S2D2 Top 100 Tracks of 2016

It’s always a bit weird compiling a “best of” list, because there is so much music out there that there’s no way to listen to all of it, let alone judge it objectively.

2016 was a special year for music. When the world trembles and quakes, we turn to music to say the things we cannot say, and feel the things we so desperately need to feel. Music is an escape, but for me at least, it’s more than that. Music is the ultimate form of expression. This year, I’ve felt so inundated with words, and media, and social media, and felt like I’ve been drowning in all of the terrible things that have happened to humans all over the world. Music has been, as always, my salvation from that. There is magic in a song that hits you just right, in the moment that you need it most. Music makes us transcendental. In those moments we are lost in the music, we cease to be, the world melts away, and we dance, and we come away refreshed and strong.

In a year that was mostly shit, most of my highlights had to do with that magic: Eric Prydz dropping “The Matrix” at the Armory in San Francisco; DJ Shadow playing the old and new seamlessly, casual scratch wizardry on display; losing my shit to new tunes, always, whether I’m at my desk or in my car or at the club; Scuba getting dark in the rave cave at Monarch, praying to Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book after dosing in Golden Gate Park; taking a time machine to my teenage emo years and seeing Brand New at the Greek; and even still, I spent most of the year listening to A Moon Shaped Pool over and over.

Trends: techno, deep tech, disco/tech, lo-fi house, acid house, wave, future funk

It seems like everyone hopped on the techno bandwagon this year, whether it was straight up banging tech, deep tech house, or this kind of disco/tech hybrid that’s been taking off in the underground. Disco is bigger than ever, and that’s saying something. House was pulled in one direction to become very, very techy, getting deep af along the way, and in another direction towards to the lo-fi house realm, a la Mall Grab, Seb Wildblood, and the Church records crew. Future bass is alive and well, and wave has split off out of that, essentially trap without the beats — luscious and atmospheric. Future funk, the jazzy, funky, and banging sound out of the West Coast and Colorado, is also huge out here, thanks to Griz’s domination.

I had a lot of fun making the top 100 this year. There was so much great music! The whole point of S2D2 is to highlight music that you might not otherwise hear about, so while there’s some overlap with other lists like Thump’s or Mixmag’s, there’s also a bunch of stuff that just doesn’t get talked about in the “underground electronic media” or whatever. So hopefully you will find lots of new tunes and artists from all over the map, literally and musically 🙂

I made a Spotify playlist, but there are a few songs that aren’t on Spotify, so I’ll be releasing a SoundCloud playlist as well. Enjoy!

Edit: Real quick, I want to call out the tracks that aren’t available on Spotify, because they are VERY IMPORTANT, and are all in my top 10 for the year:


S2D2 Vol 74

1. Fatboy Slim – Praise You Right Now (Dunisco Remix)
A mashup of two great Fatboy Slim songs to get this week started off on some hype!

2. Andrew Luce – Babygirl
Heavy, bass-driven remix of a classic. Turn the volume up on this one.

3. Rihanna – Bitch Better Have My Money (Claude VonStroke Remix)
If you’re sick of this song, feel free skip it. But if you aren’t, this is a great remix with the classic CVS West Coast acid-house sound. A harken back to the old days of Dirtybird.

4. Doc Daneeka – Never Wanna Lose You
A disco + breakbeat hybrid, this is fabulous.

5. Mount Liberation Unlimited – Maiden Voyage
Wait until the real groove gets started around 3 minutes in. For some reason, this track makes me feel so hopeful, like anything is possible.

6. Lane 8 – Crush
You all know how much I looooooove Lane 8. So I’ll spare you the gushing. Safe to say, this kid is gonna be HUGE.

7. Bruce Trail – Bridgework
Reminds me of Nicolas Jaar a bit, with the patience in the build up, and the way everything weaves back together at the end.

8. Sandboards – Duneboys Theme
Just a chill deep house track that’ll make you wanna move.

9. N.Y.T.A – Two Know
Entrancing, beautiful.

10. Bob Moses – Like It Or Not (Joris Voorn Remix)
The best for last! One of my favorite songs from last year gets remixed by one of my all-time favorite remixers. Voorn gives an emotional, deep treatment to an already stellar track.