2010 Top 10s and 20s
Will Long (Celer)

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
Celer & Yui Onodera
Dead Leaf Echo
Ferraris & Uggeri
Ernesto Ferreyra
Flying Horseman
The Foreign Exchange
Les Fragments de la Nuit
Ghost and Tape
Andrew Hargreaves
Head Of Wantastiquet
Anders Ilar
Quintana Jacobsma
Leafcutter John
Clem Leek
The Lickets
The Machine
My Fun
Ostendorf, Zoubek, Lauzier
Part Timer
Phillips + Hara
RV Paintings
Set In Sand
Matt Shoemaker
Sun City Girls
Ben Swire
Collin Thomas
Upward Arrows

Compilations / Mixes
Exp. Dance Breaks 36
Lee Jones
The Moon Comes Closer
Note of Seconds

Jasper TX
Simon Scott
Thorsten Soltau / Weiss
Jace Syntax & BlackJack

Kaiserdisco: In No One's Shadow
My Best Friend

Though Hamburg-based Frederic Berger and Patrick Buck have been producing under the Kaiserdisco guise since 2008 and issued over ten twelve-inch releases as well as remixes for Umek, Booka Shade, and Robyn in the two years since, In No One's Shadow is nevertheless the duo's debut album. Hardly a gathering of previously issued material, the collection features ten unreleased tracks with only two, “Aquja” and “Carachillo,” having appeared before. That Berger and Buck remixed Booka Shade is telling as the Kaiserdisco sound—despite the album's titular protestation—sometimes shares certain qualities with its better-known counterpart. Both outfits pay attention to groove and melody in equal measure, and specialize in crafting thumping, hook-laden cuts tailor-made for the club. Having said that, Kaiserdisco is the trippier of the two and more inclined to roll out crowd-pleasers with no attendant reservations about being so user-friendly.

“Tripping Lure” steals a page out of the Booka Shade playbook by pairing a vintage BS bass line with a syncopated main melody, resulting in an epic, Balearic opener that could've snuck its way onto Movements without anyone batting an eye—derivative perhaps but irresistible nonetheless. The jaunty bounce of the title track and kooky beerhall oompah of “Simplistix” prove memorable, as does “Marie,” a churning club raver whose gyroscopic swing Kaiserdisco winds up with dizzying swirls of voice and electronic accents. A dark electro vibe and snarling vocal give “Holding Up My Life” a New Wave feel, while “You & Me” opts for a smooth deep house vibe, with congas, chimes, and atmospheric vocals enhancing the tune's summery allure. The album also exits on an atmospheric tip when Spanish guitar shadings heighten the exotic drama of “Djuma Of Love.”

In No One's Shadow doesn't come without a few reservations, however. “Dance on the Moon” includes a silly voiceover (an angel saying that “Music is life and life is music / If you want to be free you just have to choose it…”) that thankfully the music's elastic bounce makes easy to ignore. Having an ululating vocal snake through a dance track isn't a novel idea by now, either, but “Carachillo” is so melodically seductive it ends up breaking down whatever resistance one brings to it. And, at seventy-seven minutes, the album's longer than it needs to be—perhaps a ten-track version would've been better (“Legal Weapon” and “Hickup” would be my candidates for edits). But even so, the Traum Schallplatten sub-label My Best Friend is fortunate for being able to bring the group's party-friendly sound to the masses.

December 2010