Thursday, December 22, 2016

Top 100 Tracks of 2016: 66 - 34

Continuation of the list started yesterday: From 100 - 67, which also includes my disclaimer/preamble. Soundcloud playlist can be found at the bottom.

#66: Meroshi - Summer Friends
It's hard to believe we made it this far into the list without some drum and bass, but here we are. Meroshi's genius is on full display here. His sound design impeccable, crafting instruments that feel so real, imbuing them with life and passion. The subtle effects and progression he works throughout, give the track an incredible energy. It's horny, groovy and those vocal samples get me every time.

#65: Stephen Walking - It Came From Planet Earth
2015 was the year I discovered and fell in love with Stephen Walking. This year marked a change in his productions, leaving behind the bass of "One Man Moon Band" and "The Difference Between Us And The Aliens," in which he explored different BPMs and styles. However, sticking to his interstellar, future disco/funk disposition, "It Came From Planet Earth" exudes awesomeness.

#64: Cashmere Cat - Trust Nobody (ft. Selena Gomez & Tory Lanez)
The rise of Cashmere Cat over the past two years is a testament to his nearly unrivaled ability, not only to produce around vocalists, but to craft truly divine sounds. While his recent work skews further from the kind of beautiful bangers of Mirror Maru or Wedding Bells, "Trust Nobody" shows off his smooth touch and delightful decorum. This further establishes Cashmere Cat as an paralleled producer.

#63: Jadu Heart - Late Night
Fittingly, I first heard this on a late night coming home from the club. That first flourish hit me like a magic spell, utterly alluring and beautifully breathtaking. And while it worked so magically in that hazy atmosphere, I now use it whenever I need a pick-me-up. It holds a special power in its easy flowing sound, so organic and raw as though it were recorded in one take. Heart rending harmonies through truly insightful and emotionally evocative lyrics, it's always on my mind.

#62: Jameston Thieves - Hypnotic
This certainly doesn't sound like a banger for the first 45 seconds, that is until it dives into a deep house beat. Torquing up the tension Jameston Thieves quickly turn "Hypnotic" in to an all out thrasher, banging the bass with massive strobing throbs, that contrasts so brilliantly with the brighter leads. The sound design of the bass in the drop may be the key to the track's quality, but it truly excels and finds itself in this list because of the drums fills leading into the drop as well as the supporting production.

#61: Justin Jay & Friends - Karma (JJ's Late Nite Dub)
Hearing Justin Jay play this at The Hoxton was one of the highlights of the year; I feel too many DJs are scared to play something out of the ordinary, something that doesn't bang, something not designed for the club. This is the kind of uplifting, yet downtempo, track that I could listen to any time of the day. It's built upon a beautiful premise ("You get what you give") and simple yet sublime instrumentation.

#60: Machinedrum - Angel Speak (ft. MeLo-X)
While I've called Machinedrum's Human Energy my album of the year (in my Grammys post), I decided to include only one track from it in this is (though many are deserving). The problem is the album stands as a cohesive collection, so separating tracks seemed wrong. The exception, and stand out track from it is this, "Angel Speak." For me it encompasses all that makes the album so magical. It it full of life, bringing humanity to the the synthesized sounds, begging listeners to move their feet. Like the album itself it also bounces around from different rhythms, instruments and grooves, truly coming alive.

#59: Torro Torro & Aylen - Designed 4 U
(As featured on EFYE) 2016 blessed us with one of the best collabs the bass community has ever seen. Torro Torro and Aylen are perfect for each other, as clearly evidenced in this track. Everything screams sheer brilliance as the synths never stop moving or progressing, and those vocal riffs, while leading the track they also support and play perfectly into the utterly insane and diverse drops. There really is nothing better than drop by drop progression, and these three take that to the next level, making the first, already awesome drop, pale in comparison to the callous second coming.

#58: Moldavite - Majesty
(As featured on EFYE) Sometimes the name of the track tells you all you need to know, that is the case for this track (as with many of those above). The sound design and instrumentation Moldavite utilizes in this track are seriously sumptuous. From the wind chimes to the wooden blocks, each element combines perfectly, amplifying the value and integrity of the next. While I still struggle with the seemingly oxymoronic nature of chill-trap, I can and do enjoy it immensely. It is strikingly serene and composed, it has an inescapable allure that immediately lifts spirits with its undeniable elegance.

#57: Far & Few - Street Signs
After writing about their collaborative remix of Alison Wonderland & Lido's "Already Gone" with LOKI (post here), Nelson of Far & Few friended me on facebook, then sent me a copy of this. I was immediately blown away, then once again when the vocals kicked in after the second drop. It has fluid movement and an incredible depth of sounds, making it the kind of track I can turn to and count on as a palate cleanser after "swimming through a sea of mediocrity." Easily one of my favourite future tracks.

#56: Fatima Yamaha - Love Invaders (Breakbot Remix)
Despite featuring an old-school feel with its disco funk groove, this Breakbot remix continually strikes me as fresh. From those first wobbly strides as the track picks up, through to the bleepy and bloopy rolls and scintillating synths I find myself in constant awe.  Not only does the track feel alive, it also makes me feel alive. The vocal bits jive so well with the deep groove and poignant percussion. There are very few tracks of this quality coming out in this day and age so I'm incredibly thankful for this one.

#55: Vaults - Midnight River (Memtrix Remix)
I first fell in love with Vaults' vocal stylings when I heard another track you'll find in this list, which in turn lead me to this awe inspiring remix. There's no questioning the sheer power behind her crooning, but the additional drum and bass bursting beneath is what makes this tracks so alluring. The breaks and fills flow so fervently making the already anthemic track a true banger, absolutely bursting at the seams. I do not shuffle but this one makes me want to learn just so I can properly enjoy this track.

#54: Kanye West ft. Frank Ocean & Caroline Shaw - Wolves (Jesse Slayter Remix)
(As featured on EFYE) The production on the original version of "Wolves" cannot be understated, as Cashmere Cat, Sinjin Hawke and others have built an indomitable foundation. That being said, Jesse Slayter's additional production takes this track to a new level. He keeps the best parts, flips and moves them around, then adds a whole new level of awesomeness slaying the guitar. This is bootleg remixing at its best, and to my great surprise, it has yet to be removed from soundcloud, well done!

#53: Stranger - House Party (AC Slater Remix)
I spent a ton of time this summer blasting this one out my car, I just wish it had a better sub system, as it's highly necessary for the madness AC Slater imbued this one with. It might even be too much for some people's tastes, as my best friend was so struck, all he could say was "damn that's deep." But not for me, I seriously can't get enough of this. Even listening again now I'm struck by its magnitude. AC slayed it utilizing Stranger's original to perfection, repackaging Waka Flocka Flame's trademark vocals at the highest of levels. This is a tried, tested and true DJ weapon, and club conqueror.

#52: Offramp - Erhu Lover
There's so much to like about this future bass fire starter. From it's punchy beginning, laden with echoing vocals samples, that seem to playfully tease, to the title instrument, the erhu, this track truly has it all. This is really what future bass is all about, combining so many sounds that you'd never imagine hearing in electronic music. It it fun and groovy, and reminds us what makes electronic music so unique, especially in 2016, it is experimental and inclusive. You never know what you're gonna get.

#51: TWRK ft. Migos, Sage The Gemini & Sayyi - Hands On It VIP
As fresh as the original version of this is, this VIP takes it to a whole new level. It still boasts the braggadocio of Migos and their incredible flow, but the flip of the original drop is the true selling point for me. It is three minutes of pure party, wil' out atmopshere. The duo of Benzi & eSenTRIK are truly a force to be reckoned with, anything they put out is pure gold and this is no exception.

#50: Bensley - Tiptoe
This track continues to sneak up on me, even after having grooved to it for months, and that's exactly what makes it so brilliant. It just kind of hits you, out of nowhere, then one second you realize "damn this shit bangs." It's another one of those tracks where the name says it all. The bass below feels so good on the soul, lulling you into a false sense of security as the delicate top level irks your very being. This is the kind of DnB track that you can't get out of your head, without even knowing it's in there.

#49: Ryan Hemsworth & Lucas - From Grace (Henrik The Artist Remix)
This is match made in heaven for me, two of my favourite artists, Ryan Hemsworth and Henrik The Artist on the same track. Thankfully I finally got to see Ryan play, but my Christmas wish would be to finally see a Henrik set. This is the second track from Henrik in this list and, surprise, there may be another! "From Grace" is really just that, it's so damn beautiful that it must be a gift from above. It combines the elegance of two of the most inspiring and uplifting artists around. I still cannot get enough.

#48: Pusher - Shake Down (ft. Push Push)
This track stands out from the rest of Pusher's New Laces EP, and is his most banging production, since "Basic." From the actual production to Push Push's lyrics, everything about this track is sick, wicked and nasty. The get-down is unavoidable, it makes you feel like a celebrity, drinking and partaking in whatever you like. It may seem a touch simplistic but on the contrary, the track gets deeper, heavier and more dirty as it progresses. Pusher can be boldly beautiful but also drop some hot fire.

#47: GIRLI - Too Much Fun
Was this produced by Henrik The Artist? It sounds just like him, and perhaps that's why I like it so much. But that's not the only reason, GIRLI's lyrics are so on point. They perfectly encapsulate the feelings and thoughts of so many ravers. They're wishful, neurotic and frantic, and they fit so perfectly on top of the ultra kawaii production. Oh and she's British, so she says "garage" the cool way.

#46: Crosby, Stills and Nash - Turn Your Back On Love (Flying Mojito Bros Refrito)
I think I like this track more and more every time I hear it. For the record I'm not a fan of Crosby, Stills and Nash or the original, but this version is so much fun that I forget about being a cynical dick for a second and just enjoy myself. The groove is never-ending and really gets me going. Considering the original, this remix may make the biggest improvements of any remix on this list.

#45: Goldroom - Retrograde
Goldroom's album is a slice of heartwarming and uplifting disco house that I just cannot get enough of. It was hard to decide which track from West Of The West I was going to include, but there's something about the vocals the clinched this one for me. They are so are so strong and absolutely soar above the bounding bass and sultry synths. The subtle guitar plucks and piano chords put it over the top.

#44: A$AP Ferg ft. Future - New Level (LOLO BX Booty)
As a fan of A$AP Ferg I was kind of disappointed with much of his new album. It certainly didn't have the kind of productions Ferg Forever, but when I heard this flip, I immediately forgot all that. LOLO BX made the best track from Always Strive and Prosper 10 times bigger and badder. The heavy metal machinery and horns on top of the bold bass is truly jaw dropping. This is another one of those tracks, that I always rolled my windows down for when I was cruising, way too cool.

#43: Essentials & Influ - Feelings
(As featured on EFYE) There aren't many other tracks on this list that can rival the pure joy this one inspires in me. It's so upbeat and happy, and that kind of stuff usually makes me sick (as I said above I'm usually a cynical dick), but this one gets rid of any inner Grinch and fills me with pure unadulterated elation. The swooping, swinging synths and crackling snares in the bent drop unlock my inner child and cause me to absolutely lose it. It kind of scares me thinking about how I'd react if I ever heard this on a big system, especially if I'd had any alcohol.

#42: Destructo - Techno (Dr. Fresch Remix)
I've already professed my love for Dr. Fresch in this list with his "Gangsta Gangsta" but this future ghetto flip is so good that it's got me on my knees every time I hear it. Like I said with "Designed 4 U" above, there is nothing better than a solid second drop, and this one has just that. The cherry on top is Fresch's use of even more of Eminem's lyrics, just to solidify this as one of the best bangers of the year.

#41: K Theory - Got Me
(As featured on EFYE) This one is so full of fun and is equally full of fat bass sounds. The rapping is so on point it reminds me of a number of classic tracks. However it is the production quality that gets this track so high on this list. It features a few different drops, each unique in showcasing different styles and sounds. And perfect for this time of year it's got some sleigh bells. Yup, sleigh bells and trap.

#40: Nurettin Colak - Warmer
I honestly know very little about this track and this artist. I have no idea where either came from, or how it ended up on my iTunes or in this list. I do however know I quite like it, and it's a brilliant track to include in this year end list. It's funky, fresh and hits so many of the qualities typical to 2016. I'm particularly struck with Colak's work in the drop, especially the way he plays with the vocals.

#39: Slumberjack - Open Fire (ft. Daniel Johns)
(As featured on EFYE) I first heard this the day we found out Prince died, and it greatly affected the way I absorbed Slumberjack's brilliance. It certainly doesn't hurt that the vocals and lyrics are so emotional, but even to this day I'm nearly brought to tears when I hear it. The delicate touch they display in this is in sharp contrast to many of their productions, but it seems like they're seasoned veterans in evoking emotions through their tunes. This is one of the most deft, insightful tracks in this list.

#38: Tennyson - All Yours
Seeing Tennyson perform, at a distance so close that I could reach out and touch them, was without a doubt one of the highlights of my year. The sheer savant status of both of their abilities was utterly mind-blowing. Now consider that they were not only able to reproduce this track, but also add further flourishes of brilliance makes "All Yours" even more awe-inspiring. It's truly one of the grooviest, coolest productions I've ever had the opportunity to hear. And boy that sneeze, pure genius.

#37: Spor - Figaro
Believe it or not this is really the first Spor track I've ever heard, despite having been a fan of Feed Me since the side project's inception. The success of this track in grabbing my attention every time I hear it can be placed directly in that one drum fill that reoccurs so many times. This is one of the rare times that I want repetition, and dismiss progression. Sure it does progress and move, but it's those fills and the infernal horns that really inspire the absolute insanity this track demands.

#36: DJ Snake ft. Bipolar Sunshine - Middle (Dombresky Remix)
We've finally reached my choice for breakout artist of the year, Dombresky, whom you'll see again in this list. To enter at the 36th spot is a feat, but to remix "Middle" so well is an even greater feat. What he's done with it is simply sublime, he's taken a track that I have no taste for and made it one I absolutely love. That deep, future house bass in the drop is the stuff of dreams. It's so furiously fast in its delivery of funk, and each little blip and progression is utter genius. Can't wait for '17 Dombresky.

#35: Todd Edwards - I Want To Be In Fabric (Todd Edwards Intro)
By now everyone knows the story of Fabric's closure and triumphant reopening. This track was released by Todd Edwards for free as part of the outpouring of support for the legendary club. Used as his opening track, what was going to be, the last time he played there, this slice of old-school rave awesomeness gives me so many good feelings. It's cool and full of fun movement and progression. The effects are simple, yet perfectly and tastefully done, creating a track that we will remember fondly for years to come. The track itself and the story that goes along with it and Fabric are heartening reminders of the power of the electronic community.

#34: Flapo ft. Jenni Potts - Dear Neighbor (Pham Remix)
When speaking about club weapons produced in 2016 this one is hard to ignore. The subtle and unsuspecting intro creates a kind of vacuum that Pham fills at the drop of a hat, with little warning, save for a minuscule fill. The drop too is a vacuum, in that it sucks out all the air you thought you had. It's so fat it takes up every inch of audio your brain can handle. The reaction to this when it comes on in clubs is the kind of thing you have to see to believe. Pham is a bad man for crafting this bomb.

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