2013 was pretty amazing. I heard somewhere that there are something like 2000 house tracks made available via various digital, vinyl and other media every week these days; it’s great to hear the profusion of music coming out and hear everyone’s voice. My own selections for 2013 (11 of them–because it’s an architect vibration in numerology and I like that number) were mostly in the house vein with some tech/booty/nu disco tendencies. Here are some of my favorites released this year.
11. Minilogue – When Sadness Releases, Joy Arises (Donato Dozzy Remix)
About the artists: Minilogue from Malmo, Sweden have been some of my favorite artists for many years due to their at times haunting, searching, and quite often heartfelt take on techno. I don’t know Donato Dozzy as well but I love what he’s done with this remix.
Why I love this track: it’s oceanic and ever expanding, with elements of transcendence of earthly troubles.
Where/when to play it: Downtempo/ambient lounges, sensual moments, after the rave in the morning, by the water
10. Harpy – Eats Everything & Justin Martin
About the artists: Eats Everything and Justin Martin have been gracing Claude VonStroke’s label dirtybird with some amazing, bassy, dirty, booty tracks lately and this one is one of the better one of recent years.
Why I love this track: The harps, the fucking BASS, and those little weird harpy sounds. It’s a little bit delirious, a little bit evil.
When/where to play it: Anytime and anywhere you need a little booty.
9. Sharam Jey and Kolombo – Nonstop
About the artists: Sharam Jey (not the Sharam from Deep Dish) is a DJ/producer from Cologne, Germany with a long catalog of tracks, and paired up with Belgium’s Kolombo (aka Olivier Grégoire) for this stomper.
Why I love it: The deeply funky bassline and samples from Poor Righteous Teachers “Word Iz Life.” This track absolutely slams at almost any tempo.
When/where to play it: Peak hour on a dance floor when people aren’t expecting a funky hip-house sound, or slow it crazily down for a hot afternoon (like I did at Burning Man 2013).
8. Tim Green – Halftone
About the artist: Tim Green (aka TG) is a young producer from the UK who has been making interesting techno and tech house for a few years now. Always a little off-kilter and interesting. This work track is no exception.
Why I love it: It’s weird. It’s polyrhythmic. It’s a little tribal, a little house, and a little techno. Those percussion tracks are incredible. And then the whole strange melodic line that develops at the end? This is not standard house music.
When/where to play it: I think this track is best for taking people to a deeper, weirder or more intense place, for when the hallucinogens kick in. Or deep in a set when you’re ready to get extremely unglued.
7. Daniel Stefanik – Confidence (Adam Port remix)
About the artists: Daniel Stefanik and Adam Port, two DJ/producers from Germany pair up on this one. Both are very active but I’m more familiar with Adam Port’s work, which usually has terrific percussion and a sense of soul.
Why I love it: This track has been wrecking me all fall, and I wish I’d found it sooner. It reminds me of jazz/fusion superstars Weather Report in the best way, with world and tribal influences, as well as some of Dario Zenker’s darker works. The long pause in the center of the track with the cymbal crashes creates such a jungle atmosphere…I just love this track.
6. Todd Terje – Strandbar (Disko Version)
About the artist: It’s ridiculous how much I love Oslo, Norway’s Todd Terje. He’s been turning out organic, heart-felt, playful, arp-laden nu disco and indie dance tracks for years now, and shows no signs of stopping. Probably my favorite producer making music right now.
Why I love it: It’s playful. It’s fun. It’s disco, but fresh. The piano and the key changes. It’s Todd Terje.
Where/when to play: Whenever and wherever you want. That bassline groove will elevate a dancefloor. A great startup track, and a great track to build momentum in the middle of a set.
5. Michael Gray & Marco Lys – The Underground (Frederico Scavo remix)
About the artists: Italy’s famous Marco Lys pairs up with Britain’s Michael Gray on this track, remixed by seasoned Italian house producer Federico Scavo.
Why I love it: The crushing bassline (crushing) and samples from Digital Underground “Dowatchalike”? For fucking real?
When to play it: Peak, or when you’re ready to destroy a dancefloor.
4. CLS – Can You Feel It (Prok & Fitch remix)
About the artists: CLS is one of legendary US house producer Todd Terry’s pseudonyms, and “Can You Feel It” is among his most famous tracks. UK’s Prok & Fitch take a crack at remixing it with at 2013 flair, and hit a homerun.
Why I love it: It reminds me of early 90s rave/house sounds, updated with as much ecstasy as 2013 can hold. Those synths are here to wreck your brain.
When/where to play it: when you’re ready for people to lose their shit. Please have cleaning staff on hand.
3. Lone – Airglow Fires
About the artist: UK’s Lone has been mining the early 90s revival of the last few years, and doing a fantastic job of it.
Why I love it: That ride cymbal and swinging jam. It manages to invoke the early 90s and jacking while being incredibly fresh. Dancefloor magic. JOY.
When/where to play it: On a floor expecting house, when you need to bring warmth and joy. If there are people who enjoyed the first days of house there, they will lose their minds over this track.
2. Rennie Foster – Low Boxing
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About the artists: Vancouver, BC’s Rennie Foster has been producing lush house, acid and techno for a bit now–a true believer in the underground.
Why I love it: This lush number has been melting me since hearing it on my friend Aaron Clark’s live mix from Honcho. It manages to be techno, acid and also just glorious.
When/where to play it: Late. You can also slow it way the fuck down and it becomes a sensational downtempo track. So versatile!
1. Jimspter – Porchlight and Rocking Chairs (KiNK remix)
About the artists: Celebrated UK deep house producer Jimpster (aka Jamie Odell) is remixed by Bulgarian wunderkind DJ and Producer KiNK (aka Strahil Velchev) to epic effect.
Why I love it: Because it’s everything. The odd textures with tambourine and organ. Those rising chords with strings in the break rarely fail to bring tears to my eyes. This track is transcendence.
When/where to play it: Everywhere to anyone who will listen. Probably at the end of a set. But earlier if you want them to open their hearts sooner.
And if you want to hear many of these tracks in action, the majority are found in my fall mix, FreeFall. Fall free…
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Happy 2014 everyone!