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. 59

1. Marcus Marr & Chet Faker — Learning To Love
These guys have been slowing trickling out the collabs and they are all delightful — and this is my favorite. At first listen it sounds straightforward, but as the song progresses, more elements are highlighted, leaving you with a song you can truly groove to.

2. Falqo – Across The Sea
Falqo makes the best disco. This is just the happiest song I’ve heard this year. Summer is coming!

3. David August — J.B.Y
David is out of Berlin, making some truly unique music that sounds like nothing else I’ve heard come out of Germany lately. A soundscape of tones layered over an infectious beat.

4. Leon Vynehall — Beau Sovereign
Leon Vynehall’s new album Rojus is out soon and it’s gold, Jerry. GOLD.

5. Isaac Tichauer — Higher Love (Bicep Remix)
Bicep continues to kill it and is finally releasing this track that they’ve been playing in sets for a while. Love the sketchy percussion.

6. Mumbaata — Non-Alkaline
Some great tech house right here — wait for the breakdown at 2:45.

7. Fink — See It All (Jamie Jones Dubbed Up Edit)
Jamie Jones’ edits continue to be some of my very favorite things. Let this overwhelm you and you’ll be humming it all day.

8. The Range — Florida
Off of The Range’s new album, Potential, which is out now. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the whole thing yet, but if you like this, make sure to check it out.

9. KRNE — I’ll Be Good
New KRNE is always a good thing. This track moves away from the darker trap stuff he’s been doing lately and more towards the west coast funk style. Happy shit.

10. Basenji — Chroma
Basenji’s “Air” was one of my favorite tracks last year so I’m glad to see that he’s continuing to produce excellent music. He has the most beautiful way of incorporating vocals into his music. Love ya.