Here we are almost finished with another fantastic year of the beloved genre we call house. It was a year of evolution that saw house music take a few steps forward and nearly forget about the garage sound of yesteryear. A year that saw many even abandon ship and move onto techno. Although, plenty stuck around and romanced the flagship genre by seducing it with pulsating arpeggios and ethereal melodies. A couple of signature qualities that have become synonymous with the contemporary sound.
Check out The Best House Tracks of 2015
However, not everyone has predictably adapted the typical formula. Especially the artists involved with the immaculate creation of these 25 radiant house tracks that I believe represent the very best of 2016.
1. "HIGHER LEVEL (BICEP REMIX)" - ISAAC TICHAUER [LOFT RECORDS]
Back in February, former French Express resident Isaac Tichauer issued a two tracker that included a modestly deep tune he called "Higher Level." Then just two months later the track was given a remix package that featured a grandiose makeover from the blogging production duo who are very well known to most as Bicep!
The remix gave the original a whole new identity by only leaving in the original vocal sample and adding a puttering breakbeat, anchored by a pulsating 4/4 kickdrum, and complemented by a reverberated syncopation of melodic notes.
The track was more than a hit this year. It was an anthem and most, if not all would agree that Bicep's fabulous rework is going to stick around for a very long time.
2. "MOTHER & CHILD" - PAUL WOOLFORD [HOTFLUSH RECORDINGS]
It's been 10 years since Paul Woolford unleashed the mind bending underground hit "Erotic Discourse" and he has matured quite a bit over this period of time. Especially this particular year with his trio of releases that fell into a particular series that embraced beautiful and soft melodies complemented by luscious string sections.
The first in this particular series was the gorgeously epic "Mother & Child" which featured his identifiable luscious string section along with the most perfect arpeggio of melodies I have ever heard in house music.
3. "GOLIATH" - SEBASTIEN LEGER [EINMUSIKA RECORDINGS]
Sebastien Leger's "Goliath" may fall on the more progressive side of house music but it's wondrous, melodic beauty needs be recognized as one of the most flawless pieces of electronic music put out this year.
4. "SOUL VALLEY" - ADRIATIQUE [CITYFOX]
Swiss production/DJ duo Adriatique had their biggest year to date in 2015 but 2016 may have topped the prior thanks to this particular landmark composition "Soul Valley" which dives further into the abyss of dance music creativity. The tune itself is complex, multi layered, and even slightly cinematic.
5. "GREY" - KOLSCH [KOMPAKT]
Danish wonder producer Kolsch's late in the year mega hit "Grey" was rinsed by everyone from Pete Tong to Steve Angello to Zane Lowe. It's an undeniable crossover hit that maintains it's credibility by showcasing it's blaring horn section and breaking it down with a soft and subtle string/piano section.
6. "ATLAS (ADRIATIQUE REMIX)" - MARC ROMBOY & STEPHAN BODZIN [SYSTEMATIC RECORDINGS]
Ten years ago, Stephan Bodzin and Marc Romboy teamed up for their cult tune "Atlas" which saw a re release this year with a trio of remixes including this absolutely brilliant re rub from Adriatique who deservedly find their second placement on this year's best of chart.
7. "GENESIS" - CRISTOPH [TRUESOUL]
British tech house producer, Cristoph made his long overdue debut on Truesoul this past March with this absolutely ridiculously huge tune "Genesis" which features the sickest drop in the tech house genre this year!
8. "COMPLEX (SERGE DEVANT REMIX)" - JONAS RATHSMAN FEAT. JOSEF SALVAT [CROSSTOWN REBELS]
Jonas Rathsman's ground breaker this year was a high brow collaboration between him and vocalist Josef Salvat. The result was called "Complex" and it was great in it's own right but Serge Devant took the glorious tune into prime dance floor territory by injecting a nice bottom end along with some expertly syncopated percussion and the rest was history. Both Jonas Rathsman's original and of course Serge's dance floor shaker solidified "Complex" as one of 2016's top dance music tunes overall.
9. "BALKIA (D-NOX & BECKERS REMIX)" - D-FORMATION [SUARA]
A Madrid dance music pioneer by the name of D-Formation made his debut on Suara with this one back in May and he gladly commissioned a remix from the highly sought after production duo, D-Nox & Beckers.
Little did he know that this rework would go down as one of 2016's most prolific tunes on the floor.
10. "PARADIGM SHIFT" - KRANKBROTHER [KRANKBROTHER]
Nearly two years ago, the UK sibling duo known as Krankbrother set up their own self-titled record label and since then have gone on to receive critical underground acclaim with both their music and an event series as well. But with their eighth ever release on their imprint, the brothers unleashed this emotive, floor stomper they call "Paradigm Shift" which may be one of 2016's most underrated tunes.
11. "DIVVINA" - CRISTOPH [VIVA MUSIC]
The blazing tech house anthem was "Divvina" and it featured a shuffling uptempo tech house rhythm led by a highly repetitive yet infectious syncopated synth.
12. "BLUSH" - MIDLAND [GRADED RECORDS]
Aside from Midland's highly in demand disco jam "Final Credits," his monumental early year tune "Blush" stands up as not only his strongest tune of the year but it's also one of 2016's most prolific four on the floor masterpieces.
13. "CASINO" - TREVINO [AUS MUSIC]
The change proved to be a musically rewarding one thanks to a variety of well regarded releases over the years spread across multiple legitimate dance music labels. But one in particular stands out among the rest. A highly unique piano heavy, multi layered hands in the air anthem on Aus Music called "Casino."
14. "LAST EXIT" - ANDRE LODEMANN [FREERANGE RECORDS]
One of my favorite house music labels, Freerange celebrated twenty years in the game this past July with a twenty track compilation featuring tracks from some of their most celebrated artists including the brilliant Andre Lodemann and his extremely clever production, "Last Exit."
15. "NOCTURNE BELLE (TIM GREEN REMIX)" - MARK SLEE [MANJUMASI]
Sonically speaking, UK producer Tim Green has come quite a long way since 2010 when Pete Tong was rinsing his remix of Cassius' modern disco classic "1999". And the evolution of his production skills couldn't be more evident than on his magically fantastic rework of Mark Slee's "Nocturne Belle" which was the very first release ever on Manjumasi. A fresh new record label from the San Francisco minds of Atish and Mark Slee.
16. "LUCERO DEL ALBA" - HENRY SAIZ [SUARA]
Spanish producer Henry Saiz has been known worldwide for some fairly prolific dance music but his Night Cult EP on Suara from back in February featured this absolutely spectacular dance magic he calls "Lucero Del Alba."
17. "FANTASMA" - TENSNAKE [TRUE ROMANCE RECORDS]
I don't always go for the b-sides but when I do, the tune is usually rather outstanding and Tensnake's b-side to his single "Desire" is no exception. The track curiously called "Fantasma" is a steady ride through a little bit of disco, a little bit of acid, and a whole lot of euphoria.
18. "TRIP" - CAMELPHAT [TOOLROOM]
The mysterious UK production duo known as Camelphat scored a big Summer hit last year with "Constellations" and they completely surpassed the tune with this year's early in the year belter they call "Trip."
19. "LOVELEE DAE (BICEP REMIX)" - BLAZE [FEEL MY BICEP]
The gorgeous house classic "Lovelee Dae" by Blaze received a very tasteful, anthemic update this year from throwback masters Bicep and the result is pure nostalgic bliss.
20. "WONKY BASSLINE DISCO BANGER" - RED RACK'EM [CLASSIC MUSIC COMPANY]
Red Rack'Em's "Wonky Bassline Disco Banger" is indeed just that and much more as it became one of the most sought after vinyl releases of the year which nearly demanded a digital release much later in the year this past September.
21. "DIVISIONS (ROMAN FLUGEL REMIX)" - DJ TENNIS [LIFE AND DEATH]
22. "9 YEARS (DJ KOZE REMIX)" - ROMAN FLUGEL [PAMPA RECORDS]
DJ Koze waited seven long years to finally put out Pampa's first ever compilation and it features the very best quality of every artist on the album including Koze's own tune on the album. A slow burning remix of Roman Flugel's "9 Years" which is filled with magical melodies and a marching snare crash to keep you dancing through this ethereal beauty.
23. "FIREWORKS (JORIS VOORN REMIX)" - BOY BIANCHI [GREEN]
Dutch house music hero, Joris Voorn racked up another stellar year of top shelf dance music and he clearly saved the best for last with this goose bump inducing re rub of Boy Bianchi's "Fireworks" which was just let out of the gates only a couple of weeks ago.
24. "TROUBLE" - OFFAIAH [POSITIVA]
Call it commercial or pop if you want to but the fresh new artist known as Offaiah scored one of the best and biggest house tunes of the year with "Trouble." It was infectious, catchy, and soulful all while being one of the biggest floor filling tunes of the year.
25. "A PLACE IN MY HEART" - CROOKERS FEATURING KYM MAZELLE [DEFECTED]
About a decade ago, the Italian producer Crookers hit the scene with his own brand of campy electro that hipsters and ravers alike went gaga for. However, very recently the Italian electro don has jumped that ship and has quickly found comfort in producing Chicago influenced house that seems to never go out of style. Case in point, the mid year garage beauty "A Place In My Heart" featuring vocals from the legendary house music diva, Kym Mazelle!
Stream the entire chart as a playlist!