Another year of dancing without a break. And that’s already 10. At Xceed‘s offices, we’re always moving. We move a lot. And we share music with each other without rest. After all, if we work here, it’s because we are passionate about electronic music, just like you. In this 2019, we have been in the best festivals, like Tomorrowland, Dekmantel, Sónar, Kappa Futur Festival, Primavera Sound, Time Warp, DGTL, the OFF Week, ADE or Miami Music Week, and we have also visited emerging or small format festivals, like Social Music City, Solar Village, LXM Festival, FORT Festival and MIRA.
All these trips, as well as the visits to revolutionary scenes such as Tbilisi’s one, in Georgia, and others already consolidated and now experiencing controversial changes, such as Ibiza’s one, have allowed us to discover new sounds and embrace new perspectives. We have acquired a more global vision of the electronic music scene. And we have designed a list of 40 tracks that will serve to remind us, whenever we want, of everything we have experienced in this 2019. No orders or rankings: the 40 tracks are ordered by release date and include everything from ambient harmonies to rave sounds. We hope they will make you remember great moments with your favorite people.
Asquith – Let Me (Rave Mix) [Asquith] [2019-1-11]
It was one of the most talked about tracks last winter and, 11 days after New Year, it was published. At that time, we had no doubts: Asquith’s “Let Me” was going to be one of the tracks of the year. We have continued to pay close attention to the rave sounds of 2019 and the truth is that it is difficult to find a piece as moving and inspiring, as well as energetic and forceful, as this one.
Glowal – Cries [Innervisions] [2019-1-18]
Fabio Giannelli and Alessandro Gasperini had not made much noise until now. Well, actually, until, at the end of 2018, a certain Dixon began to play a masterpiece in his sessions, a track whose melodies stunned the spirit and lifted the listener while wrinkled frequencies kept the craving for dancing. Then came others, like Solomun, Damian Lazarus, Âme or Adriatique. Until one day we cracked the mystery. It was “Cries”, a song by the Italian duo Glowal, unknown to many, which would see the light within the Innervision’s album Secret Weapons 11. It all made sense.
Patrick Topping – Watch What Ya Doing (Original Mix) [Trick] [2019-2-15]
“Sure, I can be the best at producing tech-house, but if I’m also up for something harder.” Patrick Topping probably said something like that before he created his own new label: Trick. He dissociated himself from the sound with which he burst into the tech scene 5 years ago (“Forget” was the best-selling tech-house track of 2014) and surprised us with a 3-track EP in which we discover a more raw and rough side of Topping. “Watch What Ya Doing” is, we think, the best of the three.
Mathame – Skywalking [Afterlife] [2019-2-22]
From hit to hit without problems. The Giovanelli brothers are one of the great results obtained by Afterlife label, owned by Tale Of Us, since its creation in 2015. Amedeo and Matteo amazed the world of melodic techno with “Nothing Around Us” last year (it was #3 in our Top20). In 2019, they just waited a month and a half to repeat the feat. That’s how “Skywalking” was born, a track where vocals take a step aside to let the synthesizer be the protagonist. And a track that makes them be among the best of 2019.
KH – Only Human [Ministry of Sound Records] [2019-3-01]
How will Four Tet make its music sound so Four Tet? In fact, “Only Human” is signed by KH, which are the initials of his first name -Kieran Hebden-, but it doesn’t matter: it sounds so much like Four Tet… Those who are more familiar with Nelly Furtado’s music must have been perplexed when they first heard the deconstruction of “Afraid” that the British artist marked in his studio. For us clubbing fans, it drove us crazy. For some, close to the tech-house. For others, extremely dark. It’s that dry, round bass, those pinched claps, those rough vocal cuts… It’s Four Tet. It smells like him. Sounds like him. And makes him be among the best artists of 2019.
SRVD – The Yard Man [Rekids] [2019-3-08]
After a year burning dancefloors, it was already the time for those drums, those warm, even sexy vowels, and that penetrating melody to come out. SRVD is the joint project of Patrick Mason, a top representative of the Berlin scene, and Matt Edwards, the Rekids’ boss and best known for his solo project as Radio Slave. “The Yard Man” is their first major statement as a duo. The first of many more to come.
Palms Trax – To Paradise [Dekmantel] [2019-3-18]
Jay Donaldson is German and, by the way, one of the best producers of deep electronica, always far from the characteristic structures of techno and house. His figure as Palms Trax has always been linked to the cult festival Dekmantel, in whose mainstage he frequently performs. In the last years, he has already given us great works as “In Gold”. In March, he gave another blow to the genre with “To Paradise”, another track full of emotion, sweet harmonies and delicate bases.
Andy Bros – Diamante Blu [Diynamic] [2019-3-29]
We heard it for the first time at the marathon Afterlife party at the ADE in 2018. That day, Amsterdam danced in front of 4 monsters like Dixon, Solomun and Tale Of Us for many hours. They played bomb after bomb. One after another. No exception. Until this sounded. Shazams out. No one successful. And months went by. Nearly half a year later, Diynamic was making a move. It was indeed a diamond in the rough. It was another masterpiece from a guy who doesn’t get all the attention he deserves. It was “Diamante Blu”. It was Andy Bros.
Marie Davidson – Work It (Soulwax Remix) [Ninja Tune] [2019-4-04]
If we were asked about THE track of the year, or at least the track of the summer, we would probably stick with “Work It”. 2019 is the year that marks Marie Davidson’s farewell to the dancefloor (that’s why 2019 has been a key year for her). Her legacy is immense, but “Work It”, one of her last works, is possibly her greatest gift to the scene. It makes sense that the legendary Soulwax (aka 2ManyDjs) remixed it to give us one of the most used and acclaimed tracks of 2019.
Peggy Gou – Starry Night [Gudu Records] [2019-4-19]
Last year, it was “It Makes You Forget.” This year, it was “Starry Night.” Her second big hit came out in April and, from day one, we’ve been dancing to it nonstop. At the first second, a bassline with an acid house tone already lets us know that we are in front of Peggy Gou’s music. Her choppy bases and claps and, of course, her hypnotic voice and her particular intonation do the rest. There isn’t a great festival in the world that hasn’t danced “Starry Night” in 2019.
Caterina Barbieri – Fantas [Editions Mego] [2019-5-3]
Italian Caterina Barbieri has had possibly the best year of her career in 2019. Already in 2018, she began to cook it up with her appearances at MUTEK Montréal and Berlin Atonal, among others. In 2019, her synthesized ambient sounds visited other renowned festivals such as Sónar, Dekmantel and even Primavera Sound. Most of their pieces were part of Ecstatic Computation, a 6-piece album released in May, among which “Fantas” stands out for its depth, intensity and beauty.
Gerry Read – It’ll All Be Over (DJ Koze Remix) [Pampa Records] [2019-5-10]
2019 has been a key year in Gerry Read’s career. It’s not every day that a label of the magnitude of Pampa Records knocks on the door. The German label wanted to release “It’ll All Be Over”, a 2-track EP that would include a remix by the team’s boss, DJ Koze. Everything DJ Koze touches becomes gold. The Hamburg DJ continues to embrace disco and vintage sounds. And we thank him for it.
Mr. Tophat ft. Noomi – Time Lapse [Dusk to Dawn] [2019-5-17]
It was thanks to the Italian DJ Tennis, head of the cult label Life And Death, that we started humming “Time Lapse” on hangover mornings. It’s good -even necessary- for electronic music that breaker tracks don’t always depend on pronounced drops and exaggeratedly high hi-hats. That’s why it’s great news that tracks like “Time Lapse” have caught the public’s attention. “Time Lapse” is soft, gentle and friendly. Noomi’s voice is growing progressively, just as the power of a song that will still make us dance and, above all, feel much longer. We take our hats off to Mr. Tophat.
Maceo Plex – When The Lights Are Out (Garage Mix) [Ellum] [2019-6-14]
Wow! That’s how we reacted when, in Xceed’s office, we first played Maceo Plex’s “When The Lights Are Out”. It was last June 14th in the morning. The Latin producer added this new track to his vast collection. Well, these 3 new tracks. Maceo Plex created their base version, the Late Night Mix and this Garage Mix, which is our selection. It’s easy to recognize the sound of Maceo Plex: drone bases, a drum loaded with synth and rather thick drops. We know that. But that 90’s diva vowel with the folk touch has made us fall in love. What could we do?
S.A.M. – Fury’s Laughter [Spinnin’ Deep] [2019-6-17]
That the microhouse aromas are gaining in popularity is evident. However, that a track like this would hit so hard that it would even conquer the evening parties at Ibiza’s Ushuaïa was totally unexpected. Maybe it’s because it was released by Spinnin’ Deep, the underground version of the famous Spinnin’ label, but it’s undeniable that “Fury’s Laughter” has something magical. It gets anyone off the couch.
Leftwing : Kody – I Feel It (Original Mix) [Toolroom Records] [2019-6-21]
“We wanted to reach a much wider audience and make music that could be used to party in a club, but also for the road, or for a barbecue at the pool.” Leftwing : Kody themselves explained it to us in an interview. “I Feel It” is far from the big-room groovy techno sound that has marked the duo’s career so far. “I Feel It” has felt good. Few people at Miami Music Week allowed themselves not to include it in their sets. The best move in these guys’ career? Could be. Summer vibes!
Alan Dixon – La Danza [Running Back] [2019-6-21]
Until recently, Alan Dixon was not known beyond the UK. He is a resident DJ at London’s Savage… and he is also a producer to be followed closely. Dixon, DJ Tennis, Damian Lazarus, Gerd Janson… Many are the renowned selectors who have used the heavenly rise and clean drop of “La Danza” to crown themselves this summer. It’s not surprising that it’s Running Back who has put the tag on it.
Tunnelvisions – Rain Dance [Atomnation] [2019-6-28]
The first album by Dutchmen Emiel van den Dungen and Raynor de Groot came in mid-2018. Barely a year and another LP later, the duo, baptized Tunnelvisions, rushed to release, also in Atomnation, a 2-track EP in which we would find “Rain Dance”, a true ode to melodic electronica with powerful synth and broken bases. A clear example that hits can move away from conventional structures without fear of failure.
Adriatique – Craft [Siamese Records] [2019-6-28]
In their days, the Swiss duo Adriatique created the Siamese label so that they could explore, experiment with new sounds and discover new facets as producers. In the label’s 10th release, one of those bangers arrived. It was called “Craft”. Halfway between melodic house and deep cut techno, “Craft” always burns dancefloors, whenever it sounds. And it keeps Adriatique on the top of the melodic house wave.
Donato Dozzy & Anna Caragnano – Parola (Rework) [Spazio Disponibile] [2019-7-12]
When a master like Donato Dozzy speaks, the rest of us must listen and try to learn. Donato Dozzy joined forces with Anna Caragnano to speak to us through “Parola”, a techno piece with a classic tone, constant paranormal voices and a certain dub air that transports the listener to another dimension. Without any big stridencies and with an extreme elegance, Donato Dozzy beats us, shakes us from galaxy to galaxy and gives us a warm hug that denies that techno is always violent.
Шакке (Schacke) – Kisloty People [Kisloty] [2019-7-15]
It is not every year that a not very famous Danish producer releases a track with Russian vocals at 145 bpm and that it becomes a summer hit. It is not every year that the track is played by such diverse DJs as Nina Kraviz, Four Tet, Michael Mayer, Daphni and Job Jobse. That is Schacke’s great success: he has managed to make “Kisloty People” sound good at all times and in all places. It’s the result of accompanying rave bases and acid tones with fun, almost childlike vocals. A total success and, without a doubt, one of the best memories of 2019.
Roberto Surace – Joys (Original Mix) [Defected Records] [2019-7-19]
If you’ve been to Ibiza this summer, you’ve danced “Joys”. For sure. If “Losing It” took tech-house to all kinds of environments (even the most commercial ones) in 2018, Roberto Surace has done the same with “Joys” in 2019. In this case, the low tones of its groove gain prominence, while female vocals with an almost undetectable echo sing us that “I always choose love”.
Lauer – Inkel Jet 880 [DGTL] [2019-7-19]
Counting original mixes and remixes, the German Lauer has already released more than 250 tracks. His is one of the most fruitful careers in the house scene and to have it always at such a high level seems to be a utopia. His music released in 2019 makes him stay among the best artists of the year. Topo Chico is his debut EP on the label of the Dutch festival DGTL and, in it, we discover “Inkel Jet 880”, a piece that dances with indie-dance and nu-disco and that constitutes one of the most tasty electronica tracks of the year.
Paul Kalkbrenner – No Goodbye [b1] [2019-7-26]
A year had already passed since the release of Parts Of Life, Paul Kalkbrenner’s latest studio album and one of his most personal works. After a year of tours, shows and preparation of a book of the same name about his life, the artist from Leipzig wanted to give us an unexpected gift in the form of a single. With the voices of Chiara Hunter, “No Goodbye” is another one of those pieces with a pop air and hit personality that turns Paul Kalkbrenner’s electronica into a mass product.
Adana Twins ft. Glowal – My Computer [Diynamic] [2019-8-16]
“In this world of isolation, a computer could rule the nation.” It is a sentence as hard as it is true and, moreover, it serves as a prelude to one of the most sought-after melodic techno tracks of 2019, although some prefer to categorize it as indie-dance due to the undeniable importance of the vocal components and the roughness and size of the lower synthesizers of the track. One thing was clear: the union of Adana Twins with the Glowal duo couldn’t go wrong.
Blanck Mass – House vs. House [Sacred Bones Records] [2019-8-16]
After World Eater left the avant-garde electronic scene speechless in 2017, Scotland’s Blanck Mass continued to work on its sequel, a new work entitled Animated Violence Mild that was cooked up in his own studio in Edinburgh. The album was released in August, but for weeks his best piece of work had already been pumping adrenaline into the most restless eardrums. Electronic blanks with a strong aroma of pop and an experimental air that can only cause two sensations: passion or rejection. We bet on the first one.
Eagles & Butterflies ft. Coloray – Can’t Stop [Art Imitating Life] [2019-8-23]
Vocals, once generally rejected in the production of underground electronic music, are gaining in strength in this change of decade. “Can’t Stop” is another clear example. Coloray’s singing barely ceases as one of the most precious melodic techno tracks of the year grows in sound and harmonic power. With it, Eagles & Butterflies shows that he is still in full swing.
Whitesquare – Visual Distortion of Reality [Life And Death] [2019-8-30]
The Italian Whitesquare has been experimenting in DJ booths since 2012. 3 years later, he started creating his own sounds, until he decided to create his label together with NT89. Whitesquare had always hesitated with house and techno, avoiding limiting himself to just one of those two genres. “Visual Distortion of Reality” is exactly that: a hesitation with the two broadest genres of electronica. Actually, it’s impossible to classify it in any of those genres. “Visual Distortion of Reality” has an original structure and a clean sound, usually dark, acidic and deep, always friendly.
ANNA ft. Miss Kittin – Forever Ravers [Kompakt Extra] [2019-8-30]
Blessed be the day these 2 techno queens decided to spend time together in the studio. Knowing that they were preparing something together, the question arose as to whether ANNA’s big-room sound or Kittin’s acid approaches would prevail. Neither one, nor the other. “Forever Ravers” bets on frequencies that are wrinkled to the extreme and… guess what? Yeah, vocals again, these much more ragged. They are ravers, after all.
Rosa Anschütz – Rigid (Kobosil 44 Rush Mix) [R – Label Group] [2019-8-30]
Although, for rave sounds, the ones Rosa Anschütz gave birth to in “Rigid”. Many consider the original mix a true masterpiece, but the truth is that Kobosil’s Rush Mix -a resident of Berghain- brings this jewel closer to the accelerated 4×4, ideal for dancing.
Colyn – Resolve [Afterlife] [2019-8-30]
It was Dutchman Ewout Colijn’s debut EP on Afterlife label. Tale Of Us’ imprint presents him as one of the young talents to watch out for in the deep genres. The Resolve EP contains 4 tracks, but it is the homonymous one that most captivates us with its simplicity and horizontality. Because more is not always better.
CJ Bolland ft. The Advent – Camargue (Original Mix) [Drumcode] [2019-9-02]
Another of this 2019 trends has been the recovery of the trance spirit for club dancefloors. A clear example is “Camargue”, a piece produced by an old-school legend like The Advent with CJ Bolland that came out with multiple remixes from people like Maceo Plex, Enrico Sangiuliano, Keith Carnal or Adam Beyer with Layton Giordani. Camargue sounds like glory, like pioneering electronica. And each remixer adapts it to different environments. They all saw the light in a single release on Drumcode. We chose the original one.
Toto Chiavetta ft. Sead Ajaz Ensemble – Ederlezi [Borders Of Light] [2019-9-06]
Using Ederlezi’s “Time of the Gypsies” voices can go very well or very badly. The first one to take a risk was Pional in 2018 with “Time Of The G’s”, undoubtedly one of the tracks of that year. Last summer, the electronic music DJs closer to intimate proposals surprised us with what seemed like another version but ended up resulting in another track. This time, it came from the studio of one of the greats of Innervisions, Toto Chiavetta, who would finally release the track on Borders of Light.
Storken – Lille Vals [Running Back] [2019-9-20]
One of the great pearls of 2018 was Krystal Klear’s “Neutron Dance”. The one who put that ID in everyone’s mind was the great Gerd Janson in Australia’s famous Boiler Room. In May 2019, the German producer and selector did it again, this time with “Lille Vals”. After a summer of waiting and almost despair, the day arrived. It was the end of September and it was via Janson’s own label, Running Back. Its author, the Swede Storken, presents himself to the world with the summer anthem under one arm and the nickname “the Todd Terje of Sweden” under the other.
Coyu – Waking Up From Anxious Dreams (Metamorphosis) [Suara] [2019-9-23]
Since Spaniard Coyu abandoned tech-house rhythms to accelerate the pitch and move into more forceful genres, his facet as a producer had been somewhat slowed down. Or so it seemed… It was back from the summer and Coyu hit the scene with a (very) long 16-track LP in which he collaborates with people like Moby or The Horrorist. In You Don’t Know there is everything, but above all, there is a criminal drop preceded by an undeniable silence. It is set in a pearl that takes us back to the glorious times of drum ‘n bass: “Waking Up From Anxious Dreams”.
Kenneth Bager ft. Jez Phunk – Drums Of Steel [Music for Clubs] [2019-9-27]
We don’t know if they are made of steel, but those drum rolls accompanied by esoteric timbres make “Drums Of Steel” one of the must-listen tracks of 2019. With it, a guy with more than 4 decades of experience as the Danish Kenneth Bager is again in the spotlight. It was his time.
Alessandro Cortini – Amore Amaro [Mute] [2019-9-27]
A combination of melody and experimental music accompanied by visual approaches to the artist’s ultra-intimate environments. This could be defined in one sentence – something that should never be done – Volume Massimo, the new album by Italian Alessandro Cortini. With it, he intends to extend the narrative of his previous album Avanti, a narrative that he precisely takes up again with “Amore Amaro”. This is one of the best ambient works of the year and possibly of the whole decade.
Angelov – Retrida [Diynamic] [2019-10-11]
Solomun was one of the first to squeeze out those purring tones, which already indicated that Diynamic was possibly going to be the label to release the track. It was, although it took a bit longer than expected. After being played in the mainstage of the best festivals around the world, “Retrida” appeared in October to consolidate itself as one of the most requested pieces by the fans of melodic house. The song belongs to the EP Cabora, which is the debut of the Ukrainian Angelov in Diynamic after Solomun has been using his music for several years now.
Phunkadelica – Pensiero Stupendo (Musumeci Rmx) [Multinotes] [2019-10-18]
The funky aroma of “Pensiero Stupendo” makes anyone’s skin crawl. The original track, recorded at 113 bpm, fits perfectly with the rebellious thinking of Lehar, Musumeci and Olderic, the founders of the Multinotes label. Not in vain, Musumeci saw in this Phunkadelica bomb the raw material to accelerate the pitch to 120 bpm and find the right 90’s rolls to create one of the best highlights of the last 12 months. The image of the German Dixon closing Sónar with “Pensiero Stupendo” will hardly be erased from our memories.
Terr – Energy Sync (Club Mix) [Phantasy Sound] [2019-11-29]
The last one to join the list was the Brazilian Terr, who has lived a key year in 2019 with releases like “Energy Sync”. The release offers a more relaxed version of the song, but we keep the bass punch of this Club Mix. Any of her most recent DJ sets have ended up with this half indie, half disco flavour. 2020 awaits Terr in live format for the very first time. And with her, we close 2019’s 40 best tracks.
(Cover Image: © Xceed)