-Tone, Inc., and sounding more like Thievery than the Thievery track does.

From here on out, I'm in less familiar territory, as the disc presents chill out contenders from around the globe -- though these groups are quite well-known in their respective countries. Predictably, a couple of the songs leave me unmoved, like the Bossa Nostra track "Jackie" or Mambotur's "Salpica", neither of which breaks new ground, though the storyline of "Jackie" is heartfelt. The Arling and Cameron track included here, "Voulez-vous?" doesn't seem to me to be the best representative of their work, either, but then I'm not that big a fan of the "quirky" style in downtempo. You, of course, may love it.

Better things are on offer from Ilhan Ersahin of Turkey -- the instrumentation of "Girl" leaves no doubt as to its Middle Eastern influences while demonstrating a sure grasp of lounge stylings (much like the sounds you've come to expect from dZihan & Kamien but without the jazzy top-end). Also quite accomplished is Gabin (Italy) whose "Sweet Sadness" is one of the rare bossa tracks that has appealed to me recently. Fellow Italians Bandabardo offer an uncharacteristic reggae-tinged track (their usual format is more in the alt-rock vein) that is quite danceable. And Gare du Nord meanders across the aural landscape with "How Was It For You?" -- a lazy jazzy moment.

For me, the stand-out track was delivered by Vanja Lazarova of Macedonia, who is something of a national treasure in the field of traditional folk song ... she is teamed here with the electronica of fellow-countryman Kiril and together they deliver one of the most persuasive performances on the CD, easily the equal of my beloved Thievery Corp -- thanks mostly to the outstanding ethereal vocals of Vanja Lazarova. This is the track that makes you go looking for their album.

And that brings me to the subject of "The Compilation: Is It Played Out?" This debate periodically erupts on forums devoted to downtempo, with many long-time devotees of the scene having little time or respect for the vast array of compilation albums that mine the gems of this genre and present many of the same jewels over and over in the slightly different settings. I understand that reaction, but I still believe a well put-together compilation offers the opportunity to explore and discover, and with so much music available, something of this sort is an economic necessity, since the average music lover simply can't buy every release that hits the shelves -- a little winnowing is in order first. It's companies like Putamayo that provide a steady stream of fresh choices ... after that, it's up to you.




Before we take a look at my "Best Of" for this year, I wanted to record a bit of conversation that I salvaged from the Downtempo.com list archives on the subject "What is Downtempo?" ... this is for all the people who've ever asked me, and for all the times I tried to explain it and failed.  Dr. Um handles it with feeling and intelligence -- read on:

>>,,, If you were to ask my OPINION, uptempo is anything above about 115 bpm.

Oooouhy, Um are we approaching a discussion of music on this list?

my OPINION is that the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. It is all about the vibe, the groove, and the emotive response in the music. Por Example: Koop: Relaxin' @ Club Fusion off of waltz for koop: "all the colors are changing... autumn is here..." This delicious sliver of sexual minimalism (opinion) bumps along at roughly 120 bpms, mid to up tempo depending on your ear or height. The structure of it could easily be ewhhuem.. house. But it is not even close in my book, to being anything but downtempo. It has that feeling, that "depressed mode" that christina long referred to a while back. It is that introspective, silent, yet musically pleasing sound. A beautiful sound. Monta knows it. Those damn rat Bastards of Jazz share it more and more with each release (He needs meeeee!) Kid Loco has made love by it, Tim Love Lee has made love to himself with it, Baby Mammoth and Fila have mastered it!

Downtempo is a word to describe the essence of the music, not ! the rate of rotation into an equation that calculates the number of beats per measured minute at a standard progression of time in the over statistacized and categorized society we dwell in.


Its a state of mind, not a bloody tempo

Similar artist and sounds come to mind, Thunderball on ESL. They have this great album, Scorpio Rising which to me is a downtempo cornerstone from this DT discussion group's all time fuckinglovesitlikeagoodromp. This too has all the characters of good music, up - down - middies and double timed structures.

thinking...beat conductor...dj...in terms of where we as record players, musical collage artists, and wax enthusiasts!...share music:

What of really really slow music that is beat matched, blended or (trainwrecked) into a song with twice it's speed? I shift from DT to dnb or really really jiggyfastfunk for a kick start sometimes in a set and then settle into a lower tempo for a deeper ride. I would't call it a downtempo-uptempo-midtempo set. I think I find myself calling all the genres blended into one downtempo or "gumbo" or "just good music."

What about you? Whats a good song or set that has the ups and the downs yet retains that downtempo vibe?

ouch, my inbox is so full today a dozen posts fell out and squished my little toe.

Doctor Um
John Drum
Associated Florida Architects /
www.afarch.com <http://www.afarch.com>
802 nw 23rd Avenue Gainesville, FL 32609-3534

Dr.Um / Citrona Recordings /
www.citrona.net <http://www.citrona.net>


My dear DrUM,

as usual your ideas and words are pretty much right on from my perspective, thank you for the way you wrote them as well! Downtempo is totally a state of mind to me as well and if I personally tried to tie it into specific parameters of speed and bpm then so much of the pure feel of what is downtempo for me (it's a pretty wide range!) would morph into something with less colour, less of many things. My heart and hips lead me to connect with the inherent funkiness, harmonically and lyrically more lush melodies and arrangements and the space that seems to be an intrinsic part of downtempo. When I play hard, fast and very psychedelic trance, which I also really love, I am content to ride the more mechanical beast and having everything in 4's and seeing people dancing and throwing their arms in the air. The thing I love about downtempo is that people can dance to it easily, and I think for accomplished
dancers there is more room to be creative in downtempo settings,but it is also great for being (well, at least some of it) very sexy indeed. I dont think in terms of the pace of the music as much because I use it to create and play with moods and take dancers on another kind of a ride. The funky things will always win me over pretty much anything else. I hear that Dublex album I wrote about yesterday, Eight Ears, as being a state of the art downtempo slab. Downtempo to me is not necessarily chilled music although it's often marketed that way by the folks who do those things. The Dublex disc has some pretty uptempo stuff and yet it's got that other downtown thing, more than just a sliver of sexual minimalism as you put it, and some of the funkiest shit anywhere, downtempo is what it is to me! Volume 3 - Air of Elemental Chill that Beth's was responsible for is another complete set of stuff that has my
vote and while it is on the slower side at least some of the tracks have solid tempos and tempo is a big part of what we are talking about here, not floaty ambient structures (which I also happen to really love and I suggest Butterfly Dawn which Tony sent me recently for anyone wanting some different and very spacey flavours) but melodic statements and solid tempos, not 104 bpm or anything remotely like that. Your comments on Kid Loco and the rest were right on as well and they gave me pause to smile a bit so thanks for that. I have been quiet here the past few months but still out here and I hope I will be able to read more stuff from y'all giving all here the lowdown on what's on your players, there has been less of that of late. I could easily take all the albums I acquired and obtained after I learned about them here on this list and do probably an entire party with them. Instead of just a tee-
shirt, we should find a way to do a downtempo festival somewhere somehow, there are enough producers, DJ's, musicians, arrangers and general freakazoids with lots of talent right here to make it good and I know there are a lot of people out there who would be into it!

les dj

You may not expect it, but Squarepusher can induce a heart attack and lull to a peaceful dreamstate within a few chord progressions. Much of Squarepusher's art I definitely wouldn't classify as downtempo, but the few gems that don't inspire you to smash your head into the speakers are really quite beautiful (and I would call downtempo). Example: Iambic 5 Poetry, from "Budakahn Mindphone". And Amon Tobin: pure delicious up/down/all-around sound. Sometimes Amon Tobin's music is
like long, slow, tantric sex combined with jackhammer fucking. There are many others, but these are the first that cum to mind.

Harold J. Johnson - VoyagerRadio

So there you have it and I hope it did some good ... For those of you who already had your own OPINION or definition going in, feel free to contact me and let me in on your point of view ... those with merit will be added to the page.

And now for that 2004 wrap-up .....

If you check out the Reviews page, my enthusiasm this year for independent artists and labels will be evident, so at the top of the wrap-up let's put the players that appeared most often in 2004's mixes: Afternoons in Stereo; K; the Modus Vivendi crew, especially off their first sampler: Sanchez Dub, Julian Brody and B.N.Loco; the Tokyo Dawn team, including Comfort Fit and The Tape ft. RQM; Clayton & Fulcrum's soul sounds served up hot.... BasicLUX and Citrona are two other labels I watch with interest and whose releases I listen to with pleasure. I also revisited artists whose music I first found in 2000 (Sub City to name just one) to see if their music was still available online and, equally important, if there were new releases.

This year's 23 BeatConscious mixes which aired on mmRadio and my Live365 broadcast included: two trip-hop retrospectives (R U Out There? and La Vie en Noir); reworks of original ambient mixes from 1997/98 (Tranceported: Space and The Stars My Destination); the Dub & Dubber trio which are also reworks of earlier (pre-MixMeister) sets: Foundation Dub, I & I Dub Stylee and Illegal Dub; It's Indian Tobacco, My Friend and In a Scented Garden are two sets resurrected from the group of Asian Underground mixes created in 1997 -- let's now refer to this stylee as Asian Fusion ... there will be at least one more of these to come, and they are being updated with newer tracks including contributions from indie label Karma Recordings.  

BeatConscious mixes from the latter part of the year featured content drawn primarily from those independent artists and labels: Chile & Lime; VooDoo Child's Slight Return; You Know Me Now; Pulsated; Ever Since the Day. And this year, for the first time, there was a Christmas mix,  which featured jazz renditions of classic seasonal tunes as well as newer compositions from artists on the basicLUX and OM labels. 

As noted, many of the year's sets were reworks of earlier mixes... not only because I wanted to see how much better they could be made using MM, but also because they represented a boatload of really great music that I didn't want to let be forgotten. I'm not the first person to comment on the huge amount of new music that flows into the marketplace every week ... because I don't have a club gig, I don't have to obsess about keeping up with the newest new, but even so, I do feel it's important to keep old favorites active in the crate and on the stream ... there was a reason I liked all that music (it was great!) and if you haven't heard it yet, then I've got twice the excuse for making sure it doesn't disappear.

Of course, in addition to all the indie stuff, there were some stellar commercial releases and that's part two of the wrap-up:

Frederico Aubele: Gran Hotel Buenos Aires
Banzai Republic: Where the Fun Starts Early 
Barabass and the happy few: Rali Rei (people) 
The Dining Rooms: Versioni particolari 
Zero7: When It Falls 
Thievery Corporation: The Outernational Sound
Da Dam Phreak Noiz Phunk: Take Off the Hot Sweater

Some from 2003 that didn't really catch up with me until 2004 were:
Karl Möstl: Touching This
Cinematic Orchestra: Man With A Movie Camera 
TM Juke: Maps From the Wilderness
Belladonna: Inspirational Grooves 

Some from 2003 that continued to groove me:
The Switchstance Fantasic Freeriding team, esp. Protassov

The compilations:
Barcelona in Dub
Brazilectro Latin Flavoured 
Paris Jazz Mission
Chocolade Manner Wien Pres. De 

The commercial single
Angels (Thievery Corporation Remix): Wax Poetic feat. Norah Jones 

The indie single
NickNack: Keep Your Soul 

And so that's the short list ... the complete run-down of course, is detailed on the set-lists page.



Time to roll out the roster of the past year's favorites ... to assemble this list, I usually look back over the mixes I've posted to mmRadio throughout the year, since that's an excellent reflection of the tracks that really caught my attention.  In 2003, I find I worked with a lot of music from previous years ... things I liked so much, I just didn't want to let go of them.  There were also a number of albums that I didn't hear until 2003, although they were released earlier.  That said, here are my candidates for enduring classics from the past year:
Caia : The Magic Dragon
Praful: One Day Deep
Jetty: Jetty
Plej: Electronic Music from the Swedish Leftcoast
Zorg: Zorg's Private Life
Noorda: Noorda
Physics: First Flight
Flunk: For Sleepyheads Only
Anthome: Anthome Project
Projections: Between Here and Now
Rithma: Music Fiction
Marc Moulin
Tosca: Delhi 9
Funky Lowlives, esp. for "Latazz" 

Great compilation: Fantastic Freeriding featuring Protassov, Ancient Astronauts, etc.
O.P.'s Great Mixes:  The Fabriclive series, especially the set by Amalgamation of Soundz
Indie Label of the Year: Citrona -- these folks walk the walk, they don't just talk
Other fine indie operations: basicLux (Atlanta) and BastardJazz (NYC)
Track of the Year:  Andy Caldwell's I Can't Wait in all its many remix manifestations gets my nod


Saying So Long to 2001....

On all my favorite websites (all two?) people are weighing in with their Top Five or Top Ten of 2001 -- I've been thinking about this very thing, but rather than a Best Of, I'm thinking about how the last couple of mixes I made recently bring together so many elements I was glad to discover this year -- and all praises due to my home-away-from-homies, thedownbeat.org, that put me on to the majority of the artists.  This year, I've been impressed by: 

Projections: Kingsburg (huh? who?) Love this one madly....That's a groove right there.

Digby Jones: Pina Colada (Jazz Mix) -- Cool emo-downtempo track of my year. 

Bonobo: particularly Kota from Animal Magic. 
Thanks to g, who put me on to both the Digby Jones and Bonobo (and more thanks for his music commentary posted to the TDB forum and received from time to time in email communications: any of us can all say that we like something, but g can say WHY he likes it and WHAT IT OFFERS to the listener ... good critical music writing, whether you agree with his choices or not.) 

Aromabar: Telephone, etc. 
Along with other crowd-pleasers like the new Thunderball, Boozoo Bajou, Soulstice and others, the tip on Aromabar came courtesy of the TDB forum ... Thanks to Chad for the brilliant spark that lights our way, and to everyone who participates and posts about their discoveries there.... 

Bullinuts: Heavy Air and lots more from A Different Ball Game.

Thievery Corporation: Lifetime Recognition (say what you will about TC, their track Illumination rocks yr butt.) 

Jii Hoo (Jori Hulkkonen): Let Me Luv U (Muzique Tropique's Love the Bass Mix) ... relentlessly sexy! Thanks to Bethany Downbeat for providing the ID on this track and pointing me toward Jori. 

Llorca feat. Cecile: Expectations (This was encountered via Morpheus, so don't depend on artist or title being correct ... yep, I know, that's why we have to buy 'em.) 

DJ Swingsett & J. Warrin and Lisa Shaw: Sights Unseen (Yep, I know -- it's not new.  Nonetheless, Mandeville Drop is in the mix .... Swingsett is one I'd like to see in live performance.) 

Leftfield (!) is back with More Than I Know (More mix) -- very welcome. 

Chris Lum: Stay With Me -- courtesy of Epitonic, another great music site. 

And that just represents for the last couple of months ... earlier this year, the excitement was all about St. Germain, MJ Cole, Tosca, Hefner, Jaffa, Yonderboi, Bent, Gerd, Kevin Yost, The Silent Poets, Alex Cortiz, Nicola Conte, James Hardway, the Upstairs label, my emusic.com subscription, and the indie artists like M45 who put me in touch with their music and expanded my world another notch ... the fact is, any list just touches the surface: I was swamped with great music this year -- hope you all were, too. 

Going into Fall 2001:

As I sift through the bounty from emusic.com, here are some of the tracks that absolutely rock my world:

Let Me Luv U (Muzique Tropique's In Love Remix): Jii Hoo
on the Glasgow Underground / Slow Burning compilation.  Woo Hoo!
Constant Love by Homebase
Drugstore by Sounds from the Ground
Fat Ass Joint: Cujo
Autumn Leaves (Irresistable Force Mix Trip 2) by Coldcut
Tell Me Something (Beanfield Remix) by DJs Wally & Swingsett
16 Kilos of Chill by Skyjuice
Sleep Tonight (and more) by James Hardway
We Cookin' Now by Abacus
Plenty of stuff by Kevin Yost
Urban Discoid Activity by The Amalgamation of Soundz

Check out all the other deep delicious sounds that have been showing up on MadameFLY's emixes.

And from T.J. Rehmi, on the INVISIBLE RAIN album, check out "This Duniya" -- what a gorgeous groove.  Likewise, on the COMING HOME compilation, Bent's I Love My Man (Lazyboy's anyone for tennis mix) gets my appreciation.  Also, all praises due to Le Surboomer on the GRAND TOURISM CD.

Starting off summer with a few new items:

James Hardway: A Positive Sweat and Deeper Wider Smoother Shit; Amalgamation of Soundz; Cujo: Adventures in Foam; King Kooba; Organic Audio and Omni Trio back catalog (courtesy of my emusic.com subscription) and
Trancenden; The Rurals; Focalized; Urban Phunk Society; Lava Lounge; Goodman & Clean; Il-Ya ... and many other mp3 downloads, courtesy of www.mp3.com, www.besonic.com, and www.epitonic.com -- reviews on these artists coming up soon.

What's Essential?  
You might want to check out the results of the Steinmetz mix project.

Right now, it's LoungecoreSome recent arrivals include:

Big Bud: Late Night Blues; The Silent Poets: Potential Meeting; Cinematic Orchestra: Motion and Remixes; Waldeck: Balance of the Force (straight up and remixed); Tosca: Suzuki in Dub and Chocolate Elvis Dubs; Hefner: Residue; Saru: Subterra/Posterity sampler; 
St. Germain: Tourist; Shantel: Auto-Jumps and Remixes and Club Guerilla

Check out the Downtime sets: my reaction to all this smooth stuff that the UPS man has been bringin....

Still pumpin: Dub!
Plenty of compilations, but particularly: anything by Bill Laswell

See the Dub Stylee page for my original dub playlists

2001 saw the release of the 3rd Joi album -- a must-have.

See the Asian Underground page for compilations of Talvin Singh, Badmarsh, Asian Dub Foundation, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and others. 
Check out the cover art

Fresh house tracks from NYC ... big up to my collaborator, noiseboy!  Check out the new set posted on the House page: Universoul Response.




If you want to tell me about your year in music, please send it via email using "talkback" *at* BeatConsciousDotOrg ... and please excuse the spammer dodge, but while there used to be this handy form for communicating (see below) they've been hijacked recently, so they'll be disabled for a while ... what a world, eh?

But you can still send email!  talkback at beatconscious dot org is the address to use.  Let me know:

  • Your pick for the 5 most impressive tracks or artists or albums of the year

  • Your location (Country)

  • Primary online source for your music purchases

And thanks, if you get in touch -- your feedback is appreciated.


Brother Soul-Fly has kindly compiled and posted a list of the Worldwide All Winners '01, which I duplicate here for your convenience:

01. Zero 7: Simple Things
02. 4 Hero: "Les Fleurs"
03. Roots Manuva: Run Come Save Me
04. Herbert: Bodily Functions
05. Gotan Project: "La Revancha del Tango"
06. Jazzanova: "That Night"
07. The Cinematic Orch.: "Evolution"
08. Bugge Wesseltoft: "Yellow is the Colour"
09. Suba: "Samba Do Gringo" (Zero DB RMX)
10. The Streets: "Has It COme To This"
11. N*E*R*D: In Search Of
12. 4 Hero: "Hold It Down"
13. Afronaught: "Transcend Me"
14. DJ Marky: "LK"
15. Bilal: 1st Born Second
16. Missy Elliott: "Get Your Freak On"
17. Sunshine Anderson: "Heard It All Before"
18. Erick Sermon feat. Marvin Gaye: "Music"
19. Mos Def: Umi Says (Zero 7 RMX)
20. Koop: Waltz For Koop
21. Nitin Sawhney: Sunset
22. Serge Gainsbourg: "Bonnie & Clyde" (Herbert RMX)
23. Kaidi Tatham: "Betcha"
24. Vikter Duplaix: "Sensuality"
25. Yesterday's New Quintet: Angles Without Edges
26. Nathan Haines: Sound Travels
27. Michelle Shaprow: "If I Lost You" (King Britt's Scuba Dub)
28. Mr. Hermano: "Free As teh Morning Sun"
29. P'Taah vs Opaque: "The Crossing" (Opaque RMX)
30. Q Tip: Kaamal The Abstract
31. India Arie: Acoustic Soul
32. Hi Tek feat. Mos Def & Vinia Mojica: "Get Ta Steppin"
33. New Sector Movements: Download THis
34. Fertile Ground: "Take Me Higher" (WaiWan RMX)
35. Osunlade: Paradigm
36. Pepe Bradock: "Life"
37. Skitz: Countryman
38. Jill Scott: "Gimme"
39. Destiny's Child: "Bootylicious" (Freeform 5 mix)
40. Moonstar: "Greed"
41. Riton: "Hungry Ghost"
42. Kelis: "Lil Suzy"
43. Jay Dee: "Think Twice"
44. Domu feat. Nicky: "Last Time"
45. Dwelle: "Angel"
46. Ultra Nate: "Twisted" (4 Hero RMX)
47. The Avalanches: "Two Hearts in 3/4 Time"
48. Marcos Valle: Escape
49. Beady Belle: "Moderation"
50. Angie Stone: "Wish I Didn't Miss You"
Brother Soul-Fly's complete list was originally posted to the Forum of thedownbeat.org, also listed the label name for each release ... the link is no longer available, though....

In the meantime, I will leave my picks from previous years on display for your amusement and reflection ... after all, I'm still listening to the tracks that made me happy back then, along with all the new music that appears in my life.

LOOKING BACK FROM JANUARY 1, 2001:  Another year gone ... new musical delights have come along to claim my attention.  2000 began with Asian Underground segued through Dub and ended with a serious commitment to the downtempo life ... what Chad refers to as bedroombeats (check out www.thedownbeat.org and see what he's talkin' about.)  In short, going into 2001, loungecore rules, and I wouldn't lie.

So, OK, not a list, everybody's doing a list ... my buds at www.artofthemix.org are gathering together a group Top 100 Rock Albums of all time ... I could nominate my top ten to help build the list ... but my mind's a blank, just not dealing in lists (not thinking much about rock, for that matter) -- understanding instead that -- best luck -- I've been inundated in music in 2000, including treasures such as:

Tosca, Kruder&Dorfmeister, especifically the K&D Sessions, and the contributing players: Count Basic, Sofa Surfers, Bomb the Bass, RockersHiFi, and on over to Fauna Flash, Jazzanova, Afterlife, Fila Brazillia, Baby Mammoth, OM Lounge sets,  Compost Records, !K7, P'Taah, Groove Armada, PFM (the resurrection) and Omni Trio, A Guy Called Gerald, the whole dub thing that blended Swayzak, Finley Quaye, Smith & Mighty, and the Eighteenth Street Lounge energy led by Thievery Corporation and Thunderball, and then there's DJ Krush, Ian Pooley, Elwood, DJ Mark Farina, and added to that of course is the entire slice of Asian Underground I caught on to beginning with most respect to Joi, and State of Bengal, Natacha Atlas, well naturally Talvin Singh and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan....oh, and hey!  Claude Challe representin for France in the romantic light of the colonial legacy no shit.

And then, of course, there were the downloads, the seemingly endless offerings of legit mp3 sites, beginning with the fine artists of www.bristolsound.co.uk including Sequel (who the hell is Sequel?) and Roland from Poland; the highly-organized, still-quite-passionately-making-the-case-for-music folks at www.epitonic.com, hookin me up with the sound of San Francisco in the form of Soma Sonic and tons of good funky house; or the original mad crazy men'n'women at www.mp3.com, home to Subsonic Head Dub and a million more (The Million MP3 March?), and across the pond again, www.besonic.com  a crisp and seemingly richly endowed site with vast Euro representation, just to get you out of your rut, where you'll hear Elevator and thousands more, plus, of course, www.emusic.com  trying gamely to get that ecommerce thing to really work, meanwhile turning me on to Coldcut's Autumn Leaves experience ...

... and boatloads more, and I don't even do half the listening of some folks I talk to ... can you believe it?  Can you believe there is such abundance?  You could never hear it all.  But OTOH, there are millions of people listening and every one of them wants something just a little bit different from the next guy .... well, then, serve it up: what've you been listening to?  

2000 LOOKING BACK at 1999:

MadameFLY has favorites ... many, many favorites.  Any other year, I might have resisted the urge to add a page devoted to charts -- but the tick-over from 1999 to 2000 ... naaah ... can't do it ... got to let you know:

Most significant musical turn on of the year:

  • LTJ Bukem -- everything, but particularly Logical Progression Level 1, a  2- CD set that has everything: beauty and power.  And it meets the toughest criteria: there is no track I'd want to skip over.  Thank you, Tony, for the heads-up.

They made the 1999 Top Ten:

  • Smith and Mighty: DJ Kicks -- Where was I when these guys came around the first time? 
  • The PFM tracks on Logical Progression -- is it possible there's more?
  • Omni Trio -- Do I have to pick just one?  Fortunately, no... 
  • History of our World, Vol. 2 mixed by DJ DB -- Or, Nu York Nu Skool, or just about anything by DB, really.
  • Mark Farina -- For overall respecting funk and for serving up some individual gems.
  • Moby: Play  -- This one moves me, particularly the blues sampling.  This is one non-exclusionary dude, I must say.
  • Lamb:  -- Some voices just amaze me -- first, that I like them at all, and then that I like them so much ... and the music keeps up effortlessly.
  • Lauren Hill: The MisEducation of.... -- Well, kick me if you think she's too mainstream, but I think the baby mama is talkin loud and sayin somethin...
  • Talvin Singh -- Presiding mind of the Asian Underground, and his co-conspirator, Nitin Sawney....
  • The Unknown Track -- Surely you've heard some great music without having the chance to identify the artist or title.... This is in recognition of how those tracks haunt us with the knowledge that we might never hear them again, but we'll hear them always....

They remain because they're good!

  • Roni Size -- New Forms, indeed.
  • DJ Shadow: -- Solo, U.N.K.L.E. -- any incarnation seems to suit this man: he just makes it his own.
  • My TripHop Crew: Portishhead, Massive Attack, Morcheeba, Tricky, Leftfield.  I'll be listening to these guys for a good long time.
  • Heights of Abraham: Electric Hush -- Could be hard to find these days, but if you can find it, GET IT.

Discovered late:

  • Nightmares on Wax
  • Danny Tenaglia
  • Deep Dish
  • Bjork's Black Debut Remixes
  • A Tribe Called Quest: Stressed Out Remixes

WMC/2000 Fond Memory:

  • Groove Armada: I See You Baby

WMC/2001 Fond Memory:

  • Danny Tenaglia at Club Space: now I really understand

WMC/2002 Fond Memory:

  • The Funky Lowlives, every time I turned around
  • The Party This Time:  The crew from thedownbeat.org together in meatspace
  • Aaron from MixMeister checking out the South Beach dance music scene



I draw attention to these artists and tracks in hopes that you will enjoy learning about them.  If you enjoy the music, support the artists who created it -- whenever possible, buy their music.  The Make Contact page of this website has links to music retailers for your convenience.