Moodymann - s/t Mahogani Music
Moodymann is a sprawling, psychic journey through KDJ's Detroit State of Mind with the protagonist revealing more about his setting and personality than ever. Like good writing, the length of Moody's tracks (or sentences) fluctuate wildly. The constant sing-speak narrative from KDJ and divergence of styles and tempos makes the record feel like a trip down the dial of a liminal radio. Moody gets an assist from Andres on future classic "Lyk U Used 2", a track that has Kenny ably playing a slightly woozy frontman over upbeat modern soul. The radio effect is amplified by likely and unlikely samples. Jeremy Greenspan appears first on "Have You Ever Been Lonely". Elsewhere, Lana Del Rey and Carl Craig's epic remix of "Delia and Gavin" are used to bear out the album's distinct, schizoid voice. Moody's serpentine 2011 hit "Freeki MF" acts as a recurring riddim before appearing in unadulterated form. KDJ's female counterparts match his idiosyncracies ("Watching U") and he even dabbles in Dennis Coffey-informed guitar psychedelia on "Sloppy Cosmic". The album, as a whole, is a lovesick ode to an unfairly maligned city, seen through the dark glasses of experience.
Joey Anderson - After Forever - Dekmantel
Loosely affiliated with the NYC crew which includes Fred P and DJ Qu, this was the year for New Jersey building inspector and leftfield house extraordinaire. Most producers attempt to make an album that "flows" together with a solid mix of short, long, ambient and dancefloor cuts. After Forever is so memorable because it dispenses with this rulebook altogether, luxuriously spreading the wings of its own twisted logic. On the LP, nothing is at it seems. "It's A Choice" takes a worried vocal sample and lays it on an equally foreboding atmosphere. "Sorcery" is the closest thing the record has to a club track, but of course its subverted. The convincing lead and bassline are frayed by some hyperreal percussive elements and cluster piano, like an corroded-VHS recording of a spinning top, barely hanging on in a bizarre and dramatic balancing act.