It’s been another fine year for Ukrainian prodigy Omnia. After a breakthrough year in 2012, this year saw him hit #48 in the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs, along with several Beatport #1 spots, notably from the first entry in our chart Tomorrow People. A hard-hitting, apocalyptic mix of euphoric trance riffs and a quirky breaks-tinged drop, this track had "festival anthem" written all over it, a role it certainly fulfilled over the summer.
Egyptian duo Aly & Fila are something of trance royalty nowadays, and 2014 further cemented their reputation with their third studio album, The Other Shore. Rammed with some utterly epic tracks, we’ve chosen one of the album’s finest, also used as the anthem for Aly & Fila’s Future Sound Of 350 tour over the summer. Eye 2 Eye sees the duo team up with fellow veteran Roger Shah for a proper old-school tinged banger, topped off beautifully with some soaring vocals courtesy of Sylvia Tosun.
As always, Anjunabeats likes to take on artists who deliver again and again, and Genix is certainly no exception. 2014 saw one of his best efforts yet, a stunning piece of progressive trance in the shape of Run. From sultry arps to brooding saws, it’s another example of the UK’s fine trance heritage. Be on the lookout for his next track Makoto, slated to release in January 2015.
It would be remiss of us not to include a release from Enhanced on our chart, so what better than this stunner from Canadian producer Soundprank. Normally a name associated with progressive house, the man otherwise known as Colin Fisher occasionally shows of his prowess at creating a trance monster. Flare is a perfect example of this–an exhilarating number with some clever vocal chops and a piano hook that just won’t leave your head–certainly evidence the guy knows how to cross between genres.
Originally by Dash Berlin, with vocals from Roxanne Emery and remixed by Photographer; what more could you want from a trance track? Part of Dash Berlin’s We Are album, Shelter was given the once over by Ukrainian producer Photographer. A massive remix, complete with some classic trance riffs, Shelter is uplifting trance just as it should be.
Another healthy dose of trance royalty as we hit the top 10, this time a collab from Armin van Buuren (pictured) and Andrew Rayel, given the “utterly mental" treatment by none other than Talla 2XLC. At a raging 140bpm, this take on EIFORYA is another great example of the BPM-throwback trend led by the likes of Armin’s own Who’s Afraid Of 138?! label, which has provided a full-on hit of the old-school brought right into 2014.
You’d have been forgiven for thinking that the world didn’t really need another remix of Samuel Barber’s Adagio For Strings, but this effort from Mark Sixma certainly destroys that theory. Absolutely pouring with energy from start to finish, this dark and dirty take on a classic is bound to stand the test of time alongside Ferry and Tiesto’s versions, and certainly explains why he’s become one of Armada’s favorite sons.
Taken from their second studio album Unified, Finnish duo Super8 & Tab hit the trance nail right on the head with No Frontiers. Alongside the soaring vocal talents of regular collaborator Julie Thompson, there’s some rock-solid production at play—including a classic Super8 & Tab bassline, an enormous break, and a to-die-for riff.
It’s been a rollercoaster couple of years for relative newcomer Ilan Bluestone, but 2014 has no doubt been his best yet. Now a solid regular on the Anjunabeats roster, Spheres is his stand-out track of the year, a driving big room trance record with a progressive twist. The attention around this one over the past 12 months has been staggering; it’s certainly got future classic written all over it.
Forever treading the line between trance and something totally different all together, it’s almost as though there are two different sides to Andrew Bayer that sometimes decide to collaborate. His skill as a producer of club bangers often combines with his genius as a songwriter and arranger, and Once Lydian is another stunning example of this almost unique talent.
One the leading tracks from his second studio album Drive, Gareth Emery‘s U features a standout vocal performance from fellow Brit Bo Bruce. With a re-location to LA and some sold out tour dates behind him, Emery’s career is on fire at the moment. Tracks like U pushed trance further into the mainstream while retaining that underground feel, making Emery and his Garuda label important names in the genre.
2014 Jorn van Deynhoven take the honour of producing the ASOT 650 anthem, the track sharing the name of Armin’s New Horizons era. Hundreds of thousands of people flock to ASOT events around the world just to hear that massive stadium trance sound that the brand is famous for, and no-one does it quite like Jorn. 2015 looks to be another blow-out year for Deynhoven, with an appearance on Feb. 21 at ASOT 700 in Utrecht.
A trance duo who’ve survived all the ups and downs of the genre, Cosmic Gate are bigger than ever right now. 2014 saw their sixth studio album Start To Feel unleashed on the world, which included this gem featuring the vocals of Eric Lumiere. Falling Back epitomizes Cosmic Gate’s sound of late, with hints of their harder-edged days playing out nicely over some progressive, big room production, a winning concept that continues to see them held in high regard.
If there’s one thing Above & Beyond fans wanted from 2014, it was news of their much-anticipated third studio album. The tension was finally broken just days before their massive ABGT100 show at Madison Square Garden, as We Are All We Need was announced, along with a teaser of the title track. Featuring the ever-astounding vocals of Zoe Johnston, the single was released in full just a few days later, and has certainly set the bar high for the album, due to be released on Jan 20. 2015. If this is the level of quality on offer, it should see Above & Beyond reach a whole new level.
While narrowing the hundreds or even thousands of trance tracks released in 2014 into a definitive top 15 isn’t easy, picking the top spot didn’t present much of a challenge. This year, young Nate Rathbun has continued his inexorable rise to the top–in just one week alone in early December, he signed to Astralwerks, received a Grammy nomination, sold out his headlining Audacity tour, and confirmed a residency at Marquee Las Vegas. Despite the sudden success, Audien remains the same committed trance producer he always has been, mixing beautiful breakdowns with massive drops. Hindsight is perhaps is finest yet, a staple of festivals across the world all summer, and still riding high as arguably the most ubiquitous trance track of the year.