Another fantastic year of dance music passes and we decide to torture ourselves with the age old question, “what was your favourite record?”. It’s a difficult task to say the least, and a favourite is always changing. That said, at some point we all have a connection with a track/mix that goes beyond purchasing the record or hearing the sample on soundcloud. Whether it aligned with an important time in life or some other particular moment, some of our contributors have attempted to capture it here.
Favourite release: Harvey Sutherland – Bermuda
Most played, most loved record in my bag all year. Picked it up at Lighthouse in Tokyo the moment it arrived, and never looked back. It makes me doubly happy that I could pick a homegrown release.
Chaos in the CBD – Midnight in Peckham
Hunee – Hunch Music LP
Tornado Wallace – Ferntree Gully / Kangaroo Ground
Frank & Tony – Apprentice EP
Favourite mix: Saine – Fools & Fables Mixtape
Up there with my favourite mixes of all time, not just 2015. It’s only 45 minutes long, but as I found out you can make up for that if you play it 5 times consecutively. Saine has been a favourite at 6am forever, and it’s nice to see that his attention to detail when producing applies equally to his DJ sets.
Favourite release: Workshop 21 – Various Artists
Workshop’s only new release of 2015 was presented to us in the form of a VA with a few unfamiliar faces. Varying in range from Tapes super lo-fi take on Pat Kelly’s “Somebody’s Baby”, to one of 2015’s most peak time euphoria inducing moments with a re-release of The Horn’s “Villager”, it is a record for every moment and deservedly takes my pick for record of the year.
DJ Sprinkles & Mark Fell – Fresh Insights
Bakradze – Before Time Altered Them
Butter Sessions Vol.5 – Sounds From The Suburbs
Velvet Seasons and the Heart Of Gold – Long Black / Love Generation
Westbam and Nena – Old School Baby (re-release)
Favourite mix: DJ Sotofett – TRUSHmix 77
Being brought to the forefront of my attention in 2015 by our favourite local music fest Inner Varnika, Sex Tags blew the crowd away with an epic 6 hour set to close out what was an outstanding weekend. From that point forward I was glued to everything the Norwegian crew had to offer. DJ Sotofett’s TRUSHmix 77 is a just under 5 hour snap shot of the dynamic and eclectic experience that is a night deep inside his record bag. Everything from jazz and afro to house and techno. He has the records and more importantly, he knows when to play them.
Favourite release: Project Pablo – I Want To Believe
This is the only release that I will happily let soundtrack all stages of my night out. From afternoon beers in the sun, to sweaty basement grooves and the final low decibel wind down session. Attractive in its simplicity and warmth, ‘I Want To Believe’ is a session record that doesn’t wear thin.
Favourite mix: Floorplan (Robert Hood) – Boiler Room (Dekmantel 2015)
I didn’t want to put a Boiler Room on my list as it means I probably wasn’t there to experience the set in the flesh. Although you simply can’t go past Robert Hood in his house moniker smashing out goose-bump ridden classics b2b with his own daughter. Quite simply putting the Hood in fatherhood.
Favourite release: Brawther and Alixkun – ハウス Once Upon A Time In Japan
Quality and quantity is provided through Brawther and Alixkun’s ハウス Once Upon A Time In Japan… released on Les Disques Mystiques and Alixkun’s new label, and my pick for best new label name for 2015, Jazzy Couscous. The triple LP tribute to early Eastern dance music was in the works for some time prior to its issue in November this year, and the final product really shows the value in patient collecting. Made up of freshly remastered, previously released and unreleased material, Brawther and Alixkun’s selections here range from bright house to upfront acid, and represents well-known and lesser-known Japanese producers of the late 80’s and early 90’s fairly. I’m lead to a new favourite track after each listen of this massive release, but stand outs include the incredibly pretty Home (6am mix) by Takeharu Kunimoto and Square by Fake aka Naoki Kihira, who remains at the forefront of in demand, underground DJs in Japan.
Potentially the Year of the Brawther, his efforts in compiling Endless for Balance Recordings also deserves praise. Another beautifully presented, 3 x LP offering, Endless is mostly a reflection of Brawther’s time spent with Balance, but also includes a previously unreleased remix of Jeremiah’s Khawuleza and a re-release of golden, old-school styled Don’t Go, which came out through My Love is Underground a few years ago – very happy to get my hands on this. Released back in June, this is one of my most played for the year, and will remain in an easy-to-reach crate for years to come.
Other honourable and non-compilation related mentions go to Deep88 & Melchior Sultana’s Playing Without Moving on 12 Records and Porn Sword Tobacco’s Magnifik Botanik on Aniara Recordings.
Favourite mix: LNS – TRUSHmix 79
My favourite mix for 2016 goes to LNS with her mix for Trushmix (Trushmix #79.) Not much is known about Canadian-based LNS, but I expect more will be revealed in the lead up to the release of her debut EP, coming out via 1080p early next year.
I’m a long time Trushmix listener, and though I’ve enjoyed the offerings from each guest they’ve hosted over the last 12 months, this mix just ticks all the boxes for me; it’s eclectic, nostalgic and well programmed. From ever-fresh 90’s gems like Purveyors of Fine Funk’s Integrity and Autreche’s Second Scepe to recent, breaky masterwork Type Damascus by PLO Man, these selections get my full attention and are fit for all-day/night listening. Free download too, thanks Trushmix!
Favourite release: Dude Energy – Renee Running
Animals Dancing released this stomper in early 2015 and has easily been my most played track of the year. It’s the only release of Dude Energy, an 80’s electro-techno inspired alias of Diego Herrera, also known as Suzanne Kraft. This one has been played by some of the best taste makers in the world including during DJ Harvey’s Coachella set.
Favourite mix: Bell Towers – Dekmantel Podcast 017
I was fortunate enough to see Bamboo Musik a few times before they stopped throwing parties but this year they got back together for a reunion in the home of Bamboo Musik, The Mercat Basement. For those who don’t remember Bamboo Musik was hosted by Bell Towers and Misha (Perks & Mini) and it was incredible to see them return for one last party. Not only did I love dancing one last time in the dingy Mercat Basement, but a few weeks later, Dekmantel released a recording of the night as part of their mix series.
Favourite release: La Duna – Raw M.T.
While there’s yet to be a release release on either Lobster Theremin (who have taken over the world) or it’s sub-label “Mörk” in 2015 that i haven’t been smitten with, La Duna by Raw M.T. is the one that i keep coming back to. ‘Striker’ and ‘La Duna’ are quintessential lofi 909 bangers for the club or the home – hazy, distorted chords, crunchy acid lines and thick, beefy kick drums.
‘Untitled’ though, is the tune that really pushes this release to the next level. It’s the track i put on when i’m walking home from the club at 8am, not yet ready to sacrifice a a 4/4 beat but too fragile for anything less than beautiful. It’s the track i put on when i’m watching the sun rise on the way to work on a Tuesday morning. It’s the track i put on when i’m cooking dinner, when i have guests over, when i want to show my parents what kind of music i’m into. It also has the most tasteful seagull sample ever. Beautiful.
Favourite mix: ROD – Dekmantel Podcast 044
2015 was the year i became obsessed with ROD, and there were at least 3 standout mixes from him this year that i could have chosen. There was the breathless, impossibly hi-tempo hour he put forward for Invite’s Choice podcast, while the recording of the final 6 hours of his 10 hour set at Thuishaven in Amsterdam in December is masterful in it’s versatility and scope. His podcast for Dekmantel takes the cake though, because frankly i’m a sucker for beautiful strings and pads and this gives me what i want right from the top, with Claro Intelecto’s ‘Peace of Mind’ setting the tone for the most memorable mix of the year.
Favourite mix: Ryan Elliot – Awakenings Festival
Ryan Elliot’s stellar performance at Awakenings 2015 gives further evidence that the man is well adverse at merging techno with house, and deservedly ranks as a top Panorama resident.
Favourite LP: Patricia – Bem Inventory
The no holds barred approach of delivering raw beats “straight to tape” has many incumbent producers experimenting with funky waveforms. Although a little short, Mike Ravitz has curated his own style with enough grinding force and deep grooves to set “Bem Inventory” apart from the herd.
Favourite EP: Takuya Matsumoto – Places Of Colours EP
Matsumoto has had very busy year. With a long list of excellent releases in 2015 to compete with (including his own), Places of Colour edges in front with a press of four tracks that are warm an inviting, and get me excited for what will be next now he’s back from a long hiatus.