Another year, and time again to celebrate my favorite tunes of the year.  This is the 4th annual Recap, having done the first one in 2010, followed by another in 2011, and most recently in 2012.  It seems there may be less of my own content on this site between this and the last recap, but I still like to take the opportunity to wrap the year up to collect my own thoughts.

Like all of the previous posts, I’m using this space to highlight some of my own influences – which have come in the form of individual tracks as well as mixes from standout DJs on podcasts and promotional mixes around the web that I’ve listened to through the year.

Please enjoy this selection of mixes and tracks from these hardworking artists, and if possible, support them any way you can.  These lists are in no particular order.

Top 5 Tracks:

  1. Ellie Goulding – Holding On(Feat. Tinie Tempah) – Come for the dramatic production and vocals, stay for the grime breakdown courtesy of Tinie Tempah.  There’s another version without the rap, but I like the contrast better.
  2. Kevin Drew – Summer Ashes(feat. Taryn Manning) – It’s easy for Taryn Manning’s accomplishments as a singer to be overshadowed (especially this year) by her performance as Pennsatucky, but Summer Ashes in particular was a release worth noticing.  This remix, in my mind, had a much headier groove than the trance original.
  3. Sub Focus-  Turn Back Time(Metrik mix) – Not having heard the latest Sub Focus record before hearing this tune, I was surprised that the original wasn’t more drum & bass oriented.  Metrik has made quite a splash in the last couple of years, putting out high-quality, consistent music – evidenced by this thrilling mix.
  4. Stanton Warriors – Cut Me Up (Cause & Affect Remix) – Straightforward old-school ravey fun.
  5. A Tribe Called Quest – 1nce Again(Bit Funk mix) – To be honest, the first time I heard this I wasn’t entirely sure I liked it, but when something sticks in your head like this did for me, it usually means it had an impact.  Bit Funk is a unique artist that does not seem to care too much for making sure his music fits in to one bucket or another.

Top 5 Mixes:

  1. Bad Boy Bill and Richard Humpty Vission – House Connection 3 – It’s hard to express exactly how important this release was to me.  House Connection 2(and to only a slightly lesser extent, HC1) is such a special part of my personal musical journey; before hearing of either one of these talented individuals I didn’t appreciate how house music could be presented in so many different and exciting ways.
    Because of this, the release of House Connection 3 feels a lot like coming home again.  It’s different than the last 2 more than it’s the same, but in a way it feels like the mix the fans needed after 15 long years since the last entry.  It was such a surprise this year when HC3 showed up, but I’m glad it did.
  2. Alix Perez – Essential Mix – Few artists are capable of making such a unique imprint on drum & bass.  In this mix, Alix brings together d&b, trip-hop, grime and trap(among others) to create an especially diverse mix.  Only an artist like Alix can really bring all these things together and present them as part of the same spectrum.
  3. Loadstar – Essential Mix – It’s my belief that the three artists mentioned in this post(Metrik, Alix Perez, and Loadstar) are 3 of the standouts of the most recent new wave of drum and bass, and are the forerunners that are taking the genre forward right now.  Loadstar’s Essential mix is similar to Alix Perez’ in the diversity of styles; but with a harder, techier edge and more dancefloor-oriented vibe.  It’s apparent from these two mixes the impact that trap music and grime have had on drum & bass in the last couple of years.
  4. Peter Serafinowicz – Solid Steel Radio 07/06/13Known to most primarily(at least to me) as an all-around funny guy and actor, Peter Serafinowicz put together this downtempo mix at the same time that Boards of Canada released Tomorrow’s Harvest.  Plenty of Aphex Twin, Eno, Boards of Canada, and other things in that vein for an engaging mix.
  5. James Warren – Gui Boratto Remix and Original Production Part III – James Warren, although relatively unknown, is an incredibly consistent DJ.  I’m a fan of many of these single-artist mixes that he puts out.  Along that line, I appreciated this mix which highlighted a producer of some very deep and complex progressive sounds – Gui Boratto.