#MyRecordBag – Close Counters name their top ten Australian electronic tracks
Melbourne-based production duo Close Counters – aka Finn Rees and Allan McConnell – are making waves beyond their Antipodean home.
Last year’s track Rollout, alongside Young Franco and rappers Scrufizzer and Jay Prince earned multiple spins on BBC Radio 1 (not to mention making it onto the soundtrack for Fifa 23), while the pair’s recent Flux EP was BBC Radio 1Xtra’s ‘EP of the Week.
This month sees the release of the follow-up to their sample-based debut mixtape Soulacosta, which drew comparisons with fellow Melbourne natives The Avalanches. Soulacosta II was produced following a mammoth record-store visiting odyssey in London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam, and blends soul, house, hip hop and broken beats.
The album, which is self-released, lands on 15 February. You can pre-order it here.
As part of 909originals’ #MyRecordBag series, we asked Close Counters for a playlist of their top ten ‘Australian electronic’ cuts. Over to you, lads!
Close Counters – Get Down!
This is a tune off our new record, Soulacosta II. It presents some new directions for us, digging into broken beat, or ‘bruk’, which is a sound that is starting to grow in Australia at the moment. We put this out on Remedy Project/Defected in November.
Kuzco – Immunity
Kuzco is definitely one to watch. An amazing keys player in Naarm/Melbourne, she plays for Harvey Sutherland and the Middle Name Dance Band as well as many others. Her debut single is out on They’re Energised, a compilation by Allysha Joy on Coop Records.
The smooth intro quickly gets taken over by the jilted 909 beats and vocal samples. This tune both slaps you in the face with the staunch groove and lures you through layers of funk and jazz harmony.
Sampology – Memories In Flight
Sampology is one of the most underrated producers and DJs – there are so many good tunes of his out there – but this one just resonates in such a beautiful way. It’s an instrumental collage with layers of strings and harps and keyboards and percussion, underpinned by a four-to-the-floor drum from the MPC.
Totek – Missing You
An amazing new duo project from Allysha Joy and Yeldebert. Missing You by Totek is a deep, lo-fi house soother. It’s got real patience and emotion, and would be the perfect soundtrack to a night drive, or to wind down the energy at the end of a set. The filtered piano chords set the tone of the tune while Allysha’s intimate soulful vocal leads you through.
Izy – Moon (Elle Shimada Remix)
This tune represents an amazing crew in Naarm/Melbourne. Izy is a soul/funk trio that are just emerging and putting out some seriously good music.
This is a remix by Elle Shimada, an amazing producer and violinist – and a collaborator of ours – who put a wicked twist on the original tune, taking it into dance territory. Waari’s vocal glides through, while the beat dances between syncopated and housey rhythms with classic minor-9th house chords underneath.
1tbsp – Castillo
Out of Meanjin/Brisbane, 1tbsp is the dance project of Golden Vessel – aka Max Byrne – and is a really fresh cut of dance music. This one kicks into gear with vocal samples looped to create the blueprint for the syncopated groove. The saturated 808 bassline and dreamy keys really draw you in to this tune.
Gordon Koang – South Sudan (Andras Remix)
Andras has been a staple of the Australian DJ and electronic scene for years with his experimental visions of electronica. This tune is an underground house flip of South Sudan by Gordon Koang, a South Sudanese-Australian musician, who has gathered great recognition both back home and in Australia. Released on Music In Exile, the acapella gets looped and chopped in and out over the minimal beat and bouncy chords.
Squidgenini – Into My Heart
Vocalist and producer Squidgenini, also from Meanjin/Brisbane, put out a super slick EP in 2021. This tune is a real stand out, pulling on classic house tropes but also taking it into new territory, with bold funky basslines, keys and percussion pushing and pulling against the grid – with an air of Roisin Murphy-esque vocal delivery that’s both seductive and self liberating.
Theo Parrish, Lori, Perrin Moss, Paul Bender, Simon Mavin and Silentjay – What Are You Gonna Ask For
This one is a local underground classic. The natural interaction of piano riffs, rhodes, synths, percussion and atmosphere gives it a constantly uplifting vibe, which is just so infectious. Then, the layers of vocals and sax lines come in and it just keeps building.
This was recorded at the Grove studio in Coburg – known for many amazing productions, from Hiatus Kaiyote to Natalie Slade to Simon Mavin, and more – this was then chopped and produced by Theo Parrish.
Pnau – Sambanova
Couldn’t resist popping this title track by the Australian pop/dance group in here. This is a lesser-known production by the group, released in the year 1999 on Peking Duck label. It’s a funky journey through lounge, jazz and Latin-infused house – so different from their current sound, but still so relevant to today’s dancefloors.
Thanks to Close Counters for the playlist. More information on upcoming releases and dates can be found here.