- Ferdie Simon
Dixon is a king of playing around with a track in just such a way as to tease out it’s slow-burning tension and dance floor potential. With Ian Pooley’s “CompuRhythm EP,” released on his Innervision’s imprint, he did just this. This is a tune that has worked its way into the sets of a wide range of DJs, largely due to the impressive sophisticated way in which it simultaneously builds atmosphere and gets hips swaying. His ‘4/4 Treatment’ largely does what it says on the tin, but with great finesse, layering tight drums onto an already highly tautened base. Let’s move on before this gets too fetishistic re. ‘tightness’. The remix is so very Dixon, with it’s sharp percussion sitting nicely on top of a warm build. It has been a prodigious year, for a highly prodigious artist – but he can still count this mix as one of his best to date.
- Max Bower
Taken from Watergate’s celebratory 10 year anniversary compilation – Watergate X, “Take Words In Return” is one of this years most intriguing electronic sojourns and a rightful inclusion in this list. A sonically charged count-down kicks off a kaleidoscope of scattered percussion and guttural crooning, all threaded together by an insatiably catchy beat. Muffled vocals and a piratical accordion shanty collide and swirl into an uninhibited medley/melody, that is from the offset unique.
- Max Rosemin
The Norwegian disco factory and its personnel were back to work in 2012 producing some of the best sounds of the year. After the faux pas of February’s “Six Cups of Rebel,” “Smalhans” saw Lindstrøm going back to basics. “Ęg-gęd-ōsis” is one of many Lindstrøm cosmic epics taken from his second LP of the year, Smalhans and for us, it’s the stand out single. The song sounds like Lindstrøm’ describing at a fast yet steady pace, the ascent and descent of daredevil Felix Baumgartner. Never-ending overlapping arpeggios combine with a maximalist sound, creating a sense of urgency that can only compare to the adrenalin of being 128,100 ft. sky high and about to jump. We think the English translation of “Ęg-gęd-ōsis” should be “Spaceship,” instead its (disappointingly) a traditional (and very basic) Norwegian dish.
- Ashton Holland
Some might say San Soda‘s releases over 2012 have been overshadowed by his FCL side-project, but Mr Soda’s latest release on his We Play House imprint, the “Toch Al Vijfde EP” has still managed to infiltrate these Top 10 lists, and special mention has to be given to the standout “Still Serious (Summer Tool.)” This infectious, rolling Deep-House track is a gorgeous assortment of syncopated, drifting metallic blips and soaring synths. Aptly labelled a “Summer Tool,” “Still Serious” is a welcome reminder of sun soaked summer days and warm festival nights.
- Alexander Sainty
Sharp synths and funky percussion bounce into a spine tingling gated bass-line and oscillating synths. Featuring on numerous charts throughout the year, it’s been a club staple and a personal favourite. It should almost be credited as an original production, as any similarities to the Ray Okpara’s “Chi This Wonder Up” are tenuous at best… anyway Olivier Mateu a.k.a Rodriguez Jr. should be inordinately proud of this organic remix,
- Henry Cruickshank
Rising to fame as one half of Moloko, Roisin Murphy’s iconic lyrics have been an integral part of numerous Electronic anthems. Anyone familiar with The Psychedelic Waltons’ ‘Wonderland’, Joey Negro’s beach’y House edit of her catchy classic ‘Let Me Know’, plus her work with David Morales and Toddla T, will know what we’re getting at. Mano Le Tough‘s remix of ‘Simulation’, released on Permanent Vacation back in August, grabbed our attention immediately, it even prompted one giddy listener to laud Murphy with this particularly personal’ accolade; ‘Roisin Murphy gives my ears an erection.’ Quite… This tumescence inducing remix has permeated 2012 dance floors. Slow burning percussion and a low slung rhythm gradually churns into rapid synths and the prolonged crescendo of sleazed-up and sensually hypnotic Murphy vocals…erections an’ all, it’s a worthy addition to this list.
- Adam Fitzwilliam
Fending off fierce competition from Mario Basanov and Claptone, it’s Berlin resident Mano Le Tough’s interpretation of Tyson’s ‘Mr. Rain’ that’s found its way into our ‘Top 10′ list. The Panorama Bar regular breezes in at number four with this blistering remix, showcasing his creative, unconventional production style. Serene yet unmistakably powerful, ‘Mr Rain’ had dance floors in rapturous adulation across the globe. It deserves our recognition as one of the stand out tracks of 2012.
- Freddie Le Fanu
It says a lot about a track, that with only 150 hard copies in existence, it can come 3rd in a ‘best of’ poll. But there is something truly special about ‘It’s You’. The track’s pure simplicity is what makes it so good. San Soda completely strips away the E.S.P. original, leaving behind a basic 4/4 percussion of claps and cymbals. The lyrics remain but the vocals are flipped into a super seductive, layered female delivery that gives it melody and soul. I was lucky enough to witness the homecoming of ‘It’s You’ last Sunday; at Panorama Bar itself, played by the man himself. How a track with almost no beat can induce such hypnotic euphoria is beyond me. A big hat off to San Soda for one of the best reworks in recent years, let alone this year.
- Rory Flynn
Ame have always had a handle on epic dancefloor moments (Rej being the most obvious example) and this remix epitomised their focus on emotional electronic music. Here they took Ry Cuming and Frank Weidemann’s folky-electronic original and turned it into one of the strongest dancefloor hits of this year. The first “Howling” tidbit was delivered during Dixon’s fantastic Boiler Room set earlier this year, it made quite the impact, resulting in an online scramble to ID the track. Innervisions responded to public demand and released the full version in September. Catchy and more accessible than most of their work, the quality of this production almost resulted in a crossover “pop” hit. The epic lead line, pitched up chords and distorted guitar provided the perfect backdrop for Ry Cuming’s sultry, emotionally charged vocal. For many of us at Flux, this was the best track of 2012.
- Alexander Sainty
“My passion for music… It’s really about about me loving to dance, and there are certain types of electronic music that gives me the urge to dance and I feel I have to dance when I hear it” – Marius Solem Johansen a.k.a “Inspector Norse”
With “Ragysh” many critics thought Terje had achieved his defining opus. 9 months later, he released ‘Inspector Norse,’ and artists across the world cried into their keyboards as they realised they would never be able to produce something so special. It is simplicity done perfectly… euphoria packaged and served as audial bliss, courtesy of the legendary synthesizer ARP 2600 and the production wizardry of Flux favourite Todd Terje.
- Max Rosemin
Londoner George FitzGerald first came to the world’s attention a few years back, with his 2-Step’y House sound, that was ignorantly categorized by many as “Post-Dubstep.” The Hotflush and Aus Music affiliate shows a versatility in his production style that has resulted in some of 2012′s more memorable music. A jacking beat seems to be the common denominator of the “FitzGerald Sound,” “Child,” “Every Inch” and his remix of Lee Jones “Moment” are all great example of this. It has been an outstanding year from FitzGerald, his productions this year have all been on point, particularly his release on Hypercolour “Hype30.” The sterling DJ performances we have witnessed plus the success of his fledgling label ManMakeMusic (another arrow to his bow,) all solidify his rightful position on this list.
- Tom Frain
Hungarian born KiNK (a.k.a Strahil Balla’s) is a sensational purveyor of melodic House and Techno. It’s been 8 years since his first release on Odori Music and he hasn’t lost a dab of the ingenuity that first drew our attention. Just listen to the 2012 standout release “Express” on his Handmade EP. An expert fusion of steam train samples with modern four-to-the-floor electronica – suited more to darkened clubs than a Paddington platform circa 1900. This year has been one of collaboration: with longstanding partner in crime Neville Watson, as well as the likes of Crazy P and Nina Kraviz. A gorgeous remix of long-time friend Rachel Row’s “Follow The Step” stormed into the Flux November Chart and for good reason – Sven Vath paid tribute to the cut in his own Boiler Room set this month (KiNK’s Boiler Room set is also worth a gander.) I hope for everyone’s sake that KiNK’s creativity and originality continues into 2013 and for many years to come.
8. San Soda
- Ferdie Simon
Nicolas Geysens a.k.a San Soda is a DJ and producer who has mastered the more primal, spine-tinglingly euphoric register of House music; and for Nicholas, 2012 has been a bumper year – as a joint label boss of the We Play House imprint (the clue to the content is in the name,) Nicholas has managed to churn out some highly impressive releases, but it’s his San Soda productions and remixes which have been among my favourites this year.
I know that his fruity ‘Toch Al De Vijfde EP‘ and the coveted Panorama Bar Acca version of FCL’s ‘It’s You’ have already been covered, so it’s true testimony to the impressive year that San Soda has had, that I can still mention my favourite: his sublime ‘Lazer’ remix of Barck and Prommer’s ‘The Barking Grizzle,’ a tune that leads you on a journey of soaring, emotional, sci-fi syths owing as much to Trance as it does to House….There is little I can say to surmise asides from; ‘More of the same please!’
- Emilka Wilk Mullis
Session Victim are reknowned for their plethora of unorthodox productions, usually a heady intermix of soul, funk and smooth House beats. Devoted vinyl enthusiasts and animated live performers, Hauke Freer and Matthias Reiling have been friends for over two decades and in that time they have seen a slew of releases on well-respected labels including; Wolf Music, Permanent Vacation and Retreat. 2012 saw the pair release their debut album “The Haunted House of House”, a neatly packed LP full of deep funk, sliced melodies and tingling warm bass, that went on to receive serious critical acclaim. Session Victim’s continual thirst to produce new and exciting music, guarantees this slot in our top ten.
- Henry Cruikshank
There’s little need for us to rabbit on about Sam Geiser’s pedigree; you only need glance at the calibre of artists Deetron has registered remixes with this year, to know where he stands on the artists playing field. Don’t blame us for gushing a little when we remind you of our success in cajoling a man of such high repute onto the Flux artist rostrum for our 1st birthday, back in February. And boy was it worth it. His stunning 2012 mix for RA needs little light shed on it and his latest ‘Crave’ release captures, in a nutshell, the eclectic style and sumptuous energy this man resonates through his music. Also, let’s not forget his rocking remix of PBR Streetgang’s ‘Downstroke’ and the charmingly rendered remix of Noir’s ‘Found Out.’ It’s clear to see that Deetron can upholster just about any track and furnish it good and proper.
- Rory Flynn
It was a great year for Berlin resident Mano Le Tough. A string of melodic and ethereal House releases, (including the excellent Mountains EP on Permanent Vacation) ensure his place on this Top 10 list. Mano’s intricate, organic percussion, electronic melodies and uplifting pads have led his tracks to find their way into the record boxes of jocks across a range of genres. The young producer also often uses his own vocal talents in his tracks and has developed a musicality to his sound that makes him stand out from a lot of his peers. Other highlights of 2012 included well – received remixes of My Favourite Robot, Tyson and Roisin Murphy as well as regular DJ slots at some giant venues including Panorama bar. With a debut album due to launch in February, 2013 could potentially be an even better year for the Irish producer.
4. Todd Terje
- Ashton Holland
Well its hard not to put Todd up with the best. It has been a seriously successful year, started things off to great acclaim with his “It’s The Arps EP.” Terje went on to produce a slew of successful remixes including a re-edit of Lindstorm’s ‘Ed-ged-osis’ and Hot Chip‘s “How Do You Do“- both of which have been seeing some serious chart action. I can harp on about Todds 2012 releases, but I should also reserve some praise for his sets this year. He might just be one of the most versatile DJ’s out there, irrespective of time or place, his track selection is always spot on and he always maintains the groove. So, another great year for a great Norwegian, we cannot wait to see whats in store for 2013.
– Max Bower
Music releases, like comedy, are a matter of timing; a fact asserted by Frank Wiedemann when he sat down to talk with Flux. Timing is of less significance however for those of almost omnipotent presence, such is the influential powerhouse duo Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann a.k.a “Ame.” It is difficult to conceive how such an enormous following could stem from such an underground nigh-on subversive sound. One of this years records certainly bolstered their fan base, the indomitable remix of “Howling – Ry & Frank Wiedemann.”
It would be short-sighted indeed to just give credit to “Howling” for Ame’s position in the top triage of such esteemed company. They have had a decade of successful releases and have relied on the quality of their music and the music they love to keep them on top. Alongside Dixon, the duo nurture Innervisions and have been responsible for some of this years greatest hits. The pair have also been recognised by RA, nominating Frank as number 4 in their Top 20 Live Act’s of 2012 and Kristian as number 17 in the Top 100 DJ list. Like most things underground, one’s often not sure of what might happen next, but with these guys, it’s probably going to be exceptional.
- Toby Lunn
Despite owning a Bakery in Berlin and co-running the ground-breaking Innervisions label, Dixon has still found time to cook up a euphonious platter of remix’s this year, including the celebrated version of Ian Pooley’s “CompuRhythm” and his rework of “Lost In A Moment – Matthew Dekay & Lee Burridge.” Outside of Dixon’s baking and making, he has also pumped out one of 2012’s most talked about DJ performances; a Boiler Room session hosted within the unusual confines of a hotel room. Dixon’s hard work and fastidious attention to perfection has ensured a legendary status and continually growing success. He is a prime example of how the fast-fried musical fads come and go, but slow cooked scrupulous talent will stand the test of time.
- Alexander Sainty
Technically it should be Biceps … after all it’s a two headed muscle and they do come as a pair. Matt & Andy have had a phenomenal year. Their name is on everyone’s lips and their vinyls are on everyone’s slip(s)mats, this is partly due to the resurgence of interest in that “90′s House sound” and because their productions are (let’s face it) absolutely balling (see “$tripper” & “Visions of Love.”) The launch of their record label “Feel My Bicep,” coupled with the continual success of their phenomenal blog plus their obvious aptitude as musical selectors means the Bicep boys are the worthy wearers of the 2012 crown.
10. The Minneapolis Touch – Shonky (Apollonia)
- Joshua Sebastian
March saw the launch of the Apollonia label, a collaborative effort from world-renowned Frenchmen Dyed Soundorom, Dan Ghenacia and Shonky. The latter provided this sparkling debut, laden with beautiful melodies and solid house groove. With an appreciative nod to Prince’s ‘Minneapolis Sound’, Shonky weaved soul and funk into some peak-time material to root this newborn label firmly in the foreground of House fans’ shared consciousness, this laid the way for lengthy showcases from the collective tour de force; intoxicating crowds from DC10 to our very own Leeds in inimitable and expert fashion.
9. Shadow and Construction EP – Kindimmer (Local Talk)
- Henry Cruikshank
We’ve already put Local Talk under the Flux spotlight this year with a retrospective article outlining their swift rise to prominence over the course of 2012 due, in part, to their gung-ho, no nonsense love for an old-skool House sound. However, Kindimmer shows there is a darker side to the Local Talk turntables with his latest selection of deep driving, raw and industrial sounds via the Shadow & Construction EP. Side A is a mysterious and meaty composition, splattered with various analogue trips and blips, embroiled by a monstrous bassline and a conveyor belt of tangy hi-hats – the perfect sort of sustenance for late hours in a dark, cavernous January basement rave. ‘Stripped, Deep Down n’ Dirty’ sounds like it should: abrasive, bassy and ballsy, but damn good. Nuff said. However, ‘Rthoms’ medley of jacking groove and dancey chords will offer Housey palates a welcome aperitif to wash down such a substantial serving of big bass and synths.
8. CompuRhythm EP – Ian Pooley (Innervisions)
- Phil Anscombe
An Innervisions presence on this list is all but an inevitability, but it is good to also see some appreciation for the ever-green Ian Pooley. Showcasing all of the emotional depth and textured subtlety that have afforded this label legendary status, Pooley’s title track stood out for us this year for the hypnotic journey it took us on. Focusing on the power of the sound rather than conforming to this year’s musical trends, ensures these tracks will remain timeless. Two excellent remixes from Dixon and Baikal guarantees that this EP not only features the range of Innervisions, from label stalwart to ambitious newcomer, but that it offers the musical scope that means it can be deployed in any number of settings to great effect.
7. My Own Business EP – Kolombo (2DIY4)
- Rowland Bennett
Olivier Gregoire is a prolific and vigorous producer, hailing from Europe’s ever swelling talent marshes of Belgium, putting out music under several pseudonyms across the board from Kompakt to Cocoon. Under the current Kolombo moniker, with his premier EP for Diynamic’s Hamburg-based off shoot label 2Diy4, he undeniably gangbangs the ‘G’ into Gangsta House. He puts Warren G’s O.G. West Coast vocal samples to exhaustive use, with each of the 4 tracks being not only individual (unlike the usual EP rework package) but also expressing a perfect selection of builds, grooves and the highest level of production throughout. With the grave deep vocal cut of title track “My Own Business”, booty bounce cool of “Dancing On The Floor” and straight to the .44 lyrics of “Busta Ass”, each track also exhibits a melody so slick that Kolombo should put his hands up and take all the blame for causing 187’s across Europe’s dance floors.
6. Black Jukebox 02 – Homework/ Mercury (Exploited Records)
- Alexander Sainty
Exploited Records are quickly becoming synonymous with quality. This is partly due to their vinyl only Black Jukebox series, a clever means of treading around “sampling rights” and releasing Disco edits that might otherwise have not seen the light of day. Numero dos is much more of the same, cheeky Disco cuts from Homework and Mercury, packed to the brim with funky vibes and catchy lyrics. This delightful record is suitable for most energetic activities both vertical and horizontal and the fact that it’s highly limited to only 300 copies means that it’s unlikely to become overplayed anytime soon.
5. Lost In A Moment – Matthew Dekay, Lee Burridge (Innervisions)
- Rory Flynn
Lee Burridge started his label “All Day I Dream” in response to what he saw as a lack of melancholic underground House music. In particular the UK jock was looking for more melodic material to play at his sun-kissed rooftop parties in the US. Following on from the epic, string-led “Fur Die Libe”, Burridge and his production partner Mathew Dekay returned to the studio and came up with another ethereal slice of uplifting House music. The sparse clave percussion, hats and kick provide the forward momentum to the swirling pads, melodies and FX. Complete with a tripped-out sample taken from “Skins” it’s a drifting, epic track designed to tug on the heartstrings. On the flip, the ever-reliable Dixon fattened the kicks, chopped up the melodies and took his interpretation firmly towards the dancefloor.
4. Street Halo EP – Burial (Hyperdub)
- Adam Fitzwilliam
One of the most highly anticipated releases of 2012 was Burial’s Hyperdub release, ‘Street Halo/Kindred’. Instantly recognisable and mesmerizing from start to finish, ‘Street Halo/Kindred’ sees Burial retain his crown as the anonymous king of the underground. The strength of this release, and indeed Burial’s music in general, is that it’s instantly recognisable yet continually unpredictable. His unorthodox style shines through in every song on the EP; unusual and evocative, sinister but euphoric, each production is unique but all share common components; downcast muffled vocal snippets, crackled rain and heavily compressed percussion.
My personal highlight is the 12-minute title track, ‘Kindred’, which features Burial’s dark, melancholic vision of House music. Artistic yet understated, those who have not yet explored the sounds of Burial, brace yourselves for an audial journey like no other.
3. New For U – Andres (La Vida)
- Alex Gross
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past year, you will have undoubtedly heard Detroit legend Andrés’ incredible ‘New For U’ EP. The debut release on his own La Vida imprint has stormed the music world, and become a regular feature on virtually all the best of 2012 lists, and rightly so. The minute that I heard the infectious string loop of the title track, I knew I was in for something special. The brilliant melody and vocal sample on ‘Jazz Dance’ makes for an amazing chilled out Detroit number, whilst ‘Drama Around The Corner’ is reminiscent of his friend & collaborator J-Dilla’s pioneering Hip-Hop sound. This EP is a stellar example of his talent and shows why he is so respected in the scene, we can only hope there’s more to come from Andrés and La Vida in 2013.
2. Can You Feel It – NY Stomp (Illusion Recordings)
- Tom Frain
Possibly one of the most appropriately named producers of 2012, N.Y. Stomp (pseudonym of House stalwart Gerd) has crafted an EP of crushing throwback House tunes. I’m sure anyone who is au fait with recent trends in this genre need not be told that this revival sound is very much the flavour of the moment. All skittering rhythms, ultra-cool vocals and ramped up organs, “NY House Trak” packs a punch and will have you bouncing about the room at 125 BPM before you know it. The galloping bass of “Can You Feel It” competes with eerie stabs in this deeper, if more contemporary sounding cut. The EP is fully furnished with three remixes which complement the originals by diverting their raw energy into some more laid back dubs. With this vigorous release N.Y. Stomp comfortably proves he hasn’t just rehashed the 90s sound to be down with the kids, rather gives it a new lease of life to excite the next generation of clubbers.
1. Toch Al De Vijfde EP – San Soda (We Play House Recordings)
- Alexander Sainty
You might be wondering why this EP takes the top slot. After all, it hasn’t been included it in a single chart, Flux haven’t done a review and we haven’t used it for any of our Track of the Days. This is because we have been saving the best till last. “Toch Al De Vijfde EP” is the 5th release from We Play House Recordings and it’s absolutely charming. From the light & bright “Still Serious (Summer Tool),” to the key driven “Er Komt Nog” and the classic House of “You Hear Me,” this EP is some of the most fun you can have with your clothes still on and now that the demon god Cthulhul has failed to bring about the end of days, I can’t think of a more appropriate way to welcome in 2013 than with the pleasurably cheesy “See More Days (feat Jacob Korn & Gustaph).”