The continued growth of electronic dance music (EDM) and the explosion of websites that encourage users to upload their own work and self-distribute (such as Beatport, Mixcloud, and Soundcloud) has made music more accessible than ever in 2012. This year was filled with a litany of great songs, and while EDM is a broad category, here are my top picks for EDM Singles of the Year.
Gareth Emery – “Concrete Angel”
Gareth Emery artfully crafts the beat of “Concrete Angels,” which is made even better by the haunting vocals of Christina Novelli. The song’s metaphor of breaking down barriers is a poignant one and has led to numerous DJs remixing this track, including John O’Callaghan and Aly & Fila. This is definitely one of the bigger trance anthems of the year and was included in hundreds of sets around the globe, and as I was writing this article, I heard the announcement that the song won “Tune of the Year” on Armin Van Buuren’s “A State of Trance”, which was voted on by nearly 20,000 people.
Above and Beyond – “On My Way To Heaven” (Club Mix)
Above and Beyond has been making music for over a decade, and their most recent project, “Group Therapy,” has led to an incredible amount of heartfelt songs — the type of songs that cause audiences to raise their hands, close their eyes, and enter a state of euphoria, feeling the music and vocals deep in their hearts. While this year has yielded many new releases/remixes from A&B, when I heard them drop this mix live for the first time at their May show, the deafening cheers from the crowd put everyone on the same page, with everyone in attendance feeling the depth and emotion that can be found through dance.
Seven Lions – “The Truth”
Seven Lions (aka Jeff Montalvo) brings a unique hybrid of styles to the table. With dubstep sounds, eerie vocals, trance breaks, and a distinctly “main room house” style, “The Truth” blends many unique elements into one beautiful composition.
James Zabiela – “The Healing”
James Zabiela has been a longtime favorite of mine, and the British producer seamlessly brings together elements of tech house and break beats when crafting this masterful single. The soothing tones with artful progressions touch me in a way that truly brings a feeling of peace and healing within.
Disclosure – “Latch”
This list of top singles would not be complete without a good old fashioned song about infatuation. Disclosure is another fantastic UK DJ/producer brother duo that brings fantastic groove beats with an added funky twist. And for you vinyl fans, this record is now available on 12″ vinyl.
Hardwell – “Spaceman”
This track is definitely one of the electro house hits of the year. In “Spaceman” Hardwell mixes a Dutch progressive style with electro beats in a way that is sure to get crowds moving. This infectious melody has been mashed up with countless other artists’ tracks over the year, and it has secured its place as one of the top dance floor anthems of the year.
Panama – “It’s Not Over”
This track is brought to you by producer Eric Broucek (known for working with the likes of Holy Ghost, LCD Soundsystem, and many others), and it is a great blend of punk sounds with a smooth, disco-rock vibe. Panama, an emerging band from Sydney, created this bright track and fashioned it into a fresh sound that takes the mind on a 4-minute vacation.
Jaytech – “Stranger” (Kyau & Albert Remix)
Jaytech (Michael Jay Parker) recently dropped his second album, Multiverse, and the album’s first single, “Stranger,” features vocals from Dirty Vegas’ Steve Smith. German duo Kyau & Albert reworked the track, adding their own spin of extra bass to this beautiful song. The track was awarded Record of The Week on both Above & Beyond’s Trance around the World and Armin Van Buuren’s A State Of Trance.
Hot Chip – “Flutes” (Sasha Remix)
DJ Sasha (Alexander Paul Coe) has been crafting deep beats since the early 1980s. He has remixed the likes of Madonna and the Chemical Brothers, and he now adds his own house twist to Hot Chip‘s latest single, “Flutes.” Sasha truly is a master of his musical style of house/ambient breakbeat music, and the fusion with Hot Chip makes this one of my favorites of the year.
Beat Service – “Fortuna”
Beat Service, an Estonian DJ/producer by the name of Madis Sillamo, is signed to Markus Schultz’s label Coldharbor Recordings, and this trance/progressive track is always a crowd favorite when dropped. The build up to the drop at the 1:31 minute mark adds to the depth of this track, and when the beat finally does drop, you are able to go on a personal interpretive journey into musical time and space.