15824317_10154875142130747_793358520_o

Top 35 Tracks of 2016

Capturing the year 0f 2016 we’ve put together our traditional end of year list documenting our favourite tracks of the year. In contrast to other publications the list is not beholden to just digital or physical releases, it’s inclusive of any track we’ve come across, whether it be sourced from Soundcloud, picking a track from an LP or plucking a track from a mix we’ve heard.

Taking inspiration from a variety of influences, the list is defined by a diverse spectrum of sounds, with a selection of genres and cross-genre music, spanning hip hop, house, techno, drum n bass, soul, rnb, jazz and broken beat. It’s always difficult putting together these types of lists and pitting someone like a Solange against an Omar S, or a drum and bass track against a house track, so this list is mainly to highlight our top picks from the year.

35) Henry Wu & Tito Wun – Don Müller

Tartelet Records

Listen

34) Slim feat. Ella Mae – Stop Rewind

Banoffee Pies Records

Listen

33) Andres – Mighty Tribe

La Vida

Listen

32) Archy Marshall – Ammi Ammi

XL Recordings

Listen

31) Jay Daniel – Knowledge Of Selfie

Technicolour

Listen

30) Smerz – Because

Hard Up

29) Fold – Mills Theme

On Loop

Listen

28) SpectraSoul – Glimpse (ft. dBridge) (Ivy Lab Remix)

Shogun Audio

Listen

27) Blood Orange – Desiree

Domino Recording

Listen

26) De La Soul – Pain

AOI Records

Listen

25) eu-IV – IVyouPT2

Mass Appeal

24) Childish Gambino – Terrified (Zikomo Remix)

Soulection

Listen

23) J Cole – Change

Dreamville Records, Roc Nation and Interscope Records

Listen

22) Youandewan feat. Huerta – Left On Lucy

Aus Music

Listen

21) Radiohead – Identikit

XL Recordings

Listen

20) KA-YU – Shola Ama Flip (Yung Kayubesi)

Unknown

19) Rimbaudian – Let Me Beat U

Meda Fury

Listen

18) Omar S – Take Ya Pik, Nik!!!!!

FXHE Records

Listen

17) Jael – RockTheFloat

Unknown

Listen

16) A Tribe Called Quest – A Space Programme

Epic Records

Listen

15) Ross From Friends – Talk To Me You’ll Understand

Distant Hawaii

14) NxWorries – Suede

Stones Throw Records

Listen

13) Miyagi x Akay – Your Love

Flow Theory

Listen

12) Bonobo – Kerela

Ninja Tune

Listen

11) Sada – Tamia Flip

Unknown

Listen

10 ) Room 667 w/ Skeptical

1985 Music

Serious heavyweight roller from Alix Perez and Skeptical. Track Room 667 was taken from Perez’ own 1985 label, from the labels debut EP, Elephant Dreams. Heavy hitting drums, skittering percussion, spooky vocals and a ruthless bassline form the core ingredients of the track, pieced together to create a dnb roller.

9) DJ Kush Boogie – Orchid

Lobster Theremin

We don’t know too much about DJ Kush Boogie, but we came across a few of his tracks on Soundcloud and were instantly hooked on the freshness of his sound. He released a brilliant EP on London label Lobster Theremin earlier this month, with Orchid one of 4 great pieces of work. The ‘lo-fi’ house aesthetic is a strong characteristic of his output, pertinently apparent on this track, which is crafted against a backdrop of driving drums, marching hand-claps and analogue fused house melodies.

8) k2k – We Down For

MARGINS

We Down For comes courtesy of Red Bull Music Academy graduate Katherine Anderson AKA k2k, the first taste from her debut EP Sugar which was released on label MARGINS earlier this year. Surging cosmic chords, a warm bassline and melodic percussive arrangements are moulded seamlessly around the infectious lyrics of Brandy.

7) Willow – A2

Workshop

The sultry, moody sounds of Willow’s ‘Feel Me’ was a standout track from last year, and the Manchester-based producer followed the hype impressively with Workshop 23.  Having formed a distinguishable sound, Willow utilises the elements that worked well on Feel Me into Untitled A2. The dark, burial-esque vocal of the track grabs you straight away, giving the track an immediately moody feel. Building around the vocal, the heavy bassline and skirting percussion give the track a slinky, dub aesthetic.

6) Illum Sphere – Red Glass

Ninja Tune

Illum Sphere is a highly dynamic producer, with his latest album Glass an excellent showcase of his expansive palette of sounds. The composition of delicate sounds against the tough techno kick and sharp strings give the track a powerful rhythm and emotive feel.

5) DVSN – Too Deep

OVO Sound

Signed to Drake’s OVO Sound, DVSN are two more artists emerging out of Canada’s burgeoning scene. Sept 5th was their first album, and track Too Deep was our pick off the record. The thudding bassline forms the fore of the track, in contrast to the soulful vocals of DVSN and a female choir.

4) Mala – Kotos

Brownswood Recordings

Mala returned this year with his second album, Mirrors, with Kotos the first track off an LP that takes the listener on a journey through peruvian rhythms. One of the most influential and underrated producers of electronic music, Mala shows once again his creative intuition as an artist, digging deep into the roots and rhythms of Peruvian culture, with track Kotos personifying the expansive sound of the album.

3) Solange – Cranes In The Sky

Saint Records

Solange’s A Seat at the Table is undoubtedly one of the strongest soul/RnB albums we’ve ever heard. It’s a formidable musical achievement, and not just for the way she encapsulates her views on black cultural history. Cranes In The Sky is one of a number of standout moments from the album. With Raphael Saadiq conjuring a deep bassline, the harmonic strings, pure drum kicks and melodic keyboard flourishes mesh perfectly around Solange’s soulful vocals, creating a masterful piece of music.

2) Chaos In The CBD – Background Explorer

YAM Recordings

New Zealand brothers Ben and Louis Helliker-Hales aka Chaos In the CBD have enjoyed a standout year with numerous high grade releases throughout 2016, none more impressive than their Global Erosion EP. Global Erosion sees long time collaborator Isaac Aesili contribute horn hooks and live percussion against warm deep pads, creating a truly emotive 8 minutes of dance music.

1) Omar S – Seen Was Set

FXHE Records

In truth we could have featured about 6 or 7 of Omar S’ releases from this year. His The Best album was unquestionably the best ‘dance’ album we heard this year, with each a track a fine demonstration of his effortless prowess as a producer, while his Dessert Eagle EP from earlier in the year was equally impressive.  Highlights are plentiful across The Best, but we’ve decided to include Norm Talley’s Seen Was Set mix, a groove-laden, disco-house roller the flows effortlessly throughout it’s entirety.