A bumper 90-minute mix taking in lots of my favourites of 2016 for our first podcast of 2017.
1. Oniris – ‘Pure’ – Ovum Recordings
I’ve been a keen follower of Oniris’s work since his remix of MUUI in 2013 absolutely floored me, becoming my favourite track of that year. This EP on Josh Winx legendary Ovum label marks some of his best work so far, and ‘Pure’ is the best track on it – the layers of interlocking melodies are exquisite.
2. Oliver Schories – ‘Metris’ – Parquet
This isn’t exactly Oliver Schories first outing on Parquet – in fact, my favourite thing he’s done to date, his remix of Sivesgaard’s ‘Unorthodox’, appeared on the label. Here he offers up gentle melodies and surprisingly powerful bass tones for a nice balance of light and dark. There’s a blazing remix from label-boss Solee as well, which is well worth checking out, as is Schories’s latest for the label, Clancy, which has only just been unveiled today.
3. Lee Burridge & Lost Desert feat. Junior – ‘Lingala (Gorje Hewek & Izhevski Remix)’ – All Day I Dream
My mix of 2015 favourites also had a track from Gorje Hewek & Izhevski on All Day I Dream on it – I’ve liked pretty much everything I’ve heard by them. Here they take a track by label-founder Lee Burridge and transform it into a string-laden beauty.
4. Luka Sambe feat. Eisenzahn – ‘9th Crescent’ –Perspectives Digital
Luka Sambe’s tracks have tended to feature on my podcasts as closers, but this is one of his more low-key housey numbers, with a superb groove setting the scene for cool guitar licks. Great stuff from Darin Epsilon’s Perspectives Digital as usual.
5. Nato Medrado – ‘You (Hells Kitchen Remix)’ – Univack
Spain’s ever-excellent Univack bring us this wonderful remix from Hells Kitchen, which gets the balance just right between bass-led house and melodic techno sounds, and which boasts a standout hook. This is one of the best things to appear on the label recently, which is saying something.
6. MUUI – ‘Vin’ – Crossfrontier Audio
Easily one of my very favourite tracks of 2016 from the first time I heard it, this is MUUI at his very best. It’s a subdued, melancholy number, with a moody bassline and hazy melodies, but that’s why I love it – and it’ll whet our appetites for his upcoming second EP on microCastle.
7. Fractal Architect – ‘Unite’ – Cinematique
Another artist that features on my 2016 favourite mix, with the gorgeous ‘Rust’ on Cinematique, I knew as soon as I heard ‘Unite’ that Fractal Architect had created a worthy sequel. It’s sweetly melodic, and features some interesting vocal work that comes to the fore as the track progresses.
8. Steve Slight – ‘Nine Thousand (BP Remix)’ – Soulful Techno
BP and Steve Slight teamed up recently for a great outing on Iconyc, but before that BP turned in this beautiful remix for Gabriel Ananda’s label. Oniris introduced the phrase ‘Vangelis Techno’ to describe one of his own remixes, and it’s a label that fits this track just as well – BP’s remix is really subtle, but it gradually unveils a shimmering melodic side.
9. Michael A – ‘You Pop My Wolrd’ – Strange Town
I always want to correct the spelling on this title, but I’ll resist. In any case, Michael A is possibly the producer who has featured most on my podcasts – he seems to be endless churning out music, but without any lapses in quality. This track is fantastically hypnotic, with a busy, mesmerising hook and a growling bass doing most of the work. Brilliant stuff from one of the most consistent talents around.
10. Third Son – ‘Aspirations’ – Natura Sonoris
Third Son featured on the very first podcast in this series, and his work has only gotten better and more self-assured since then. This track on Henry Saiz’s label has all of elements that characterise his most distinctive work – bold but sparse synth melodies contrasting with a dark, chugging bassline, and a perfect balance of retro and futuristic sounds.
11. Luis Leon – ‘Betelgeuse’ – Chapter 24
Having enjoyed Luis Leon’s remixes for Chapter 24, especially his ‘cosmic’ take on Sezer Uysal’s ‘Space Egg’, I was looking forward to hearing his first cluster of original tracks for the label. It didn’t disappoint, with this slice of spacey proggy weirdness and the housier ‘Relativitat’ providing the highlights for me.
12. Energy 52 – ‘Café del Mar (Dale Middleton Remix)’ – Push Communications
I wasn’t convinced that the world really needed new remixes of this track, to be honest – it seemed to me that between the original Three’N’One remix and the ’98 version from Nalin & Kane and Hybrid that we’d kind of peaked. But both Dale Middleton and Tim Engelhardt turned in versions that reminded me why that melody has endured for so long, while adding something distinctive and fresh.
13. Robert R. Hardy & Amber Long – ‘Fade in My Dreams’ – Modern Agenda
A vocal track to wrap things up on the right note – and not just any vocal track, but an inspired collaboration between Amber Long, who has been an essential part of my soundtrack for the past few years, and man of the moment Robert R. Hardy. We’ve just had the news that there’s soon to be a remix package for this track with some really exciting names, so if you’re not following Amber and Robert Mason’s Modern Agenda label already, now is definitely a good time to start.