A tribute to Tony Allen, by Emma-Jean Thackray
More personal snapshot than genre-spanning panorama, the EP is more given to free wandering than its longer cousin the album. Despite – or because of – this, the EP has come into its own in the modern era, and this year has seen a wealth of wonderful new shapes operating between four and six tracks.
1. Laurel Halo ‘Hour Logic’ [Hippos In Tanks]
Melding contradictions like she’s building a new musical world order, Laurel Halo combines an exacting ear for techno’s past with the freest of brush strokes on ‘Hour Logic’. It’s undoubtedly her finest release to date and just as certainly the most accomplished EP of this year.
2. Zomby ‘Nothing’ [4AD]
While the terrain is familiarly Zomby, ‘Nothing’ injects a sharp, witty freshness into the masked producer’s rave echoes. It’s his best release to date but pulses with the promise that it’s nothing on what is yet to come.
3. Clams Casino ‘Rainforest’ [Tri Angle]
Bridging the leap from writing free beats for internet rappers to hitting the big time as part of A$AP Rocky’s multi-million dollar crew, Clams Casino’s EP on Tri Angle is a lucid trip through the mind of one of this year’s most exciting new artists.
4. Holy Other ‘With U’ [Tri Angle]
With all the strength and power of a waterfall in slow motion, Holy Other articulated forlorn longing like no other this year. ‘With U’ is an entirely physical listen: tactile beats for the small hours.
5. Dam Mantle ‘WE’ [GetMe!]
Glaswegian producer Dam Mantle’s ‘WE’ EP is one that lurks and broods, a slow and stealthy burner that grows in stature with every play.
6. Autre Ne Veut ‘Body’ [Hippos In Tanks]
Sexy, fresh and pop as hell, ‘Body’ is the sound of Autre Ne Veut stretching suggestively. Peeling back the exhausted emotion of his debut LP, it revels in its perky punchiness.
7. Deptford Goth ‘Youth II’ [Merok]
Deptford Goth’s debut EP channels outsider folk and R&B into a confident, personable whole. The sound of Saturday afternoon dreaming, it’s one of the most satisfying, re-playable records released this year.
8. Light Asylum ‘In Tension’ [Mexican Summer]
Light Asylum’s greatest weapon is singer Shannon Funchess: her’s is a voice that claps and cracks with thunderous emotion. It was a long time coming but ‘In Tension’ suggests Light Asylum have it in them to be one of the greatest synth pop duos of our time.
9. Hudson Mohawke ‘Satin Panthers’ [Warp]
‘Satin Panthers’ is HudMo in circus leader mode, commanding a big top full of acrobats and high wire walkers. Big, bold and brassy, it’s pure Fantasia vibes from start to shimmering finish.
10. Regis ‘In A Syrian Tongue’ [Blackest Ever Black]
Though just three songs long (two if you don’t count the live version of Blood Witness) Regis’ record showed how many ideas and wit it is possible to force into a perfectly executed slice of vinyl.
11. Vondelpark ‘NYC Stuff & NYC Bags’ [R&S]
Vondelpark’s EP based on the stuttering skip of dubstep and the intricate vastness of shoegaze, quietly did little less than show a direction for British psychedelia with its romantic wanderings.
12. How To Dress Well ‘Just Once’ [Yours Truly]
What could be overlooked as a reworking of the standout tracks from How To Dress Well’s debut album ‘Love Remains’ is in actual fact a deeply moving, orchestral rebirthing.