modern music for a modern house: best downbeat tracks of 2016

I used to restrict these lists to ten tracks and then whatever would fit on a CD (cause I used to burn 'em). But rather than painfully cull these wheaty tracks, you're getting them all!

Here's a YouTube playlist of all the tracks:


These tracks are available at iTunes or your favorite eMusic retailer.

"Black River (feat. Mark Lanegan) [Lulu Rouge Stella Polaris remix]" by Bomb the Bass
Anything Lulu Rouge touches is turned into something darkly wonderful, and this track is no exception. A dank, dark, and quietly creeping piece of music.

"Where the Wind Blows" by Coco O.
A steampunk track that fuses 1920s Great Gatsby torch singer with a digital work station.

"Black Sunrise (feat. Black Soda)" by Francesco Chiocci
Smokey and mildly charred with Black Soda's soulish vocals means I don;t care if the sun come sup tomorrow.

"Hide" by N U B U and Ne.Hau
I promise I'm not homing here, but these Austin producers produced a swanky, slithering masterpiece of downtempo tunage that is simple delicious. Good to hear that Austin is representing!

"Numb and Getting Colder (feat. Kucka)" by Flume
These tracks: They are so uplifting! Flume's release this year was simply stellar, featuring well produced glitchy goodness like this number. 

"SOS" by Portishead
Portishead doesn't stop in for a visit too much lately, but I'm grateful for this driveby smooch of gloom with lyrics courtesy of ABBA. That's right, THAT SOS.

"State Trooper (Trentemoller mix)" by Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen: Meh. Trentemoller: Yeah. Trentemoller's unauthorized remix of Bruce? HELL YEAH!

"4 Degrees" by Anohni
This track is a mess of timeliness, sung as it is by the transgendered Antony Hegarty about global warming: "I want to see this world, I want to see it boil.  It's only 4 degrees."

"Let Myself Go (feat. Kieran Fowkes)" by Just Her
In case you are wondering, Kieran is a dude, and he does a great job plaintively cooing "..and I let myself go" over and over and over on this track. I feel the same way this holiday season.

"Leave You" by Tee Mango
A message of hope delivered by Tee Mango: "I'm going to leave you..."

"The World" by Bajka
In a perfect world, Bajka would write the theme songs for every James Bond movie. Her smokey voice and music politely whispers "shaken AND stirred" in your ear.

 "Fucking to Songs on Radios" by Ricky Eat Acid
For an act with a gawdawfull name, this track is delightfully creative in all its warped glory.

"Reminder" by Moderat
Moderat has really been putting a lot of quality stuff out there, including this track that has a Radiohead-with-someone-who-actually-knows-how-to-play synths vibe.

"small blue soft" by Audiofly
A long but wonderful track by Audiofly to take baths by. Available as a free download via soundcloud. Not available on YouTube, so I've subbed a track above.

"The Wind (feat. Awir Leon)" by Jumo
A nice song about the wind. Not available on YouTube, so I've subbed a track above.

"Ritual Spirit (feat. Azekel)" by Massive Attack
Going through the year's tracks, I'd forgotten that MA released a solid four-track EP earlier in the year. This track, by my ears, was the best: tribal, sorrowful, and foreboding.

"IM U" by Beacon
Beacon pulls a twofer with a track here as well as on the upbeat list as well. This much moodier track evokes (kinda) Pink Floyd's quieter moments (if they had better synths).

"Breathe" by Mr. Silla
I had forgetten about Mr. Silla, a young lady from Reykjavik we saw some 10 years ago at an Iceland Airwaves off-venue, until I was putting together a playlist for friends going to Iceland over New Years. This new track is quietly disquieting and warmly icy.

"I Can't Let Go" by Champion
Champion (the Canadian electroblues band, not Champion, the American hardcore band) lost themselves for a decade when Betty Bonifossi left the act. But with Betty's swampy vocals back in the mix, Champion is back. This track is the best of the bunch: minimal and bluesy.

"Eva (IVVO Sensimilla Cut)" by MMOTHS
A remix got MMOTHS on my best upbeat tracks, and this haunting track earns a spot on the downbeat list. Space opera.

"Eating Hooks (Siriusmo remix-Solomon edit)" by Moderat
 I desparately try to keep any particular act to one track per list, but this one is just too good to leave behind. Besides, given the remix and subsequent edit, it's more of an sequential ensemble effort than an original Moderat track.

"K304v2 Walk With Me" by dubspeeka
A spooky walk down a moonlit path in the woods. In Arkansas.

"Hide" by FKA twigs
Ms. twigs made it OK to produce music like this (that is, there's a market for it), and for that I am grateful. This triphoppy track ticks like a bomb in its beauty.


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