Archive for December, 2012

2012 in review

Posted in Uncategorized on December 30, 2012 by softsynth

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 44,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 10 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Happy Holidays from Softsynth

Posted in Uncategorized on December 24, 2012 by softsynth

Thanks to all who have read over the year, to those who have posted and commented, to the bands who have shared their music and the labels who ensure we’ve been up to date on new releases. It’s been a great year for music and we’re looking forward to much more in ’13. As always, it’s been a privilege to be a part of this community. Have a great holiday, however you choose to celebrate it!

The Best Electronic Albums of 2012

Posted in Commentary, Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2012 by softsynth

The annual look back over the year is always so illuminating. Year over year we can see where the trends are, where the most exciting electronic music is coming from.

Last year harder-edged electro was quite prominent. From our choice for number one album of the year by Aesthetic Perfection on down, the industrial influence was riding high. When we compiled the initial rough list for this year it was dominated by albums more on the pop edge, particularly the more experimental quirky pop edge, but clearly melody was king.

It was a good, and more specifically, prolific year for electronic music. This year’s rough list was longer than any year previously and was duly difficult to whittle down.

As always, we know not everyone will agree with this list; if previous years are any indication there may be some heated, even extreme questioning of the choices, Such is the passion that rises from genre-specific music fans, the smaller and tighter the community, the more passionate.

There were some exceptional albums that didn’t quite make the grade for the top ten this year. Those include albums by Mari Chrome, Shiny Toy Guns (which, but for a last-minute switch would have been on this year’s list with their strong comeback, III), De/Vision, Sin Cos Tan, mind.in.a.box, The Presets, Carter Tutti Void, Passion Pit and Flux. Exceptional, sometimes joyously so, albums, the quality of which should be a good indication of how strong the top ten are. We also need to mention Metric’s 2012 offering. We referenced it when it came out and were somewhat meh on it at the time, while noting that the bulk of it couldn’t make any claim to being an electronic album, but no album has grown more this year on repeated listens, and if the “electronic half” of Synthetica were an album onto itself (“Dreams So Real”, “Lost Kitten”, “The Void”, “Clone”, “Nothing But Time”) it would easily have made our list. At a minimum, it deserves serious attention for it’s considerable strengths.

And with that, to this year’s best of the best… Continue reading

Bands we miss – Client

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 8, 2012 by softsynth

Client got bolder and stronger with each new release until they imploded. And even at that there was promise for the future but here we are at the close of 2012, and it feels like we’re no closer to having a sense of Client’s future than ever before.

We’re getting ahead of ourselves. Client were a gritty/dirty electronic duo from the UK, originally the only-ever signing to Andy Fletcher’s (Depeche Mode) Toast Hawaii label. They released four albums that eventually showed a band fully aware of what it wanted to be. Then up and left Sarah Blackwood (Client B) who reassembled with her Dubstar bandmates leaving “Client A”, i.e. Kate Holmes to find a new vocalist or call it a day. She recruited former Technique bandmate Xan Tylor to take the mic and over a year later…nothing. Holmes has been active on Twitter but mostly talking about her Client clothing operation, the music has clearly taken a backseat, the Client website not updated in over a year and no news of new music on the horizon. Once gets the sense of a band in stasis. And that makes this blogger sad. Continue reading

Annual rant about the Grammys (who do not understand electronic music)

Posted in Commentary, News with tags , , on December 7, 2012 by softsynth

We’ve said it all before in each of the previous three years and it’s too exhausting to review again. In the newly renamed “Best Dance Electronica Album” (thereby now banishing anything that isn’t essentially EDM from any discussion at all) the nominees this year are:

Steve Aoki, Wonderland
The Chemical Brothers, Don’t Think
Deadmau5, > Album Title Goes Here <
Kaskade, Fire & Ice
Skrillex, Bangarang

Good to see Chemical Brothers there, albeit for inferior work. As for the rest…well, again if you’re down with the EDM, you’re rockin’…not much else to add this year. Another sigh.

Those electronic bands that we hoped would release an album in 2012 but didn’t quite get around to it

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , on December 4, 2012 by softsynth

As fans of electronic music one can’t help look forward to 2013 even it means another painful rising of inevitably-dashed expectations of another Depeche Mode album. So many of the greats are releasing new albums – we’ve gone over the list ad nauseam, no need to revisit the list, if they are electronic and awesome, they pretty much definitely have a new album coming out in the next 12 months.

But some of the stuff we’re looking forward to the most are those artists who have yet to release a full album and we had some real hopes we would see one this year but didn’t. You know who you are. Yes you, Vile Electrodes, Sinestar, Curxes and Chvrches, you dirty shirkers, all lazy, playing your “concerts” and building a “following”. Enough of all that, Daddy wants some sugar. Continue reading

The holiday playlist

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2012 by softsynth

So it’s December and all that and while Softsynth may seem the cynic, he still appreciates the holiday season. In fact now that the Month of Ho is upon us the Softsynth Holiday Playlist has been added to the iPod and is in full play mode. This year’s playlist will be familiar to those who have followed this blog lo these last few years, and as always, if you know of something that should be here that isn’t (yet) shout ‘er out! Continue reading