by Irina Kotik
As the door closes on yet another year, it’s time to look back on the incredibly impressive catalogue of stunning releases that took over dancefloors around the world during 2017. With a focus on the individual tracks, we are presenting a handpicked list of our 50 favorite tracks from across underground electronic music.
Roosevelt - Heart (Cleveland remix)
Last year Marius Lauber, a.k.a. Roosevelt, the German producer closely affiliated with Joe Goddard’s Greco-Roman label, released his highly anticipated self-titled debut album on Greco-Roman/City Slang. This May the album will be remixed by Roosevelt’s favorite producers.
The Luxembourger Cleveland is known for his vibrant live and DJ sets. He brings his signature sound and beautifully hypnotic edge to the package, with his take on ‘Heart’ using infectiously upbeat grooves, warm pads, and a dreamy arpeggiated analog-synth melody.
Talaboman - Loser's Hymn
From two of the pillars of the electronic music, John Talabot and Axel Boman, comes this undeniable gem, gorgeous tune “Loser’s Hymn” which was created as part of their full-length album ‘ The Night Land’. Enveloped in a dreamy haze of a deeply emotive melody, soft synth pads, rolling high-hats and subtle cymbals, it lavishes the listener with layers of the pure sublime atmosphere, perfect for a timeless sunrise journey.
Melatonin Man - Garrol
Melatonin Man’s beautiful track “Garrol” is one of the many stand-out tracks on the Nous’klaer Audio’s “Paerels” compilation. It’s a mesmerizing sonic kaleidoscope of sublime musical tones and colors with a touch of timeless Balearic brilliance.
The Drifter - Space Ramp
This September, Tom Bioly and Benjamin Fröhlich’s Permanent Vacation celebrates its ten-year anniversary with an astounding collection of exclusive tracks featuring the label’s key artists including John Talabot, Tuff City Kids, Pional, Mano Le Tough, Red Axes, The Drifter, Joakim, The Lord Of The Isles, and Daniel Bortz to name just a few. The dance-floor hypnotizer “Space Ramp” is produced by an incredibly talented Irish producer and Maeve label boss The Drifter. This intricate beauty brings the listener on a spine-tingling, slow-burning journey through gorgeous cosmic harmonies and magical depth.
New Jackson - Electric Blue
Fort Romeau’s spritely taste-making Cin Cin label exploded onto the electronic music scene in 2016 with a philosophy to bring established and new artists together on split EP format releases. The “Electric Blue” by Dubliner David Kitt, a.k.a. New Jackson took the musical exploration from David Bowie’s "Sound and Vision" track from the 1977 studio album "Low". This beautiful and hypnotic reinterpretation showcases imaginative artistry to excellent effect with a deep and propulsive groove powered by layers of warm pads and cosmic synth textures. Managing to capture the mind-bending spaced-out disco vibe. this stunning version is an absolute guarantor of proper dance-floor destruction.
Peter Pardeike - Love Supreme (Love Over Entropy remix)
Offenbach-based Connaisseur Recordings continues to impress the electronic music scene by putting out outstanding quality releases. Following on from the huge success of Peter Pardeike’s “Love Supreme”, a stunning summer anthem released on the label last year, Connaisseur Recordings puts out an incredible remix package featuring top-notch artists such as Love Over Entropy, Fred and Luna, and Andre Hommen. Love Over Entropy’s beautifully diverse version has been perfectly described by our contributor Slav Ka.
Tom Trago - Digital Love
Dutch producer Tom Trago brings the listener back to the endless summer nights with “Digital Love”. Gorgeous bass line, hypnotic rhythms, and smooth synth lines, all laced with a warm, open-air vibe, giving this elegant mind-melter a well-balanced mysterious sensuality that is undeniably beautiful
Space Dimension Controller - Exostack (Kornel Kovacs remix)
Space Dimension Controller is a project emanating from the studio of Belfast electro/house producer Jack Hamill, who brings his trademark funky retro-futuristic and mind-melting synth sounds to his new ‘Exostack’ EP, released via London’s R&S Records.
Kornèl Kovàcs’s version of ‘Exostack’ is a pure funk bliss. Swedish producer throws in a dreamy hypnotic melody, silky synth chords, and seductive irresistible groove to stamp his own unique mark on the original, resulting in the breath-taking contrasting interpretation.
Zopelar - Origini (Ripperton remix)
Brazilian analog guru and In Their Feeling label co-head Pedro Zopelar (a.k.a. Zopelar) rear his head in emphatic fashion with his ’Origini’ EP on Luca Bacchetti’s Endless imprint. His single ‘Origini,’ with two powerful remixes by Swiss producer Ripperton is crafted for lovers of sophisticated hypnotic techno and superb deep house. Ripperton’s remix version of ‘Origini’ puts an incredible spin on the track, focusing on the powerful rhythmic textures and cosmic distorted synth lines. The original elements from ‘Origini’ are reworked into a state-of-the-art production only this Swiss maestro can muster.
Nuno Dos Santos - Prosa (Far Out Radio remix)
[Something Happening Somewhere]
When Nuno Dos Santos dropped his stunning Trigonometry of Love EP earlier this year, we counted it as one of our favorite releases of 2017. Later in September, the Dutch Something Happening Somewhere label returned with a special limited edition 12” vinyl release letting others this time tell the story. Featuring four exceptional remixes by the likes of Far Out Radio Systems, Fader From Borneo, Mark du Moschand, Polynation, the EP showcased a different take for each one of the original tracks.
Far Out Radio Systems is another moniker of Thomas Neyens, the incredibly talented Belgian producer, also known as Kiani and His Legion. His version of “Prosa” is a powerful and twisted affair providing the groove and feel needed to make this the perfect peak-time track for a late-night tipsy sway on the dancefloor.
Cleveland - Pay Back (Samo DJ & Pedrodollar remix)
'Pay Back' was born the day before Cleveland's first live set in Brussels two years ago. No wonder it sounds like a call to arms. 'Armando The Lizard' has a much looser feeling. It doesn't pursue an answer, just a little bit of warmth. Created in a small cold studio during the Belgian winter, it's lush and playful as a summer afternoon near the Pacific. After all, Cleveland’s has always had a penchant for adventure…The illustrious swedes Samo DJ & Pedrodollar join forces to give Pay Back a groove boost and a touch of their trademark quirkiness.”
Warp Factor 9 - The Atmospherian (Tornado Wallace remix)
ESP Institute continues to impress with another stellar release. This August, the label dropped a package from Australian duo Warp Factor 9 with a remix from Boroondara’s Tornado Wallace. “Warp Factor 9 was a one-off project by Russell and John Kibley of esoteric post-rock bands The Chrystal Set and Bhagavad Guitars respectively, and who are brothers of Steve Kilbey ( frontman of The Church, a prolific Australian band we’ve adored since adolescence)… The Atmospherian is a celebration of a lost tune that originated, was re-discovered and re-imagined down under, but sits far left of center” explains the label. “The Atmospherian” (Extended version) will immediately whisk the listener into a mysterious labyrinth, with its haunting vocals, rolling groove and hypnotic vibes. Tornado Wallace speeds things up a notch, creating a driving and uplifting version of the original.
Bicep - Glue
The Belfast duo Andrew Ferguson and Matthew McBriar, a.k.a Bicep released a self-titled full-length album via Ninja Tune. The second irresistibly gorgeous single “Glue” features a swooping melange of incredibly lush synth layers woven together around seductive melodies and hypnotic breakbeat. This gorgeous anthem of huge proportions will undoubtedly put the groove in any DJ set.
King Britt presents Obafunke - Uzoamaka (Dixon Update)
[SoHaSo x Lossless]
Lossless & Something Happening Somewhere labels unite again to present an utterly gorgeous goose-bump generator Pt.2 of King Britt presents Obafunke ‘Uzomaka’ release. The package consists of a masterful update from Innervisions honcho Dixon, twisted bonus beats by the SoHaSo label boss Nuno Dos Santos and another powerful edit by Lossless co-founder Mathias Schober. This time the mighty Dixon gives the original track an update for modern dance floors. Pushing the groove to the foreground, adding some extra percussion and drive while letting the choir guide you to a monumental break in which the chord suspends in the air. “Free to… Free to… Free to…”
&ME - Rapture
Exceptionally talented producer &Me is back in the hot seat at his own label Keinemusik with the impressive ‘Avalon’ EP that conveys tasteful music and artistic vision. The skillfully crafted ’The Rapture’ is a compelling musical alchemy with emotionally evocative harmonies, an expansive widescreen mood, and effortless elegance.