Welcome back to the our second installment of Silverlake To Soho’s Top Tracks of 2011. This time we’ll be running through tracks 81 through 90. In case you missed my last post on tracks 91-100, you can check it out here! If you’re new to us then here’s the criteria you missed from last post.
Silverlake to Soho is proud to present to you our top 100 tracks of 2011. Featuring a top 50 of 2011 is an already daunting task for an EDM blog to do, but a top 100, really? I bet you’re thinking that the quality slowly diminishes after 50, but as you will soon see, we probably could’ve gone up to 150. With the help of a few knowledgable ravers, legends, and friends of mine, I think I’ve conjured up a rather respectable list of tracks that represent 2011, thee MEGA in terms of releases. By top 100 “tracks”, I will more specifically be referring to mainly the EDM subgenre of progressive house. Why mainly progressive house? Based upon the endless quality releases of progressive this year, and for EDM all across the board, it would be virtually impossible to include other subgenres.
Other reasons why I want to stick to progressive are:
1) Although I appreciate Trance considerably, I have not followed trance extensively enough nor do I believe that I’d have a credible offering of opinions or selection.
2) It was also a great year for electro house, but I feel that there wouldn’t be enough to room to throw that into the mix (with exception to a few producers).
3) Although you know I love an occasional fucking tech bomb by Richard Dinsdale or Pleasurekraft, tech house just isn’t in popular demand at the moment!
4) Minimal/Techno – Sorry but I haven’t dug that deep yet…
5) Dubstep…no thanks, I don’t like having seizures on the dancefloor.
What were some other factors taken into consideration?
Popularity was obviously a huge factor. There are some tracks that undeniably reached the entire EDM spectrum and beyond. Call it commercial or radio friendly, there are those sing-along anthems that moved the masses to create one giant auditory synapse. Whether it be for good or for worse, anthems are what induce the EDM community to expand.
Festival Fuego. Some tracks were straight up festival staples this year and were the base ingredients that every big name needed to have in their sets. Regardless if we already heard that track 5 times that day (Camera’s ready, prepare to flash!), we would still give out the same reaction. Household names in the industry and their support for certain tracks also play a role since they are the trend setters of EDM. If the track has been circulating into a lot of big name sets, then chances are it’s probably a good track!
Diversity of sound (despite the list falling mainly under progressive) and range of artists. Sorry Avicii (and his fanboys), but we definitely wanted to showcase a bit of everything, ranging from feel-good, bigroom, trouse, clubby progressive, melodic/airy smooth, tropical fuego, and emotionally driving tracks. A track doesn’t have to be an in-your-face, synth-happy, bass-heavy banger to be a top 100 track.
Crushability. This is self-explanatory.
Is this bias? Abso-fucking-lutely. A lot of these tracks represent my personal taste and are from some of my favorite producers. I’ve invested a lot of time in posting features like Fuego Fridays, so I believe my input is well-deserved.
So take these with a grain of salt, as music (especially EDM) is very opinionated. This is intended to create a forum of discussion about this past year’s releases! So if you have anything on your mind, please comment below.
#90 Albin Myers – There 4 You ft. St. James (Dirty Dub Mix)
Kicking things off for us is the uber hot Stockholm sensation Albin Myers, whose aim is to produce energetic club music and bonafide remixes. The head honcho of Soundtrack of the Living Dead has also joined forces with fellow Swede John Dahlback to form MyBack, whose sound is really out there and actually quite difficult to describe (wobbly electro/progressive). Whether it be his bizarre electro house tracks like “Air Drums” and “aGORA Albin Myers Muffin Mix” or his deeper progressive productions like “Faking Love (Prog Mix)” and “Wobble”, it’s the combination of both that has made Myers one of the most sought-after remixers this year. However, my favorite mix of his isn’t his renowned remix to Avicii’s “Fade Into Darkness”, but rather an eccentric cross between progressive and soul. SO, who’s ready for some straight soul? My brother (who also happens to be an aspiring rapper) claims that house music has no soul, but little does he know about its roots, influences, and current collaborations. What makes this track so soulful is vocalist St. James, whom Albin nabbed from an inner city Detroit gospel choir (kidding), and Albin Myers’ feel-good piano chords.
Starting 3:36 in: “Hey yeah yeah yeah, heyyyy oh yeah, ohhh, ohh..there for you, there for you, there for you!” How can you not feel good inside?
#89 John Dalhback – Pour Te / Winter EP
While we are on the topic of MyBack and Sweden, John Dahlback, the head of mutants record label, is another rather low key talent who has produced nothing but quality progressive gems. His 2011 highlights include his remixes to Sneaky Sound System’s “Big”, Benassi’s “Electroman”, Nause’s “Made Of” and solid original productions like “Come Undone” (with Sam Obernik and Tommy Trash), “One Last Ride” (we covered Tommy Trash’s remix last time), “Violins Of Donau”, “Grunge” (pure fuego by the way), and the deeper “Phoenix”. The Winter EP however, is completely different animal in terms of natural aptitude. These tracks aren’t something that DJs drop at festivals to hype up rave babies and Cinema girls (OMG betch I love Cinema! Play it again!), but are rather listener’s jams. When I’m looking to escape into something deeper, I turn to these tracks. “Winter” is an epic, emotionally-driving groove inducer whereas “Pour Te” is a valiant intergalactic crushable.
Wonderfully put by the excerpt on Beatport:
“Clearly feeling the season’s frosty bite as keenly as the rest of us, John Dahlback provides some effortlessly warming beats with his ‘Winter EP’. The title track soars through the upper reaches of the musical cosmos on a starry wave of beautifully uplifting melodies, while ‘Pour Te’ mixes Daft-Punk esque stabs with some seriously big synths.”
I hope you enjoy these two as much as I do.
#88 Michael Woods – VMS (Diffused Re-Edit)
Would you mess with this guy? Because I sure as hell wouldn’t. There’s one thing you need to know about Diffused records head honcho Michael Woods this year – BOSS. There are always bombs dropping from Michael’s neck of the Woods, regardless of the type of sound and style. Woods doesn’t seem to think that he has a personal style, but I’d say it’s an innovative mix of tech house, progressive, and minimal. With the aid of Logic, ProTools, and Access Virus, his cutting-edge productions have this tendency to whip crowds into a mad frenzy with his debilitating builds and killer club drops. I had the chance to see him at Electric Zoo this summer and like predicted, he stayed true to his sound as he engineered an authentic MW set (opposed to a typical high energy festival set). As for Diffused re-edit “VMS” (the original was released earlier on his Ministry of Sound Resident compilation), this track can be characterized as a dark and emotionally driving melodic masterpiece. This obviously won’t be the last time you’ll see Mr. club swag on our list.
Here’s some my words about MW from an Electric Zoo feature that I did:
It’s everything about his crisp sound—the cascading synths, fluid club tempo and hypnotic progressions—that drives a sense of urgency into the listener’s eardrum, causing them to lose contact with external reality. This all culminates into an anesthetizing drop that induces surges of epinephrine throughout your core. Words can only do so much justice in describing Michael Woods’ signature sound, it’s like trance music except it’s Michael Woods music.
#87 Starkillers & Dmitry KO – Do U Love (Original Mix)
You should ask yourself a few things before listening to this track. Do you love fun? Do you love to dance? Do you love love? If you answered yes to all of these, then this dancefloor destroyer by Dmitry KO and Starkillers (from “Pressure”) will do the trick. Given the fact that this tune was released through Bingo Players’ Hysteria records, I don’t expect anything else other than a nutty dance party, judgement free of course. This isn’t the first collaboration by Ukrainian Dmitry KO and Nick Terranova (aka Starkillers), as they released numerous tracks on Terranova’s record label Terratraxx and the prestigious Spinnin’ records. Another one their tracks released by Spinnin’ that I highly considered for a top 100 spot was their electro bomb “Unbelievable“. So once you listen, you’ll definitely love what you’re feeling inside, “OH” (in an ogre-like undertone)!
#86 Bjornberg – Absolut (Original Mix)
This is a progressive gem that I discovered when it dropped towards the end of October and is just now getting support from Tiesto during his epic set in Rio de Janeiro (can I get my trophy now?) “Absolut” was produced by the most recent 17 year-old Swedish sensation Adam Björnberg, who was raised in the outskirts of Stockholm. Björnberg debuts his first ever single through Zouk Recordings, a house/trouse division of Armada that I highly recommend checking out. The track itself features an Avicii-influenced, yet very aggressive and crisp synth lead with a combination of sound distortions and layering reminiscent of Johan Wedel (refer to his In The Dark Remix and Dangerous Remix).
#85 EDX – D.A.N.C.E. (Original Mix)
I’ve been hyping this track ever since EDX premiered it in his set at Electric Zoo (which was a great set by the way). It features a dominant synth lead mimicking that of David Guetta’s “Little Bad Girl” that is followed by EDX’s signature fluid/smooth breakdown. His newly launched brand, No Xcuses, has taken over the world’s FM airwaves with the No Xcuses radio show. This year he has already released prog bombs like “Szeplo”, “Embrace”, “Angry Heart”, and “Falling Out Of Love”. All of them are unique in their own way but all of them possess EDX’s magical touch – euphoric melodies, mellow bass and a fluid rhythm. His sound is truly a unique flurry of progressive house and trance; this won’t be the last time you’ll see him on here!
Here’s a video of EDX premiering “D.A.N.C.E.” during Electric Zoo on the Red Bull Riverside tent.
#84 Kryder – K2 (Original Mix)
This track is a prime example of the quality that Tiesto’s Musical Freedom has put forth this year (Mush Mush, Epic, Maximal Crazy, Future Folk, to name a few). There’s actually an interesting story behind how the enigmatic Kryder (whose identity is still unknown) broke out. He was opening for Judge Jules and was closing with this track. When judge Jules was transitioning in, he liked Kryders “K2″ so much that he opened with it and then closed with it once more! After being released on Tiesto’s Musical Freedom, it got Hardwell’s attention and was released on his Revealed Volume 2 Album Sampler. Another fun fact about Kryder is that he has dwarf sidekick known as the “classically-trained Dokta Kaotika.” As for the track, it definitely has a deeper progressive vibe with big atmosphere chords that remind me of Eric Prydz’s legendary “Pjanoo”.
#83 Alesso – Nillionaire (Original Mix)
I suppose having the Swedish House Mafia open their sets with your track at events like Masquerade Motel, Tomorrowland, and EDC is a good way to get your name out there? Masquerade Motel was key in Alesso’s ascension in 2011. Alesso’s darker Refune-released “Nillionaire” is definitely crafted for the big arenas, with it’s goosebump-inducing builds, sweeping chords, and ghostly bassline. Looking back at this track now just made me realize how unique this track is relative to Alesso’s other releases this year. This obviously won’t be the last you’ve heard from STS favorite Alesso.
#82 Denzal Park – Militia (Original Mix)
I was first sold on Australian tag-team Denzal Park last year when I heard their energetic “Dirty Talk” remix. Their success was extended with another stunning remix to Wynter Gordon’s “Till Death”, a magma-hot rendering to Kylie Minogue’s “Aphrodite”, and most recent remix to Solveig’s “Big In Japan”. Not only did they show promise in their remixing skills but also in their productions, with “Militia” becoming their greatest accolade this year. It was nicely remixed by London-based duo Third Party and has circulated to the sets of Thomas Gold (in his legendary Escape from Wonderland set), Fedde Le Grand, Tristan Garner, and Hardwell. ”Militia” may not strike out at you right away, forcing you to question my reasoning as a top 100 track, but the track really builds the energy and adds swagger to any live set. It all starts with hot clappy progression, a pumping “HO” chant, and those nasty guitar riffs. Boom shaka-laka.
Bonus: This mash-up is straight fuegs on fuegs, works perfectly!
Denzal Park vs. Swedish House Mafia & Laidback Luke – Militia vs. Leave The World Behind (Promise Land Mash Up)
#81 Ferry Corsten – Punk (Arty Rock-N-Rolla Mix)
Arty’s refreshing take on Ferry Corsten’s “Punk” is a borderline necessity in any progressive set. There’s a good chance that you’ve heard this mashed with Axwell’s “Heart Is King” and R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion”, it’s definitely a hot mix making its rounds (Heart Is King vs. Losing My Religion vs. Punk (Arty Rock-N-Rolla Mix) (Sunny Ventura & Romain G Reboot). Once that fearless synth lead kicks in, you’ll observe the positive energy and smiles slowly start to disperse throughout the crowd. It really is one of those tracks that can change the direction of a set into anthem territory. Last year was definitely Arty’s breakout year in trance and now this year has been more of an ascension using his progressive trance fusion, of which has impressed many. Arty definitely understands how to give direction in a track and his sound is very mild yet quite melodic.
Here’s an interview Fratalie did with Ferry Corsten during Electric Zoo, he has some great things to say.
See Tracks 91-100
Stay tuned for tracks 71-80 soon! Do not hesitate to comment, let’s talk house music.