It’s been intense and long, very long. This 2018 gave us great musical prizes. For those who follow the different artists in this beautiful musical scene, it’s been amazing to discover so many productions that became a trend in the last 12 months. From nu-disco tracks that had been played for a long time and that have finally seen the light, to techno productions with a strong melodic component that came from nowhere. It’s been difficult to choose only 20. We already presented some of them in July, when summarizing the first half of the year. Now, we add many more and we make the final list. These are the 20 hits which set the pace and wrote with golden letters 2018’s history.
20. Marvin & Guy ft. Allo – Notte [Life And Death]
Last hour incorporation. On December 7th, the cult label Life And Death, the ideal showcase for any melodic production focused on the techno genre, surprised us with an EP by the Italian duo Marvin & Guy whose first track, “Notte”, overwhelms the feeling of any listener pulling equally elegant and depth bassline and melody.
19. FISHER – Losing It [Catch & Release]
“Losing It” burst in with massive force in mid-July. Born in Australia, but settled in the US, FISHER has already managed to get the attention of the entire tech-house scene with “Stop It”. Just one year later, “Losing It” has surpassed that success and all expectations, becoming a worldwide trend. Whether on the radio, at festivals, in underground clubs or in commercial music nightclubs, “Losing It” always makes the audience get crazy. Everybody dances to this track. Everywhere.
18. Rüfüs Du Sol – Underwater (Adam Port Remix) [Rose Avenue/Reprise]
It was in mid-September when Rose Avenue/Reprise finally gave us the chance to listen to every single detail of this piece by Rüfüs Du Sol, which Adam Port adapted to the melodic house dancefloors. 118 bpm, warm vocals and nothing but shrill. It’s going to be difficult to find a top-ranked DJ in the melodic spectrum who has not used this track at least once.
17. Kölsch ft. Tiga – HAL [IPSO]
As we told you in July, the Danish Kölsch opened the doors of his studio in Copenhagen to the Canadian Tiga and, in a few days, “HAL” was born, the second release of the IPSO label, created by Kölsch himself. The absolute dominance of the synthesizer by the man in the hat and the unexpected, clean and subtle base created by Tiga get as a whole a piece that indisputably falls among the most emotional of the year 2018.
16. Gregor Tresher – Substance [GTO Recordings]
GTO is the label that Gregor Tresher himself gave birth to in 2017. That’s where his most recent music is published. Also “Substance”. This is a track we’ve heard during sets by excellent selectors like DJ Koze or DJ Tennis both in clubs and large-scale festivals. Since it premiered in April, “Substance” has been frequently played, always achieving that clear recognition in the audience as the familiar synth loop appears.
15. Adam Beyer ft. Bart Skils – Your Mind [Drumcode]
With equal defenders and detractors, “Your Mind” has been unquestionably one of the trending tracks of 2018. We insist: either for good or for bad. One more year, Drumcode took advantage of the Awakenings festival in June to promote what would be, in the end, its most powerful release. Distant, esoteric and inspiring voices, accompanied by acidic touches and by the most recognizable bass of the genre, that of Drumcode, make “Your Mind” a piece that absolutely no one in this industry has overlooked.
14. Butch – Countach [Cocoon Recordings]
We all know who gave birth to the Cocoon brand and we all know what that means. Top quality. Not everyone can publish his/her music on such a prestigious label. But we’re talking about Butch. Throughout the years, the German has managed to avoid being catalogued in a single genre or style. With “Countach”, he surprised us again at the beginning of March. A dancefloor oriented track with a powerful bass full of synth and far from the techno sound. Impossible to be more succulent.
13. Nathan Micay – First Casualty [Whities Recordings]
We have waited more than two years to discover the ID of this harmonious ascent. Avalon Emerson has been using “First Casualty” since the beginning of 2017. She once told that the sound had been produced by Bwana. Nobody expected the Canadian to launch this great pearl as Nathan Micay (his original name). What was more expectable was him publishing it on Whities.
12. Agents Of Time – Dream Vision [Afterlife Records]
Another track that has been hitting hard both in the live performances of the Italian trio Agents Of Time and in the DJ sets of artists such as Tale Of Us or Mind Against is “Dream Vision”, an ode to melodic techno that stays true to the personality of its producers, but that has managed to attract the attention of many clubbers not particularly affine to the Afterlife sound.
11. DJ Koze – Pick Up [Pampa Records]
As we already told in July, it was World Star Wars Day (May 4th) when one of the brightest stars of the scene released Knock Knock, an LP that consecrates him as one of the greatest artists on the scene. 16 pearls make up DJ Koze‘s album, in which “Pick Up” stands as the masterpiece, the one that, since summer, has sounded on countless occasions and in absolutely any type of party. “Pick Up” has a full adaptation capacity.
10. &ME – Solaris [Keinemusik]
We talked about Adam Port before, but the one who managed to get Keinemusik to take the best positions in the charts this year was &ME. The German released “Solaris” at the end of November. Selectors like Âme or Dixon had been using it for months before. The merit is that people like this, always betting on using unreleased stuff, have kept playing “Solaris” even when everyone already has it in their suitcases. And it’s impossible not to become addicted to it. “Solaris” is a clear example that electronic music doesn’t need a big punch, a big drop or a standard structure to burn the dancefloor. “Solaris” is an artwork appreciated by everybody.
9. Bicep – Helix [Ninja Tune]
In 2017, everybody agreed: Bicep, the duo’s first album, was the best LP of the year. Fortunately, the guys from Belfast had an ace up their sleeve. An ace with a “Helix” shape that saw the light in April 2018 and completed the masterful journey that these two masters invited us to trace through the electronic house and psychedelic trance of the UK of the late 90s.
8. Maceo Plex – Mutant Robotics [Ellum]
It looked like it was going to be Maetrik‘s work since it started appearing in the live acts of the American when he acted with that alias. Later, after the summer, we started to recognize the melody during his DJ sets around the world. It was then that we cast our eyes on Ellum. We didn’t rest until Maceo Plex‘s label launched “Mutant Robotics” on November 2nd. Probably, the best track Eric Estornel has produced in recent years.
7. Beesh ft. Sonns – Tame (Marvin & Guy Remix) [Kompakt Records]
When Kompakt gave the “OK” to SONNS to publish “Tame” (a track which counts on the vocals by Beesh), some got surprised. It didn’t last long. You just had to listen to the remix by the Italians Marvin & Guy to understand the why of everything. As always, Marcello Giordani and Alessandro Parlatore offer us a warm trip through the most succulent and submerged electronic music of the scene. Impossible to dance with more sensuality around you.
6. Terr – Have You Ever [Permanent Vacation]
Things as they are. Year after year, it’s impossible to design a ranking like this without Permanent Vacation being present. On this occasion, the culprit is Daniela Caldellas, a Brazilian producer based in Barcelona who, at the end of March, was crowned under her young alias Terr with several remixes and this original mix that has made her one of the sensations and greatest emerging artists of the most genuine and alternative electronic scene in Europe. Complex bases, sensual voices and awesome basslines make “Have You Ever” one of those tracks that will never go out of style.
5. Innellea – Vigilans [Afterlife Records]
It’s the big bomb at the end of the year. The German duo Innellea had been producing melodic techno for some time, but nobody could have imagined that they would be able to give birth to something as big as this. “Vigilans” has brought a new sound, sharper than usual, to a spectrum which was getting saturated and over-busy. But, furthermore, they’ve brought this sound together with breakbeat samples and rock bases. Reading it, it can look a bit weird. It’s daring. It’s explosive. And it’s sublime.
4. Peggy Gou – It Makes You Forget (Itgehane) [Ninja Tune]
And this was the first bomb of the year. Late January. A South Korean multidisciplinary artist decided to break into this world with “It Makes You Forget”; acid synthesizers, a xylophone, which is not very common in these musical lands, her own voice full of subtlety and deep melodies make this track one of the best house tracks of the last decade. After this, Peggy Gou became one of the most demanded names of the scene. 12 months later, we can already say that it’s one of the biggest stars. And her story has just begun.
3. Mathame ft. Lyke – Nothing Around Us [Afterlife Records]
It was a Friday. On September 7th, specifically. Tale Of Us had been closing their sets with “Nothing Around Us” since June. From their residence in Hï Ibiza to their exclusive set for Cercle at the Charles de Gaulle Airport. “Nothing Around Us” always closed their sets. Always. With this pearl, Mathame, another Italian duo (in this case, brothers), joins the melodic techno family of Afterlife with a piece that conquered our souls from the very first day it sounded. It’ll make Lyke‘s voice always sound familiar to us from now on.
2. Krystal Klear – Neutron Dance [Running Back]
Since Gerd Janson played it in his Boiler Room in Sugar Mountain (Australia), nobody rested until the ID was revealed. What was that sound? How could such a simple production leave such a big mark and pierce so deep? All the scenes had fallen in love with “Neutron Dance”. House, Funk, Disco, Tech… Nobody said no to this treasure. It wasn’t by chance that it was Gerd Janson who showed it to us. It was his own label Running Back that gave the green light to give to the world this pearl that the Irishman Dec Lennon (better known by his alias Krystal Klear) designed for enjoyment and happiness of any dancer in the world.
1. Pional – Tempest [Permanent Vacation]
We already talked before about Permanent Vacation and, indeed, the most laureated cult label (20 years of first qualities endorse it) took the first spot. And it does it thanks to Pional, the Madrid-born producer who from a young age learned from John Talabot to become at an early age one of the greatest references of the melodic house in the whole world. “Tempest” appeared on the tracklists of the best selectors in the world since the end of 2017. On March 9th, it was released, it was published in digital and on vinyl and it burst the charts of all online platforms. Describing “Tempest” is complicated. Actually, it moves away from what we understand by a tempest. “Tempest” is resting, it is calmness, it is beauty, it is recollection. “Tempest” is elegance, subtlety, precision, cleanliness and redemption. To listen to “Tempest” means to charge batteries, rejuvenate the soul and shake wings. “Tempest” is, for us, the best electronic musical production of this wonderful 2018.