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. 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.

S2D2 Vol. 56

Tunes for rainy days… got some bass, techno, and progressive house for you.

1. LTHL — XXII
Dug into the bass genres this week looking for new stuff and oh did I find some. This guy, from the UK, only has around a thousand followers on SoundCloud but that’ll change soon. This one is setting the mood for you…

2. H&D — Special (Cresce Remix)
Found this producer, Cresce, this week while digging through some tunes for one of my A Song A Day listeners. Fell in love immediately. One of the better hip hop remixes I’ve heard lately, and I can’t stop listening to it.

3. Eric Prydz — The Matrix
Could only find a rip of this on SoundCloud (be sure to check out the proper track on Spotify), this is my favorite track off Eric Prydz’s new album Opus. I saw him last week in San Francisco and had a special moment to this track. Classic progressive house — don’t know how he does it. Both old and new at once.

4. Rodriguez Jr — Mistral (Stephan Bodzin Remix)
My favorite tune of the week. Truly cannot stop listening to this one, all nine minutes of it. Come for the complex percussion, stay for the haunting atmosphere.

5. Holy Ghost! — Crime Cutz (Eli Escobar Remix)
Whewwww! Another long track, this one’ll suck you in if you haven’t been already. That one riff is so dope, I can’t wait to hear this live.

6. Reinier Zonneveld — Sharp Bust
Ready for some techno??? This is HUGE. Adrenaline!

7. Benga — Future Funk
And for some more techno, I had to share another new Benga track with you, off the new EP. So glad Benga is back, healthy, and making dope music again. This is unlike anything I’ve heard lately.

8. Digitalism — the_ism (44 kHZ – what the f__k u expekt)
Digitalism is back! They pop up so randomly with the randomest tunes and this is no exception. This track isn’t even three minutes long, but it’s a fun one.

9. Human Machine — 146
A lovely snippet of progressive house — it’s really made a comeback lately, hasn’t it? This song is more than the sum of its parts.

10. Serge Devant — Always On My Mind (Kornél Kovács Remix)
Time to bring it back to reality — Kovács’ speciality, though his is a gentle version of reality… godspeed.