Welcome to the 25 best techno tracks of 2015 chart! How is everyone feeling? Are you ready to get the New Year started? A good way to know where you want to go is to take a look back and see where you've been. I hope to do just that with this selection of songs that grabbed my attention the most from this past year. The songs weren’t chosen through Beatport stats or plays on Soundcloud, though I did take those things into consideration as you will see. I simply wanted to choose the songs that I feel represented the sounds of 2015. After charting music for a year I have come to realize even more that tastes vary from person to person. Those tastes are affected by where you live, who your friends are, or even how you are feeling in that particular moment in time. When it comes to charting it's hard to say when one track would belong in a #1 spot or #2, with that in mind I decided to order them loosely on their release date. It feels more like a journey to me that way. So let’s begin the journey into the 25 best techno tracks of 2015!
"Ethics (Len Faki Edit)"
2000 and One
To start things off in the spirit of the coming new year, we have the edit of 2000 and One’s 1998 track, Ethics, by the legendary Len Faki. Faki kept the spirit of the original track but made a few modifications and polished it with contemporary electronic music production technology. Len Faki has been a resident at the legendary Berghain nightclub since its opening just over 10 years ago in addition to keeping a busy touring schedule on both sides of the Atlantic and running his own label, Figure. There is no doubt we will be hearing more quality tracks from him in 2016.
The Glasgow native Harvey McKay represented his city with his smashing Glasgow Safari EP on Drumcode earlier this year. My favorite selection, “The Cure” seamlessly blends the silky seductive vocals on top of the hard-hitting Techno to create a dance floor fire starter. The breakdown is a slow motion snake of energy that slithers through the room, coils itself around the crowd and then strikes with full force on the drop.
"Feel Good Now"
Knight designed this track to be played in the late hours as a hypnotic device to keep you on the dance floor even when your body is telling you to quit. I think he accomplished his goal. The sirens, aggressive synth stabs, and hypnotic vocals will send a wave through your body, as you breathe in the energy you need to see the sunrise.
This track is a departure allright. It is your departure out of the atmosphere. The initial build of the track is the launch, your ship slowly picking up energy as you pull further and further away from the surface of the planet. The pressure keeps building and building until finally you reach top speed, still hurdling away from the grips of gravity. Suddenly you realize you have broken through into orbit, slowly feeling the sensation that you are weightless. But just as soon as it began, you are hurled back down to earth, blasting through the ozone layer and holding on for life. The contents of you mind may have shifted during takeoff and landing.
Okain’s single “Oblivion” off his four track Excuse My French ep is a deep and dark tech house tune. Okain uses a simple organ stab and squeaky bass in a nice call and response pattern. The breakdown is full of echoing goodness to get you floating over the dancefloor before the drop slams you back down.
“Genedefekt (Pleasurekraft and Carlo Lio Remix)”
Pleasurekraft and Carlo Lio did a great job remixing this classic Green Velvet track. They gave it a tech house feel with the shuffley percussion, vocal sample stabs, and wobbly grinding effects. I had the opportunity to interview Carlo Lio earlier this year and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down in the coming year. Perhaps we will be lucky enough to hear another collaboration between these guys in the future (they will all be sharing a stage at the BPM festival in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico on the 8), but until then get down to this funky cut.
Tassilo Ippenberger and Thomas Benedix, the duo known as Pan-Pot, made waves this year when they released their highly anticipated The Other LP this September on their own Second State Audio label. This single was dropped early through The Other One ep, a tasty amuse-bouche from the full-length album. Pan-Pot arranged this track for maximal impact, building the energy up with rolling percussion and blasts of white noise until finally reaching cruising altitude with the spacey dubbed out squelching leads.
[Last Night on Earth]
This track is a melding of steel and silk. I discovered Dubspeeka in January 2015 when he released his Primary EP on Drumcode, and have eagerly kept my ear out for releases from him ever since. The Angel EP, on Last Night on Earth came with two more original tracks and a remix by Alan Fitzpatrick. K22 is eerie and ethereal but it is also commanding and powerful. It is a shining example of his melancholic and brooding vibe.
“Catacoustics (Gary Beck Remix)”
Another Glasgow native, Gary Beck, turned up the heat on this remix from Slam’s Reverse Interpretations album. It shot up the Beatport chart within days and it is no surprise with the amount of energy that Beck lets loose on this track. With under 24 bars of kick-less breakdowns it is perfect for the peak-houriest, most insane, out of control time of the night.
“Volkwein (Kollektiv Turmstrasse Remix)”
Super Flu & Dortmunder Philharmoniker
Right now when you think Kollektiv Turmstrasse you probably are thinking of their killer deep house track, Sorry I Am Late, which is still sitting on the Beatport top 100 (overall) chart since its release this May. However, I selected this is a deep and dark blooming remix of Super Flu and Dortmunder Philharmoniker’s track. It has a galloping momentum that steadily drives the energy underneath the dubbed out analog samples and airy pads.
This track is pure techno power. Adam Beyer has had another terrifically successful year with both his personal releases and running two of the hottest labels in tech, Drumcode and Truesoul. This year saw the release of his Stone Flower EP through the dark and heavy Drumcode. It is a beastly, no nonsense techno track with expertly arranged drops and effects. The entire EP is high quality techno that stays true to the iconic Drumcode sound.
“Bring The Lights Down”
It has been a huge year for the Slovenian born DJ and Producer, UMEK. Magnetic’s Elyse Young had an in depth interview with him back in May before he played EDC New York this year, and his 1605 label is still synonymous with high quality tech house. This track was inspired by the angry moment of snapping to reality when the club turns on the lights to kick everyone out into the morning sun, UMEK defiantly orders that the lights be brought back down for even one more hour of bliss. UMEK has kept the party going all year long.
“Booty Angel feat. Kid Enigma (Johnjon Remix)”
Till von Sein
These days genres of electronic music are constantly blending together to form newer and more interesting pieces of music. This deep minimal tech house track is a perfect example. Johnjon has taken the original deep house track and turned down the lights on it to make it darker and more tech-y. It’s another great track to start the night off.
[Last Night On Earth]
It wouldn’t be a best of the year chart without a release from Sasha. His career has spanned over 25 years and he is still going strong. His label, Last Night On Earth, had 15 releases this year one of which was “Ether.” The essence of ether is captured in this track with Sasha’s masterful arrangement of the airy effects and slowly evolving melodies. I love the vocal sample too, it is aggressive with its approach yet still soft when it hits.
Released through their own 17 Steps label, this track is a banging, peak hour, tech house monster from Dusky. It is a huge, pounding, pulsing beat with screeching synths, airy effects, and a great vocal sample that will have the crowd in a tizzy. With their versatility as producers I am certain that Dusky will keep climbing to the forefront of electronic music and have a fantastic 2016.
[Life And Death]
The Hotflush boss took his talents to Life And Death to drop this blooming techno beast. The reverb and dubbed out effects definitely fit the name of the track. I can picture being inside a glacial cave with any and all sounds echoing throughout the cavern. Unlike a glacier however, this track will heat up any dancefloor that it is unleashed upon.
“I Wanna Go Bang”
I heard this on Alan Fitzpatrick’s guest mix on Drumcode Radio. It was the opening track and it grabbed my attention immediately. This is a no nonsense techno banger. I am a big fan of the vocal sample and I like Bjarki’s decision to go half-time with the clap in the beginning. It gives the track a clear energy build, which will have your head spinning by the end.
Technasia and Green Velvet
Technasia and Green Velvet took the tech house scene by storm with this track. Whoever says electronic music has no soul should listen to this track immediately. The guitar samples were actually played by Technasia, the vocals were written and recorded by Green Velvet. When you combine those two elements with the rock solid, groovy tech house foundation, what you get is this seamless combination of blues and tech house that is rightfully getting a lot of attention. It rocketed to the #1 spot on the Beatport top 100, is currently at #37 overall, and still #8 on the tech house chart.
It has been a prolific year for the U.K.’s Bontan with releases and re-releases of his original tracks and remixes through labels like Suara, Toolroom, Ministry of Sound, Circus, and MadTech. “The Memory” is a dancefloor bomb. The bass line gives this track an infectious groove and the synth stabs are arranged perfectly in a catchy and hypnotic call and response.
“Le Ly Land”
Luigi Madonna made his return to Drumcode with a massive EP, Magic Land. The four tracker was packed with dark, intense energy. “Le Ly Land” begins with a gentle filtered tease of the melody and then comes at you with the energy of a category 5 hurricane. It remained in the Beatport top 10 for about a month and had support from DJs like Carl Cox, UMEK, Paul Oakenfold, Adam Beyer (obviously), Sander van Doorn, and Markus Schulz.
“My Love Aside”
After hearing “My Love Aside” it is clear why Lange has grabbed the attention of the Mau5. In my opinion, this track could have been on Deadmau5’s Random Album Title (That’s a good thing). Though it starts out gentle, with the airy leads and delicate melody, the energy gradually builds stronger and stronger as the track progresses. It has an innocence but also an edge to it because of the rough vocal sample. He is by no means new to the industry, with releases on Armada and Anjunadeep dating back to 2009, and his signing to Mau5trap and release of the stellar Epherma LP this year are monumental for him, it is clearly only the beginning of what is sure to be a long career for Matt Lange.
“Underverse feat Mandel Turner (Adam Port Remix)”
“Underverse” was one of the standout tracks from Terranova’s LP, Restless. The original is a low key grooving deep house track with fantastic vocals from Mandel Turner. Adam Port put his spin on it for Restless Remixe 1, the first remix package to be released for the album. Port has boosted the energy and given the track more of a tech house vibe with more warped vocals, zip zappy synth stabs, and heavier grooving bass. These vocals are so dope I am sure they will be sampled and popping up all over the place in the coming year.
“Call It Love (Scuba’s Angel Dust Remix)”
[Double Six Records]
This is the second remix to be released from George FitzGerald’s latest LP Fading Love. Scuba’s interpretation of “Call It Love” is bigger and has serrated edges, adding more dub and bit more kick for the club while maintaining the intricacies and beauty of the original.
Hot Since 82
Hot Since 82’s 2015 was on fire. He won the DJ Award for tech house (well, tied with Luciano. Which is certainly good company) and had releases on Saved, Toolroom, Noir, and of course his own Knee Deep In Sound. This year he also brought his talents for the first time to Adam Beyer’s Truesoul imprint. Both tracks, “Veins” and “Damage,” hit the Beatport top 100. “Veins” is a huge track that will test the structural integrity of any room it’s played in. It is truly one of my favorite tracks of the year.
Tale of Us
Tale of Us are the masters of creating epic mental journeys induced through aural stimulation. These guys are incredible arrangers and experts in knowing exactly how and when to build and release tension. Words can’t begin to explain the intricacies of this track. So just put your headphones on (stereo listening is a must) and close your eyes…
There it is people! The 25 best techno tracks of 2015, 2015 in 25. Below is the full playlist for your enjoyment. I hope you have all had a great year and I look forward to bringing you more music in 2016!