You blinked and now it’s gone. The new year is round the corner but before we start getting too caught up in the future, it’s always nice to do a little reflection. As part of our reflection we’ve put together a little summary of our favourite tracks of 2017, supplemented by a playlist for your listening pleasure.
Coming in at 20 tracks, this wasn’t easy picking! So much great music comes out year on year that it’s nigh on impossible to remember it all never mind whittle it down to roughly ten tracks. Nevertheless, we’ve had a go anyway and we hope you do enjoy it.
A massive thank you to everyone who has supported us this year. To those who helped us set up the sight, sent in tunes & guest mixes, read our words, listened to our selections, came down to our Eglantine party and continue to show us love. We love you all.
This year I’ve had the pleasure of listening to some wonderful music. An easier list would be my favourite releases of this year, but that wouldn’t make much of a playlist by comparison. It was hard pinning down my favourite tracks from albums of such consistent quality as Loyle Carner’s and Melanie De Biasio’s.
I had a bit of an on/off relationship with dance music this year, on occasion going weeks at a time without listening to any. I filled this gap by catching up on some hip hop I had missed throughout the year and by discovering some new blues and jazz. An area which I wasn’t very well versed in previously.
Melanie De Biasio’s Afro Blue and Zara McFarlane’s Fussin and Fightin are two of the tracks from this kick that have stuck with me most. Somewhat different in mood and tone, Afro Blue is a slow and soft track well suited to a late night. Fussin and Fightin is chock full of soul but is much more energetic and rather busier (to great effect) than the former in the rhythm section.
Jorja Smith’s Carry Me Home is one of the most beautiful tracks I’ve listened to this year, perfectly capturing the feeling to yearn for companionship. It’s fortunate that the version on YouTube includes the interlude, as it and the track itself are heard best in that seamless succession.
The same class of honest emotion exuded in Smith’s track can be heard on Loyle Carner’s Sun of Jean. Scrumptious lyricism throughout, as is to be expected ‘We just supported Nas, whose world is this bruv, of course it’s ours.’ The track ends with a poem read by Carner’s mother, it speaks for itself.
On the electronic front, some massively diverse music has come to the fore this year. Rough electro sears across Helena Hauff’s Do You Really Think Like that. Although I haven’t listened to dance music much this year I keep coming back to this track. A lot softer is Morning Shift from Project Pablo, a great track for a daytime stroll.
However, I think my favourite dance track of the year is _Asstnt & Roll Dann’s Chronicle of a Love Foretold. I only just came across this tune a few weeks ago but it’s absolutely fantastic. It has some absolutely beautiful melodies which are supplemented by a hefty breakbeat rhythm, would love to hear it played out somewhere. This one’s from Involve Records’ 5 Years In Love with Involve Compilation, one of the best techno records I’ve heard in a while.
Elsewhere on the electronic front I’ve included Four Tet’s Scientists, The Cyclist’s Antiexist and Lanark Artefax’s Touch Absence. In moments of downtime when feeling a little bit spent it’s always good to listen to some slightly more downtempo and at times melancholy stuff to soothe the soul. These three tracks come from three great albums which have more of the same. Four Tet has not faltered even a little over the years, whilst The Cyclist and Lanark Artefax are definitely ones to watch.
Keeping in with my listening habits this year, my choices are kept 100% electronic with a decent split between club music and more ambient tunes. I must admit that a lot of the stuff I’ve had in my playlists hasn’t been released this year, but I did boil down my choices to 9 solid tracks to complement Aiden’s 11. COSH’s “30 years under the waves” EP only came out last month, but I’ve had it on repeat ever since and Waven has definitely been my pick of the lot from that release. In moments of sadness or despair, I’ve found this to provide me with some relief. The same can be said for Drift from Bicep’s self-titled debut album. It was just impossible for me to not include something from their debut full-length, and Drift was my top pick. It showed a deeper side to the Belfast duo that we’ve not really had the chance to hear before but it’s something I’d definitely love to see them explore in more depth in the future. Keeping on the ambient side of things is the Daniel Avery and Alessandro Cortini collaboration Water. One that just never gets old, it was interesting to see how this collab worked out so well and produced one of my favourite electronic moments of the year, a tune to easily and readily get lost in. Perhaps my favourite ambient selection of the year though came from 36 with his tune Hold On. I must admit, this tune originally came out in 2015 but it received a remastered re-release this year and was just too hard to not include on this list. A mind-altering piece of music that is purely life-affirming, I don’t think I’ve heard anything so lush in a long, long time.
Moving onto slightly more clubby cuts, Orissa from Wayward was an outstanding piece of dance music that sits nicely between pop and house while maintaining a definite originality. My favourite part of this tune has to be the melody line, evoking a lovely bit of melancholy. I picked up a fair few breaks tracks this year, and V3R5U5 by Phon.o was a tune I had on repeat when practicing my DJing. A real deep roller for peak time, this is an unadulterated bomb. Kölsch dropped a slightly underwhelming album this year for me, but LP closer Goodbye is one of my favourite productions from him. Emotional, unique but also club ready. I can just imagine with pure bliss this track being dropped as the sun is coming up on a beach somewhere. Steffi was another artist with a new album out this year that I really enjoyed. Going for the record closer again, Cease to Exist is an electro-tinged weapon ready for taking things up a notch. Finishing things off on my list is Voiski’s techno-trance weapon Tin, There. A rework of an old underworld tune, a doofy, melodic and intense bitta techno which quickly rose to one of my favourites from 2017.