[15 To End 2015] Ninja Ash’s Best of the Year

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When you listen to music as much as I do, your song selections and life experiences become inseparable–each impacting the other in both conscious and subconscious ways. That relationship embodies the uniquely subjective nature of music. You can listen to a song ten times and think nothing of it but then hear it in the right context or headspace and everything just clicks. As such, any effort of making an objective “best of” list proves a fruitless task. So rather than attempt that Sisyphean task, my ’15 To End 2015′ captures the songs that meant the most to me this year: ones that soundtracked my best memories, comforted me at my lowest points or simply possessed endless replay value. Peep my favorites of 2015 below. Hopefully they’ll take on a life of their own in your music collection.

’Beach House – Space Song’

A trip to psychedelic space land–just close your eyes and absorb.

’The Internet – Under Control’

A fresh and endlessly relatable take on R&B from Syd & co.

’Thundercat – ‘Them Changes”

Built on the same Isley Brothers drum sample as “Today Was a Good Day,” this funk-injected jam crescendos a year full of nostalgia for the era of Parliament, James Brown & Sly Stone.

’Main Attrakionz – Ain’t No Other Way’

Feel good Bay Area hip-hop for and from the soul.

’Raury – Forbidden Knowledge (feat. Big K.R.I.T.)’

An absolute lyrical gem from a young artist with wisdom well beyond his years.

’Kendrick Lamar – These Walls (feat. Thundercat, Bilal & Anna Wise)’

My most played song from my favorite album of the year: ‘To Pimp A Butterfly.’

’Jamie xx – I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)(feat. Young Thug & Popcaan)’
It’s hard to pick a favorite song from Jamie xx’s ‘In Colour’ but this summer anthem flipped pretentious listeners on their heads while showcasing the merits of melodic emcees.

’Shamir – In For The Kill’

The danciest track from the year’s most pioneering pop vocalist.

’Mura Masa – Lovesick Fuck’

In 2015 Mura Masa continued to prove his dominance in the realm of emotional future bass. This is easily my most played track of the year.

’Big Wild – Aftergold’

‘Aftergold’ captures Big Wild’s genuinely organic approach to electronic music–one full of sonic plot twists and playful melodies.

’Lane 8 – Loving You ft. Lulu James’

Lane 8’s compositions shaped my year and “Loving You,” the opener of his debut album, brings to mind feelings of excitement and new beginnings.

’Kenton Slash Demon – Harpe’

The capacity for emotional power within an instrumental composition should never be underestimated–‘Harpe’ proves that.

’Tame Impala – Let It Happen (Soulwax Remix)’

The magnificence of Tame Impala and the rare emergence of Soulwax combine for infinite grooves.

’Billy Kenny – I Eat Beats (Ardalan Remix)’

This song is single-handedly responsible for piquing my interest in tech-house.

’Sonny Fodera & Gene Farris – We Work It’

I listened to this every time I worked it in 2015.

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[15 to End 2015] Ninja Dom’s Best of the Year

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As a sweeping generalization, 2015 will go down as a year dominated by collectives. Future Classic, Hegemon, Moving Castle, Soulection, HW&W, Wedidit, Monstercat, and French Express pooled their talents together to commandeer the music scene this year. The technical aspects commonly associated with “Future” crept into the DNA of producers, becoming a topical theme across genres from the most obscure to the most mainstream.

In particular, and as one of the most recent additions to the TMN staff, it has been quite a journey both as a contributor and music fan since early April. Without the collaboration of the entire staff – the guidance of editors and advice of my fellow writers – year one as a ninja would not have been possible. Along the way I’ve covered tours, shot music festivals, and met some of my favorite artists, who have graciously exposed me to their own intricate webs of sound. That being said, below is my best effort to reduce thousands of great tracks released this calendar year down to a manageable number. Enjoy the tracks below, in order of release date, and see you all next year!

’Oceaán – Veritas (Young & Sicks Mixed Feelings)’
Although it has nearly been removed from all channels of the internet, this remix of Veritas is a fluid tune, incorporating contrasting techniques in a way that set it apart this year.

’OBESØN – Mon Amour’
This is both my favorite song ever and the answer to the hypothetical question “if you could only listen to one song for the rest of time…”

’San Holo – We Rise’
Deserving of a spot on all lists, this has been the de facto party-starter and pregame anthem since it’s release in February.

’Alison Wonderland – Run’
The title track from AW’s debut album taps into the talents of fellow producers Djemba Djemba and AWE in creating this hooky, electronic masterpiece.

’Mura Masa – When U Need Me’
For an artist focused on quality over quantity, this is Mura Masa’s greatest creation to date.

’DIVERSA – Burning House’
Burning House is the most powerful release of Diversa’s, serving as a benchmark for the current wave of Drum & Bass producers to measure up against.

’Jamie xx – The Rest is Noise’
Jamie XX has been graced with near unanimous approval of his album In Colour; The Rest is Noise incorporates his most polished elements in a lengthy rainbow-colored instrumental.

’Tory Lanez – Acting Like (Prod. by Shlohmo)’
Another up and coming artist out of the blooming Toronto hip-hop scene, Tory Lanez, enlists the help of Shlohmo in putting together this dark, rhythmic jam.

’Golden Vessel – Borrowed Time (ft. Tiana Khasi)’
Melbourne locals Golden Vessel and Tiana Khasi teamed up to create one of the most enchanting and soulful pieces of the year, bar none.

’Thundercat – ‘Them Changes”
As the most groovy track of the summer season, this was also an introduction and revival of the nostalgia-pumping funk genre, which used to dominate the charts.

’Tame Impala – The Moment’
Parker shows off his adaptability on this one; in cutting the downtrodden lyrical content against a synth-driven bridge full of cheery guitar riffs and rhythmic hand claps, the single is inextricably linked with the bridge in fellow Australian band Pond’s recent release, “Medicine Hat”.

’Moi Je – Fais Rien (PETIT BISCUIT Remix)’
Although the title literally means ‘do nothing’, it is nearly impossible to hear this remix by Petit Biscuit and not be tempted to move by the upbeat tempo.

’Khai – Do You Go Up’
This bubbly, minimalist tune is carried on the strength of its hook and the catchy vocals of its creator.

’SevnthWonder – Maria I’m Drunk (Ft. Deverano) (Travis Scott Cover)’
As the most notable track by the best up and comer out of 2015, this remix displays a vision and creativity beyond SevnthWonder’s years.

’Finding Hope – Wonder’
With roots in the ambient genre, down-tempo is the most calming style of music. The deep, pleasant reverie continues through Wonder and does not end until the close of the song.

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[15 to End 2015] Ninja Jordan’s Best of the Year

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2015 marks a new era in music. I know that’s a grand claim, but hear me out. We haven’t seen this kind of experimentation and innovation in many, many years– so much so that I’m taking it upon myself to title 2015 the year of the Phoenix. *Insert smoke bomb quick change effect here.*

The concept of quality music has entirely re-birthed itself and with it the consumer base’s understanding of artistry has grown ten-fold. Artists like Grimes and Kendrick have experimented with elements that have been foreign to any of their previous works, Thundercat has stepped on the scene in a mainstream way that I would have never thought possible, and the Biebs has actually issued public apologies for his shenanigans and it is on that principle that I include him on this list. Just kidding, he just made a great track with the help of good ol’ Wes and Sonny.

But I feel weirdly proud of all of them. And with that, I bring you my list of the best tracks of 2015. Hope you enjoy.

’Skrillex and Diplo – Where Are Ü Now (with Justin Bieber)’

I know this song is everywhere all the time, but credit is due where it’s deserved, and thanks to this track made Bieber 10x more attractive. Probably ‘cause Diplo touched it. Mmmm Diplo.

’Shlomo – BURIED’
“Buried” provides a haunting introduction to one of his best works so far, Dark Red, that I to this day cannot stop blasting, and sometimes I put a sheet over my head and lurk around to it and that’s not strange.

’Viet Cong – “Continental Shelf”‘
Off their self-titled EP, “Continental Shelf” best encapsulates the emergence of a new age rock band that just seems to know what the freak (it might be 2015 but my lingo’s stuck in ’05) is up.

’Psychemagik – Mink & Shoes feat Navid Izadi’
A new kind of dubby club music—this track just makes me feel like straight struttin’ and was one of the hottest releases in electronic.

’Lane 8 – Diamonds ft. Solomon Grey’
This whole EP was just a great release for electronic music, and “Diamonds” is a beautiful example of the finesse Lane 8 put into this work.

’Major Lazer & Dj Snake – Lean On (Feat Mø)’
I had the privilege of being on the Mad Decent tour this summer and watching the things that this song does to a crowd every night is incredible– this track gets my best vibes vote, and Wes gets the chillest life vote.

’Rae Sremmurd – No Type (Prod. By Mike WiLL Made It & Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd)’
Alright, this song just speaks for itself. Next.

’Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian At Best’
My god I love the genre she pioneered with this release, and I love how incredibly distinct she’s made her character within every single thing she bestows upon us. Also possibly one of the most clever lyricists of 2015: “I think you’re a joke, but I don’t find you very fuuuuunnuuunnuunnuuunnny.”

’Jamie XX – Loud Places (ft Romy)’
Jamie xx has always been a favo(u)rite of mine, and we send him our deepest congratulation(u)ns for the work of art he’s given the music wo(u)rld with his EP In Colour, and especially the track “Loud Places.” Also sorry for making fun of u.

’Thundercat – ‘Them Changes”

Jesus, this song has the most talent I’ve seen since Jordan. The depth of this track is astounding and I thank Thundercat for his supporting role in Fly Lo and Kendrick’s works, but I’m so happy he’s made it big with his own stuff this time around.

’Deru – 1979’

This song is much heavier than the rest and the artist is not well known, but Deru’s “1979” along with the rest of the EP is a work of genius—especially when you read how he recorded it. Just awe-inspiring.

’Bored In The USA’
Another real talk post—Father John Misty you are inspirational and prophetic and thank you for delivering this ballad to us. The quality quotient of this song is so high that I’m convinced it will be listened to for decades.

’Grimes – Fresh Without Blood/Live In The Vivid Dream’
Grimes kicked major ass with Art Angels and “Flesh without Blood” instills in me the happiness, weightlessness, and honestly hope that no other song in 2015 has. She is 100% the role model that all women, and all people because eff gendered statements Jordan, need.

’Tame Impala – Let It Happen’
Woof, this is getting intense. “Let It Happen” wins the best alternative song of the year, hands down. I haven’t heard a breakdown like this since never.

’Kendrick Lamar – u’

And finally, closing out the best of 2015, comes the best track off of the best album of the year in my opinion, “u”—a song that explores consciousness, vice and transformation like no other musical work I’ve ever heard. Kendrick’s theatrical performance in “u” sends the listener to their deepest and realest state—one of the wonders of musical composition that I am probably most thankful for.

And with that… here are Jordan’s top 15 tracks of 2015 listed from 15 to 1. Hope you enjoy.

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[15 to End 2015] Ninja Jake’s Best of the Year

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As we end 2015 I still think about the first day of it. I’ll never forget waking up to the Kanye West x Paul McCartney x Rihanna collaboration “FourFiveSeconds” and wondering what it would lead to. I certainly didn’t think my Macbook would give out one bittersweet evening this year. It was no easy task giving up my perfect iTunes library & curated playlists of “downloaded” music for my, now groomed, Soundcloud & Spotify accounts. We all had to make adjustments, and most of it was fun. Slacker Rock won me over. See ya in 2016.

’Mick Jenkins – Your Love (Prod. by Kaytranada)’

Shut your eyes & pout to this cut with production courtesy of Kaytranada.

’RNDYSVGE
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The kindle to your campfire.

’Obenewa – He’
Find my favorite chorus of the year on this powerful cut.

’Mac Demarco – The Way You’d Love Her’
Undeniably cool, the soundcheck all-star had an amazing 2015.

’Tor Miller – Hold The Phone’

It would have been a crime to keep Tor off this list with his tremendous ability on the keys.

’Raf Riley – Hiding Place’
The self-proclaimed “overall decent chap” delivers my favorite beat of the year.

’Eltiano – Dou’
 Elton, please make more music.

’oriJanus – I Want You’
Taken from Soulection’s SADE compilation, oriJanus is masterful.

’Inspired & The Sleep – In My Labyrinth Mind’
This San Diego duo strikes gold with their psych-pop bender.

’Good Morning – Cab Deg’
Royal gentleman Good Morning take the crown for activating the most senses.

’Zak Abel – Alchemy’
“I can taste your poison on my lips.”

’Benny Sings Feat. GoldLink – You And Me’
This is the kind of collaboration that happens in your wildest dreams.

’HONNE – Loves The Jobs You Hate’
Easily listened to HONNE more than any other band this year.

’Jorge Alvarez – Rap Can’t Save You (prod. prime.cut)’
Future trendsetter with slick flow, looking forward to more tunes from Jorge.

’Kali Uchis – Ridin Round (Produced by DJ Dahi)’
Kali with the ultimate “put the top down” tune, revamped by DJ Dahi.

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[Electronic] Snakehips x Tory Lanez – Dímelo (Ganz Flip)

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Snakehips x Tory Lanez
Dimelo (GANZ Flip)

Merry Christmas to all the Ninjas out there! Today we come bearing gifts.

Early yesterday morning longtime favorite and friend of TMN, Jordy Saämena, released his latest work of art. In our exclusive interview with Ganz and his management team this past summer, Saämena referenced a desire to move away from his signature flip-style. In addition to producing more original works, he also noted his intentions to grow the newly minted collective The Hard Headed with up and coming producers out of The Netherlands.

In taking a momentary step away from those longterm plans, Ganz unexpectedly dropped another flip to end 2015 with an electronica-fueled bang. By sampling one of the most popular hip-hop tracks of the year, he turns Tory Lanez’ “Dímelo” into a club-raving anthem.

The Dímelo flip is a blend of two of the more notable breakout artists this year, combining the smooth rhyming vocals of rising star Tory Lanez with the dynamic technical aspects of previous Ganz works. Take the advice of the TMN staff and add this one to the snowboarding playlist. Happy holidays!

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[NEW] The Weeknd – Low Life (Feat. Future) + Pass Dat (Remix) (Feat. Jeremih)

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’Low Life – Future + The Weeknd’
’Pass Dat (The Weeknd Remix) – Jeremih + The Weeknd’

Capping off the biggest year of his career, The Weeknd decided to play the part of Santa Clause tonight and drop off a few Christmas gifts for all his loyal fans in the form of two new singles. The first track, “Low Life”, finds the Canadian crooner teaming up with Future, who’s had a pretty memorable year all his own, while the second is a remix of Jeremih‘s “Pass Dat” off his most recent project, Late Nights: The Album. Both tunes fit right in Abel’s wheelhouse, as his vocals sound right at home on the hazy, trapped out instrumental provided by  Metro Boomin on “Low Life”. On the other hand, we couldn’t have asked for a more natural fit for a remix of Jeremih’s laidback stoner anthem. Stream both tracks above and stay tuned for more from The Weeknd as we head into 2016.

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[TMN Premiere] Tyler Hawkins – From That Land (EP)

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’Tyler Hawkins – The People’

You might recognize the name Ninety if you’ve been following us over the last couple years. The Bay Area-based duo, which consists of Tyler Hawkins and Mikey C the Man (MCM), first caught our attention in 2014 with their unique brand of sunny, west-coast hip-hop. Today, we’re excited to bring you the premiere of emcee Tyler Hawkins’ debut EP, which both establishes and serves as the perfect introduction to his sound.

With all production handled in-house by MCM (of Ninety) and oft-collaborator Yung H33MFrom That Land plays out like a dedication to the past, present and future of the Bay’s hip-hop scene. Each of the project’s seven tracks possesses its own vibe without losing site of that broader mindset. Laid-back, classic-styled cuts like the “The Come Up and “101 (Cruisin’)” find contrast on harder-hitting tracks like “Options,” which has a subwoofer-rattling bassline. Aside from a diverse set of beats, Hawkins’ various emotive flows, which hit their most ambitious on “Dreamin,” are what truly tie the project together and further contribute to that overall Bay sound.

The EP’s finale, “The People,” with its addicting Last Lynx sample sees him taking that inspiration a step further carving out a sound all his own. Stream the rest of project below–you can also grab a free download on Bandcamp.

’Tyler Hawkins – From That Land (Intro)’
’Tyler Hawkins – The Come Up’
’Tyler Hawkins – Options’
’Tyler Hawkins – Yakkums’
’Tyler Hawkins – Porn Beat (Interlude)’
’Tyler Hawkins – 101 (Cruisin’)’
’Tyler Hawkins – This Is For…’
’Tyler Hawkins – Dreamin”
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