The Resident Advisor review mentions DJ Koze, David Bowie, and Brian Eno in association with Matthew Dear‘s new album, “Black City,” just out this week. And I agree.

Even though the two have quite different styles, Matthew Dear, like DJ Koze, uses vocal arrangements to great effect, giving his compositions a unique and interesting feel. And the connections to “Heroes”-era Bowie and Eno are easy both to see, in the album’s cover and title, and to hear, especially, in standout tracks like “Little People,” on his Myspace page and below.

All these elements and influences combine to make “Black City” Matthew Dear’s most consistent and compelling lp to date.

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Pop Ambient 2010,” the tenth in its series, brings together many of the usual names: Thomas Fehlmann, Mikkel Metal, Triola, the Orb, and label founders Juergen Paape and Wolfgang Voigt themselves.

Still, what makes the very good compilation great are the surprises, chief among them DJ Koze‘s excellent “Bodenweich.”

And, best of all, “Pop Ambient 2010” features two outstanding tracks by Bvdub, “Lest You Forget” (see below) and the astonishingly awesome, 17-minute “Will You Know Where to Find Me.” Both of those compositions were first presented on Bvdub’s lp “We Were the Sun,” released last year on Quietus Recordings, but regrettably in such limited quantities that it’s become very difficult to find. But, here they are, in what will hopefully presage a rerelease of the original full-length.

15 more favorites from last year, to go with the 10 local albums listed below.

  1. Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion
  2. Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca
  3. Sister Suvi, Now I Am Champion
  4. Shrag, Shrag
  5. Bibio, Ambivalence Avenue
  6. Atlas Sound, Logos
  7. Animal Collective, Fall Be Kind
  8. Maayan Nidam, Nightlong
  9. Abe Vigoda, Reviver
  10. DJ Koze, Reincarnations – The Remix Chapter 2001-2009
  11. God Help the Girl, God Help the Girl
  12. Sonic Youth, The Eternal
  13. Durutti Column, Love in the Time of Recession
  14. The Juan Maclean, The Future Will Come
  15. Mountains, Choral

kompaktcd75-total_10Kompakt records’  annual Total compilations are always pretty good. But the latest one, number 10 in the series, is really great — a top candidate, I would say, for being the very best so far. Its 21 tracks span two cds and run nearly 2 1/2 hours in total.

Disk one starts out with DJ Koze’s tennis-inspired “40 Love,” followed by the superb Dirk Leyers remix of Justus Kohncke’s “(It’s Gonna Be) Alright.” Gui Boratto’s remix of the Sam-Taylor Wood/Pet Shop Boys collaboration “I’m In Love with a German Filmstar” was one that I knew from before and really liked. And two more outstanding tracks are Ada’s “Lovestoned” and Wighnomy’s remix of Boratto’s “No Turning Back.”

But, if you ask me, this compilation really hits its stride at the beginning of disk two, which opens with Kohncke’s “Give it to Me Easy” (a brilliant remake, James of friday morning “Kick Out The James” points out, of the Zombies’ 1968 single “Time of the Season,” which, when you think about it, always kind of did sound like a way-ahead-of-its-time techno track), and proceeds through Matias Aguayo’s excellent “Walter Neff” and Mayburg/Ada’s “Each and Every Day” before reaching an absolute peak with the amazing Supermayer remix of Gotye’s “Heart’s a Mess” and Thomas Fehlmann’s remix of the Field’s “The More I Do.”

Yes, I could go on. But suffice it to say that whether you want to bring the signature sound of Koln to your own dancefloor or just want an extended techno set to keep you focused while banging out some programming code, Kompakt’s Total 10 more than gets the job done. A fitting monument to the label’s tenth anniversary.

Stefan Kozalla/DJ Koze

Stefan Kozalla/DJ Koze

DJ Koze, “Reincarnations: The Remix Chapter 2001-2009.” I’ve found myself drifting back again and again to this one over the past month or so. Kind of like Seger, down on Main Street, I guess.

Though the work that is collected on this compilation was done over a period of years, the tracks are sequenced very nicely and flow together so that you can listen to it straight through like a regular album or DJ mix. Some of the remixes, the one of Battles’ “Atlas” being the leading case in point, sound totally different from the originals. Others, like Heiko Voss’ “Think About You,” stay closer to their sources but still sound new and interesting. In fact, each of the 13 full-length tracks presented here holds up as a highly original work of art. Highlights are hard to single out, since everything’s so good, but for me they would have to include Weschel Garland’s “Swim,” Noze’s “Danse Avec Moi,” and Sascha Funke’s “Mango Cookie.”

And then, above all, there’s Koze’s remix of Matias Aguayo’s “Minimal.” True, that started out as a nice and funny song. But Koze turns it into an absolute masterpiece.