As 2019 comes to a close, we look back at some of our favorite releases from the past year. 2019 saw new albums from Bensley, Dossa & Locuzzed, Fox Stevenson, Droptek, Chase & Status, and more, the emergence of Millbrook, the separation of Fred V & Grafix and the birth of their solo projects, plus some seriously fresh material coming from names like Alix Perez, Vorso and Camo & Krooked. A genre that is always pushing it’s own boundaries, drum & bass includes such a vast array of different sounds and moods, ranging from elegant liquid to adrenaline-fueled jump-up, and everything in between. While incredibly difficult to narrow down 365 days of releases into a mere 15 selections, we’ve picked the tracks that have stood out to us the most for our 15 Best Drum & Bass Tracks of 2019.
See past charts here.
1. Millbrook – "Rituals" (Viper)
One of our favorite names to emerge in 2019, Millbrook hasn’t ceased to impress since his Viper debut in February. However, of all his stand-out productions, the one that stood out the most is “Rituals.” A cinematic intro sets the scene, highlighting the young producer’s sound design before dropping into one of the most memorable drops of the year, if not decade. Funky, raw, heavy, and totally original, “Rituals” delivers something entirely new to the genre, combining groove with complex depth for one incredible result. More Millbrook in 2020, please!
2. Alix Perez – "Trinity" (1985 Music)
2019 has been a huge year for 1985 head honcho Alix Perez, and our favorite release from the multi-faceted producer is the eerie weapon “Trinity.” Visceral, buoyant and oh so catchy, this is minimal drum & bass at its finest. Simple yet flawlessly executed, the bass seems to almost breathe, giving the track a certain organic feeling that adds to the ominous groove throughout.
3. Fox Stevenson – “Dreamland” (AntiFragile)
Taken from Fox’s debut album released this year, Killjoy, “Dreamland” is a vibrant call-to-adventure that we’ve been rinsing on repeat since it’s release. Buoyant, upbeat, and empowering, the track is equal parts inspiring and dreamy, transporting us to the colorful world of Fox Stevenson as we sing along from the top of our lungs.
4. Vorso – "Voltage" (Inspected)
Vorso has always stood out for his impressive sound design and wonky arrangements, and 2019 saw the release of some his best work to date. While not easy to pick just one favorite, “Voltage” taken from his Metamaterial EP on Inspected definitely stands out. An exploration into halftime drum & bass, Vorso’s creativity runs rampant on this one with constantly evolving arrangements, keeping things chaotically rhythmic from start to finish for one of the years’ most memorable tunes.
5. Camo & Krooked – "Atlas" (UKF)
One of the most stunning pieces of drum & bass music to ever be released, Camo & Krooked set the bar impossibly high with their contribution to UKF’s 10 Year Anniversary celebrations by way of “Atlas.” Intricate, thoughtful, mesmerizing, and just all around stupefying, the track tugs at heartstrings and raises goosebumps in the most inconceivable ways. Truly a magical release, “Atlas” is the perfect example of the astonishing year the Austrian duo have had in 2019.
6. Bensley – "Hard Times" (RAM)
Releasing his sophomore album in 2019, Bensley certainly turned more than a few heads this year. While Muskoka is full of intriguing numbers and sounds, our favorite is the illustrious and charming “Hard Times.” Featuring the opulent voice of Emer Dineen, this elegant track is Bensley’s tribute to jazz and a sure standout.
7. Simula x Bru–C – "You & I" (Believe)
Definitely one of the catchiest songs of 2019, Simula teams up with Bru-C for this sing-a-long anthem. Despite having heard it played out at least once every weekend, we’re still not sick of this one and find it gets stuck in our head more often than we’d like to admit. The ultimate guilty pleasure tune, this simple bop is a lot of fun, brought to life by Bru-C’s jubilant vocals.
8. 1991 – "Kings & Queens" (1991 Music)
1991 has had another wicked year with a slew of diverse releases, but if we had to choose a favorite, it would be the murky bop “Kings & Queens.” The track has a visceral groove that has been tearing up dancefloors for months, capturing that primeval energy from deep in the underground in which the genre was born.
9. Dossa & Locuzzed – "Sandbox" (Viper)
Released as part of the Austrian duo’s debut album Resonate earlier this year, “Sandbox” is the perfect amalgamation of their signature brand of funky DnB that has brought Dossa & Locuzzed to the much deserved spotlight in 2019. Soulful and groovy, the track exudes fun energy and is a sure highlight of the year.
10. Koven – "Love Wins Again" (Liquicity)
Koven have had a huge year in 2019, and 2020 is expected to be even bigger – the duo have been unstoppable as of late and show no signs of slowing down. “Love Wins Again” is the perfect example of the feel-good energy that radiates from Katie’s one-of-a-kind vocals and Max’s stellar production, spreading a positive message through such vibrant sounds.
11. Fred V – "Burning Me" (Hospital)
2019 saw the split of one of drum & bass’ most well-loved duos, Fred V & Grafix, who have since both seen great success under their own solo projects. Fred V’s first solo release since the split, “Burning Me” is a sombre, pensive tune that has been pulling at our heartstrings since it’s release in January.
12. Monrroe – "You Got Me" ft. Alexa Harley (Shogun)
Released right at the start of the year, the fact that we still aren’t sick of this radiant number is as sure a sign as any it’s one of the best of 2019. Glimmering melodies, pair beautifully with the luscious voice of Alexa Harley for a stunning and equally memorable result. Pure liquid gold in every sense of the word, Monrroe delivers a poignant and charming tune that we just can’t get enough of.
13. Droptek – "Illusions" feat. Holly Drummond (Korsakov)
Lifted from one of our favorite albums from the year, “Illusions” arrived on Droptek’s Symbiosis LP, packed full of explorations into the broader realm of bass music. One of our favorites, featuring Scottish songstress Holly Drummond, this track is elegant on the surface, yet with an ominous power behind it that still sends shivers down our spines. Broody and sonorous, Droptek flexes his insane sound design through a charming, opulent atmosphere.
14. Chase & Status – "Heater" ft. General Levy (Virgin EMI)
Of course, one of the most celebrated releases of 2019 was Chase & Status’ comeback album RTRN II JUNGLE. Taken from the album and featuring the legendary General Levy on vocals, “Heater” is a fun, catchy number that is guaranteed to have you dancing along with infectious energy.
15. Blaine Stranger – "Losing Myself" (Viper)
One for the clubs, this incredibly catchy tune is courtesy of Blaine Stranger, who returned to Viper in a big way in 2019. Euphoric, enchanting, and exhilarating, “Losing Myself” delivers four minutes of complete bliss, allowing us to lose ourselves on the dancefloor each and every time.
Listen to the full playlist below and be sure to check out more of our monthly favorites.