- Auntie Flo – Mother Theresa
- Call Super – Meltintu
- Roman Flügel - Sliced Africa
- CHVRCHES - Leave A Trace (Four Tet remix)
- Jamie xx – Lou Places (John Talabot’s Loud Synths Reconstruction)
- Matt Karmil – Moment
- Niagara – Falcão
- Lena Willikens - Howlin Lupus
- Joey Anderson - Under Water
- Future Poets – Infected
- Skee Mask – Junt
- Caiazzo – Refraction
- Physical Therapy – Hit the Breaks
- Lake Haze x IVVVO – #1
- Taro Tokugawa - Here My Dear
- Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons – Vermillion (&Me Remix)
- Plastikman – Expand (Tale of Us remix)
- Rrose – Vellum
- Levon Vincent - Woman Is An Angel
- BNS: C.A.R. - Idle Eyes (Roman Flügel Remix)
[note: do not be fooled by the breezy melodic tone of the first third, things eventually take a dark, aggressive turn and stick to the left hand path from there]
Auntie Flo – Mother Theresa
Breezy keys, swung percussion, and those lush horn licks, this initial offering from Flo and Esa’s excellent Highlife World Series has it all. Serious sunny Sunday afternoon vibes.
Call Super – Meltintu
I found both sides of this 12" extremely addicting. Perfectly balanced percussion and gorgeous melody that lingers like the smell of spring rain.
Roman Flügel - Sliced Africa
This track is so vibrant, so percussively busy, yet nothing is superfluous or out of place. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
CHVRCHES - Leave A Trace (Four Tet remix)
Another insanely good year for Kieran Hebden who I am becoming increasingly convinced is actually a small army of clones. There were any number of tracks that could have taken the annual Hebden slot on this list: Digital Arpeggios, his Hot Chip remix, either side of the beautifully left field Morning/Evening LP, even the epic Eric Prydz remix, but this one has just enough pop bliss to bring me back to it again and again.
Jamie xx – Loud Places (John Talabot’s Loud Synths Reconstruction)
The Talabot/ xx combination is always a guaranteed stunner and it’s no different here, where Talabot takes the stand out track from In Colour and makes it simultaneously deeper and more soaring without losing sight of the vibe of the original. Also check out it’s even deeper, dubbier sister mix.
Matt Karmil – Moment
Hands down my summer jam of choice even if it didn’t really come out until fall. Which left me having to rewind an eight minute section of Axel Bowman’s mix for BiS so many times that I'm surprised I didn't wear our the mp3 like an old Maxell UR 90.
Niagara – Falcão
This is an absolutely filthy stomper. A much more organic and groove conscious sound than his fellow Lisbon/Principe producers.
Lena Willikens - Howlin Lupus
Lena Willikens' first Cómeme release is a perfect reflection of her rightfully revered DJ style, dark, category defying and unapologetically weird while still having a cohesive drive that works on more open-minded dance floors.
Joey Anderson - Under Water
One of those tracks that on good headphones or a big club system not just sounds but actually feels like it’s disassembling grey wet bits inside of your skull. All the swirling synths and off beat percussion convey an uneasy sense that the track will fly apart at any moment into chaotic sheets of noise but it never does, the groove buried deep in it's DNA keeps everything moving forward even though it feels like time is standing still.
Future Poets – Infected
My favorite track from the Audio Rehab / deep tech universe. Though the dreamy vocals about being infected are a little off-putting. Also check out MyDon and ambitiously named Marcellus Wallace.
Skee Mask – Junt
Huge year for the Zenker Bors. / Ilian Tapes crew. Their style of breaks/hardcore influenced German techno. This was my favorite of the lot but pretty much everything they released was killer.
Caiazzo – Refraction
A gritty analog growler from the always on point Work Them camp. Refraction twists and mutates into all manner of sinister shapes without ever taking it’s foot of the gas.
Physical Therapy – Hit the Breaks
Winner of this year’s “what it says on the tin” award. I’m not advocating for a new school breaks revival, but sometimes all you really want is a chopped and stuttering breakbeat and monstrously ugly bassline. If it comes with an added layer of analog hum and grit, all the better.
Lake Haze x IVVVO – #1
The ambitiously named #1 sounds like someone found a classic late 90s trance 12” that had repeatedly been used to cut out rails of Ket with a rusted razorblade and just threw the mangled, gak grooved vinyl on the turntable and let it rip, albeit with the cheesy drops and drum rolls thankfully excised.
Taro Tokugawa - Here My Dear
The rarest of treats in the internet age – a complete mystery. I can’t track down any information on or other productions by Taro Tokugawa. All I know is this track came out on a series curated by Samo out of Sweden. Furthermore, Here My Dear appears to exist out of time and place with only the rushing synths that rise up a third of the way through giving any indication that it is a contemporary recording. In any event it’s totally enchanting and rewards repeated, obsessive listening.
Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons – Vermillion (&Me Remix)
&Me has become a can’t miss producer over the last few years. This year saw the mighty Woods get played by just about everyone, but this mix, that matches that meditative &Me percussion and dramatic builds with the psychedelic vibe and quasi-occult lyrics of Damian Lazarus full band project The Ancient Moons hits the sweet spot for this aging raver-magus.
Plastikman – Expand (Tale of Us remix)
The first time I heard this out, not knowing what it was, I thought it sounded like the ghost of Spastic submerged within a 2015 melodic deep house track. Turned out that was more or less what it was.
Rrose – Vellum
A lot of techno from the dark industrial side of the spectrum tries to sound like this but none of it has the uniquely personal and subtle touches that Rrose productions have. A singular voice that stands out from the clanging, brooding, glut of post-Ancient Methods techno.
Levon Vincent - Woman Is An Angel
Levon Released his self-titled LP back in February and it still stands up as one of the best of the year. Woman is Angel and and the epic Launch Ramp to the Sky were the stand outs but this is the track that stops hearts in the club as well as on headphones.
Bonus: C.A.R. - Idle Eyes (Roman Flügel Remix)
This track was not released this year, and actually sounds like it could have been produced anytime in the last three decades. But, thanks to Lena Willikens blowing minds when she dropped it at Good Room earlier in the year, it was the de facto theme song of 2016 for me and mine.