I went to see HEALTH at The Garage a couple of months back. I’d got there early for the support bands and was doing a terrible job of nonchalantly hanging out on my own. You know, leaning against the wall, reading flyers, real lame. Then a guy in a baseball cap got on a mic, half singing, half rapping over cascading space-age rave melodies inside a fenced off area in front of the stage. “Why am I in this cage?” asked PICTUREPLANE. As the whole crowd – me included – surged forward in a dancing frenzy, his question was answered. Suddenly I didn’t care I was on my own. There’s something genuinely euphoric about PICTUREPLANE’s music. A cartoon-like explosiveness that feels both futuristic and nostalgic all at once; bright ‘n’ shiny newness aching for rave days gone by. The rainbow joy of his sound makes me think of HUDSON MOHAWKE, albeit in a white noise rinsed, breathless, dancing in a metallic warehouse kind of way.
“There are many emotions and ideas that drive my music,” explains Denver-based Travis Egedy over email a few weeks later. “A central theme is humanity, optimism and the intense beauty in human spirit. Physicality vs metaphysicality. The inside and outside of things. Sexuality and consciousness.” Topsy turvy explorative optimism certainly abounds on debut album ‘Dark Rift’, released on New York label Lovepump United back in August. It vibrates with hope and excitement. Having spent most of the year touring the US and Europe with label mates HEALTH, how was 2009 for him? “A life changing year full of wonder and color, sort of like a dream.” 2010 will see him release a 12” of True Ruin on Kate Moross’ Isomorphs label “with a possible remix by Zomby” and work on his new ‘Dark Sex’ album. But right now, Travis has very kindly written about the songs that made his year for us, in no order apparently. Plus download his awesome remix of Future Islands above for free too.
Silverlink Ft Jammer & Badness The Message Is Love
To use some British slang, this tune is completely MENTAL. It took me a little bit to appreciate this song after I first heard it, but now it makes me so happy when I throw it on. If this were to be played in a club, I don’t really know how people would move to it other than just jump around and go bananas. Total left field grime weirdness.
Zomby Rumours And Revolutions
What a fucking melody. So dark and spooky, it’s like minimal goth funky. It shows it doesn’t take much to shatter walls and crumble earths. Zomby is in a league of his own.
House Of Ladosha Burning Like Paris
Brilliant and dirty minimal queer crunk for confident freaks. Next level gender smashing NYC clubland style. This song is just NASTY. Ga gaa ga ga gaa gaaaaa!
Lil B I’m God
This tune is just so emotional and gorgeous, and Lil B is on his own planet. This is real rap for new agers. Lil B is going to blow up in 2010. Pure genius. I can’t get enough of him.
Starkey Gutter Music
I don’t even know if this came out in 2009, but this song is a perfect example of contemporary forward thinking dance music. Super technical, post modern and unbelievably fresh, it sounds like the end of the world. And it’s just SEXY.
Joy Orbison Hyph Mngo
Probably one of the defining anthems of the year, with good reason. Stunningly epic and built out of two synth two chords and cut up female vocals? The song almost doesn’t sound real, like it should be played on a distant moon somewhere. The 2-steppy drum pattern in this song will be imitated next year a lot, I’m sure. Just massive.
Rustie Zig Zag
When I first heard this I completely lost it. A serious “what the?” moment. Those repetitive stabbing synths changing speed and tempo mid song create a seriously psychedelic and disorienting head fuck. Absolutely next level consciousness expanding shit. Go Rustie.
D-LO No Ho
D-LO is hilarious. Like he would be high on ecstacy, but still be able to kill you. Totally drugged out bay area hyphy. On my tour with HEALTH this fall we listened to D-LO all the time, and this was THE jam. The song is so weird that the it’s borderline nonsensical. It’s like dada rap, extremely psychedelic and fun without trying to hard.
Keri Hilson Turn My Swag On Remix
I’m a big Solja Boy fan. Turn My Swag On is such a JAM but Keri just murders this song. There is so much emotion in her voice, it flutters and cracks around like she is about to cry or something, but the song is about being confident. I remember being high on ecstasy and singing this song at the top of my lungs like my life depended on it. It is just one of those life affirming songs that makes you feel like you can climb a fucking mountain or something dumb like that. Not that climbing mountains is “dumb”.
Miley Cyrus Party In The USA
The dudes in HEALTH showed me this song. It was an anthem on our tour. Some genius wrote this girl an amazing hit, but Miley destroys on the hook. I don’t know how someone could not feel good listening to this song. Anytime I hear it I dance around at least a little. It’s just ridiculous and the lyrics are completely absurd. Good luck on making a tune that tops this one Miley.
You should also check out HEALTH’s favourite noises.