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. 57

I’ve been thinking about repetition lately, the defining feature of electronic music, particularly house and techno. Often, people who aren’t into electronic music yet only hear the repetition, and thus, the music sounds boring to them. But to me, and many others, it’s my comfort zone. What’s great about repetition is that it highlights the subtle changes. Even just a tiny thing as adding in a simple hi-hat sounds huge when it’s the only change and everything else is constant. For me, the repetition creates a base layer, leaving my mind to focus on the details. Perhaps it’s the ADD. Perhaps it’s the robot ears. Most likely, both.

What are your thoughts on repetition in electronic music? I’m curious what you think.

Alright, let’s get to it!

1. Karma Fields — Edge of the World
Karma Fields just dropped a massive LP, and I’m loving this track. It’s like half old school progressive house, half future. If you’re feeling a bit lethargic today this’ll get you going real good. Gorgeous.

2. Bodhi — Step Back
BODHI! Back at it again, I feel like these guys can do no wrong. They haven’t released a track I haven’t loved in over a year… I don’t have to tell you how rare that is. Their has evolved into such a straightforward, classic sound, timeless stuff, but somehow, no idea how they do it, it’s more fresh than almost anything else out there.

3. Omer — Spring (Man Power Remix)
Hat tip to the boys at Errant for this one. Some of the best acid house I’ve heard lately.

4. TÂCHES x Eli & Fur — Lookalike
This gets off to a bit of a slow start, but just fucking wait. Whewwwwwwwwwwwwww! This is exquisite production. It creates an entire world and you’ll be sucked in without even realizing until you’re like, wait, life is pretty OK, also, where am I?

5. Kiiara — Feels (Jai Wolf Remix)
I love the original track, but this is just on another fucking level. Jesus Christ. FEELS. EMOTIONS. *weeps in corner at the beauty of the universe*

6. Noah B — Azure
Heard this in a fantastic Plastician DJ set I’ve been listening to this week. Thank god for random SoundCloud ppl who ID tracks for you. The first half is gorgeous, and once the bass drops, it hits SO HARD HOLY SHIT. I wanna play this at a club and see people lose their minds.

7. Kaytronik — Ain’t No
This didn’t make the cut last week, which in retrospect, was a mistake. The more I listen to this, the more I love it. I’m not a huge fan of the intro, which is maybe why I passed last week, but once the main groove kicks in, I can’t get enough. G-house (gangster house) at its finest.

8. Tiga — Don’t Break My Heart
Tiga just released a new EP with some of the best production I’ve heard from him in quite a while. Super digging this track — it is the funnest techno. If you have a chance to see him DJ, do itttttt.

9. Kenton Slash Demon — TT
I loved their “Syko” track that came out last year, and they’ve stepped it up with this new release. Glitched-out and soothing at once, let its power overwhelm you.

10. Flight Facilities — Clair De Lune (Bifold’s Aged Rework)
I love Flight Facilities, and this song, and remixes of this song — I’ve probably shared at least 5 since starting S2D2. It’s been a while since a new remix came out, and I am loving this. How do you take a song that’s been remixed to death and make a whole new beautiful piece out of it? I don’t know, but it’s brilliant.

S2D2 Vol. 49

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving in the US so I’ll be busy eating all of my mother’s cooking and making deviled eggs (yaassss) and getting really drunk. Aka, I will not be sending out an issue of S2D2. I will be making my mother listen to dance songs instead.

(Fun story: once I was with her in the car and I put on Death Cab’s Transatlanticism. After about a minute she goes, this is way too intense, can we put on something calmer? 😂)

Anyway, American friends, enjoy Thanksgiving. The rest of ya, feel free to join in by getting drunk and fat next Thursday. I’ll see y’all in December.

Continue reading