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 65

This week is front loaded with some techno that’ll get your adrenaline going, then we dip into UK bass-land for a bit, and come back to Earth with some jazzy, organic tunes.

1. Claude VonStroke – Who’s Afraid of Detroit (Marc Houle Remix)
I can barely believe it’s been 10 years since the original track came out. To celebrate, Dirtybird (CVS’ San Francisco-based label) is putting out four remixes. This is the first. Can’t wait to hear CVS’ remix!

2. Degray – Mainframe
Turn tha bass up and drown in this one. There’s a bit of Detroit in this one as well. Whewwwww!

3. George Fitzgerald – Fig. 1.2
George drops some seriously heavy techno, a nice departure from his usual style (which I love, but it’s always great to try something new). This is some heavy Berlin techno and I cannot wait to hear it on a club soundsystem. Maybe Scuba will play it in San Francisco this weekend? 🙏

4. Audion – Destroyer
Matthew Dear’s Audion alias is back after like, forever, with a new track off an upcoming album called Alpha. There’s a lot going on here!

5. Joker – Planet D
Alllll the OG dubstep guys have been releasing dope shit in 2016 so of course Joker had to drop one of the coolest bass tunes I’ve heard this year. Alien bass music.

6. Dabin – Hold ft. Daniela Andrade (Fred V & Grafix Remix)
I love the original song so much, those vocals… 😍 Anything that brings this song back into my life is a-ok with me, and this remix changes it just enough while retaining the spirit of the original track. Chill, dreamy drum n bass is having its moment for sure.

7. Skit & Klimeks – Azimuth
A lush soundscape, perfect for getting high to.

8. Justin Jay & Friends – Let Go ft. Josh Taylor
Another Dirtybird boy, though this song is out on Soul Clap Records. Justin Jay has been one of my favorite producers over the last year or so and continues to put out fresh-sounding stuff. This is a fun one.

9. Seb Wildblood – Nothing
More chillness from the Church label head Seb Wildblood. I love the lush-ness of the synths in this one.

10. Floating Points – Kuiper
Not much to say about this song except for “praise our lord and savior Floating Points.” This 18 minute tune will blow you away. Feel free to listen 10 times in a row, I won’t judge because that’s my plan for the rest of the day.

S2D2 Vol. 44

I came back home to so many good songs… like this Bob Moses song “Tearing Me Up” (and their new album). They are so damn good. Also this Matt Karmil song “Moment,” a new Bodhi track, and Scuba’s Angel Dust Remix of George Fitz’s Call It Love.