Voted DJ Mag’s best remix of the year, with its huge bassline, infectious vocals and uplifting progression, ‘Freak Like Me’ was a record that kept on giving in 2016. After the original remix had made a big splash, huge remixes followed from Armand Van Helden and Sonny Fodera, then a top line version featuring Katy B and MNEK, soundtracking the whole summer and beyond.
Making his debut on Defected, Duke Dumont released ‘For Club Play Only Part 4’ in August. The EP contained two exceptional tracks demonstrating Duke’s multidimensional ability. ‘Be Here’ echoes the sunshine-soaked euphoria of his previous radio singles, while ‘Worship’ has more club appeal, while maintaining the melodic catchiness that Duke has made his signature style. It put Duke one step ahead of the rest yet again.
Sonny has had an outstandingly successful year in 2016. Kicking off with his In The House compilation and a remix of Gershon Jackson’s ‘Take It Easy’, he delivered one hit single after another, recently being named Traxsource’s #1 artist of the year for his efforts. ‘You & I’ was a particular highlight. Taken from his artist album Frequently Flying, ‘You & I’ featuring vocals from Janai is Sonny at his very best.
Defected’s partnership with Dennis Ferrer has once again played a crucial part in the label’s history this year. Firstly there was ‘Right Thing’, a watertight Ferrer production with Ben Westbeech’s silky-smooth vocals and a gorgeously euphoric main-room house vibe. Then in early November Dennis delivered Defected’s landmark 500th release, ‘Bubbletop’, creating a real celebratory moment for the label. Thank you Dennis!
In February 2016 BBC Radio 1 broadcast Midland’s Essential Mix, a triumphant piece of work which was closed out by an unreleased track that captivated all who heard it. That track was ‘Final Credits’. The record went on to become one of the most unexpected hits of the year, voted #1 by Mixmag in the end of year singles chart. Newly acquired by Classic Music Company, ‘Final Credits’ is set to kick the label off to a very exciting year indeed.
A truly daft record with strokes of infectious disco brilliance, Red Rack’em’s ‘Wonky Bassline Disco Banger’ joined the auspicious Classic Music Company catalogue in September, the perfect home for one of the quirkiest, most in-demand tunes of 2016. The positively bonkers cut has been a mainstay with the likes of The Black Madonna and Moodymann and now boasts remixes by KiNK and Leopard Eats Luke.
The stunning album Happiness was a huge breakthrough for Eli Escobar in 2016, a quintessential New York City DJ; a devoted collector, explorer and connoisseur of music, this album and associated singles brought him the attention he deserves, including a mention in Mixmag’s top 50 albums of the year. In ‘Chaka Khan’ the disco references are seamless, embodying Eli’s tough and street smart style with disco divaness at its heart.
What a year Sam Divine has had. While continuing to tour relentlessly, playing all the best clubs and festivals around the world and holding down a residency at Sankeys Ibiza, she has also come into her own as a producer. Her coveted In The House album, featuring three of her own productions, reached #1 in the UK iTunes dance chart. ‘Confessions’ is the undeniable proof that Sam has an exciting career in production ahead of her.
One of the most fascinating artists to re-enter the dance music spotlight in 2016 is Crookers. His sometimes bonkers music has caught everybody’s attention, from international radio heads, to DJs, to the good folks at the Defected Croatia festival, for whom his set was one of the highlights. He has been busy in the studio for Defected this year, releasing ‘A Place In My Heart’ featuring Kym Mazelle, a remix of Anabel Englund’s ‘London Headache’, and mixing part of the first ever Defected In The House Croatia compilation.
Dario D’Attis’ exceptional remix of Soul Vision’s ‘Don’t Stop’ had been receiving so much love at Defected parties at the beginning of the year it was only a matter of time before it got a worldwide release on DFTD. He’s now a key artist for the Defected sub-label, commissioned to do remixes of Alaia & Gallo’s summer hit ‘Who Is He?’ and Tonja Dantzler’s ‘In And Out Of My Life’. Watch out for much more from Dario in 2017.
For his ‘Afterdark Mix’, man of the moment and top charted artist on Resident Advisor Sabb spliced together tracks by Emanuel Satie and Roberto Rodriguez to create this outstanding record. Representing at the techier end of the house spectrum for DFTD, the track has gained support from Pete Tong and will continue to do the business in clubs worldwide.
A truly ‘Classic’ affair, Honey Dijon’s ‘Houze’ cemented her status as a refreshingly unique DJ and producer and as an established member of the Classic family. Featuring another Classic artist Seven Davis Jr. and accompanied by remixes from Eli Escobar and Mark Farina, it was this Deetron mix that really hit the spot. Tracks like this one demonstrate why Honey has earned support from the likes of The Black Madonna and a place at the #11 spot in Mixmag’s DJs of the year.
This year saw the re-issue of several 4th Floor classics including this absolute banger from Fallout, originally released in 1987. Remastered and tastefully remixed by nu disco producer of the moment, Purple Disco Machine, a new lease of life awaited this genuine classic which has truly stood the test of time. Of all PDM’s outings this year, this highlights his impressive ability to mix the old with the new to great effect.
Another 4th Floor re-issue, Black Riot (aka Todd Terry) released ‘A Day In The Life’ in 1988 and it has the same explosive effect on the dancefloor today as it did then. This year’s re-issue was accompanied by a brand new remix by house heavyweights Full Intention, a duo that excelled themselves in the last few months, enjoying Traxsource #1s with their own productions ‘Keep Pushing’ and ‘Beating Drum’. Watch this space for more Full Intention excellence in 2017.