2016 has been a tremendous year for Trance, with the tendency towards the old school sound becoming even more obvious than in 2015. Some strong originals dropped in these past 12 months, but remixes weren’t underrepresented either. All in all, for fans of the underground sound, it’s been an absolute delight. Let’s take a closer look.
Though VS has suffered from a bit of a content drought this year, producers and labels everywhere have been busy putting out some awesome material. Be it The Thrillseekers’ long awaited debut album Escape, or Sean Tyas‘ marvelous Degeneration long player, Eco‘s Wolves, Manuel LeSaux‘s Destiny, Astrix‘s He.Art, John 00 Fleming‘s Alter Ego, and many others, there was anything but a shortage of LPs to choose from.
We were also lucky enough to get one of the best mastered tracks of the year with The Thrillseekers pres. Hydra – Amber. The warm melodic vibe and Steve’s resurrection of an old favourite alias got this track the attention it very much deserved.
Remix wise, Factor B delivered an infectious rework for one of my favourites from Orkidea‘s Harmonia album, North Star. He wasn’t the only one, with You Are My Salvation, Simon Templar, John Dopping, Craig Townsend and DeCode supplying some amazing reworks of their own
Beyond that, Lost Language, Research & Development Records, Future Sound of Egypt, JOOF Recordings and TIP Records unveiled some genuinely incredible releases, and I hope they’ll continue this winning streak in 2017.
That’s all well and good, but what about track of the year, you ask. Alright then, if you’re that eager, let’s get on with it:
Track of the Year 2016
No, your eyes are not deceiving you. The Norse gods have worked in You Are My Salvation‘s favour, landing Asynja, his January release on Greek imprint Blacked Out Records, on the very top spot of this Top 20.
After my 7 day Breaks appreciation week from last year, I found myself more and more attracted by the genre. It is no surprise then that this astonishing Progressive Breaks number left such a mark on me in 2016. From its punchy sound to the smooth, immersive atmosphere of the break (a staple of any YAMS production), Asynja reminded me of the sheer excitement I felt when I first discovered Trance. It beautifully encapsulates what keeps me going with this blog, while oozing quality and sophistication.
So no, I have not gone mad. For the first time in this site’s history, the number one track is not a Trance production. And what do you know, the world hasn’t come to an end because of that. 🙂
Then again, this is a Top 20, so scroll down a little to reveal what else is in store.
It was difficult, no question about it. With the amount of quality material on offer, I struggled to pair things down to only 20 tracks. On top of that, what you see below is the most eclectic selection in VS’s history. Covering Trance, Breaks, Ambient, even some Tech House, this list brings proceedings at long last in line with the site’s tag line: recommending music (almost) daily.
It is therefore my distinct pleasure to present Vând Sunete’s Top 20 tracks of 2016:
This top is limited, so there are quite a few things I wish I could have included. In particular, the stunning melodic techno number Balade Nocturne from Monsieur Porquoi deserves recognition, even if it didn’t get a spot in here. Do check it out.
‘Tis the end of the 2016 Look Back series and indeed the end of this blog’s post schedule for the year. A very big thank you for everything you people have done to support the site, be it shares, comments, likes, the lot. Thank you to the PR folks, artists, label managers and whoever else I have pestered with inquiries, for the patience they’ve had and the lovely attitude.
For now, happy holidays to you all and a great New Year’s. See you back here in 2017!