2012 was a good year. A very good year. Going through our posts and playlists over the past year it was easy to identify great tunes. But it was equally hard to single out an all through solid album - a future classic. There were many good efforts from the likes of Frank Ocean, Actress, Robert Glasper and others but very few of them ended up on repeat for us. At least in their entireties. For that reason I decided to put forward the top selections of 2012 in three sections:
* Top 5 artists of year (instead of releases) that impressed me the most in 2012
* Best tunes of the year (Spotify link)
* Top 3 expectations for 2013
ARTISTS OF THE YEAR
You say what?! I haven't quite been able to figure out why but it's been a crazy year for Prince. Prince Roger Nelson of the 80s that is. For an artist that hasn't released a single track (that we know of) Prince has been huge 2012. It might have started already last year with the return of Prince live in session at festivals around the world. Then Jam & Lewis and the Time reunited as the Original 7even and released the Condensate album. That sparked a "Nu-Prince-Movement" that's been pulsating all year:
*Wax Poetic put out a Prince special edition including no less than two mixtapes of peak performances from the man.
*All year we've been flooded with Prince edits and covers from the likes of Dâm-Funk, Frank Ocean et al.
*Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip has been tearin' the roof off with his DJ sessions when dropping the 1984 obscure Morris Day & Prince jam session Cloreen Bacon Skin.
If that doesn't convince you there's a new biography entitled Prince by Matt Thorne and the other week there was a TWO (!) day seminar at the London Institute of Contemporary Art analyzing the Prince's work.
All we can say is that his importance for most of the new music we listen to today cannot be overrated. One of the greatest tributes that's been on heavy rotation for us was the Wax Poetics mixtape vol.2:
Download: Wax Poetics - Prince mixtape part 2
2.Tall Black GuyWithout a doubt one of the artist that we have spun the most this year. His edits, compilations and original tracks have been off the hook. His Tempo Dreams compilation for Bastard Jazz set a new standard for beatmakers to live up to.
Our stand out track of the year from TBG was his totally unexpected remake of James Brown's I feel good. You've gotta have guts to take on a classic tune and flip it into something completely different. We've said it before but it's like a part 2 of Waajeed's Tron track. Absolutely genius!
Download: Tall Black Guy - What's good
3.Buscrates 16-bit Ensemble
What can we say. Orlando Buscrates Marshall has had an amazing year. As a producer for Kiara, as a group member in East Liberty Quartet, as a remixer as well as a solo artist he has blown us away all year. If Dâm-Funk is the king of boogie - Buscrates is most definitely next in line to take the reign.
*Best release: Buscrates - Funktropolis EP
*Best remake: Vesta Williams - Don't blow a good thing (Buscrates re-edit)
*Best production: Kiara Reves - Shine on
Buscrates was also the first artist in our Beat Generation Interview Series.
Download: Buscrates - Phoenix rising (Beathearts Beat Generation exclusive)
Ever since we got Miles Bonny's seminal track Still Miles with DJ Day back in 2009 he's been on our radar. Numerous EPs, collaborations and albums later his sense of quality is second to none.
Miles been putting out amazing releases all year and all you regulars might recall that S3's album Supa Soul Sh*t was our album of the month in November.
Download: S3 - Don't stop
No matter what you think about the hype there's no denying Mr. Ocean's huge influence on the soundtrack to the world 2012.
From the first underground mixtapes and bootlegs to TV-commerials and inflight entertainment he's taken the world by storm. With incredible productions and solid harmonies in my ears his sound is the 2012 equivalent to Gamble & Huff in the 70ies. Channel Orange was one of very few solid albums of 2012 and we have high hopes of what's to come in 2013.
Download: Frank Ocean - Sweet
TUNES OF THE YEAR
Like I said we've been absolutely overwhelmed with great tunes all year. Below I've compiled a few of my favourite tracks to brighten the daily subway ride. If you've got Spotify there's a playlist link below. If not we've compiled all available download links.
Spotify playlist: Beathearts top selections 2012
Download: Joey Badass - Waves
Download: S3 - Don't stop
Listen: Mala - Cuba Electronica
Download: Vesta Williams - Don't blow a good thing (Buscrates edit)
Yuna ft Pharell & Dizzee Rascal - Live your life (Not officially released - hunt it down!)
Listen: Wiley - Scar
Listen: Actress - Rainy dub
Listen: Yasiin Bey - Niggas in poorest
Listen: Tall Black Guy - What's good (JB flip)
Listen: Nas - The don
Download: Donaeo - When angels sing (TEED remix)
Download: Alexis Davis - The lift
Listen: Buscrates & Kiara Ravae - Shine on
Listen: Martino - Reasons (Sigg Buggz remix)
Download: Jeremih - Keep it moving
Listen: Ikiz & Melo - Over and over
DJ Spin & DJ Rashad - Let me baby
Download: Souls of Mischeif - 93 til infinity (Hannes Fisher remix)
Robert Glasper ft Ledisi - Gonna be alright
Listen: Daphni - Jiaolong
Listen: Frank Ocean - Super Rich Kids
Listen: Electric Street Orchestra ft Mad Mike Banks - Scorpio
Listen: Naderi - Stormy weather
EXPECTATIONS FOR 2013:
1.The return of Waajeed
Download: T-E-E-D - BBC essential mix
3.Maya Jane Coles
Download: Maya Jane Coles - BBC essential mix
------------================-------------Last but not least we want to thank you all for an amazing year. We can't thank you enough for all the amazing feedback and input we've got from you all since the start. Followers, artists, labels, journalists, DJs and partners.
If you want to get in touch with new music, ideas, feedback and questions don't hesistate to hit us up right here, on Twitter @beatheartsblog or e-mail: beatheartsblog(a)gmail.com.
Thestrom & Antwan