Following on from part one, here are some fantastic tunes that just missed out on the top spots. Running down from #40-21.
40. Jack J – Thirstin’ [Future Times]
While it may not be edged with the same melancholy as last year’s anthem, Jack J’s Future Times outing had all the ingredients for summer killer: effortlessly lazy vibes, an irresistible groove, milky keys and a catchy vocal line.
39. Unknown Artist – A Jazz Thing [Uniile]
While it may not be worth the extortionate prices currently on discogs, new label Uniile delivered the finest anonymous release of the year from a young French artist. All four tracks are fire, but the undisputed highlight is this low-slung jazzy number which strolls by with a seedy sax and a heaving reggae bassline.
38. Florian Kupfer – Discotag [WT Records]
The best thing Kupfer’s put out since Feelin, this slice of techno is both spare and raucous. A funky vocal struts out over a tunnelling acid workout to destructive effect.
37. The Galleria feat. Jessy Lanza – Mezzanine [Environ]
Alongside her solo work, Jessy Lanza put out a stunning series of guest vocalist spots in 2015, most notably with legend Morgan Geist on freestyle project The Galleria. Lanza’s voice flexes with pure-pop allure atop Geist’s titanium electro skeleton. This is how pop music should sound.
36. Porn Sword Tobacco – Kristallisering [Aniara]
PST made his name on a series of experimental/ IDM albums in the late 2000’s, but the past couple of years his sound has been refined and reborn on Kontra-Musik and with the trendy SVN crew. Kristallisering is one of his most appealing cuts to date, a breezy piano riff fluttering over a taut electro snap, a composition of air and joy.
This one seems to have flown under everyone’s radars. Out in September on JD Twitch’s reliable Glaswegian outpost, this is electro at its soaring zenith, with a cheeky malfunctioning breakdown and an unashamedly epic synth motif.
34. Matthew Herbert – Earthenware [Concrete Music]
Herbert may have put out an album this year, but our favourite cut of his in 2015 was this melodic house tune buried on a V/A release from Parisian clubnight Concrete. A sawtooth bassline and bright keys give way to a genuinely moving breakdown, fusing jazz and house as only Herbert can.
33. Hodge – I Don’t Recognise You Lately [Hemlock]
Any number of Hodge’s excellent techno/grime hybrids could have made our 2015 list, but it was this oddly subdued cut that ultimately impressed us most. By dialling down the energy Hodge makes the listener focus on the little things: that haunting glockenspiel melody, garbled voices and washes of static, a spare rhythm and near-constant bass pressure.
32. Paranoid London – Lovin U (Ahh Shit) With DJ Genesis [Paranoid London]
The debut album from this all-analog crew was as uncompromising as acid gets, yet firmly floor-focused. One tough-as-nails throwback acid workout. One ethereal synth melody. One fiery diva vocal. Built up, broken down. What more could you ask for?
31. Hunee – Rare Happiness [Rush Hour]
Deep at the heart of Hunee’s lush debut on Rush Hour was this aptly-titled gem, which wriggles infectiously around a clipped vocal, textured percussion and a re/de-tuning synthline. Pure bliss.
30. Asusu – Serra [Impasse]
Once the Livity Sound newcomer, Asusu has marked out a real unique spot of late. Nowhere was this more clear than on his first step outside the Livity stable with Serra, a masterclass on the tone, timbre and propulsion of rhythm.
29. Mosey – Tuff Times [Future Times]
Some dance tracks tug at your heartstrings in a way that you can’t even explain. This is certainly the case with Tuff Times, a relaxed house outing from newcomer Mosey. The rhythm is simple, as is the new-age melody, leaving just an eccentric bassline that hops through the frequencies to guide us each through our own tuff times.
28. Damiano von Erckert – We Flow ft. Amalia [ava.]
The centrepiece of Damiano’s sophomore album was this breezy cut of joy, with jazzy keys perfectly accompanying Amalia’s effortless vocal performance.
27. Aurora Halal – Shapeshifter [Mutual Dreaming]
Aurora Halal went through quite a stylistic shift from her first to her second EP, yet the new sound fits her like a glove. This is slinky Detroit techno par excellence, all twinkling keys, pacing percussion and an all-important sense of mystery.
26. Sparky – Signals [Numbers]
After delivering a lost anthem in 2013, Sparky’s new material this year was just as powerful. Translating pop-grade melodies to an electro format, Signals is unashamedly huge, with an unstoppable bassline and a cornea-searing melody.
25. Luca Lozano & Mr. Ho – Dripbox [Crème Organization]
Luca Lozano has been responsible for a number of heavyweight tunes this year, and our favourite was this pitch-black collaboration with Mr. Ho. A storming kick underpins two duelling grime-inflected melodies that’ll detonate the dancefloor.
24. DJ Richard – Vampire Dub [Dial]
So much of DJ Richard’s superb debut LP could’ve made this list, but final cut Vampire Dub just edged out the competition. A grand slice of deep house in a classic vein, its starry keys and martial stomp soundtracked us gazing mistily at many a sunset.
23. Domenique Dumont – L’Esprit de l’Escalier [Antinote]
Dumont’s lovely debut came out of nowhere, and this breathless appeal is sustained on its catchiest highlight. A mighty range of influences are handled with a light touch, resulting in a buoyant stoner-pop cut with a bridge that won’t quit and a chorus that’ll have you singing along even if you can’t make out the words.
22. Basic House – Cones [Opal Tapes]
The head of Opal Tapes issued a limited cassette at the end of 2014 with the mighty Cones hiding within. A venomous rhythm track with a melody like afterimage from a strobe, it didn’t leave our playlists in 2015 and it’s unlikely to in the year to come.
21. Floating Points – Peroration Six [Pluto]
The restless conclusion to Floating Points’ wonderful Elaenia album, Peroration Six has a whole jazz group building intensity to terminal velocity. You keep expecting it to boil over, something has to give, it’s too heavy – and then the track cuts out, leaving only a deafening silence. A brave and challenging finale to an uncompromising LP.
Come back in a few days for the twenty best tunes of the year.