It’s not easy to leave out of the list some absolutely amazing tracks; that’s definitely the hardest thing when designing this kind of lists. We’re only halfway through 2018 and it has already been difficult for us to decide which 10 hits are for now the best of the season. Just after Awakenings Festival, it’s impossible not to think about ‘Your Mind’, produced by Adam Beyer and Bart Skils. We look back and remember those months in which the cheerful tone of ‘Neutron Dance’ travelled to all parties as an unknown ID. And we even remember the time when the Korean Peggy Gou took one of the biggest steps in her career as a producer. Let’s review with these 10 tracks the best happened in these first six months of 2018.
Peggy Gou – It Makes You Forget (Itgehane) [2018-1-24]
The young South Korean Peggy Gou (27 years old) was introduced to the world of electronic music in London while studying at the London College of Fashion. Later, she moved to Berlin, where she currently resides. Her first releases date back to 2016 when she published the September Wars EP. At the end of last January, the Eleven EP was released for the first time on Ninja Tune label. One of its three tracks was ‘It Makes You Forget’, also known as ‘Itgehane’. The success was such that a new massive launch, both on vinyl and digital formats, had to be scheduled on March. Funk and house merge in this masterpiece in which the acid and synth sounds of the late 90s permeate the artist’s own vocals in what became Gou‘s return to the mic since her first attempt two years before. Nothing is better than the voice to give total personality to the music. Gou assured to NPR magazine that she feels singing is what she needs when she’s in her studio. Without a doubt, we are facing a key point in the artistic career of this young woman who, as a DJ, has already convinced the whole scene and, as a producer, is beginning to position herself as one of the biggest names to follow.
Butch – Countach (Kölsch Remix) [2018-3-12]
Who should we talk about before: Butch or Kölsch? They are two of the best producers from the last decade. Butch is Bülent Gürler, a German artist who, from the age of 12, let himself be seduced by the charms of music. After a few scattered beginnings, the scene of Frankfurt made him opt for the 4-4 and, mainly, for techno. In March, he published ‘Countach’, one of his best tracks ever, on the famous Cocoon label, owned by his compatriot Sven Väth. This release was accompanied by a masterful remix by Kölsch. The popular Danish artist Rune Reilly Kölsch slows the velocity of ‘Countach’ and moves it to a much softer and gentler terrain, in which the melodic component, always characteristic in his pieces, plays a leading role.
Wolfram – Automatic Dub [2018-3-16]
We aren’t going to fool anyone. It’s hard to find info about Wolfram (and that for sure gives him a special charm). We know that he is Austrian, that Wolfram is his real surname, that his name is Amadeus and that he has collaborated from time to time with some Russian woman called Nina Kraviz. For the rest, it can only be said that he dared to take ‘Automatic Lover’ by Dee D. Jackson (we talk about music from the year 1978) and edit it to get out with a brilliant piece called ‘Automatic Dub’, an Italo-disco pearl that we were waiting for months and that we were finally able to order (only in vinyl format) on Public Possession’s stores.
Terr – Have You Ever [2018-4-03]
Probably, the name Terr doesn’t say much to the generic public. It is normal. That alias was born in 2016 in Barcelona when the Brazilian Daniela Caldellas premiered her first solo project after having played in multiple punk bands. She wanted to bring to the world “all the strange sounds that sounded constantly” in her head. Thanks to analogue electronic music, she achieved her goal. Two years later, and after having founded her own label Clash Lion, she gave us ‘Have You Ever’, a track published in another cult label such as Permanent Vacation, a company with more than 20 years of music under its belt.
SONNS ft. Beesh – Tame (Marvin & Guy Remix) [2018-4-06]
Almost at the same time, another one of the most respected labels in the industry surprised us with a much deeper, intimate and delicate disk. Kompakt Records gave its “OK” to SONNS to publish ‘Tame’ and ‘Across The Pond’. The first of them, co-produced by Beesh, hid in the second side of the vinyl a mix edited by Marvin & Guy. They are Marcello Giordani and Alessandro Parlatore, two of the most respected producers on the grounds of the melodic house. Their version of ‘Tame’ offers us an intensely personal journey through the most inhospitable terrains of dance music. It is, without a doubt, the sound that has always characterized Marvin & Guy.
Bicep – Helix [2018-4-12]
April is always a month full of releases and 2018 was no exception. The North-Irish Matt McBriar and Andy Ferguson have been producing music for years, but it wasn’t until 2017 when they took the great step of publishing their first album. Together, they are Bicep, a name they also used for that first 12-track LP. During the following months, the most danceable tracks of the album extended their identity with the publication of several homonymous EPs that contained some other bonus tracks. That was the case of ‘Metro’ and, already in 2018, also of ‘Helix’. It is part of the Rain EP, but it was an unreleased piece that we had never heard before. Bicep‘s personality remains intact, however. UK’s house, dance and garage sounds from the end of the 90s converge with today’s psychedelic tints and dance rhythms to create this genuine sound that characterizes one of the most fashionable duos in the industry right now.
Krystal Klear – Neutron Dance [2018-4-20]
If before we talked about ‘Automatic Dub’ and we said that we had to wait some time for it to get published, with ‘Neutron Dance’ the wait was even longer. More and more DJs were including this massive hit in their sets, being Gerd Janson‘s Boiler Room in Sugar Mountain (Australia) the case that went the most viral. It wasn’t a coincidence. The German owns Running Back, the label in which, at the end of April, Dec Lennon (name hidden behind the aka of the Irish Krystal Klear) published this bomb to end our despair.
DJ Koze – Pick Up [2018-5-04]
On May, the 4th we reached another of the great dates in the underground electronic scene’s calendar. On international Star Wars Day, one of the brightest stars in the industry was launching his new work. Stefan Kozalla, better known as DJ Koze, is one of the founders and directors of Pampa Records, the label in which Knock Knock was released. The album is built by 16 tracks that project from ambient sounds to disco songs, going through all kinds of proposals that converge in experimental details. ‘Pick Up’ is one of the most danceable tracks on the album and, without a doubt, it’s our favourite.
Adam Beyer ft. Bart Skils – Your Mind [2018-6-18]
When June arrives, the Awakenings Festival arrives. And, with it, the greatest bombs from Drumcode label. In previous years, Marco Faraone‘s Climax’ or Enrico Sangiuliano‘s ‘Moon Rocks’ were on the top. The Swedish Adam Beyer has stepped forward this year and it was him, founder and owner of the label, who co-produced together with the Briton Bart Skils which for many is the best techno track of the summer. ‘Your Mind’ is distant and esoteric and inspiring voices with acidic touches join in it the most recognizable bass of the genre, the one by Drumcode.
Kölsch ft. Tiga – HAL [2018-6-22]
Sontag (Sunday in German) is Tiga‘s surname. He’s one of the most cutting-edge artists on the Canadian scene. And, without a doubt, ‘HAL’ brings with it a clear Sunday mood. The Danish Kölsch, of whom we have already spoken above, opened the doors of his studio in Copenhagen and invited this portent of avant-garde music to immerse himself for two days in his world of melodies. Thus was born ‘HAL’, the second release on Kölsch‘s IPSO label. The absolute dominance of the synthesizer by the man in the hat and the unexpected, clean and subtle base by Tiga get as a whole a piece that could perfectly become one of the most beautiful we will be able to hear this summer.