#1 – “Tangle Formations” by Explosions In The Sky from their seventh studio Album, The Wilderness.
- The experimental post-rock band has moved past their days of scoring Friday Night Lights and set their sights on even more ambitious goals with a reinvented sound. The Wildnerness is as much of a conceptual and enjoyable journey as the previous projects, but with more structure and direction.
Explosions In The Sky
#2 – “Laputa (Taylor McFerrin Remix)” by Hiatus Kaiyote from their remix LP, Recalibrations Vol. 1.
- After releasing one of my favorite projects from 2015, the Early Riser LP, McFerrin made another splash this past May by reimagining a track from Hiatus Kaiyote’s 2015 album Choose your Weapon.
Laputa (Taylor McFerrin Remix) (feat. Anderson .Paak)
#3 – “It’s A Memory Feat. Elohim and Mansions on the Moon (Amtrac Remix) by Fred Falke from his remix EP, It’s A Memory – the Remixes.
- In an unsurprising turn of events, Amtrac has put together the most impressive EDM remix of 2016, fusing the elements laid out by Fred Falke with his own brand of wizardry to create a one-of-a-kind track.
It’s A Memory ft. Elohim, Mansions On The Moon (Amtrac Remix)
#4 – “Earth Girls” by Jesse Boykins III from his mixtape, Bartholomew.
- While the album has features from the likes of Noname, Little Simz, Willow Smith, Syd, Mick Jenkins and others, his best work is done on a solo piece, Earth Girls. I wrote about this song earlier this year here.
Jesse Boykins III
#5 – “Nights” by Frank Ocean from his second studio album, Blonde.
- While it took Frank 4 years to give us another album, he certainly delivered with Blonde. In releasing his 2016-version of “Pyramids”, Frank gives us a growing piece that stands up to any criticism lobbed his way.
#6 – “Ultralight Beam Feat. Kelly Price, Donnie Trumpet, Chance the Rapper, The-Dream and Kirk Franklin” by Kanye West from The Life of Pablo.
- The introduction track from the most hyped release of 2016 also gave us the best hip hop verse of the year – in addition to the most diverse contributors to a single track. Another instant classic to go in Kanye’s hall of fame catalog.
Ultralight Beat (feat. Chance The Rapper)
#7 – “My True Name” by Bloc Party. from their fifth studio album, Hymns.
- 4 years after the release of Four, and after a major band member shakeup no less, Bloc Party returned to the studio headed by Kele to deliver one last time with another intimate, topical record.
#8 – “With Me” by Lane 8 from his project, This Never Happened.
- The Leipzig-based producer started out 2016 with “Midnight” and has been a beacon of consistency for the electronic music world. Each of his releases have been of superb quality, but “With Me” is the best of the bunch. I wrote about it earlier this year here.
#9 – “All Night Feat. Knox Fortune (Kaytranada Remix)” by Chance the Rapper from Kaytranada’s 0.001% mixtape.
- In a year where Kaytranada finally got over the hump, graduating from blogospher fame to mainstrem musical fame, he took a victory lap of sorts in the latter months, giving us some of his best material yet. His remix to Chance’s “All Night” will be a mainstay in dance clubs for many months to come.
Chance The Rapper
All Night (feat. Knox Fortune) (Kaytranada Remix)
#10 – “Alaska” by Maggie Rogers.
- Maggie Roger’s rise based on the strength of Alaska mirrored the same path Ryn Weaver took after her song Octahate became the flavor of the year in 2014. While Roger has not yet amassed the same following, her single is as impressive and minimalistic as one could hope for from a debut.
#11 – “Eva” by Punctual.
- As an eclectic deep house track with samples and influences ranging from Indian pop to 80’s synth, Eva is as groundbreaking and novel today as it was the first few hundred times I listened to it.
#12 – “Clementine Feat. Lex Famous” by Rambo V.
- Claiming this song as “Soul House”, Rambo V set off the soundtrack to my summer with Clementine. This dreamy, fun-loving track grooves along fusing the line beautifully between future bass and house.
Clementine Ft. Lex Famous
#13 – “All Night Feat. Dornik” by SG Lewis.
- SG Lewis released one of my early picks for song of the year, dropping All Night with Dornik in February. This track harnesses some of the emotion captured in his previous classic “Warm” while adding a more upbeat, poppy spin to the piece.
All Night(ft. Dornik)
#14 – “Homemade” by Matthew Chaim.
- Hailing from Montreal, this Canadian pop producer unleashed a catchy piece along with the help of Noah Barer and Cavewerk earlier this year. I wrote about the track previously here.
Homemade (prod. Noah Barer & Cavewerk)
#15 – “Gettin’ it Done” by Ross From Friends.
- As perhaps the best named artist from this group of sixteen, Ross from Friends also put together one of the best house tunes to come out in 2016. While injecting elements of 90’s R&B with a persistently building bassline, the song has elements that appeal to a wide range of aficionados.
Ross From Friends
Gettin’ It Done’
#16 – “The Look” by Halpe and Sophie Meiers.
- My favorite track that maybe 2% of my friends have heard before. This vocalist has a handful of mesmerizing tracks, but pairing with Halpe pushes The Look into another category entirely.
The Look w/ sophie meiers