Favourite tune of 2016?
Stupid question. Picking just one tune from the oceanic flow of thousands that surge our way in the last 12 months is a ridiculous task… And one that’s going to change depending on mood, vibe, time of day, what you just ate, how many delayed trains you’ve suffered this week.
But we’ve all got stand-outs. Tracks you actually remember the first time you heard them. Tracks that haven’t left your head since. Tracks you want to have the waveform tattooed on your chest. Tracks you tell your mates you want played at your funeral.
Tracks like these 15 picked by our editorial team….
Deadcode – Bomboclat (Deadcode)
Steaming out of nowhere on 31 in February with the industrial strength jungle bomb Ratatata, Finnish duo Deadcode then kept the fire burning two months later with the even heavier Bomboclat. Armed with similar distorted ragga vocal textures, an amen that just won’t quit and a series of bass layers that can easily singe the hairs on the tip of your nose if you get too close, this has been a go-to peaktime shock out for many a titan ever since. (DJ)
EQ Why – Trashman (Equalized Records)
When it gets down to the minutiae of End Of Year lists such as tracks and remixes it’s almost impossible for anyone to come up with a definitive “favourite.” We here at UKF trawl through about five hundred a day and quite frankly a lot of it is a good listen… and a lot of it is also so bad it’ll make you want to never have a children so as to keep them from the horrors of what some of the world regard as music.
As such best track usually comes down to the first track that pops into your head from the year in question or the one you remember discussing with the team the most. For me that’s EQ Why’s Trashman. Footwork meets drum & bass with an endlessly singable flip of The Stylistic’s People Make The World Go Round… Also forced me to finally admit to the UKF office that I like THE OCCAISIONAL bit of drum & bass. Sadface. (Matt Bayfield)
Djrum – Sometimes I Share (Space Race pt. 3) (2nd Drop)
One of this century’s most underrated artists, Djrum is everything a producer should be – versatile, daring, and straight up badass. He never ceases to surprise the shit out of me with his intricate arrangements, and with the fact that each track is like a 3 in one showcase – just when you think it’s over, he brings the rhythm back. Sometimes I Share (Space Race pt. 3) is so ridiculously infectious that I find it pretty difficult not to break out in a silly song and dance a la High School Musical any time I hear it… Always in the privacy of my own home, of course, although this is the type of track I’d be willing to humiliate myself in public for. You know you’ve got something special when a track is over 7 minutes long and yet you’re disappointed when it’s over. Big love to Djrum for one of the most feel-good anthems of the year for me (Maja Cicic)
Fourward – Over (Shogun Audio)
Nestled in a starlit oasis amid the dense neuro tropics of their second album Expansion, Fourward gave us this gem of a tune. Restrained and subtly moody but laden with emotion and layered harmonies, it’s one of those eyes-closed and drift away moments that works in any set from the darkest to the most mainstream. Properly bliss. (DJ)
Geode – Portal (Chord Marauders)
One of the more intriguing tracks of the year for me, Geode captured a really unique atmosphere with Portal, managing to weave numerous elements together to create a serious head-nodder. Impeccable arrangement and seriously crisp production throughout, and that flutter that comes in at 2:45 is simply badass. Subtle, and yet suave AF, it’s a proper chiller of a tune – big ups Geode! (Maja Cicic)
Joyryde – Hot Drum (Joyryde / OWSLA)
In a genre oversaturated with Jauz-ripoffs, Joyryde manages to always keep it fresh with each new bass house tune he puts out (even when he remixes Feel The Volume) – the reggae sample in Hot Drum gets me moving each and every single time I hear it. (Sampo Kaskia)
Kid Drama & Skeptical – Luv (EXIT)
Let’s be honest – it’s been a tough year for a lot of us, and tough times call for uplifting sonics. If Kid Drama & Skeptical’s Luv doesn’t get an extra spring in your step, it’s quite possible 2016 has drained you of your spark and you’ve died a little inside. It’s time to reboot for 2017 so you can appreciate good music again. The way this track builds is pure class, taking over 2 and a half minutes to reach its crescendo, and when it gets there it does so in such a gentle, almost polite, manner that tenderly guides you into its hypnotic rhythm. Futuristic, yet nostalgic, that vocal hook is dangerously catchy – sampled from Duke’s ‘So In Love With You’ – and only appears once in its entirety, leaving you yearning for more. Throw some flutes in the mix and you’ve got yourself one of the vibiest tracks of 2016. So, stop for a minute and listen… (Maja Cicic)
LSB – Missing You Ft DRS & Tyler Daley (Soul:r)
When these three linked up to create The View last year, I remember hearing Friction play it on the radio and thinking that they wouldn’t be able to reproduce such a beautifully crafted track, but how wrong I was…Missing You is a sublime rolling masterpiece that skillfully blends DRS’ and Tyler Daley’s vocals. The track oozes soul and emotion, and could easily be considered as one of LSB’s best productions to date. It appears that this trio has stumbled onto something special. (Jake Hirst)
Mefjus – Suicide Bassline VIP (Critical Music)
Mefjus’s VIP of Suicide Bassline was a no brainer for me. The Austrian producer took the original from last year and completely blew it out of the water. This track establishes Mefjus for his enrapturing production of dissonant and monstrous sounds and could be argued to be the pinnacle of his well-deserved success so far. Between its torrent of extra-terrestrial noises, is its memorable one liner of human speech. This is a certified signature of Mefjus, which is always the icing on his very peculiar cakes. Taking classic neurofunk and future-focussed drum & bass, whipping it into a blender and created this face melter… This always leaves you wondering where your shoes are. (Candice Fernandez)
Mr Oizo – End Of The World (Ft Skrillex) (Ed Banger)
Skrilly and Oizo: while it seems like an unlikely combo at first, they’re actually kindred spirits. Auteurs with fingers in all kinds of creative pies, both artists do what the hell they want, both artists have a habit of subverting things… It makes perfect sense. Instant vibes from the moment the Hot Pants break and old school stabs kick in, this is the sound of two producers making a track for pure fun and no other preconceptions. Additional shouts to Ed Banger for the return of Justice, too. If this was a top 16 (and really it should be, what it being 2016 and all) Safe & Sound would definitely be on this list. (DJ)
Noisia – Anomaly (Vision)
When picking a best track from 2016, I honestly thought us contributors would all submit the same thing. It’s hard for me to focus on anything BUT this track, the album that came with it and the live show premiered at Let It Roll. Some of the UKF team had the pleasure of witnessing this unveiling. I, unfortunately living in Canada and unable to attend, had to settle for tucking myself into this little world called Anomaly. The track along with the announcement of the LP was an exciting moment as it was news some of us have been waiting six years for. Like every Noisia track, Anomaly opens up new creative depths in which only the bravest D&B producers dare to explore. This selection was an absolute no-brainer for me. (Tabitha Neudorf)
Phace – So Excited (Neosignal)
Sometimes all you need to make a modern classic is to drop it hard. (Sampo Kaskia)
Serum, Paul T & Edward Oberon – Take My Breath Away (V Recordings)
What an absolute belter. I’d heard this at a few nights and in a few mixes but frustratingly had no idea what it was until I had a Soundcloud binge one night. As soon as I heard that intro I knew the search was finally over, and it was definitely worth it. It has all the ingredients of a perfect roller; the intro, the vocal, the bass line. It’s all there. It also manages to be both dark and beautiful at the same time, which isn’t an easy blend to create, but it certainly works. (Robin Murray)
Sukh Knight – Hustlerz (New World Audio)
If generic brostep is your jam, then 2016 was definitely your year! That being said, behind the glitz and glamour of every Zomboy knockoff was a floor-wobbling banger worthy of twice as much praise.
Enter Sukh Knight. A man with production skills so dangerous that the authorities are required (by law) to broadcast an APB alert whenever he comes to town. What “Hustlerz” lacks in overall flashiness, it more than makes up for with dope vocal samples, a contagiously bouncy flow, and major throwback vibes. Tunes like this corker truly defined dubstep during the past 12 months. (Barrett Nelson)
Technimatic – Parallel (Shogun)
Technimatic have this signature sense of capturing a listener’s heart by constructing not only a musically- revered project, but an enthralling one on an emotional level as well. I’m a firm believer that a vocal can entirely change the definition of the song it’s placed in, however with songs like this, I feel as though the music speaks where the vocals don’t. I’ve been a long time Technicolour and Komatic fan, and in my honest opinion they’ve only surpassed previous expectations with the release of their new album Better Perspective. Sure we could mention the bangers as tune of the year, but where’s the soul in that? I think you lot may just need a Better Perspective (heh) (Shane Consouls)