Find out which tracks were spinning consistently on the Dummy stereo this past 12 months. 2013 was all about the element of surprise. In a climate of carefully composed, behemoth scale album campaigns, the musical moments that really inspired us were frequently those that also blindsided us. There was NYC duo Blondes, uploading their second album ‘Swisher’ to Youtube without ceremony and subsequently the incredible jam on this list; Atlanta rapper Future, rejecting the Loveeee Songs he’s been producing of late in favour of staccato aggression, just because he can; familiar names like Four Tet, Mount Kimbie and Darkstar taking sharp left turns to check you’re all still listening carefully, and brand new voices like Real Lies, Tirzah and Kelela appearing seemingly out of nowhere with pop songs that feel like they could have been around forever.
Here’s a track that was probably upstaged a little by its weirdly stilted video, featuring an LA ‘It’ girl and a dude playing her little brother doing the dirty (with each other). But it’s from there that the weird fragments of a perverted pop universe stem; a dissection of the subliminal signals of a corrupt media that speaks to Slava‘s sound. Here, a vocal sample of Ciara is split, shattered and spat out in a cocoon of thundering ambience and moody swagger. When you consider that its source is said “Crunk&B” performer’s pun-tastic track Like A Surgeon (a playful nudge to the sex-change rumours?) you can hear, appreciate and love the bizarre position in relation to popular culture in which Girl Like Me operates. [Steph Kretowicz]
Considering how ubiquitous lo-fi techno and hardware house jams were this year, it was nice to know that Blondes took their analogue obsessions into such clean, glossy territories on their surprise-release album ‘Swisher’ without ever sacrificing its toughness. Elise was the final track on that record, and as album closers go, there was little that topped it the past 12 months. It’s a euphoric tune, not in that sense of it being anthemic or anything too obvious, but in a way that felt like 7am sunlight filtering through onto a dancefloor. That melody, built on a wonderfully synthetic organ/sitar combo plucked from the trusty Korg M1, invokes a headrush every time. [Selim Bulut]