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:


DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World (Hudson Mohawke Remix)

songs to dance to

I’ve been waiting for this to drop since bootlegs first started popping up from DJ Shadow’s tour, and especially since I saw him in San Francisco last month and he played it and it was perfect.

It’s the 20th anniversary of DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing, a masterful album from end to end that rocketed Shadow to music nerd fame and endured the test of time to stand out, twenty years later, as massively influential, not only in hip hop and sampling but across genres, and as one of the best albums we’ve ever had the pleasure to hear.

To celebrate, a remix album called Endtroducing… Re-Emagined, is out today, featuring remixes from the above-mentioned HudMo, alongside the likes of Salva, Clams Casino, Daedelus, UZ, Prince Paul, Bondax & Karma Kid, Kuedo, and many more. Here’s the full album:

S2D2 Vol 68

Got an eclectic group of awesome songs for you today.

1. A Tribe Called Red – Stadium Pow Wow ft. Black Bear
As someone who grew up around Native American culture, hearing this was kind of a mindfuck. This is really, really, really dope.

2. DJ Shadow – Bergschrund ft. Nils Frahm
All of these new Shadow tracks are fabulous. Cannot wait for this album to drop, if these first 3 songs are any indication it’s going to be his best release yet.

3. This Soft Machine – It’s Operational (CHIDA Remix)
One of those songs that wormed its way into my ear when it was playing into the background. I especially love the last third or so.

4. Hooverphonic – Badaboum (Alle Farben Remix)
A tight little pop track to get that head bobbin’.

5. Andre Hommen – Bassari People
Cannot wait to hear this on the dancefloor. Late night grooves.

6. Stimming – Alpe Lusia (Solomun’s Ring – The – Bell Remix)
A lighthearded tune to listen to on a sunny day… or a day you wish was sunny.

7. HONNE – Someone Who Loves You (Ben Pearce Remix)
HONNE is my go to for songs that make me feel things, and this remix from Ben Pearce adds a welcomed jolt of energy.

8. Bicep & Hammer – Aracari
A builder — totally worth the wait.

9. M.in & Pete Kaltenburg “Be A Better You” (Dosem Remix)
Those pulsing bass synths…

10. Audion – Timewarp
Matthew Dear just dropped a new album under his Audion alias. I’ve only listened to this song so far, but I’m already in love.

DJ Shadow — Nobody Speak ft. Run The Jewels

DJ Shadow is back, with a new album due out June 24 on Mass Appeal Records, and this is the second track he’s released in as many weeks. Last week he dropped the title track off the new album, “The Mountain Will Fall” (SoundCloud).

This is different than what you probably expect to hear from Shadow, the sample king, as the album is focused more on original composition than ever before. It’s sounding great so far and we can’t wait to hear the rest!

You can preorder the album here.

S2D2 Vol. 60

1. DJ Shadow — The Mountain Will Fall
Wow, new DJ Shadow! This is the first single off of a new album, just announced, out June 24th. He’s moving away from samples and towards original music for this release. Loving this track. Super low key.

2. Interpol — Everything Is Wrong (Solomun Remix)
Solomun has been doing great work lately and I love almost everything he’s been putting out. This is a sprawling deep house remix of Interpol, love it.

3. Alex Smoke — Dire Need (Tale Of Us Remix)
Gahh I’ve been so into Tale Of Us lately. Everything they touch turns to gold. Go see them DJ if you can.

4. Sei A — Space In Your Mind (DJ Tennis Remix)
Moar of the deepness! This is one of those tracks that I had on in the background and all of a sudden was like dayyyyumm this shit is good.

5. Midoca — Tell Me Your Lies ft. Dark Waves
Moody. This reminds me so strongly of something but I can’t place it. Let me know if it reminds you of anything!

6. The Librarian — Zeal
This chick is the founder of the Bass Coast Music Festival. This is the first track I’ve heard from her but man, she knows her shit. Loving this. Such great beats here.

7. Dillon Nathaniel — Loophole
Main Course puts out the greatest heavy electronic. This is a bit more tame than a lot of their stuff, actually, and a bit more straightforward techno.

8. Mat Zo — Killing Time
Mat Zo’s new album is very, very interesting. This song sticks to his classic sound — funky fresh — but the album is all over the place. Something for everyone in it, I recommend a listen.

9. Buz Ludzha — Basslines For Life
This is a really interesting track. I’ve gone back and forth on it quite a bit and have come to the decision that I love it. Very grungy, very lo-fi.

10. Stephan Bodzin — Wir
Been very into Stephan Bodzin lately and recently came across this lovely tune thanks to Kat at A Song A Day. Let this eleven minute track soothe all your worries.