40. Leon Vynehall – Blush
‘Rojas’, the LP this is off of, is in contention for album of the year, so I wanted to rank this low to give others a chance to shine. Just remember, 39 picks into the future, that this is absolutely marvelous.
39. Slim Hustla – Trapped in Da Speed Force
Runs that twee Goldroom track through a washing machine. Comes out like your forgotten pocketed receipts do.
38. Paperkraft – No Other
Sucks the scariness out of Human Resource, somehow. Bathed in moonlight.
37. ghettohousedrummachine – Saudade
When the underground is freed up to do anything, you get unfussy little tracks like this. Pretty sample.
36. Dossa & Locuzzed – Dance
The production on this is insane. Need a sound engineer? Dial a drum and bass producer.
35. Jakub Lemiszewski – DAAAMN
Didn’t get to a lot of footwork this year, but this is delightfully askew.
34. LK – Party People
Ah, the allure of drums. Go nod your head, human.
33. Sebb Junior – Please Love Me
Will make you wobble around in your cubicle. Great house shuffler.
32. KiNK – Valentine’s Groove
One groove, but NASTY. Prepare your stank face.
31. k2k – We Down For
Textures run deep. A joy to sink into.
30. Jaheim – Never (Maurice Joshua Unreleased Mix)
Everything you want soulful house to be.
29. Rhythm Masters – Feel Your Love
Just a blast to hear this one unfurl. Deep house to disco.
28. DJ WIFI – Request Line
A late release here for next summer and every other for the rest of eternity. A Zhane classic sped up with a house beat.
27. DOS – Come A Little Closer
A dream where your parents turn on the radio while you sit in the backseat of a car from decades ago. Never a bad Isley Brothers moment.
26. Agnostic – Mr. Gorbachev
One of the better uses of that Jorge Dalto sample. All you had to do was transmit it from another dimension, huh? Cake.
25. John Davis & The Monster Orchestra – Bourgie’, Bourgie’ (Louie Vega Mix)
Two of the entities responsible for three of 2015’s best dance tracks team up for this 12-minute disco roller. As Danhammer Obstkrieg says, Masters at Work indeed.
24. Jayster – Finding You
Chiptune took a backseat to house this year for me, but “Finding You” was lovely. Listen to that progression. Really next level bass programming here.
23. Sportsmen – Keep this Secret
The rigidity of the rhythms is offset wonderfully by the looseness of the original sample.
22. Classixx – Grecian Summer
As buoyant as it is an oddball. Love the round bass.
21. DJ Boring – Sunday Avenue
“Winona” will be the track people remember, but DJ Boring’s best work was this ancient-sounding throwback.
20. Micky More & Andy Tee – Night Cruiser
Hits SO hard. Warning, disco vibes solo ahead! Only reason this isn’t higher is because I played it out. Apologies, Michael Scott.
19. Folamour – Love Frequencies
Just a killer sample that Folamour doesn’t F up.
18. DJ Playstation – Press Start
Love the future past jungle on this. Could’ve been a ‘Logical Progression’ contender.
17. Lukas Nystrand von Unge – It Always Rains
Quirky little soulful number. Sample is tip-of-the-tongue, as all good ones should be.
16. Mark Funk & Danny Cruz – Givin’ My Love
Jackin house with some edge and bite. Gwen McCrae does the heavy lifting. Yo, women scorned, get out on the floor.
15. J Paul Getto – The Vibe
J Paul Getto has made a career out of feel good tunes and this is one of the feel-goodiest. Killer summer song.
14. Marquis Hawkes – Fantasy
What a jam! Hawkes knows his way around a micro sample.
13. Kemt – 100 Reasons
Nails a mood. Wait for the twinkling synths.
12. Ownglow – Not Like Me
Drum and bass rager that forgoes the heartfelt vocal trend for RPMs. This kind of glossy D&B is like modern hard rock in that most of it is dreck, but a few bangers abound.
11. Crackazat – What You’re Feeling
Half soulful house, half disco. All boogie.
10. Giorgio Rodgers – Somebody Else
Peps up an Archie Bell and the Drells stomper with jackin house’s pace. Pure euphoria.
9. Demarkus Lewis – All Night / Demarkus Lewis – Gruv Select
Excellent year for Demarkus Lewis. Two highlights among many. “Gruv Select” takes a cool-as-the-other-side-of-the-pillow spin on “The Sweetest Pain” (popular this year!). “All Night” is the booty-shaker you try to read the label of when the DJ puts it away. Both fun.
8. DJ Seinfeld – U / DJ Seinfeld – With My Love
Another twofer. Maybe lo-fi house’s true breakout star? Blurb as veiled attack on lazy journalism, incoming: Eh, maybe don’t say that around the get-off-my-lawn cloud-yellers at Fact Magazine. Anyway, not sure how “irony” can have so much atmosphere and feeling. Their loss is your gain.
7. M44K – Mstks
Proves that sometimes you’re just a killer vocal sample away from a classic. This one snatches a heartbreaker from The Miracles.
6. Bobby Analog – When Will Our Day Come
Bottles sunlight and adds a pinch of melancholy. Send it to your crush. Play it to get yourself ready for the day. Sneak it in at lunch breaks. How life should be instead of what it is.
5. AVV – Only You Know
Hazy like a planted memory. AVV is believed to be Japan’s And Vice Versa. Makes sense. Regardless of who is behind the controls, this is the perfect mix of textural mist and vocals that can cut right through. To the bone, even.
4. B9 – Bip Bap Bop
Proving that no style ever stops evolving, B9 tweaks the dubstep knob until the sounds become deep jazz. All the elements are there: dubby hits, deep bass, wum wums. However, B9 is closer to Nujabes. Nice.
3. Christopher Cross – Ride Like the Wind (Joey Negro Extended Disco Mix)
Like the Moulton, Gibbons, or M&M mixes that came before him, Joey Negro takes the Michael McDonald-speckled source and ups the epic. Transmogrifies into nearly nine minutes of giddily pure disco pleasure.
2. Black Loops – Sex
Given the title, I bet you weren’t expecting something that’s so… so… sad. At least, that’s my takeaway. The German by way of Italy duo evoke that post-midnight deep contemplation. It’s like those nights you drive away just so you can watch how the light reflects off the road markings. There’s other emotions swimming around, though. Caught somewhere between house and woozy German techno, “Sex” comes with a lot of complicated feelings.
1. Amateur Dance – It’s Really Something (Cherushii Remix)
Crazy that 21 years later, ‘Hackers’ is still shaping my life. The turd burger of 1995 is probably remembered more for an early, sorta empowered Angelina Jolie role than anything else these days, if remembered at all. But, when it came out, ‘Hackers’ provided sheltered pre-teen suburbanites a tantalizing glimpse at a future where the world could be controlled by a computer. And, not to mention, its soundtrack was the electronic inroads for many burgeoning music nerds. Underworld, The Prodigy, Carl Cox, Orbital: first steps that would become sprints back to Varese and Xenakis, digital dumpster dives for dodgy Yaman mixtape rips, and weak-kneed approaches to the altar of the god, Richard D. James. Like how lightning strikes can sometimes show up in the fossil record, ‘Hackers’ is all up in my insides. Some might call it nostalgia, but it was a transformative thing. I’m now chipping away at a career in tech. I’m still chasing songs that sound like “Halcyon & On & On.” Don’t think those things are coincidental.
Cherushii’s remix is definitely in the butter zone, what with its archaic synth swells and swirls, bouncy rhythms, and jungle snares. You can imagine Soichi Terada or, more appropriately, Lord Nikon nodding along approvingly. But, more than its elements, it’s just good. It has that classic, Orbital-esque flow where a track can be more than a static 12” section of a DJ’s set. “Something” grows and grows and GROWS, although it still stays a Proustian banger throughout. So, if this doesn’t work on you, that’s okay. It’s my favorite dance track of the year because I hear so much of myself in it.