Dancing Astronaut’s Top 10 Tracks of February 2016
Dancing Astronaut's Top 10 Tracks of February 2016
February has smashed our musical expectations for the beginning of the year. From a mysterious new Zhu single to 19 original productions from Eric Prydz, it was a huge month for releases. February also brought along a host of surprises — KSHMR created a trap song, while Star Wars released an entire remix album. It’s safe to say our libraries are well stocked for the coming weeks.
Looking back on the month, we’ve selected our Top 10 tracks, measured by critical acclaim, perceived impact, and overall quality (as well as a hint of editorial bias).
Don’t forget to check out the Top 10 Tracks of January if you missed it.
10. ODESZA - It's Only (RUFUS Remix)
Fresh off of the release of their sophomore album, Bloom, Australian trio Rüfüs Du Sol keep the momentum going with a heavenly house remix of “It’s Only” by Odesza. Zyra’s haunting vocals sit delicately on top of the remix’s vibrant textures. Ultimately, the sounds of Odesza and Rüfüs work incredibly well together, with both artists having mastered the art of creating intricate atmospheres that flow in and around well-built rhythms.
With their new remix, it’s no wonder Rüfüs recently signed to Odesza’s label Foreign Family Collective. The trio will also join Odesza for their headlining show at Red Rocks this summer.
9. KSHMR & Felix Snow feat. Madi – Touch
KSHMR’s latest single “Touch” has arrived, and as usual, it’s a massive production. The song begins with melodic vocals before veering immediately into a bass-heavy trap section. While the Bay Area producer’s reliably pristine style and tropical sound have yielded incredible solo tracks and some huge collaborations — like last year’s “Secrets” with Tiësto — no one was expecting the trap-direction of “Touch.” The single features Felix Snow and vocalist Madi, and was released on Spinnin’ on February 29.
8. ANNA - Odd Concept
Brazilian producer ANNA captures followers with her hypnotic approach to techno. Various icons in the underground scene have been using her material in their sets, skyrocketing her to iconic status in the scene. She now reinforces her credibility through her debut single on Diynamic, “Odd Concept.”
ANNA delivers a mysterious tech house number as her newest output that ushers listeners into a trance by way of thumping percussion and a topline that creeps around the mind. ANNA is certainly off to a strong start this year, denoted by her welcome into the Diynamic crew as well as Richie Hawtin using one of her productions in his Essential Mix.
7. Keith Ape - IT G MA Remix (josh pan Opus)
Josh Pan has had somewhat of an obscure career. From tricking the world into thinking his name was an alias for the entire MVNG CSTLE collective to popping up with a sudden and exciting OWSLA endorsement, the artist has made waves around the electronic music scene in his own unique ways.
Josh Pan’s latest release, “Opus,” does little to depart from his misleading public appearance. Recruiting trap stars Sakuraburst, MISOGI, X&G, MEDASIN, and Oshi to produce sections of the track, and tapping the likes of A$AP Ferg, Waka Flocka Flame, and more for the vocals, this 14-minute remix of Keith Ape’s “It G Ma” is undeniably stellar. The incredible lineup of talent that Josh Pan brings along into this production is just icing on the cake. If you’re a fan of bass music in any form, this track is one that needs to be in your regular rotation.
6. Mat Zo - Soul Food
Mat Zo is a true chameleon when it comes to electronic music, producing under multiple genres with the finesse of one who’s spent years perfecting his craft. In preparation for the release of his second artist album, Self Assemble, the former Anjuna star demonstrates his mastery of nu-disco through his nostalgic new output and first album single, “Soul Food.” Whisking the imagination off to visions of a 1980s block party, funky electric guitar riffs and touches of retro vocals make “Soul Food” one of Zo’s catchiest productions to date. Though it’s slated to be released along with the rest of the album in March, fans of the track can download it for free on SoundCloud.
5. Royksopp - Bounty Hunter
It takes no less than the best to do justice to a franchise as popular as Star Wars. It’s only fitting the job of creating an original electronic album based off the films would go to one of the most important producers of the last few decades, Rick Rubin. Star Wars Headspace is simply brimming with talent and will be a force to be reckoned with when it’s released on February 19.
The new contribution from Royksopp builds off of releases from Baauer, Flying Lotus, and Rick Rubin and takes the album to a whole new level. With an aggressive bassline setting a fast pace for the fittingly named “Bounty Hunter,” Royksopp brings to life the intense, adventurous feeling associated with being a bounty hunter in the Star Wars universe. R2D2, C-3PO, and the late Greedo make cameos alongside the classic sounds of tie-fighters, blasters, and lightsabers.
4. Wiwek & Skrillex – Killa Ft. Elliphant (Original Mix)
Wiwek has recruited Skrillex for a massive collaboration on his new OWSLA EP titled “Killa.” The opening and vocals — courtesy of Swedish singer Elliphant — seem to directly contrast Wiwek’s signature “Jungle Terror” style. Sweeping synths and Elliphant’s delivery create a gentle atmosphere, despite the lyrical content. The composition turns dark, however, at the drop, with slashing lasers, aggressive drums, and a sub-bass with malicious intentions. Ultimately, Wiwek’s ability to incorporate the OWSLA head’s work into his own, unique sound portends even bigger things to come.
3. Boys Noize - Overthrow
Boys Noize’s new single arrived seemingly out of the blue. “Overthrow” begins with an ominous atmosphere, before introducing a vocal sample that anchors the song throughout. When the crescendo creates enough tension, it falls away for the first drop, built around a nasally lead that hovers over the drums, propelling the track forward. In the interest of differentiation, a breakbeat section leads into the second drop. The second time around, the lead is more caustic, giving the track more bounce as it slams the empty space between the snare and kick.
2. Zhu - In the Morning
Zhu has revealed the first single from his new project, “In the Morning.” The song immediately recalls his previous Grammy-nominated effort “Faded” with its transposed vocal harmonies and delectable deep house beat. With a delightful piano melody further introducing the track and serving as its bridge, it’s easily one of the more endearing productions from Zhu to date. We can’t wait to hear him perform this one live at Coachella.
1. Eric Prydz - Trubble
Eric Prydz doesn’t deal in subtleties. Rather, every move he makes is a grand gesture, building towards a larger vision at stake. The latest piece of the Swedish producer’s story is arguably his most important offering yet: his debut artist album. Our favorite selection from the momentous 19-track release was not one of the prettier, Pryda-like productions, but rather the ugly child of the bunch: “Trubble.” A nod to Prydz’s harder, techno creations as Cirez D, it’s easily the darkest offering on the album. Hearing this one go down live at EPIC 4.0 truly showcased the power of the composition, cementing the track as one of the most potent offerings in Prydz’s legendary catalogue.