The 45 Best Tracks Of The Year…So Far

As any DJ will tell you, navigating the avalanche of new music that arrives each day is a near-impossible task. Despite the deluge, 2013 has already delivered hundreds of gems, from booming festival anthems to pop crossovers to the darkest underground gear. To take stock of the year so far, inthemix writers Angus Paterson, Andrew Wowk, Lauren Lipsay, Dave Ruby Howe, Katie Cunningham and Jack Tregoning select their highlights of 2013, covering trance, techno, mainstage-EDM, drum & bass and many shades in-between.

#45 Guy Gerber – 25 Stitches

Guy Gerber has stepped it up big time this year, fronting his very own residency at Pacha Ibiza of all places – and he’s still so prolific in the studio that he took it upon himself to release an entire album of new material free to his fans this month. 25 Stitches is the highlight. It’s a sexy tech-house cut, and the grooves are dark and seductive; though it’s the cleverly selected hip-hop sample that does the real damage. This one will not leave your head for days. [Angus Paterson]

#44 Renato Cohen – Pontape (2013 Remake)

A true classic in every sense of the word, Pontape was played by nearly every techno DJ on the planet, and even featured in sets from DJs not normally known for playing techno. Still able to blow up a dancefloor but sounding decidedly dated in terms of its production, the track was in desperate need of an update, which is what we have here. The 2013 remake brings the track back to life without messing with its core elements, basically acting more like a ‘remastered’ version of the original that keeps its charm remains intact. [Andrew Wowk]

#43 Lange vs. Genix – Immersion

UK trance veteran Lange has always been the one attempting to coax trance out of formula, though recently he’s been steering it back in a more melodic direction – and here hooks up with young gun Genix for a stunning track that shows just how future-minded the pair are. A dizzying, winding build-up slams into one of the best basslines ever heard in the so-called ‘trouse’ sound – shooting back and forth tirelessly before giving way to proper hero ‘hands in the air’ chorus. Once of the best trance hook-ups heard in a very, very long time. [Angus Paterson]

#42 Tessela – Hackney Parrot

What can be said about Hackney Parrot other than RAVE? Tessela has channelled the spirit of ‘90s hardcore breakbeat with this track and there is literally not a dancefloor on this planet that has not ignited when it’s been dropped. Chopped-up, time-stretched classic breaks (trainspotters will have a field day working out where all the samples come from), an infectious vocal loop, hands-in-the-air synths and one of the most bad-ass basslines to ever grace a dance music tune all work together beautifully to create a track that you just can’t help but love. [Andrew Wowk]

#41 James Zabiela – The Healing (Sasha Involv3r Mix)

What do you get when a legend of dance music remixes a future legend of dance music? Awesomeness. 11 minutes of blissful progressive house, Sasha’s remix of The Healing keeps the engrossing forlorn vocals, warm chords and warbled lead synth of the original version largely intact, but basically overhauls the rest of the track. Straightening out the beats into an acid-led four-to-the-floor groove and over-driving the squeaks and bleeps of the original, Sasha’s remix is both hypnotic and energetic. [Andrew Wowk]

#40 Krewella – Alive (Hardwell remix)

Hardwell’s rise over the past 12 months has been nothing short of monumental. He’s climbed the DJ Mag Top 100 poll all the way to the #6 spot, headlined festivals across the world and kept his own Revealed Recordings buzzing. Meanwhile, Chicago EDM trio Krewella have been accelerating ever since the release of the Play Hard EP in 2012. Bring these two together and you have the sound of mainstages in 2013: a soaring vocal, a dramatic build, then the CO2-spewing pay-off. [Lauren Lipsay]

#39 Fon.Leman – Lynx Eye

Lynx Eye is the reason I still feel it’s still worthwhile keeping an eye on what’s happening in the trance scene in 2013. Due out shortly from the Russian producer, his latest production is driving as hell, and while it takes full advantage of the house-based grooves that are rife in trance at the moment, the energy has more in common with one of Simon Patterson’s psy stormers. The ‘grunt’ is the focus, though the transition into the melodic aspects is masterfully handled. [Angus Paterson]

#38 Space Dimension Controller – Back Through Time With A Mission Of Groove

The white guy an incongruous amount of funk delivered an amazing album in the form of Welcome to Mikrosector-50 earlier this year, and Back Through Time With A Mission Of Groove was a standout cut. Best described as part old-school Detroit techno, part funky house, and part George Clinton on too many stimulants, it’s simply impossible to stand still when listening to this track. [Andrew Wowk]

#37 Midland – Trace

Off-kilter, dancefloor-ready house like only Midland knows how. Combining an infectious vocal with punchy drums, a body-moving bassline and chunky sound effects into a fairly innocuous groove during the first half of the track, Trace builds to an amazing peak with a well-timed breakdown, coming home strong in its second half. Definitely a track that rewards patience. [Andrew Wowk]

#36 George Maple – Fixed

Having herself been the vocal foil for more than one other act to make this list, we’re already holding Sydney-born, London-dwelling vocalist George Maple to pretty high expectations. Our wait wasn’t long either, with Maple delivering two key tracks in 2013 led by the immaculate Fixed.

Immersing herself in the thriving UK electronic community seems to have suited the very young Australian export. Fixed dabbles with a bit of a trip-hop influence and sticks low to the ground to allow Maple’s memorable voice some time up front and centre as the main attraction. “I fix my gaze on you,” Maple intones. Once you hear it you won’t soon forget it. [Dave Ruby Howe]

#35 DJ Snake & Alesia – Bird Machine

While the internet was preoccupied with the rediscovery of Bauuer’s Harlem Shake this year another Mad Decent release was causing some spirited speaker convulsions. I’m speaking of course of Bird Machine from Frenchman DJ Snake.

Bird Machine shows us that – in an age of prized plug-ins and expensive tech – there is true effectiveness in simplicity, with DJ Snake deploying little more than a clomping beat and a cheeky looped refrain for maximum pay-off. There’s no big, chant-ready chorus and no space between the trap rolls to really catch your breath. Yet it’s a tune that you could just as easily hear in a club as you could on a work site or blasted forth from a kid’s phone speakers. And that’s the mark of a hit. [Dave Ruby Howe]

#34 Lindstrom & Todd Terje – Lanzarote

What does it sound like when Norwegian disco/house maestros Todd Terje and Lindstrom get together in a studio? Well, exactly what you’d expect. To welcome their project, which they’ve been touring through Europe, the pair offered up Lanzarote on Terje’s Olsen label and it has been burning dancefloors ever since. It’s a joyous, freewheeling jam – and jam is the right word for it – with enough analogue funk to carry you through to the 8:40 mark. [Jack Tregoning]

#33 Pizza Guy – Touch Sensitive

As a group, Sydney four-piece Van She have delivered two album’s worth of altogether decent indie-dance. But it’s as individual artists that they’ve really been excelling: Matt Van Schie branched off for his Du Tonc project and released the superb Darkness earlier this year (it’s also very much worth a listen), and Michael Di Francesco adopted the Touch Sensitive moniker.

All of Di Francisco’s solo work – like the earlier Body Stop and Anna Lunoe collab’ Real Talk – has been impressive, but this year’s Pizza Guy is a particularly bang-on nu-house standout. [Katie Cunningham]

#32 Justin Jay – Static

At only 19 years of age, Justin Jay has a huge future ahead of him. Static was the youngster’s second release on the infamous Dirtybird Recordings, and if people weren’t paying attention to him before it dropped, they sure as hell are now. With chunky, low-slung beats, a bassline that wouldn’t be out of place in a D&B track and a cheeky sample from N.W.A.’s Express Yourself, this is Dirtybird through-and-through, which is why it’s so damn good. [Andrew Wowk]

#31 Major Lazer – Watch Out For This (Bumaye)

There’s no shortage of firepower singles on Major Lazer’s long-awaited second album Free the Universe, but Watch Out For This (Bumaye) is particularly hard to go past. It’s Major Lazer at their best: reggae and Moombahton are paired perfectly, the energy’s high, the trumpets are blaring and it’s just fun. [Katie Cunningham]

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