Yo, this blog post will be in two sections, Part I dealing with my own personal year-in-music, and the second a more critical look at some of the major musical trends this year.
2012 was a good year! Started the year doing a dissertation/parring it in Cambridge and finish it as a graduated real human about to move to Japan for the next few years :O
On a personal musical level it's been interesting as well. Though I've been out raving less than in 2011, this was the year I really pushed myself with DJing and began to develop a (very small) name for myself. As I say, my first couple of terms at Cambridge were a big parr, and it was bedroom DJing that made most days bearable, so I did a lot of it (big up my neighbour Leeana for her tolerance!!). Coupled with getting far, far better technically, my residency slots with Rudimental and Voodoo Rave, and later on in the year, my slot on Innacity FM, gave me space to develop a sound and the motivation to constantly hunt for new music to keep things fresh. I can now say "I am a DJ" without feeling like a wanker.
As a punter, a few of my major moments came on the dance floor - Champion dropping Mosquito at Cable, Beneath's whole set at Rudimental, Manny and J-Cush slaughtering the dance in Brooklyn - but just as often came from intimate moments with friends - discovering Call Me Maybe at Jambie's Jubilee BBQ,
And a very high, very magic May Week evening listening to Will Saul's old Fact mix by Mill pond with good friends.
PART II - TRENDS
For London producers working under the 'Bass' umbrella this year, not a single gun finger was busted. Postmodernism has not treated UK dance music well, and the atemporal, internetty, vybless music coming from the capital - a mush of vaguely dubsteppy bass, house rhythms, washy synths, 808s and AALIYAH SAMPLES MADE BORING HOW DO U EVEN DO THAT?!?!? - has lost all sense of FWD progression and all sense of fun.
One notable exception to this rule has been the output of Keysound records, and Dusk and Blackdown's Rinse sessions. Here a sense of teleology has been sculpted by the curation of a tight aesthetic - dark, grimey, jungalistic, syncopated rave music:
Yet otherwise there was next to zero signs of life here. Wake me up when London artists stop talking like critical theorists and when somebody, anyone makes a BANGER. Until then Fuck u-K bass.
2012 even saw a number of great funky releases, notably from Beneath, who's combo of dank 2006-dubstep dread vybez with ass-shaking tribal soca-flavored skank riddims make him a sub-genre unto himself.
Champion's one of the best DJs in the country, and his Crystal Meth EP showcased the gully possibilities of entwining funky even further with grime.
Still, though the massive left funky in 2009, for a few years still there was a constant stream of great music being made by people like Roska, Lil Silva, Cosmin TRG, Swing Ting etc. By summer 2012 that stream had truly dried up. UK FUNKY R I P
This year, we climaxed.
More than that Jackin is a topography of a specifically Northern British dance tradition - evoking everything from bassline to Northern soul, via organ house, speed garage, happy hardcore, donk and jungle, and at times reaching to a pan-UK pop history which includes 2-step garage, dubstep, and the imported RnB and hip hop American hits that topped the charts here.
It's space aged shit, and its impact upon the body in the dance is like nothing else before.
Tracks which meant a lot to me in particular include Tom Shorterz - We Are The Stars