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 71

A happy, lighthearted, easy listening playlist, because the world sucks right now.

1. Ghost Town DJ’s – My Boo (Ownglow Bootleg)
One of my all time favorite songs, given a refresher by drum and bass producer Ownglow. Just a great excuse to listen to this song on repeat for days.

2. Sam Gellaitry – The Gateway
Genius future beat master is at it again with this wacky, beautiful, haunting production.

3. Al Green – Love & Happiness (JPOD Remix)
Because we all need a little more love & happiness in our lives.

4. Lords of Monza ft Yeallow – EveryDay (Lost In Disco Remix)
Chill, happy disco remix. Sunny summer afternoon style.

5. Hayden James – Just A Lover
One of my favorite producers, Hayden James makes the happiest dance music without an ounce of cheese.

6. Buz Ludzha – Positive Vibes
Muddy, groovy, with a riff that’ll get stuck in your head, in the best way.

7. Autarkic – I Know
The vocals sound soooo much like Underworld, I totally thought this was a new Underworld track when it was playing in the background. It has nothing to do with Underworld though, except for the heavy influence. There’s a bit of a Pulp influence in there, too…

8. Lehar – Magical Realism
Can’t have a S2D2 without a deep house track! Apparently. Well, this is a delightful tune. Let it build on you.

9. Andre Hommen – A.R.M.C (XLR8R Beatless Edit)
A wonderful rework of a wonderful song. Shoutout to the commenter who said “just add a beat and it’s done” on a beatless edit 😂

10. Moderat – Running (Tale of Us Remix)
Posted this on the blog a few weeks back when it was just a bootleg remix on YouTube that people guessed was Tale of Us. Now it’s officially out, and It. Is. So. Good.