[sic] Magazine

2015: The Year in Electronic Music

Alright, before I get into the business of listing a huge bunch of records and all that, first I want to mention a few things about music I realised in the past year:

1. Modern pop songs sped up are more fun than old pop songs slowed down.

2. There is so much new music released within the span of a year that not only is it impossible to listen to even a millionth of the sum total, even in the tiny niches within genres that I especially enjoy, it’s impossible to hear more than a fraction of the vast riches of sounds that are available to listen to for (virtually) no monetary cost whatsoever. Sure, with enough dedication you can listen to enough to have a loose grasp of what is occurring in certain scenes and be aware of who the key figures you should keep an ear on are, but it’s such a colossal task to try and grapple with that kind of a bounty of knowledge that it is more realistic and (more importantly) enjoyable to just accept the futility of such a feat, listen when you’re in the mood, and chill.

3. More music has been created in the past year than any other year in history. Fact. Ergo, 2015 was the best year for music since its inception. Fucking logic.

4. Music is both priceless and worthless. Like all art, it is a commodity that has no real value beyond the pleasure it invests within its audience, yet it brings so much happiness to people that it must be somehow important. It is both unnecessary and essential. However, there is a very tangible financial hierarchy within the arts at this point in time. For example, the difference between the capital floating around the modern music industry and the modern art market is absurd. Many musicians are resorting to effectively giving much of their music away for free (or a pittance) and relying upon an exhaustive touring schedule to remain sustainable, whilst there are pieces of modern art, be they paintings, sculptures or something less concrete, that generate obscene sums of money at auction. I am not necessarily saying that visual artists are being overpaid, nor the opposite in regards to musicians, but considering that both art forms are equally capable of bringing beauty and emotion into people’s lives, logically there should be no reason for such a discrepancy between the fields. (If anything music is more egalitarian as it is easier to disseminate, plus it is unquestionably more popular en masse, but that should be inconsequential in the main.) In addition, I suppose all the various art worlds have problems with regards to the non-artistic, non-intrinsic middlemen taking too large a slice of the pie, and the fact that promotion and celebrity are more important to the perceived value of the artwork (and the subsequent monetary gains earned from its commodification) than any absolute qualities inherent to the piece, but that is the cultural zeitgeist, and there is certainly no incentive on the part of those persons with power and influence to change anything until the gravy train inevitably (and irrecoverably) derails.

5. Contrary to popular belief, most modern music is not rubbish, but is in actual fact “okay”; decent, average, mediocre, alright, fine, tolerable, acceptable, passable. That is an immutable truth, as even for those who prefer music of an older style, there will be countless musicians operating within that mould presently; styles don’t “die”, they just become less prevalent. (Obviously, all appraisals of art are completely subjective, but I’m talking in relative, personal terms here.)

6. My own personal pop renaissance is almost complete, and Justin Bieber‘s last few singles are solid proof of this. Four or five years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of listening to and enjoying a Bieber track; his music was the antithesis of everything I was into at the time. Now, in 2015, Bieber has joined other artists like Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Carly Rae Jepsen (all of whose music I never could have imagined even tolerating, let alone enjoying at some point) as a clear indication that my tastes are re-gravitating towards the more mainstream side of the industry. I am still unsure how much this reappraisal is down to a change in myself or the artists themselves metamorphosing (likely a combination of the two), but it’s nice to be able to appreciate more popular music again as there is a satisfying feeling of community and shared experience to be found in actually being able to enjoy the same thing as millions of others. ‘Where Are Ü Now’, ‘What Do You Mean?’ and ‘Sorry’ (the pick of the bunch) are all quality pop songs with one or two really catchy elements that elevate them above other monochromatic commercial radio fare. These songs also demonstrate just how important the role of the producer is in moulding the performer’s work into a certain style. (See also my tracks of the year below.)

7. I seem to be one of only a handful of people in the world who’s really into music, and who doesn’t care about lyrics at all. I see so much discussion online about the meaning behind lyrics, and them being picked apart by reviewers to give a deeper insight into the concept of a track, but to me they are just a framework to hold the vocal melody in place; the actual meaning of the words doesn’t matter one iota to me as long as the syllables fit nicely to the melodic line. I’d go so far as to say I don’t even know the full lyrics to any song that is more than a simple refrain repeated over and over (I might be able to get through The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme if I really put my mind to it, and with a little prompting I could probably fumble my way through adolescent favourites like ‘Insomnia’, ‘Bohemian Like You’ etc.). This probably explains why I don’t like types of music where the message is conveyed verbally to the music (e.g. rap and folk music) rather than the message being the music (e.g. instrumental and dance music), and conversely explains why I have no problem with lyrics sung in a language I cannot understand; comprehension of words holds no relation to my enjoyment of the music. There are probably numerous people out there who share this sentiment, but I definitely feel in a minuscule minority on this one.

8. Happy hardcore is a lot more fun than I once thought. I remember working with an older lad who was well into that kind of “travelling fairground dance music”, and I was a bit of a snobby git back then (I was in a sort of jazz and classical exploration phase), so I thought I was too cool for that skool, taking the mick out of that brand of gaudy sawtooth-fests and pogo stick beats, but now, in 2015, I realise a lot of the more critically maligned genres contain some enjoyable stuff if you’re in the right frame of mind. There seems to be a kind of divide in dance music between the darker, rawer, more aggressive yin, and the brighter, sweeter, more “cheesy” yang, the latter of which is often looked down upon by aficionados of the more yin-orientated styles, and that is frankly a crying shame for those myopic individuals who limit themselves in such a way (of which I have been one in the past). I’ve been a fan of stuff like Italo (both the disco and house varieties), hi-NRG and spacesynth for several years now, and that early 90s piano house and handbag house has always been a nostalgic favourite (that’s without mentioning non-dance stuff like smooth jazz and new age), but this year I’ve gotten more tolerant of things like gabba, psytrance, EDM (I’m using the American interpretation of that acronym here), and I’ve become especially fond of NXC. In fact I’d go so far as to say I’ve even become a bit bored by some of the more “tasteful” and restrained strands of house and techno, and would much prefer some crazy, big, brash 180-bpm banger, chock full of Ha’s and breakbeats, with drops galore, than some Mariana trench-deep slow-burner that trundles along at a pedestrian pace, flat-lining the pulse at a perspiration-less mid-tempo throughout (although there is obviously a time and a place for that kind of stuff as well). I guess, in the main, I just want my dance music to be fun to dance to (or fun in general), not “artistic” or “deep” (or even worse “political” or “poignant”).

9. Most music described as “experimental” isn’t really that experimental anymore.

10. Steel drums are underused.


Okay, now to the meat of the piece.

Breaking from conventional standards, I’m going to give precedence to mixes ahead of albums, as not only are they possibly a more effective way for the listener to sample what is happening in the electronic music world right now, they contain the extra dimension of not merely the quality of the tracks being important, but also the skill of the DJ in sequencing the tunes and expertly blending them together into a sculpted musical journey that hopefully carries the beat, the tempo, the groove, or even just preserves the overarching, nebulous “vibe” or “flow” throughout (plus, since August. I’ve simply listened to a shed-load of them compared to other musical formats, and most of them are available to listen to for free online, which is nice).

I’ll just take a moment to explain how exactly I tend to determine the quality of a mix:

To put it simply, I am a firm believer that to rate a dance mix you have to have danced to the mix. So that’s what I do. I exercise 3 or 4 times a week, and in each dance/cardio session I listen to 2 or 3 DJ mixes (occasionally 1 if it’s over 90 minutes, or 4 if they are all under half an hour), so let’s say 10 a week, or just over 500 this year (actually my listening rate was more uneven than this suggests as I was virtually bedridden with illness for a couple of months in spring, so the majority of my mixes hail from the latter portion of the year, as there was inevitably too large of a backlog accumulated within that period to listen to solely whilst dancing), no matter how deep in dance I have been recently).

This number constitutes mixes I’ve listened to all the way through; what I call “sock-worthy” (or the more grisly, “cartilage-worthy”), after Elaine’s “sponge-worthy” system in Seinfeld; i.e. a mix that is deserving of wearing out the soles of my socks (or in the long run, my knee cartilage) by dancing to for its full duration. You could probably multiply that first figure by 10 if you include abandoned “non-sock-worthy” mixes I partially listened to and ones I skim-listened to in order to adjudicate “sock-worthiness” that didn’t make the grade, but nearly all the mixes below I have deemed “sock-worthy”. The unfortunate downside of using dancing to rate the mixes is that as I can only dance for a limited time during the day, many mixes won’t get a fair crack of the whip, and very long (over 2 hours) mixes rarely get a look in at all, but that is the inevitable price of using a rating system reliant on the body as well as the mind. Also, some days I might feel a bit rough or groggy, even just fatigued or not in the right mood for a prolonged aerobic workout, so my rating of each mix will be highly subject to re-evaluation depending on the circumstances of my initial exposure to the work. However, I’m confident the innate rhythm of my body is a better judge of the quality of a dance mix than my ears alone, so any drawbacks to my listening process are more than made up for by the corporeal democracy of the assessment method (i.e. if it makes me want to move, and most importantly, keep moving throughout, then it’s good enough for me). Consequently, the mixes listed are mostly dance-orientated, but I’ve thrown in some quality “headphone mixes” that really caught my attention too (and running contrary to my earlier statement about long mixes not getting a look in, there’s even a killer 6 hour mega-mix tucked away in there to boot).

After the mixes come LPs, EPs and compilations/reissues, before I finish off with a more detailed look at my top tracks of the year. I’ve kept the number of tracks to a select few, as the more memorable and powerful tracks tend to stand apart in the mind and are afforded the standard of consistency that a short, cohesive opus inherently engenders, whilst albums and mixes often contain highs and lows, with the sum total of the work being much more difficult to evaluate and assign an order of merit to.

I’ve listed the works in a very rough order of preference, but as they are liable to change from day to day, all that I will say is that although the sequence is quite fluid, I’ve tried to place my most favoured items higher up in each list (except for the individual tracks, which are just in a random order). However, it is virtually impossible to compare something you have heard very recently to something you heard several weeks ago, let alone 10 or 11 months ago, with the mists of time often elevating one’s original appraisal beyond the initial conclusion, so even I put very little stock in the actual rankings, the presence or absence of a release being entirely more relevant.

I’ve made no attempt to be inclusive or exhaustive, I’ve simply selected the works I liked the most.

I would like to thank all the artists included in these lists (as well as those who aren’t) for making the world a more beautiful place.



The Hot Mix 100: The Year’s Hundred Hottest Mixes Mixed Up into a Hot Mix of 100 Hot Mixes
(*may not contain exactly 100 mixes)


Hysterics50kg Mix

Bok BokHealing

DJ Guest ListMANI008 – Live from Envy 25/7/1998


RP Boo x NozinjaMix Africa

Joseph MarinettiTriple J Mix Up Exclusives with Nina Las Vegas

Eric HuMy Mom Found My JNCOs and They Still Fit: DJ Mystik Tribute Mix

DJ Boyfriends Early 90s House Mixtape

Cool Teens New Noises Feature Mix

Fort RomeauDekmantel Podcast 040

U.S.O.B.Unrealistic Standards of Beauty Vol. 1

HurceLilium Records Episode 007

SunshowerShoot Your Shot Vol. 2

Supertears x Venice BeachDo Not Friday Mix 034

CVNT TRAXXXMusic to… Vogue to All Day, Every Day

Cool TeensNite Corp. [Mix-09]

NmeshFACT Mix 504

Eclair Fifi & Joseph Marinetti Lucky Me Rinse FM Podcast 6th August

Claudia De ChâlonThis is Sucia!

L’Equipe du SonSummer Triangle Mixtape #2

Mr One HundredThe Future Sound of Soca

PlasticianAll The Right Moves

Bok BokQuest Mix

Shantasy IslandPass the Aux Cord Vol. 6

MikeQShoop x Cloud Castle Radio Mix #7

quest?onmarc x NINA POPNINAMIX005

DJ MetatronThis Is Not


GRRLNest HQ MiniMix

t∊ᖇr౿ℒራBaby’s First Mix

Fresh HexPitch Zine Mix

NkisiEndless Radio Mix

SPF666CyberSonicLA 007

NightwaveThe Skinny Mag Mix

YamanekoNautilus Dawn

VenvellaCVLT Mix 0002

Holly WaxwingMix 4 Turban

Peter Williams‘One Hot Mess’ JBW Exclusives Mix

Conducta‘Intro to UKG’

John BennetG*YORSTR8 Mix

JACKRadio JACK Aug ’15

DJ SpiderWrek My Mind Beatz Mix

DJ Ultrapervert1833 Mix Series, Vol. 74

Max DDance Like Us

KittynxcNite Corp. [Mix-02]

Activia BenzNest HQ MiniMix

Paris Love StoryA Paris Love Story


Pender Street SteppersFarr Festival

Virtual Brat1833 Live: Nightcore Night

Dream BoiLive Set #1

YanassnowHatsuyuki Mix

DJ Milk KISS(P)enta (K)ill

SupertearsLuxury Furniture

MaxoMix 4 A M D I S C S

D. Tiffanyԅ(◕‿◕)/⌒☆⌒ ☆⌒♬♪

DJ Hojo40 Last Times

DischettoI N S U R G E N T Mix

Claudia De ChâlonBullett Magazine’s Chicago After Dark Mixxx

Retina SetClub MiniMix

DJ Spoko#CueMarshal Mixtape


U L T R A M I E D OLive @ Lowtoy Festival (18-07-2015)

DJ Ouai24h du Mans Mix

Moto Kano超アニ貴 Vol. 53 再現 Mix

TrancehumanistsNot Music, A State of Mind

DJ DelishVogue en Julio

Battle Toad300% Glocore Mix

Classical Trax Tribal Mix

Plateau Repas KALTBLUT Magazine Mixtape Volume 1

DischettoD I S C O Mix

OMG Japan: Rare & Experimental Japanese Pop (1980-1989)


DJ BoyfriendsDelivert! A Gospel House Mixtape


Heath SwedgerKawaii 2 Kurabu (Mix 4 PVC)

CaracaracalMix Nº4 – ilysm

MikeQ@ Palisades

HoodboiShoop x Cloud Castle Radio Mix #5

DJ Milk KISSEmojinal #010

Yarinka Collucci10:00 Min. MiniMix

Djwwww & SentinelDesigner Environments

KrittyPlayhouse Mix 001

CJ MilliMix for NVR MND

Dorothy ParkerThe Supercute Mixtape Vol. 2

Denis La FunkToshi No Kure としのくれ

SXYLKm-nistry vol. 33 Discolik

Evian Christ performs Global Trance Diva (Live): Trance Party 4: The Great British Trance Off Mix

FibreHeely Hunks – Live in Boston

DJ Ultrapervert(づ ̄ ³ ̄)づ .• .¸.• ♥ ♫

JD Twitch (Optimo)Dekmantel Podcast 038

Virtual LiteFuture Funk Friday

BaepecestrePornstep Mix

Para OneEssential Mix

MariborBumps #3

Skewfielddo it for the kids ~mmx14~

NkisiNovembre Mixfile 008_ Search / Hunterrave

Crapface1833 Live: The NXCB4XMAS

Byrell the GreatVogue Workout Pt. 4 (Holiday Edition)

SnaxWRANGELTAPE #17 Groove Extravaganza

PhilthtraxChi Boogie Tribute Mix

SpurzBrunswick Sound

Ricardo CostelloShoot Your Shot Mix

Alan BraxeDiscobelle Mix 100

DuckyNest HQ MiniMix

Dragon UMATokyo Experience Mix

CanblasterContinue Source Mix

FotomachineTechnicolour Podcast 02

Dance SystemMixmag: IN Session

Illegal SoftwareHYPMIXFIVE

Shining ForceLVLSRVRYHI-014

skins partyBecoming – KXDU – 29/9/2015

Ravey Spice100% Rashad


SkewfieldNite Corp. [Mix-10]

Tincan x Venice BeachDo Not Friday Mix 041

Lord ØKeep the Ecological Future Mix


DJ Radical DreamersMiku Seance Mix

nightcoregirlBuffy the Vampire Slayer (Party Pack)


IinattiAcc-ess Mix #33

QrionNest HQ MiniMix

Byrell the Great3’Hi (NYC) Vol. 20

AdjuventAlgorhythm Mix

ToxeSister Mix #1

SlutcoreSans Excuses

Strider-KunSwipe Right 07

Dean LyondeadHYPE Radio presents B.B.G. Encyclopaedia Volume 3





CFCFThe Colours of Life (1080p)

Oneohtrix Point NeverGarden of Delete (Warp)

NozinjaNozinja Lodge (Warp)

Jam CityDream A Garden (Night Slugs)

CFCFRadiance and Submission (Driftless)

Fort RomeauInsides (Ghostly International)

EgyptrixxTransfer of Energy [Feelings of Power] (Halocline Trance)

MCFERRDOGLawd Forgive Me (1080p)

VantageMetro City (The NightClub Collection)


Toby FoxUndertale Soundtrack

Helena HauffDiscreet Desires (Werkdiscs / Ninja Tune)

Physical Therapy Presents… Kirk the Flirt & Peter Pressure (1080p)

Say Lou LouLucid Dreaming (à Deux)

Mumdance & LogosProto (Tectonic)

DialectGowanus Drifts (1080p)

Idjut BoysVersions (Smalltown Supersound)

Young EjectaThe Planet (Driftless)

Roland TingsRoland Tings (Internasjonal)

BoofThe Hydrangeas Whisper (Running Back / Bubble Tease Communications)

Meishi Smile…Belong (Zoom Lens)

Sugar GodCahaya (AMDISCS)

Mark McGuireBeyond Belief (Dead Oceans)

Model 500Digital Solutions (Metroplex)

John T. GastExcerpts (Planet Mu)

Keiji YamagishiRetro-Active Pt. 1 (Brave Wave)

Jefre Cantu-LedesmaA Year With 13 Moons (Mexican Summer)

Nick HöppnerFolk (Ostgut Ton)

CapsuleWave Runner (Unborde / Warner Music Japan)

Project PabloI Want To Believe (1080p)

José PadillaSo Many Colours (International Feel)

EyelinerBuy Now (Beer on the Rug)

Elysia CramptonAmerican Drift (Blueberry)

Omar SouleymanBahdeni Nami (Monkeytown)

Pixelord Places (Hyperboloid)

Suzanne KraftTalk From Home (Melody As Truth)

Julio BashmoreKnockin’ Boots (Broadwalk)

Fatima YamahaImaginary Lines (Magnetron Music)

Dâm-FunkInvite the Light (Stones Throw)

Max RichterSleep (Deutsche Grammophon)

Damiano von ErckertAlso Known As Good (AVA)

PictureplaneTechnomancer (Anticon)

SilkieFractals (Anarchostar)

Le ClichéConsumer Behaviour (Medical)

Zenker BrothersImmersion (Ilian Tape)

Dante Mars Ajeto!L i f e E n t e r p r i s e s (DMT Tapes FL)

PanoramBackground Story (Wandering Eye)

Road HogOn the Lam

Samo Sound BoyBegging Please (Body High)

45 ACPChange of Tone (L.I.E.S)

Basic Soul UnitUnder the Same Sky (Dekmantel)

CrystalCrystal Station 64 (flau)

JT the GoonKing Triton (Oil Gang)

Kölsch1983 (Kompakt)

Gora SouRamifications (Orange Milk)

Carly Rae JepsenE•MO•TION (Interscope / School Boy)

GonnoRemember the Life is Beautiful (Endless Flight)

Nicolas GodinContrepoint (Because Music)

SyracuseLiquid Silver Dream (Antinote)

SamoyedSaturday (Flask)

COMAThis Side of Paradise (Kompakt)

DuettBorderline (Modal)

EscortAnimal Nature (Escort)

SeabatSynthus (Beer on the Rug)

DJ PaypalSold Out (Brainfeeder)

Alice CohenInto the Grey Salons (Olde English Spelling Bee)

Autre Ne Veut
Age of Transparency (Downtown)

Jupiter JaxVisions / Visitors (100% Silk)

UltrademonDurian Rider (Coral Records Internazionale)




MurloOdyssey (Mixpak)

Kornél Kovács Radio Koko (Numbers)

Oneohtrix Point NeverCommissions II (Warp)

AnnieEndless Vacation (Pleasure Masters)

Allie XCollXtion I (Sleepless)

D.K.Love on Delivery (Antinote)

Danny L HarleBroken Flowers (PC Music / Columbia)

The PilotwingsMolitor 71 (Brothers From Different Mothers)

Bézier (Honey Soundsystem)

Fatima YamahaWhat’s A Girl To Do (Dekmantel)

KorelessTT / Love (Young Turks)

Sega BodegaSportswear (Activia Benz)

Fort RomeauFrankfurt Versions (Spectral Sound)

DeadboyWhite Magick (Local Action)

DeadboyBlack Magick (Local Action)

Huerco S.Railroad Blues (Proibito)

SupramanThe Magic Valley Tarot Society

Joey LaBeijaShattered Dreams (Purple Tape Pedigree)

Weyes BloodCardamom Times (Mexican Summer)

MachinedrumMovin’ Forward

Throwing ShadeFate Xclusive (No Pain in Pop)

SfireSfire 6/7 (Ultramajic)

SlackkBackwards Light (R & S)

Black SpumaOasi (International Feel)

JACK vs MaltineJACK vs Maltine (Maltine)

KuedoAssertion of a Surrounding Presence (Knives)

Joey MercedesDistant Signal (AMDISCS)


Galcher Lustwerk
I Neva Seen / Parlay (Lustwerk Music)

Victoria KimKiko Kicks (Car Crash Set)

JETSThe Chants (Ultramajic)

The GalleriaCalling Card (Environ)

Henry WuMotions of Wu Vol. 1 (Odd Socks)

Chaos in the CBD Midnight in Peckham (Rhythm Section International)

You Can Trust a Man with a Moustache Vol. 3 (Moustache)

KowtonOn Repeat / Holding Patterns (Livity Sound)

FaltyDLRich Prick Poor Dick (Ninja Tune)

Rhythms of the Pacific Vol. 2 (Pacific Rhythm)

Call SuperMigrant (Houndstooth)

Wave RacerFlash Drive (Future Classic)

Earth BoysWelcome 2 Earth (1080p)

Todd TerjeIt’s It’s Remix Time Time (Olsen)

WbeezaCan of Worms (Third Ear)

LockahAnd Blue Brindle Too (Donky Pitch)

Henry WuGood Morning Peckham (Rhythm Section International)

FJAAKGewerbe 15 / Rush (50 Weapons)

Hidden SpheresWaiting (Distant Hawaii)

DJ MastercardCorrupt Memories (Mall Music Inc.)

Takuya MatsumotoAssembly (Media Fury)

The Analogue CopsMonkeys Suits (Hypercolour)

ShenodaMancs (Electric Minds)

Bruce SmearChlorine (Orange Milk / Driftless)

Bicep & HammerDahlia (Feel My Bicep)

Porn Sword TobaccoMagnifik Botanik (Aniara)

Man PowerPower Theme (Not An Animal)

MartynFalling for You (Ostgut Ton)

Shanti Celeste & FunkinevenSSS (Apron)

NiagaraÍmpar (Principe)

PelificsCapitello (Full Pupp)

Hand of GodIntl Shipping (Godmode)

Dance SystemSystem Preferences (Ultramajic)

ContoursTechnician (Rhythm Section International)

Jack Latham / Daniel SwanLux Laze (Utter)

NewRetroWave Presents: Maximum Burn (NewRetroWave)

TsviSet You Free (Nervous Horizon)

WorliMaybe (Classical Trax)

Tom E. VercettiFuture Perfect (Coyote)

Amateur DanceIt’s Really Something (October)

SchmutzTransgender (Omnidisc)

Hugo FrederickSkin (Plastic World)

Kasra VAtlantis (Make Love in Public Spaces)

Yarinka CollucciBabe Wave


Compilations / Reissues



Yuzo KoshiroStreets of Rage (Data Discs)

Frankie KnucklesHouse Masters (Defected)

HatchbackColors of the Sun (Be With)

Letta MbuluIn the Music the Village Never Ends (Be With)

Fingers Inc.Another Side (Alleviated)

Masters At WorkHouse Masters Vol. 2 (Defected)

Allergy SeasonSide Effects May Include (Allergy Season)

Sources: The DJ International Records Anthology (Harmless)

Bal ParéEarly Recordings (Medical)

Martin Hannett & Steve HopkinsThe Invisible Girls (Factory Benelux)

KelelaCut 4 Me (Deluxe Edition) (Fade To Mind)

Soichi TeradaPresents Sounds From The Far East (Rush Hour)

Leon LowmanRecordings 1980-1987 (Vinyl-On-Demand)

Dance ManiaGhetto Madness (Strut)

Paki / VisnadiImaginary Choreography (Antinote)

Sources: The Easy Street Records Anthology (Harmless)

PC MusicPC Music Volume 1 (PC Music)

NmeshWelcome to Warp Zone! (Plastic Response)

Gigi MasinWind (The Bear On The Moon)

Next Stop Soweto: Zulu Rock, Afro-Disco and Mbaqanga 1975-1985 (Strut)

NewRetroWaveThe 80’s Dream Compilation Tape Vol. 3 (NewRetroWave)

Joan BibiloniEl Sur (Music From Memory)

David BordenMusic for Amplified Keyboard Instruments (Spectrum Spools)

Peru Boom: Bass, Bleeps & Bumps from Peru’s Electronic Underground (Tiger’s Milk)

Takenobu Mitsuyoshi, Ryuji Iuchi, Osamu Murata & Yuzo KoshiroShenmue (Data Discs)

Florian Fricke / Popol VuhKailash (Soul Jazz)

Galaxy Swim TeamSky Parade (Galaxy Swim Team)

MariahUtakata no Hibi (Palto Flats)

Patrick CowleyMuscle Up (Dark Entries)

Napoleon Cherry Walk Alone (Music From Memory)

Ghostly InternationalGhostly Swim 2 (Ghostly International)

Soul Jazz Records Presents Sounds of the Universe: Art + Sound 2012-2015 (Soul Jazz)

Vibe 3Vibe 3 (Future Times)

Sinjin Hawke & Zora JonesVisceral Minds (Fractal Fantasy)

Clara MondshineLuna Africana (Fifth Dimension)

PsychotropiaPsychotropia (Astral Plane)



Kornél Kovács – “Pantalón”

A super-charged reworking of Ivan‘s ‘Sueños de Papel’ that completely re-energises the tune into a pointillistic floor-slayer of a track. Let’s just say that there is something seriously wrong with your inner psycho-musical network if you don’t find yourself randomly shouting ‘¡gritando!’ after hearing this gem.

The Weeknd – “Can’t Feel My Face”

Almost an all-time great of a song, but it somehow lacks that extra spark of magic to elevate it to that level, and consequently has to settle for merely being very, very good. Obviously, the vocal hook and the killer bassline are the heart and soul of the track, but the verses set up those more powerful elements perfectly and the production is simple yet effective. If it had just a bit more to it, some kind of strong instrumental solo or an unexpected breakdown or memorable bridge, then it’d be an absolute beast of a record, but it’s still quality nonetheless.

Carly Rae Jepsen – “I Really Like You”

I really, really, really, really, really, really like this song. This is everything pop music should aspire to be: fun, frivolous, frothy, fanciful. It also manages to strike the ideal balance of repeating the super catchy hook in the chorus just the right amount of times without it ever progressing into an overpowering jackhammer of a phrase, like some pop songs can tend to have an over-reliance upon (cf. Pharrell Williams ‘Happy’).

Years & Years – “King”

That synth line though. The track is decent enough without it – the pads are nice, the bassline does a good job of driving the music forward, and the vocals are solid enough, with the ‘let’s fight’ bits in the bridge being particular highlights – but that synthetic-cum-organic vocalised melody is the real earworm in the piece. I wouldn’t say it dominates the work but it is definitely the rightful centrepiece and strengthens the efficacy of the parts where it is absent, as the listener waits with expectation for it to return and enhance the sonic tapestry.

Charli XCX ft. Rita Ora – “Doing It”

Unfortunate that the song of the summer was released way back in January but that’s how things pan out sometimes.

Vantage – “Sunset”

I thought Robert Hood‘s reworking of ‘He’s the Greatest Dancer’ would remain the pinnacle of Sister Sledge edits into perpetuity, but this take on ‘All American Girls’ is possibly a stronger effort. It’s not as focussed or as lean as the Hood track but it makes up for it with excellent transitions between sections and some on-point sample placements. Short but ever so sweet.

Eric Prydz – “Opus (Four Tet Remix)”

Eric Prydz exists somewhere outside of time to me, perpetually rooted to a specific moment in my life. The mere mention of his name immediately conjures up memories of his first single, ‘Call on Me’, and its iconic accompanying video, both of which I remember enjoying greatly in my secondary school days. (‘Pjanoo’ is class too, but at the time it was released I was in a non-dance phase of my musical life, so it only really registered in the periphery of my mind.) So when I happened to be tuned in to Radio 1 one night and catch the entirety of Four Tet‘s mesmerising remix of ‘Opus’ I was frankly blown away by the fact that he could produce something that could appeal to me this much after so many years; years in which my musical tastes and preferences have shifted and morphed astronomically since those salad days of yore. I then immediately searched for the original version to see if this greatness was imbued into the piece by Kieran Hebden or whether it was simply rearranged into a different kind of excellence, and upon multiple listens to both versions I came to the conclusion that they are both equally brilliant in their own way; the original being more glossy and grandiose, with the ever-building momentum repeatedly dissipating into frothing waves of euphoria, whilst the remix is more gritty and grounded, with a focus on keeping the groove at hand even when it is out of earshot, never allowing the proggy flights of fancy inherent within the original to fully escape the confines of the dancefloor. I couldn’t pick a favourite between the two iterations so opted for the remix for a couple of reasons. Firstly, whilst both versions contain sections that are capable of inducing a kind of petite mort, the Four Tet remix is based around one monolithically intense climax that soars higher and higher before the listener is pleasantly awakened back into the beautiful mundanity of the beat, whereas the original is more a succession of relatively moderate pinnacles, each adequately rewarding to scale, with an inspiring vista from atop each peak, but without the sheer Everestian summit of the remix. Secondly, as I didn’t feature either Four Tet’s ‘Morning/Evening‘ nor Percussion‘s ‘2011 until 2014‘ among my albums of the year, I felt this was a perfect outlet to honour his continuing musical efforts. A real cracker.

Nömak ft. LH4L – “Korean BBQ”

This track should come with mash, coz it’s a proper banger.

Henrik the Artist & Kochi Boy – “Friends Forever”

Here’s your trance, now dance!!

Namie Amuro ft. Hatsune Miku – “B Who I Want 2 B”

Although clearly laced with SOPHIE‘s trademark production chops, it’s the interplay of Namie Amuro‘s processed voice with the truly synthetic vocals of Hatsune Miku that make this album cut from _genic really stand out. The phrasing of the English/Japanese lyrics is so unusual and idiosyncratic (with such a focus on rhythm over melody) that it readily burrows its way into the listener’s inner ear and stays lodged there indefinitely.

Justin Bieber – “Sorry”

What’s that? Justin Bieber has teamed up with Skrillex and put out one of the catchiest songs of the year? Yeah, right, sure. And it features a fake-arse synth brass riff? Okay, whatever you say, pal.

Taylor Swift – “Wildest Dreams”

Okay, so technically like ‘Doing It’, this ballad was released on an album from the tail-end of 2014, but it was only released as a single well into this year, so I’m counting it as being of 2015. It’s far behind colossi like ‘I Really Like You’ and ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ in terms of sheer catchiness and enjoyability, but nevertheless, the chorus is such a powerful expression of longing and wistfulness that as the composition builds and the arrangement becomes more dense and intense, the hairs on the back of my neck can do nothing but arise, and the left cavity of my chest instinctively swells with emotion.

Diplo & Sleepy Tom – “Be Right There”

This is basically pop minimalism. Take an old song from the 90s (Jade‘s ‘Don’t Walk Away’ in this instance), add modern production techniques and contemporary dance-pop tropes, and voilà, instant chart entry. There have been any number of songs following this cookie-cutter method in recent years, but this is more successful in that it takes a relatively obscure source track and actually improves it for the dancefloor, rather than taking a classic and slightly degrading it for a modern audience who weren’t born early enough to hear the original. Also, whilst it’s the blaring, metallic bass that catches the ear initially, I find the high-pitched, floaty synth that moves in semibreves in the background to be a very nice, subtle touch that adds some gravitas to an otherwise 100% fun-time track.


Miscellaneous / Bonus

Best New Artist Name: DJメンタルヘルスケア


Second Best Title: Guybrush Threepwood Does DMT and Goes Paragliding at Sunset

Best Combination of Music and Dance: Eugene Ward & Patric KuoPaint en Pointe

Second Best Combination of Music and Dance: Young Ejecta – “Into Your Heart”

Best Track from an Otherwise Disappointing Album: Levon Vincent – “Woman is an Angel”

Best Acoustic AlbumLubomyr MelnykRivers and Streams (Erased Tapes)

Best Album Cover: Lee BannonPattern of Excel



Best Background Music for Searching the Web:


Closing Statements