From dark clubs to sunrise sets and from secret lofts to festival tents, deep house and tech house beats had party-goers bouncing and grooving through 2012. This past year continued the evolution of the genres in big ways with unique sounds from producers new and old, resulting in global exposure never before seen in the house community. Check out the 15 tracks that made LessThan3 get down in 2012.
Pleasurekraft feat. Green Velvet – Skeleton Key (Original Mix)
Pleasurekraft feat Green Velvet - Skeleton Key (Original Mix) [Great Stuff]
This all-star combination blended the trademark circus sounds of Pleasurekraft with Green Velvet’s smooth vocals in a big, bassline-driven tech house weapon. The tinge of electro that followed the hook gave this one cross-genre appeal and play from many DJs, including A-Trak and Fedde le Grand.
Above & Beyond – Prelude (Andrew Bayer & James Grant Remix)
Above & Beyond - Prelude (Andrew Bayer & James Grant Remix) [Anjunadeep]
Above & Beyond’s beloved Anjunadeep label enjoyed a solid 2012 with a bevy of compilations and releases. Andrew Bayer and James Grant’s remix of A&B’s Prelude was a perfect showcase of the label’s sound: smooth, deep, and progressive. Part trance, part deep house, part disco, Prelude was right at home in many sets this past year.
Justin Martin – Don’t Go (Original Mix)
Justin Martin - Don't Go (Original Mix) [dirtybird]
Justin Martin took us from ghettos to gardens and back again in 2012 with the release of his debut album, and no track stood out more than Don’t Go. Angelic vocals and a heavy, dubbed out bassline made this one a crowd pleaser and gave way to excellent remixes from Dusky and Leroy Peppers.
Ben Pearce – What I Might Do (Original Mix)
Ben Pearce - What I Might Do (Original Mix) [MTA]
Manchester’s Ben Pearce made waves in 2012 with his creative work on Purp & Soul and a series of lauded tracks and remixes, but none was bigger than What I Might Do. This slice of soulful house got support from some major selectors, such as Seth Troxler and Pete Tong, and set Pearce up for a breakout 2013.
Hot Chip – Flutes (Sasha Remix)
Hot Chip - Flutes (Sasha Remix) [Last Night On Earth]
Hot Chip’s In Our Heads album had plenty of its tracks remixed, but the best rework was certainly Sasha’s take on Flutes. Striking chords made this one big enough for peak-time while smooth vocals and a subterranean bassline made it relaxed enough for midday.
Roman FlÜgel – Cookie Dust (Original Mix)
Roman Fluegel - Cookie Dust (Original Mix) [Cocoon]
Roman Flügel has never been one to stick to convention, and Cookie Dust was as out-of-the-box as one can get. Double kicks and a memorable synth lead put this one into the crates of the most daring DJs, and when the track began to break down like The Disintegration Loops at 3:30 we were left wondering whether our minds had oozed out onto the dancefloor.
Guy Gerber – A Blade Through My Piano (Original Mix)
Guy Gerber - A Blade Through My Piano (Original Mix) [Fabric]
This one lands on the countdown by virtue of it being the standout track on one of the finest albums of the year. Guy Gerber’s Fabric 64 was a melodic, emotive journey through the mind of one of the most talented producers in electronic music today, and A Blade Through My Piano showed just how good Gerber is at telling a story through sound.
wAFF – Jeyda (Original Mix)
wAFF - Jeyda (Original Mix) [Hot Creations]
wAFF burst onto the scene in a big way in 2012 with one of Hot Creations’ finest releases of the year–the Rainbows EP. While Jo Johnson got more play from big names, it was Jeyda’s sultry swing that turned our heads. Armed with an impressive range of sound and a penchant for some of the deepest basslines around, wAFF is poised to have a huge 2013.
Hot Natured feat. Ali Love – Benediction (Original Mix)
Hot Natured feat Ali Love - Benediction (Original Mix) [Hot Creations]
Hot Natured and Ali Love teamed up in 2011 to strike gold with Forward Motion, so another collaboration was a no-brainer. Benediction became an instant pop hit, cracking the UK Top 40, but that didn’t mean Jamie Jones and Lee Foss were getting away from their roots–they were simply perfecting a winning formula. Love’s warm vocals and signature Hot Natured grooves made this the quintessential summertime jam.
Matthew Dekay & Lee Burridge – Fur Die Liebe (Original Mix)
Matthew Dekay & Lee Burridge - Fur Die Liebe (Original Mix) [All Day I Dream]
“We just took a load of ‘K’ and then played every stringed instrument within our reach and… well… voila!" That’s how Lee Burridge explained the magic behind Fur Die Liebe. His collaboration with Matthew Dekay embodied the idyllic spirit of their All Day I Dream label and parties, and even brought him to tears when he dropped it to close his sunrise set at Burning Man.
Jon Dasilva & Maceo Plex feat. Joi Caldwell – Love Somebody Else (Original Mix)
Jon Dasilva & Maceo Plex feat Joi Cardwell - Love Somebody Else (Original Mix) [Ellum Audio]
Very few producers had a stronger 2011 than Maceo Plex (pictured), and he kept the burners on in 2012. This loved-up rework of an old Balearic track by Jon Dasilva was a summer anthem, dripping with cool and equipped with one of the funkiest basslines of the year.
Anthony Naples – Mad Disrespect (Original Mix)
Anthony Naples - Mad Disrespect (Original Mix) [Mister Saturday Night]
In case anyone didn’t know about the beloved Mister Saturday Night parties before, then the launch of their record label definitely put them on the map. Anthony Naples’ perfect slice of Brooklyn house transported us to the finest lofts and warmest groves that the New York borough has to offer.
Pachanga Boys – Time (Original Mix)
Pachanga Boys - Time (Original Mix) [Hippie Dance]
Deep house paradise. How else can we describe this masterpiece by the Pachanga Boys? Time was a Burning Man anthem and one of the most charted tracks of 2012, dropped in an incredible amount of sunrise and afterhours sets. Not to mention that the physical release is still quite a hot commodity; only 300 vinyls were pressed, and any used copies floating around will run you at least $300.
Julio Bashmore – Au Seve (Original Mix)
Julio Bashmore - Au Seve (Original Mix) [Broadwalk]
It was impossible to miss the bells and “oh baby!" of Au Seve this past year. The “no. 1 ginger DJ" launched his Broadwalk label with this bomb, and DJs worldwide immediately took notice. It was heard over and over at major festivals and underground clubs alike, sending crowds into a frenzy with its infectious bassline.
Todd Terje – Inspector Norse (Original Mix)
Todd Terje - Inspector Norse (Original Mix) [Smalltown Supersound]
Space disco is here to stay. Todd Terje left quite a mark on 2011 with Snooze 4 Love and Ragysh, but saved his best ever effort for 2012. Inspector Norse was beautiful and purpose-driven, expertly rising and falling on its way to one of the most satisfying climaxes in any track of the past few years, before breaking back down with a clever restraint that left us wanting more. Terje made it abundantly clear this past year that no one makes tracks like him, and we’re hoping that 2013 brings even more brilliance from the Scandinavian producer.