The shortest month of the year has been a showcase for brilliant music. Hosting a string of landmark releases, February has brought in some key EPs that will be revisited for the rest of 2012. The flavour of the month has been down tempo tracks; heartfelt and restrained in their content and dark but uplifting thanks to their calibre. This is laid bare in Diplo and Usher’s ‘Climax’, the walkaway Valentine’s track of 2012. The return of big names, and the affirmation of new ones have made the past 29 days a truly exciting listen.
Written by Luke Innes & Hana Teraie-Wood.
1. Boddika & Joy O – Froth / Mercy
These two heavyweights could only have produced another winner after their debut single together ‘Swims’. The two phenomenal ‘future bass’ tracks on this second release have been dropped in clubs for a while now and are continually floor-fillers. More has been promised from this successful collaboration and their mysterious new label, Sunklowun – lucky us.
2. ItsNate – Suede Jones Smooth Material
On the back of performing at the Lacoste Live sessions and opening at Stalley’s live show in London, ItsNate has released his second EP – Suede Jones Smooth Material. The smooth sounding, mesmerising hip hop beats and distinguishable flow are making waves on the scene and cementing his name as one to watch.
3. Shlohmo – Vacation EP
Vacation is a cleaner and more straight-edged follow up to last year’s Bad Vibes . Gone are the samples of birds singing and in comes the electronic sound of rain – Vacation has moved away from the sound of the exotic towards the soundscape of the city. The stellar remixes are as good as the originals, especially Nicolas Jaar’s reworking of ‘Rained the Whole Time’ (see below), only available on vinyl. Released on FoF.
4. Burial – Kindred EP
Arguably the release of the month, the seminal dub-step artist Burial returned with an EP that reaffirmed his place as a benchmark UK bass artist. Kindred is ethereal, complex and substantial – and makes up for its short track list with the eleven and a half minute title-track epic. Any fan of Burial will like this; Bevan remains unwaveringly loyal to his trademark sounds, even if spread over lengthier, exploratory tracks. Released on Hyperdub.
5. Grimes – Visions
Claire Boucher, aka Grimes secured her respected place in the music scene last year, with three releases including her collaboration with d’Eon on the Darkbloom EP. Her unique brand of ‘post-internet’ indie-pop is given an even better outlet on her new album, Visions, which was released at the turn of the month. February also saw her guest curate gorillavsbear.net, who have been solid backers since early 2010. See the Grimes takeover of Gorilla vs. Bear here. Released by Arbutus Records.By Hana Teraie-Wood