Move D & Benjamin Brunn - Songs From the Beehive (Smallville)
this album fully realizes all the concepts set forth from the Artificial Intelligence era of Warp records. improved production methods from the future allow the sounds here to break free of any stiffness. tones are deep and soft, clicks sound pleasantly insect-like, and the kicks are all full of inviting warmth. the longer tracks practically bloom.
Few Nolder - No Mo 12" (Planet μ)
so, this lithuanian guy sprang this on the public early in the year and no one really seemed to take notice. sucks for them, because this 12" contains a pair of the most killer techno tracks of the year. nothing too fancy: enormous beats, groaning mile-wide hooks and just enough little flourishes to keep you interested. his contribution to the Plan μ even tops what's here (more on that later).
Benoît Pioulard - Temper (Kranky)
dude made this and his last record, Précis, on garageband. man. anyway, he continues in the elegant fuzzy acoustic / aged drone vein and doesn't pull any punches. the result is a fully consistent gathering of lovely songs in which Pioulard (aka Thomas Meluch) hones his skills. perhaps now he's grounded enough to expand or alter his sound a bit on the next record. his collaboration ep with praveen from this year is also worth seeking out.
Aidan Baker & Tim Hecker - Fantasma Parastasie (Alien8)
another record that arrived with little fanfare and garnered seemingly little attention, and what a shame. a titanic meeting of guitar and electronics drone titans. things stay pretty much heavy as the world for most of the record, but there are also a couple tracks that provide welcome respite and mellowness. for Baker this is another solid addition to an ever-expanding resumé, and for Hecker this serves as a promising preview for his new solo full-length due early next year. make no mistake, though: this album is quite satisfying in its own right.