Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Top 100 Tracks of 2016: 100 - 67

Starting today through Friday, I'll be revealing my list of the top 100 tracks of 2016. The following is my disclaimer, as I feel it's important to preface this list with my methodology. I thought long and hard about this list, what and who I should include, where each track should fall, and how to go about doing that. Should I include multiple tracks from one artist? Am I trying to make a point/statement with my placement of each track? How do I deal with the recency bias, and the counter-effect of that on older tracks? The reality is, this blog is mine and mine alone. It is one man's opinions and despite my claims, that these are the "top" or "best" tracks, they are more truthfully my favourite, and what I believe to be tracks/artists that deserve further praise. I did not conduct any surveys, base the ranking on plays or popularity, but rather I went with my heart.

As you'll see I did include multiple tracks from my favourite artists, as they are, at least in my mind, deserving. You'll also notice a hell of a lot of future bass tracks, as is only appropriate for 2016. I also tried to include a variety of other genres, but it will be clear what my tastes, and therefore favourite genres are. However, I certainly feel like this list ended up hosting very little "club" music, despite spending countless hour of 2016 in the clubs. That being said there are dozens of worthy tracks that I either forgot or excluded. Finally, I'll be posting a soundcloud playlist at the bottom of each post, as best I can, assuming each track is still online. So here we go with the first 34 tracks.

#100: Photay - Trophy
(As featured on EFYE) I had to choose one track from Photay's Sadie EP and as I wrote previously, "Trophy" is bold and beautiful. It's the kind of experimental track that I cannot place into a single genre, save for the catch all category of 2016, future bass. The synth work is brilliant and full of feels. And as you'll see, the progression and movement it boasts is the key to many of the tracks on this list.

#99: Cowboy Rhythmbox - Mécanique Sauvage
This techno joint takes be back to the days when the likes of Gesaffelstein, Justice and the classic Boys Noize and Erol Alkan's collabs dominated my playlists, so it's fitting that it was released on Phantasy Sound. The genius of "Mécanique Sauvage" is its raw hammering style, contrasted beautifully by subtle tweaks and progression. This would absolutely destroy a club.

#98: Terror Danjah - All I Need (ft. Dot Rotten)
I got scared for a second when I saw that this song was on soundcloud 3 years ago! However, it still qualifies for this list as it was only released in August of this year. This is one of the deeper more beautiful tracks on this list. Terror lays down a brilliant beat and Dot displays his vocal prowess in more ways that one. His flow is fire and his words will have you wiping away tears.

#97: Bob Moses - Like It Or Not (Joris Voorn Remix)
(As featured on EFYE) Of the Bob Moses remixes that could have fallen on this list, I decided to go with the Voorn version because of its truly epic nature. The journey Joris takes us on is absolutely breathtaking, it gives the feeling of flying with its soaring synths. At the same time it dives to an unknown abyss, with its dark, almost alarming, bass throbs. Buckle up for the brilliance of Joris Voorn.

#96: Solid Groove & Sinden - Din Da Da (Yolanda Be Cool Re-Jiggle)
This is another one of those tracks that take me back to the "good old days," specifically 2006/7 when the original was first released. I first heard this when RYME played it this summer, ushering in one of my most stanky, screw faces. On a proper system you'll be making the same oo's and ah's as the vocalist, thanks to the nonstop bouncy bass. This is a confirmed club killer.

#95: FrankJavCee - Pop Song (ft. Marionismagical)
(As featured on EFYE) I couldn't do this list without including this brilliant indictment of pop music, as you'll see there aren't many, if any, pop songs on this list. Not that there's anything wrong with them. And that's exactly what this song is about, how can you hate on pop music when you make an awesome pop song. Music is about enjoyment, and I thoroughly enjoy this and all tracks on this list.

#94: Louis The Child ft. K.Flay - It's Strange (SoySauce Remix)
(As featured on EFYE) Of all of the remixes of this track, SoySauce's is my favourite. Those plucked strings are the thing of dreams, or perhaps nightmares, as I cannot help but hear the "Goosebumps" theme song. There is some strange allure to this mix, that even 11 months after its release I still want to listen to it multiple times. It feels nice.

#93: Rüfüs - Be With You (Booka Shade Remix)
Ten years after Booka Shade's milestone album Movements was released, we got more new music from the dynamic duo than we could have possibly imagined. Their remixing mastery is on full display here, transforming "Be With You" into one of the biggest, bassiest house tracks of the year. My only complaint is that Booka Shade did not play this during their stop in Toronto, celebrating Movements 10.

#92: KMRT - Flash Flash (Slowbody Remix)
There's no denying the dankness of Slowbody's productions, but this mix of KMRT is utterly insane. Another one of these confirmed club killers, there's not much point in listening to this unless you've got a proper subwoofer. This one bangs unlike many others on this list, proving Slowbody and BADLQQK are not flash in the pan talents, rather power players here to stay.

#91: Drake - 9 (Klahr Remix)
The only remix of Drake you'll find on this list, and with hundreds out there after Views hit the scene, it should tell you just how good Klahr's version is, to be the only one to make the cut. It is epic in every sense of the word. The effects he uses, the journey he takes us on: pure genius. If Drake flipped the 6ix into a 9, then Klahr flipped it further to either back to a 6, or even better an infinity sign, ∞.

#90: Ruca - Play Bad (ft. Poupie)
This track came on my iPod via shuffle during a bus ride, and I was immediately taken. I literally listened to it on repeat 4 or 5 times after that first play. Then after trying to move on to other tracks, I found myself clamoring for more of Ruca and Poupie. Her voice is hauntingly beautiful, it's somehow weak and downtrodden, yet rebellious and powerful, add Ruca's groove and you've got pure magic.

#89: Big Gigantic - C'mon (ft. GRiZ)
You'd think I spend all my time on buses, as this is where I first heard this track too. And again I was immediately struck by the groove laid down here. The "real music" element of these two make this a collab made in heaven. It's no wonder "C'mon" was used for to promote both the NBA as well as the World Series, just a few seconds it emotes so much, while an extended play is sure sonic satisfaction.

#88: FAN FICTION - int0 u
I would be remiss if I didn't include some nightcore in this list, and who else to turn to but perhaps its biggest champion, FAN FICTION. But let's be clear, this is good nightcore; it's not too pitchy nor is it a mere reproduction. FAN FICTION always adds a little bit of his own flavour making this a truly original remix. And boy do I dig Ariana's vocals, particularly "Into You" which you may see again...

#87: Pusher - Tell You (ft. Hunnah)
If you know me or my blog at all you had to know there was going to Pusher on this list. I've raved about (and to) his debut EP, New Laces, and were I to do a best EPs of 2016, it may very well sit at the top, through and through it is utterly brilliant. "Tell You" is bright, bouncy yet also bold and beautiful. The strings, keys, and percussion are all on point, only made better by Hunnah's heavenly lead.

#86: bailey - Gold (Geek Boy Remix)
(As featured on EFYE) The sounds Geek Boy conjures up for this remix are simply sensational. I truly feel this is the way the record ought to sound. From the opening notes, and accompanying bird chirps, through the bleepy and bouncy drops, there's no stopping the movement and playful progression. If future bass is truly the way of the future then Geek Boy seems to be leading the charge.

#85: Ryder - Fade Away (Deep Chills Remix)
This is another one of these tracks that I have an awful hard time categorizing. It is deep house? Is it tropical? Trap? Future bass? Whatever it is, it's full of twists and turns. It's fun and full of emotions. Up until writing this piece, I had it in my iTunes as Ryder, "Fade Away," but the flip in feels Deep Chills has added cannot be understated. This track is a terrific example of the electronic scene in 2016.

#84: Glenn Morrison - Into The Deep (Ewan Pearson Remix)
(As featured on EFYE) This mix always takes me underground, for a unreal, old-school, never ending dance off. The immense amount of movement makes it an absolute epic. From its ominous echos at the beginning through their inclusion into the melody, all the way into the rollicking solo and beautiful horn blips, there's nothing this track doesn't do or have.

#83: Rodriguez Jr. - Mistral (Stephan Bodzin Remix)
This track only came back into my consciousness a few weeks ago when Doorly dropped the original, when he opened for Booka Shade. It was familiar yet took me a solid second to recall Stephan Bodzin's version. That is because of the constant manipulation he plays with throughout, always altering and progressing the track around the beautifully alluring lead line. This is big and brilliant Bodzin.

#82: Baauer - Day Ones (ft. Novelist & Leikeli47)
It doesn't get much bigger than this track from Baauer. His Aa, marked a massive step not just for trap music but for electronic music as a whole. The man has come a long way from "Dum Dum" and "Harlem Shake," premiering tracks on The Late Show and being used in Budweiser commericals. You'd be hard pressed to find a track that people turn up harder to than "Day Ones."

#81: Akira Complex x Hommarju - Connected (WRLD Remix)
(As featured on EFYE) This WRLD remix is a beautiful as it is big. The way he takes the vocals, spikes them under his synths then delivers an utter explosion of awesomeness makes this mix one of my favourite tracks of the year, despite not understanding any of the words. I still can't decide whether the sounds in the drops are plucked strings or tuned toms. Whatever they are, I can't get enough.

#80: Young Thug - Best Friend (Luca Lush Remix)
(As featured on EFYE) There is no one that can rival the consistent quality of Luca Lush's bootleg remixes, nor is this the last you'll see of him in this list. I cannot stress how much fun it is to have this track blaring through your car speakers while cruising around with the windows down. It is absolutely massive and wild, and hits hard in each of its distinct drops. Young Thug never sounded so lit.

#79: Kayliox & CastNowski - Bleu Nuit
Kayliox is quite simply a master of sub-harmonic sound design, he and fellow Montrealer CastNowski's collab "Bleu Nuit" is arguably the best and most boisterous bass banger under their belts. It delivers a nearly unrivaled get-down that continues to leave me in awe everytime I hear it. If you're a DJ operating in this scene and you don't have it in your repertoire you're doing something wrong.

#78: BLU J - HDLCK
Very few producers have delivered the quality right out of the gate the way BLU J have. In the course of 3 months they had dropped 3 of my favourite tracks of the year, meaning you'll see them appear in this list again. Their take on Imogen Heap's "Headlock" is simply sensational, for a month after hearing it it continued to catch me off guard. It is sneaky in its sublime yet deep, dark beauty.

#77: Dr. Fresch - Gangsta Gangsta (ft. Baby Eazy-E3)
Dr. Fresch delivers the kind of tracks that you just have to show off to your friends, and the reactions I got were almost as awesome as the track itself. Whether the bass in the drop, the dog barking sound effects, or his treatment of the vocals there really is nothing that Dr. Fresch doesn't absolute smoke in this track. It leaves me wanting to trash whatever room I'm in, the bass is absolutely berserk.

#76: Hoodboi ft. ASTR - Closer (Hoodboi Moonrise Mix)
(As featured on EFYE) Whenever a producer remixes their own track the results are pure magic. You cannot argue that in this case. Hoodboi's re-envisioning of "Closer" is an incredibly bright and forceful flight through a virtual reality. It hits on all cylinders delivering a mix of drum and bass, happy hardcore, and nightcore. It flies by so fast it'll leave your head spinning, and you hitting replay.

#75: Henrik The Artist - Wild Target (ft. Liz)
Once again, it should come as no surprise to readers of this blog that I am a massive fan of Henrik The Artist, you'll definitely see him again on this list. His signature fill is even my notification tone. However I will admit that I slept on this track for a few months, but remedied that by playing on repeat for nearly an hour once coming across it again. He and Liz are truly a match made in kawaii heaven.

#74: Grand Analog - Let Disco (Muneshine Remix)
(As featured on EFYE) When talking about sheer musical enjoyment, there aren't many tracks that hit me in the feels the way this does. Its bounciness buoys the spirits and groove really gets me going. It is freeing and full of fun, taking me back to the warm summer nights and the euphoric walks through the quiet city streets. It glows with positive vibes and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.

#73: Fossa Beats - Echoes (ft. Elkka)
This track excels at delivering waves of emotions through subtle and well thought out production. It is neither heavy nor atmospheric, it doesn't lean too heavily on Elkka's vocals, nor does it live through its production. Somehow Fossa Beats was able to walk the line between the two, crafting a truly virtuous track. I can't point to one thing that makes this track so good, it is just sudden perfection.

#72: WRLD - Awake (ft. Colordrive)
(As featured on EFYE) The second track from WRLD in this list speaks to the great year he's had, no better evidenced than through this bright, brilliant and bouncy title track from his Monstercat released EP. The way he works around and compliments Colordrive's vocals only further shows his tremendous talent. It is playful and inspiring, especially in ushering in a new day. Better than a cup of joe.

#71: Leat'eq & Wanna Wake - Felicity (ft. Haley Gorman)
This is perhaps the best example of future bass being a kind of catch all genre. When it was first posted to Daily Earfood it was listed as future bass, but 2 months later it appeared on an account called Trap in which is was tagged as trap. Certainly it has some typical trap influences but it doesn't strike me as true trap. Regardless, this track bangs behind piano, twisted synths and beautiful vocals.

#70: Taska Black - Leave Me
(As featured on EFYE) Despite being six months old, this track still feels brand new, bringing about so many feelings and thoughts. That intro with strong yet solemn strings is good enough to get it into this list alone, but it only reaches the 70th position because of the rest of the production which moves along with a quiet dignity. It's atmospheric in arc but poignant in delivery, hitting you right in the feels.

#69: Destructo x Wax Motif ft. Pusha T & Starrah - Catching Plays (Cosella Remix)
As soon as I heard this remix nearly 3 months ago, I fell in love, literally playing it a half dozen times before I felt like I could listen to any other track. And again the last time I saw Cosella in concert I was blown away thinking he must've created a VIP version, but no, it was just his original remix. When a track can be that good for months then hit you that hard again, you know it is fire. Cosella killed it.

#68: Pete Tong - Strings Of Life / Knights Of The Jaguar / Nightmare / Cafe Del Mar
When I first saw/heard the BBC Radio One Ibiza Prom from last year I was absolutely blown away, it then became my go to summer mix. It was utterly beautiful and a truly genius undertaking. Re-imagining so many classic tunes. This was my favourite part of that set, and I'm so glad it was released as a single. I simply cannot get enough of this four track medley. I use it everywhere for everything.

#67: Attlas - Ryat
This track was always going to be on this list, as soon as I heard it, the only question was where would it fall. It was another one of those tracks I first heard while travelling. Coming on during a shuffle, I of course had to listen to it multiple times. It's easily my favourite Attlas production, showing off true depth of skill and style, its endless list of sounds come together in pure production bliss.

Click here to continue onto tracks 66-34 in the countdown

Missing from this playlist #91, but you can stream/download it here.
Also missing, #36, it can be streamed/downloaded here.