Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dialogue:Incorporated:Radioshow #9 | January - Best of 2008



Dialogue Incorporated | January Newsletter:
Dialogue Incorporated Radio Show #9 - Best of 2008

Exclusive mix from the Creative Director
Compiled, mixed, and hosted by Mister Joshua P. Ferguson
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Letter from the Editor

TO PHILISTINE OR NOT TO PHILISTINE? IS THAT EVEN A QUESTION?
By Joshua P. Ferguson

Philistine \fil-uh-steen\
- Noun: a person who is guided by materialism and is usually disdainful of intellectual or artistic values
- Adjective: smugly commonplace or conventional

Shill \shil\
- Noun: a person who publicizes or praises something or someone for reasons of self-interest, personal profit, or friendship or loyalty.
- Verb: to advertise or promote (a product) as or in the manner of a huckster; hustle

The Sunday before new years the New York Times Arts & Leisure section ran a cover story entitled “Songs From the Heart of a Marketing Plan” as a sort of 2008 musical and cultural wrap up. Written by Jon Pareles, it discussed the state of the music industry ranging from the proliferation of licensing as a dominant money making vehicle in music to where this leaves the audience as artists increasingly attempt to satisfy both the licenser and the listener. For about two weeks now I’ve been struggling with ideas for Dialogue Incorporated’s final statement of 2008. Thank you Mr. Pareles, your article has greased the wheels and set the machine back in motion.

Setting up an end of the year retrospective has become a bit of a tradition for me. Going back way before Dialogue Inc I have made a point of using the last days of each year to sift through all the music happenings of the prior twelve months and parsing them down to a personal Best Of’s… Top’s… Number One’s… This year my ritual took on an added dimension in that I found myself considering songs not only for how well they stood up to my own aesthetic philosophy but also how well they stood up in the greater social arena. As evidenced from the way the final version of my recap plays out its fairly obvious that I find my personal aesthetic scale infinitely more listenable but I find this second scale fascinating fodder for discussion.

For me 2008 was as much about Dialogue Incorporated as it was about Djing digitally, Chicago, and a musical scene that is transitioning away from the musical niches that I have traditionally found myself a part of, favoring instead a more mainstream appeal. Granted “mainstream” is probably broader than ever, therefore it could be argued that these defining lines are ever blurrier, but a spectrum it is still and as such must have its poles, its opposites, and its middle ground. This year more than any other I found myself having to reckon with the likes of top 40 artists and pop acts encroaching upon the coveted top slots in my yearly chart and I’ll be honest, if I could simply leave my intellectual and analytical instincts by the wayside, I think I’d be ok with this. I genuinely had a damn good time playing some downright mediocre songs this year and, for the first time ever, I found myself with a dj schedule that trumped all else in my life – which means I spent a lot of time with these tunes over the last 12 months.

What is it about this musical escapism that extols all things materialistic, these thinly veiled adverts that define their worth by their ability to sell a product or lifestyle? Don’t get me wrong. Long have I daydreamed about being the next music exec in the lineage of Rick Rubin or Jay-z: the man who conceived of the 21st century solution to music profitability. I am one born of a business mold. I get the marketing thing – in fact, I generally praise the marketing thing. I know I take note when a song is featured in the latest ipod commercial or is the title track to the latest Apatow film. Instantaneously, what is generally no more than a lackluster lump of coal is miraculously transformed into a shimmering diamond. And we all know how much the club loves diamonds… Especially given the current world climate, who am I to blame someone for coveting a more fortunate, if more materialistic, life-style? Sure this could also be a chief signifier for all that is wrong with society today but if you’re gonna let that get under your skin I recommend that you head out to your nearest bookstore, buy a copy of Walden, head off to the most remote area you can find and be sure that the cabin you build is comfortable because you’re going to be there for a long time. More practically I might suggest exactly what Mr. Pareles suggested to himself in his article: “Time for me to get over it.”

So it was with this attitude that I embarked on my musical summarization of 2008. I got over it, stopped knocking the hustle, and I let my guilty pleasure flag fly. I think the result is a really fun mix of tunes – some most of the world has never heard and others that, unless you were already living in afore mentioned cabin, you most likely couldn’t avoid. In addition to the top 25 mix, which is in no particular order, I put together a few mini top 5’s for to keep the conversation rolling.

Big up to everyone for supporting the Inc this past year – big ups mr. Shay, ms. SR-71, mr. Renault, Joe Davis/Far Out, and Aeroplane for contributing sets to the show!!

With that, get out there and stimulate that economy! I mean… Let the conversation begin!


jpf

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Dialogue Incorporated Radio Show #9

BEST OF 2008
Hosted by Mister Joshua

Tracklisting:

1st Hour

Rubies “I Feel Electric” (Tiedye remix) – Italians Do It Better
The Rubies surfaced on our radar last year and we featured them on 2007’s year end as well. Their rich brand of folky electronica has caught many a dj’s ear/eye this year. This remix was picked up by Jersey’s Italian’s Do It Better – another winner from ’07 – and this is the best treatment of The Rubies’ big single for this year.

Woolfy “Return of Starlight” (Invisible Conga People remix) – Permanent Vacation
Stoner track of the year. The original version of this is the shit, it’s like a metaphysical out of body experience inside your head. Threw the remix on here to switch things up a bit. Permanent Vacation were unstoppable this year – Dialogue Inc label of the year by far! Check out our full review of Woolfy’s album here: http://dialogueinc.blogspot.com/2008/11/careening-through-cosmos.html

MGMT “Time to Pretend” – Columbia
These guys embody our perfect middle ground in music for this year. Skyrocketed to popularity, propelled by quirky indie-electro-pop anthems that pretty much every body loved. Genius.

Enzo Ponzio “Italian Boy” – Pizzico
This entry represents our hats of to DJ Stephen and Aeroplane for being, yet again, one of our top acts in music. Period. Dialogue Inc was fortunate enough to feature a mix from DJ Stephen and this was without a doubt one of the standout cuts.

Grace Jones “Williams Blood” (Aeroplane remix) – Wall of Sound
Rounding out Aeroplane’s prominent presence in the Dialogue sphere this year. This year their remix work stood out the most and this remix her of brand new Grace Jones material is top of the pops.

Hercules & Love Affair “Time Will” – DFA
Everyone’s heard “Blind” – Dialogue inc was big on to that tune earlier this year as well. But! “Time Will”? This is the tune that continues to resonate off the album. DFA also played a big role this year. Big up to Jacques Renault and Justin Miller for helping make the DFA show happen.

Wareika “Belonging” – Eskimo
Runaway out-of-left-field madness. It’s deep waltzing rhythm has officially stolen the show. A bit out from the normal Eskimo label sound, where this cut found a home, and we’re thankful it did. Definitely top 5.

Jazzanova “I Can See” (Holy Ghost remix) – Verve
Another instance where we rolled out the remix even though you can’t top the original (featured last show). Jazzanova are a deeply influential part of why Dialogue Inc came to be so any year they drop new material is a big year musically and they outdid themselves with “I Can See”.

Chic “I Want Your Love” (Todd Terje edit) – Supreme
It hurts a little bit to say it and many out there will curse in response to this but it is chiefly because of the volume of killer disco edits, like this one, coming out that vinyl is still alive at the Dialogue offices. An integral part of what we do musically, the edit reigns supreme and Todd Terje is one of the best musical surgeons out there.

Runaway “Brooklyn Club Jam” – DFA/Rekids
A great example of the sort of disco, deep house next generation sound that’s ruling the Dialogue Inc playlists. Runaway hit the nail on the head with this one and our feature with Runaway’s Jacques Renault garnered our first really solid bit of press – big up John Dugan for that as well!

Rihanna “Disturbia” (Emynd’s Finally remix) – cd-r
Here we have it: the number one guilty pleasure of 2008. I think I wake up with this song stuck in my head 3 out of every 5 mornings and I still get excited when it works its way up the playlist out at the club (but not so much when the Circuit City ad its in comes on). She’s hot, this song’s kinda twisted, and it’s uncannily catchy. To keep things a bit fresh we switched it up with Emynd’s recent remix.

Nina Simone “Take Care of Business” (Pilooski edit) – Verve
This entry is more about Pilooski then this particular edit although it does bang something serious. He rode the wave high off his Frankie Valli edit (just redone and featured in an Adidas ad) and he’s still sailing thanks to this years edits of Del Shannon, Elvis, and The Mystery Jets.

Kid Sister vs Walter Meego “Pro Nails Forever” (Hood Internet mix) – cd-r
Speaking of waves this Chicago trifecta have all splashed the pot this year and people are taking note. Kid Sister’s been on MTV, the cover of numerous magazines, and at Lollapalooza. Walter Meego landed a spot on the latest Heineken magazine ad campaign, and Hood Internet… Well they know whats up. All talented people that came to you live & direct from Chitown this year.

2nd Hour

Santogold “L.E.S. Artistes” (Herve edit) – cd-r
As big as MIA has been over the past few years and especially given the popularity of “Paper Planes” (Pineapple Express anyone?) Santogold deserves major respect for breaking on to the scene the way she has and it was this song that really hit heavy rotation at the Dialogue studios. Now she’s teamed with Jay-z?! Big tings acome.

The Ting Tings “Great DJ” – Columbia
We may have been behind on the uptake here but when DJ AM dropped this at the DJ stage for Lollapalooza this year the entire musical landscape of this year changed. Bass, drums, and a saucy lil blonde girl never kicked so hard. Plus she’s singing about the DJ. It was like a match made in heaven.

Lykke Li “I’m Good I’m Gone” (Black Kids remix) – Atlantic/LL
This beautiful young Swede bubbled up from obscurity almost instantly this year and caught on almost universally. Now she’s sort of joined the short list for top cute young indie/electronic/pop acts. Look out Lily Allen! There were a ton of great remixes commissioned for her singles and this one from the Black Kids really kept things upbeat and jamming.

School of Seven Bells “Connjur” – Ghostly International
S7B have without a doubt captured the Dialogue heart for the last 3-4 months. Officially the only act to be featured on the show more than twice, The Bells modern twist on shoegaze and folk opened whole new doors in music for us and we couldn’t be happier. Check out our full review of their album here: http://dialogueinc.blogspot.com/2008/11/schoolofsevenbells-alpinisms.html

Milosh “Another Day” - !k7
Milosh’s melancholy iii album for !K7 was a defining moment for downtempo in ’08. Its almost as if “downtempo” in the sense that the term was coined doesn’t exist anymore. Its turned into some watered down bastard child played in the bathrooms of suburban hotels. So to hear this in all of its beautiful slo-mo tension teetering between understated joy and downright sad was a much needed respite from the bathroom lounge music that downtempo has become.

Tawiah “Every Step” (Zed Bias remix) – Sick Trumpet
There’s no doubt that Dubstep really came into its own over the last two years, so much so dubstep tracks are finding their way into many a top ten and dominating many a music conversation. The dubstep treatment was no different at the Dialogue Studios this year and this Zed Bias remix of Tawiah is one of the standout tracks from the genre this year.

Lil Wayne “Lollipop” (Spinstyles remix) – cd-r
Lil Wayne was arguably one of the biggest artists this year. His presence in popular music was nothing short of ubiquitous. He had guest verses on love songs, rock songs, thug songs, you name it. His grilled mug was e’rywhere. This entry is also a nod to the proliferation of blog remixes this year. So many hits got great remix twists breathing new life into each one that it practically became a genre of its own in 2008.

Mystery Jets “Half in Love with Elizabeth” (Delorean remix) – cd-r
This band probably started the whole indie rock craze here at Dialogue Inc studios. We’re not even quite sure when we first heard them and all of a sudden it was all that was being played. With so much concentration being given to every single tangent created in electronic music its about time we stepped outside the box and let something else influence for a while. It didn’t hurt that they got a ton of great remixes this year… Like this one.

Broken Social Scene presents Brendan Canning “Hit the Wall” – Arts & Crafts
If it hasn’t already been made abundantly obvious, Lollapalooza was a highlight of the year for us. These guys right here were the highlight of the whole festival (ok we were blown away by DJ AM as well – but we already knew who he was). If Mystery Jets started this whole indie rock obsession, the Scene solidified it.

Lindstrom “The Long Way Home” (Prins Thomas edit) – Smalltown Supersound
We’ve just realized that we may have given the “stoner” award out a bit prematurely because Lindstrom’s full Where You Go I Go Too with its 20 minute slow burners is definitely in the running. Thanks to Prins Thomas – who got a lot of air time on the Inc this year we’ve got a paired down edit of one of the top songs from the album.

Mark E “Sun Shadow – LaBelle edit” – Creative Use
Mark E reigns supreme as the king of the edit this year. His epic edits tease out all the best elements of each track building listeners up to a most gratifying payoff. Admittedly his edits for Jisco in ’07 were some of his best, this effort here is nothing to be fucked with.

Quiet Village “Too High to Move” - !k7
Last but not least we have another fitting entry for the Dialogue Incorporated sound of 2008. Rekids label owner Matt Edwards with partner in library music crime Joel Martin turned heads with their Silent Movie album thanks to its spacey mix of cinematic soundtrack samples and sunset & surf like soundscapes. A perfect end to the mix.


2008 top 5’s:

Top 5 tunes of 2008
5. Grace Jones “Williams Blood” (Aeroplane remix) - Wall of Sound
4. The Ting Tings “Great DJ” – Columbia
3. Woolfy “Return of Starlight” – Permanent Vacation
2. Jazzanova “I Can See” – Verve
1. Wareika “Belonging” – Eskimo

Top 5 artists of 2008
5. MGMT
4. Lindstrom
3. Aeroplane
2. Mystery Jets
1. School of Seven Bells

Top 5 labels of 2008
5. Sonar Kollektiv
4. Versatile
3. DFA
2. Eskimo
1. Permanent Vacation

Top 5 club tune/guilty pleasures of 2008
5. Kanye West “Flashing Lights” (Remix w/R Kelly) – Rock-a-Fella
4. Lil Wayne “Lollipop” (Remix w/Kanye West) – Cash Money
3. Enur & Natasja “Calabria” – Ultra
2. Katy Perry. Period.
1. Rihanna “Disturbia” – Def Jam

Popstatic (www.samurai.fm/popstatic) Top 5 2008
5. Benga - Diary Of An Afro Warrior
4. David Holmes - "I Heard Wonders"
3. Luke Solomon - "Demons (Brennan Green Remix)"
2. M83 - Saturdays = Youth
1. Portishead - Third

Roy Shay – Dialogue Inc’s LDN correspondent – Top 5 for 2008
5. Albam Clothing - As I start phasing out the Bathing Ape in my closet in favour of a slightly more work-place and age-appropriate wardrobe, I found Albam a comfortable intermediate stepping stone. Their fresh, somewhat marine/fisherman-y take on prep - with bright coloured cagoules, (Quoddi-collab) boat shoes and perfectly tailored shirts - is welcome; And, as much as I appreciate the nimble fingers of an eight year-old Malysian kid, it's nice to know most of their (rather reasonably priced, mind you) clothes are made in the UK.
4. MGMT: Oracular Spectacular - I'm not ashamed to admit, I slept on this until the very last second. I'm not ashamed to admit, either, that it was the impossible amount of hype this generated and number 1 spots on top-ten year-end charts it snuck its way into. There's nothing understated or subtle about this album - it's ambitious, clever, eclectic, perfectly produced and spectaculalrly executed, and even a bit uncomfortable at times. Listen and embrace, if only to not sit on the sidelines the next time someone else brings up whether or not this is prog-rock topic at a party.
3. John Miles: Stranger in the City [Pilooski Edit] - An impossibly close second place, if only for the fact that I didn't get a chance to play this out; For whatever reason, this track suffers from the dreaded never-the-right-time-to-drop syndrom. Biblically perfect in it's understated progressions, this is the stuff of a perfect re-edit. With the impossibly frequent turnover of tracks in my iPhone's miniscule memory bank, this track has dilligently persisted to prove its right to stay in there. Don't sleep.
2. Hudson Mohawke - In my eyes, the leader of this whole Flying Lotus/MonoPoly/Samiyam/Bullion/Onra-nu-beat generation thing that's been gathering much deserved momentum this year. His remix for Tweet's Ooops! showed versatility and depth, proving his talent for not just glitchy, impenetrable, dirty bleep-offs, but also a sound that could very much (if subtly) slip into a commercial setting. Hudson Mohawke (along with Flying Lotus) got picked up by Warp and is looking at a first EP release at the beginning of the year. This can only mean good things
1. Cobra Dukes: Airtight [Aeroplane Remix] - The secret weapon in my record box this year, without a doubt. The affair with Aeroplane started in the beginning of the year, with Dialogue Inc. head honcho and Feinschmecker Mr. Joshua sending me their epic remix for Low Motion Disco's Love Love Love, and rather non-chalantly if I remember correctly. This kicked off a full-blown, rather perverse relationship with this prolific duo, with me dropping their tracks in every single set this year, from a low-key iPod session in a stranger's flat party to a set at the Big Chill festival's radio station. It culminated in me playing this astonishingly perfect remix while hosted by the Botanika crew in Tel Aviv this past Christmas; No one knew the tune, but it went down like a bag full of red Wayfarers at a Klaxons gig. That is the sign of a truly great track.

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