Over the course of 2016, the Tech House genre has enjoyed a year of successful releases with its overall popularity climbing being played in clubs across the world. Though out the year I have listened to a multitude of Tech House tracks from a wide variety of DJs coming from online sets or hot off the press from Beatport. Also whilst in Ibiza I attended nights such as Paradise at DC10, Woomoon at Cova Santa and Do Not Sleep at Space featuring some of the best names in the business. After all this exposure to fantastic tracks, I felt it was time to provide a round-up of what I thought were the top sounds of this year.
Before I begin i’ll explain that I made a few rules in the selection process. Firstly I chose songs which I personally rate on merits of originality, quality of production and excitement value (aka if the track wasn’t an absolute stomper, it didn’t make the cut). Secondly I chose tracks which I played most frequently, some artists in this list have made other releases since but I still prefer the tracks that they made earlier on this year. Finally I tended to focus on DJs and producers fresh on the scene as I believe that 2016 was a year for the “up and coming” so to speak. And with that I hope you enjoy this Top ten, please feel free to leave your comments below to what you think.
1. Solardo, Mant – Something Like That
This year has been a fantastic year for Duo producers, Solardo. Continuing their success from 2015 release “New Jam”, Data Transmission quoted Solardo as “meteorically rising UK techno duo” hotly tipped DJ and production pairing have had taste making outlets and artists falling over themselves to acclaim them”. This year they have grown from strength to strength, releasing under multiple labels and even setting up their own imprint, SOLÄ later on in the year. ‘Something like that’ is a fine example of the producers bass driven style, a true dance floor weapon.
2. Vibe Killers – Love You
Another duo from the UK making brilliant music this year, is a pair of producers hailing from Lancashire, who are known as Vibe Killers. First previewing the track with Subsoul and then releasing with the previously mentioned SOLÄ label, they have been shot straight into critical acclaim and underground fame.’Love You’ is a tribal rhythm enthused tech house track with funky underlying synth lines and a vocal sample that will echo over any club. Expect big things from Vibe Killers in 2017.
3. Raumakustik – Panther (Format:B Remix)
Well damn. This track has been an absolutely huge hit of 2016. The remixer in question, Format: B once again entered into the spotlight with summer Ibiza anthem Chunky and has been busy since then with a string of releases. But his version of ‘Panther’ is real winner, becoming a instant Tech House banger, a track loved by crowds and DJs alike. With sharp instrumentals from the original producer Raumakustik to play with, Format: B has given it a mean sub bass and the re-used the vocal sample “get down low” giving almost instruction like message to the dance floor.
4. Raffa FL – How We Do (Raffa FL Re-edit)
Completely fresh on the scene in 2016 is Italian producer, Raffa FL. After fairly successful releases on Lost Records and Glasgow Underground, he released his now house anthem ‘How We Do’ back in May with Criminal Hype. Over the course of that month and the rest of the Summer it became a Ibiza hit with the catchy vocal “This is how we do” being chanted back from the crowds. Personally I’m in love with that hook synth line, nothing but naughty. Since that instant shot to fame, he has released on Suara, Elrow and Resonance Record labels, so the future is certainly looking prosperous for this talented producer.
5. Jamie XX – Gosh (Apexape Remix)
Thought out this year my opinion towards to the Bass House sub genre within Tech House has shifted. Part of that reason is that my personal taste has shifted towards darker styles and the other is that the whole sub genre feels very saturated nowadays, too many people producing it, not enough originality or flare. Apexape are the exception to that opinion. Their remix of ‘Gosh’ by Jamie XX packs a punch with hard hitting kick drums and wobbly sub bass. It’s a song that will take a crowd that little bit further, bringing them up from a mid-set slump straight back onto the floor dancing harder than before.
6. Max Chapman – Body Jack (Get My Swerve On)
Max Chapman has been around the underground for about 5 years now, but this year his song ‘Body Jack’ propelled him into the spotlight. The Resonance label owner takes a typical tech house groove and perfects it with a combination of levelled percussion and overlapping vocals. After receiving praise from Danny Howard on BBC Radio 1, this track did the rounds of Ibiza a number of times, and became all around crowd pleaser, bringing Max a new found following. His soundcloud shows his progress since then, it certainly has been a successful year for this rising producer.
7. NY’s Finest – Do You Feel Me (Dosem Remix)
I don’t think in the time I’ve been following Toolroom records (about 3 years), I’ve ever heard them release anything less than straight up anthems. Dosem’s remix of ‘Do You Feel Me’ is no exception. The underlying vocal and piano riff provided from NY’s Finest lifts you up and makes your hair’s stand on end, the track gains euphoric momentum, then Dosem drops in his bass line that shakes the dance floor. I featured this track in the Modern Rewind mix back in September and love it even more overtime I return to it.
8. Eats Everything – Big Discs
This year Eats Everything has done it all. Headlined massive club nights, played major festivals, progressed his label and released some killer tracks, he even visited his hometown to play in a chip shop! But rewinding back to the beginning of the year, you could hear ‘Big Discs’ playing out of car stereos from January featured on Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show and then went onto become a hit in Ibiza. The track’s hypnotic rolling rhythm is further accentuated by its weird instrumental choices, but somehow it all just works perfectly making it completely original, and thus why it makes this list.
9. Pirate Copy – Original Pirate Copy (Original Mix)
I can’t deny that this is one of my favourites out of the list. After Pirate Copy posted a snippet in a video back in October, I was counting down the days until it was released on Kaluki. The reason’s why I like it (apart from it being a Tech House weapon) is that it plays on two samples which conceptually I think is very creative. Taking cockney (which if I’m not mistaken, sounds like Mike Skinner from The Streets) sounding vocal samples and then adding in synth stabs from Mentasm, a R&R records classic, it is then updated with modern Tech instrumentals, making this release one killer track.
10. Martin Ikin & Low Steppa – UDK (Original Mix)
Last but not least I return to an artist that I have been following since I started to follow house music. I first found Birmingham DJ and Producer, Low Steppa when I started to listen to the Jackin House movement back in late 2012. Since then i’ve watched the producer go from strength to strength, touring multiple times and developing a sound that is uniquely his own. The same could be said for Martin Ikin, but his releases I feel have had less critical acclaim, however he is still a great producer in his own right. The two producer’s collaboration EP is a perfect Bass house/Tech house cross-over, an sound experimentation that could be a possible future of either sub-genre.
That’s the end of this Top ten feature. If you want more Tech House in your life then listen to the mix below…