50 Tracks That Defined 2016

by Irina Kotik

As another year comes to a close it’s time to look back at some of the finest tracks of 2016. This has been one of the most innovative years of underground electronic dance music, with a treasure-trove of productions that radiate with powerful musical elegance, boundless creativity, and infinite inspiration from both established artists, and new talent from around the world. We handpicked fifty of our favorite deep house and techno tracks from this incredibly vibrant year.

Sfire - Sfire 3 (John Talabot Tribalist Rework)
Cocktail D’Amore Music & Muting The Noise

Without a doubt, Sfire’s ‘Sfire3 - John Talabot Remixes' EP is the most eagerly awaited release of 2016. This magnificent version transports the listener to another realm of electronic music. The warm vocals and rich harmonies are layered on a powerful groove and hypnotic synth melody surrounded by the intermittent wail of ambulance sirens, evoking images of New York City.

DJ Tennis - Divisions (Roman Flugel remix)
Life And Death

Life & Death is a label that has been putting out incredible music since 2010, establishing themselves as the finest purveyors of the beautiful dance tunes, blurring the line between the underground and popular music. DJ Tennis ‘Division’ (Roman Flügel remix) was one of the most anticipated tracks of the year, taking its listeners on a goosebump-inducing journey through realms of hauntingly seductive vocals, chillingly gorgeous arrangements, and endless dance floor ecstasy.  

DJ Metatron - State of me

Cult techno powerhouse Giegling signed off 2016 on a major high note. The Weimar-based collective released one of the finest emotionally-driven compilations to grace techno lovers and electronic music connoisseurs this year.  One of the most anticipated tunes on the compilation is DJ Metatron's utterly gorgeous, chill-inducing "State Of Me". Giegling mystery man DJ Metatron, also known as Traumprinz and Prince of Denmark is a master of creating moods and emotions rarely felt on the dance floor. Hovering between a deeply emotional ocean of broken beat rhythms, and delicate musical ambiance, the elegant and powerful "State of Me” combines a longing reality with an emergent nostalgia

Hyenah - The Idea feat Lazarusman
(Frankey and Sandrino Remix)
Freerange Records

Exceptional work has once again been delivered by outstanding producers Frankey & Sandrino, who have taken on remix duties for ‘The Idea’. This elegantly haunting track produced by another incredibly talented producer Hyenah is a shining example of a powerful deep house tune with strong melodic content. This remarkable version is layered with percussive beats, and distinctive spoken-word vocals by South African poet and vocalist Lazarusman, taking it's listeners somewhere far and away.

ZK Bucket - Let your body control the beat
(The Drifter remix)
Zaun Records

Extremely talented and charismatic Irish producer The Drifter brings the heat on 2016 with an utterly gorgeous, anthemic remix of ZK Bucket 's "Let Your Body Control the Beat”.  The melodic progression unfurls delicately and is wrought with minimalistic suspense adding psychedelic dimensions to the sounds, leading into an unexpected sensation of peaceful tranquility where the soul will let your body control the beat.

Isaac Tichauer - Higher Level
(Bicep Remix)
Loft Records

Northern Irish powerhouse Bicep has created another dance floor gem. Slightly reminiscent of last year's stylish hit 'Just', this impressive remix was the central track in many DJ's sets at the DGTL festival. With a lush grooves, and a mesmerizing melody woven together with hypnotic vocals, it's sure to be a massive success.

Traumprinz - 2 Bad
(Metatron's What If Madness Is Our Only Relief Mix)

Giegling mystery man Traumprinz (a.k.a. Prince Of Denmark, a.k.a.DJ Metatron) is a master of creating hypnotic journeys that open the mind to experiences beyond aural stimulation. With an eye for detail, he has masterfully carved out a unique and extraordinary sound that engages listeners in the subtle melancholy of his awe-inspiring groove. This magical ‘2 The Sky’ EP is truly special.

Lost Scripts - S.O.P.
Hivern Discs

Hivern Discs has had another successful year of quality releases. Their Edit Series impressed the electronic music world with every installment. "S.O.P" was one of the most anticipated edits by Lost Scripts, an exciting collaboration between John Talabot and Pional. This was the key track in a plethora of top DJ sets that made many a music lover search for a track ID. In short, “S.O.P” is a massive dance floor destroyer of the highest magnitude.

Michele Mininni - Hyper Martino
(Red Axes remix)
Le Temps Perdu

This year Tel Aviv house duo Red Axes has left a heavy imprint on the world of underground electronic music with their lavish and misty psychedelia. Their contagious summer anthem, a remix of the Michele Mininni's title track “Hyper Martini”, caused a stir on many dance floors with its pulsating, ethereal energy emenating from driving sci-fi electro-tech grooves atop an infectious melody, knocking the listener into a hypnotic transfixion.

Acid Pauli - Nana

In April the Hamburg-based producer DJ Koze and Marcus Fink’s powerhouse Pampa Records dropped their first ever compilation album. One of the finest tracks of the 19-track compilation was Acid Pauli's breath-taking masterpiece “Nana”. This stunning track has a timeless feel to it with its swelling synth, thrilling groove, and fascinating melody that evokes images of beautiful skies with echoes of dreams.

Baikal - Pelican’s Flight

Berlin-based DJ/Producer Baikal returned in a huge way this year with the achingly gorgeous two-track ‘Pelican’s Flight’ EP. The title track has been road-tested worldwide since its premiere at the DGTL festival and is still hitting dance floors like a comet. The magnificent genre-spanning journey of simple but effective appregiated sounds will hit you with deep, and beautifully unaffected expressiveness.

Trikk - ‘Photo Rhyt’ (Black Version)

Dedicated to high-quality, cutting-edge productions, the Lossless label had a devastatingly exceptional year. Their smart and innovative sound destroyed dance floors across the globe with every release. Trikk's Photo Rhyt’ (Black Version) was a certified mammoth of a dance-floor tune that is for sure to do damage everywhere it is played.

Aera - Running Hot

Incredibly talented Berlin-based producer Ralf Schmidt a.k.a. Aera stepped into the spotlight with an extremely powerful, elegant, and deeply emotive tune 'Running Hot', released on the highly regarded Innervisions label.  It's gorgeous melody, arpeggiated acid sounds, and sophisticated euphoric builds come together to form an incredibly effective track that always leaves dance floors in a state of awe.

Midland - Final Credits

Harry Agius better known as Midland delivered one of the biggest hits this year on his own Regraded imprint which focuses mostly on disco-sampled house music. The masterfully sampled synthy disco groove with a soulful vocal makes it easy to love. Having been played by a majority of industry-leading DJ's, this stunning anthem will undoubtedly be in many top tracks of 2016 lists.

Clavis - Alcine
Freerange Records

The exciting production duo known as Clavis, consisting of Manuel Tur and Adrian Hoffmann (a.k.a. Urban Absolutes of Paskal & Urban Absolutes) impressed the electronic music scene again this year with their highly anticipated "Alcine" EP. Clavis received countless plays from likes Dixon, Ame, and Damian Lazarus to just a name a few. The title track ‘Alcine’ is a spellbinding thrill-ride of intense, evolving tribal grooves, and gorgeous melodic flow. This tune will leave its listeners breathless and desperate for more.

Recondite - Osa

The powerful track ‘Osa’ from infamous Bavarian producer Recondite has been a constant hit in sets of Innervisions and Life & Death artists. It carries a deep and beautifully emotive big-room sound, infused with dark and spacious atmospheric vibes.

Lauer - ESC
(Prins Thomas Diskomiks)
Permanent Vacation

Norwegian space-disco don and Full Pupp label boss Prins Thomas teamed up with a prolific German producer and one-half of Tuff City Kids Lauer on a fantastic disco-funk infused journey ‘Esc'. The 80's new-wave original has been transformed into a big-room cosmic disco burner by Prins Thomas. It's an artsy blend of "progressive technopop", magnetic vocals by singer Jasnau, and an electric nocturnal vibe.

Patrick Bishop - Un
(Tuff City Kids remix)

The prolific masterminds, Tuff City Kids have wowed the electronic music scene yet again with a floor-shaking, deeply emotional remix of the Patrick Bishop’s “Un”. Selected by Dixon as the closing track of his RA.500 podcast, this magnetic, heartwarming tune is perfect for peak moments and timeless inward journeys.

Eagles and Butterflies  - X

The English born, LA based producer Chris Baratt, a.k.a. Eagles and Butterflies has become one of the most respected and prolific producers in the underground electronic music community. His productions epitomize beautiful, powerful house music that pushes boundaries, and creates unexpected dancefloor moments. This year his long list of releases included remixes for Underworld and RY X, a powerful single named 'X' on the elite compilation “Secret Weapons (part 8)” from Innervisions, as well a brilliant EP on his brand new label “Art Imitating Life”. His powerful track 'X' instantly became a club anthem this year, reflecting Eagles and Butterflies’ skillful artistic experimentation, and clever explorations of an ever-evolving sound.

Unknown - Loving
(Oceanic edit)
Nous’klaer Audio

Rotterdam’s Nous’klaer Audio is a record label with a forward-thinking approach, focusing on the artistry of sound. Dutch producer Oceanic, a.k.a. O.C., delivered two hypnotic edits, ‘Loving' and 'Sight To Sea’ on the first release of the new edit series of Nous’klaer. Close your eyes and embark on a beautiful dreamy journey with this superbly lush and shimmering house track - ’Loving'.