My top selections for the year that’s about to end. I decided to stick to one track per artist although I could easily have included more from Sufjan Stevens, Freddie Gibbs, Kendrick Lamar, Soichi Terada and Lauer.
- ‘Thirsting ’ – Jack J
Jack J continued his knack for manufacturing super smooth, merrymaking house this year courtesy of this silky jam.
19. ‘Rush’ – FJAAK
A crisp, thumping techno slab with some insane hi-hats!
- ‘Sweet’ – Marquis Hawkes
A lovely, jacking deep house number with added inviting female coos.
- ‘Fight’ – Nicolas Jaar
Some glitchy, atmospheric breakbeat goodness from a producer at the very top of his game.
- ‘All I Want’ – Fort Romeau
This man cemented his reputation as one of the best house beatsmiths out there with the release of his second album, ‘Insides,’ this year. No track on that release better reflected his talent for quietly euphoric deepness than this giddy cut.
- ‘Mr Naturals’ – Anthony Child
Appearing on an album heavily influenced by a trip to a deep, dark Hawaiian jungle, this is some strange, intangible, voodoo magic from the man better known as techno shaman Surgeon.
- ‘Gentle Memories’ – Dwig
Smooth, hazy, reflective deep house – the type Giegling has become renowned for.
- ‘MDMA’ – Paul Woolford
A powerful warehouse techno destroyer from seasoned producer Paul Woolford replete with pounding bassline, ravey piano stabs and squelchy 303.
- ‘Binary Rondo’ – Soichi Terada
A selection of reissued tracks from this Japanese house maestro dropped on Rush Hour this year. This was one of many plush, melodic gems to feature on it.
- ‘Wir’ – Stephan Bodzin
I did do my fair share of hating on tech-house this year – My review of Joris Voorn’s ‘Future History.’But Stephan Bodzin proves there’s still currently life left in the flagging genre with this building, mesmeric arrangement of shimmering synths. A breathtakingly beautiful track that’s reminiscent of Jon Hopkins’ ‘Open Eye Signal.’
- ‘King Kunta’ – Kendrick Lamar
That bassline… daymn, Kendrick! He stole the show again this year with his most comprehensive album to date, ‘To Pimp a Butterfly.’ This is the most undeniably funky work out on that release with Kendrick in top form lyrically too: ‘I was gonna kill a couple rappers but they did it to themselves / Everybody’s suicidal, they ain’t even need my help.’
- ‘Another One’ – Mac DeMarco
Woozy, slo-mo heartbreak vibes here from the outlandish prince of oddball indie.
- ‘Never’ – Gesloten Cirkel
A crazy, relentless, acid onslaught. Over fourteen minutes, a raw 303 melody is squelched, modulated and warped to fuck with some hard, jacking percussion thrown in for good measure. You’ll be hard pushed to find another track released this year that incited people to lose their shit more on the dancefloor.
7. ‘Just’ – Bicep
It’s all about that melody… gorgeous!
- ‘I Neva Seen’ – Galcher Lustwerk
To the delight of many, Galcher Lustwerk released some more of the irresistible, tipsy cuts that we heard on his ‘100% Galcher’ mix in 2013. Simple yet lush, this is house that rolls deeeeeeeep.
- ‘What’s A Girl To Do’ – Fatima Yamaha
Originally released in 2004, Dekmantel sagely reissued it in 2015. A big track this year with a plethora of dancefloors falling under its brooding, melancholic spell.
- ‘If Only’ – Liem
From the Charlie Hebdo killings to the more recent Paris attacks to the ongoing bloody and vicious conflict in Syria, it’s fair to say that 2015 was a year that provided more than its fair share of tragedy. Of course, the release of a humble house record pales in significance in comparison, yet Liem’s ‘If Only’ was still momentous for its pining declaration of a greatly yearned for solidarity:
‘Everybody all around the world
Stand up all my brothers
Joining our hands
Kerri Chandler reportedly dropped this in Lille shortly after the Paris attacks in November. I can only imagine what an affecting moment that was. A very special cut in the mould of early house / garage vocalists Arnold Jarvis and Joe Smooth, reminding us all of the importance of unity and loving kindness during these uncertain times we live in.
- ‘Careless’ – Freddie Gibbs
Hands down, the catchiest tune of the year! On this, the self-anointed ‘Frederico Soprano’ absolutely destroys a George Michael sample: ‘Fuck the top, cop the drop / And these hoes be on my jock, / For my hot car and watch / but this pimpin’ never stop!’
- ‘Fourth Of July’ – Sufjan Stevens
Such an emotionally loaded song. Staged as an imagined conversation between Stevens and his mother as she lay dying from stomach cancer in hospital. One YouTuber remarked: ‘You’ve got the world crying in public places, Sufjan!’ He wasn’t wrong.
- ‘Telefon’ – Lauer
A very subjective list header here! But then again, that’s the nature of any ranking system of this type. No other track released in 2015 sums up my year better as it is heavily linked to many times and places I experienced. I even had the pleasure of seeing the man himself hammer out this beauty during a live set at Oval Space. A track brimming with an upbeat optimism, evoking hazy images of warm summer weather and road trips, sure to spur a sea of smiles whenever it is played out. I know I was doing my fair share of it in London that night.
Unfortunately only 1.30 of the track is available on SoundCloud.