A lot of best-of lists suffer from terrible recency bias, including mine. I’m going to try and stay away from it for 2015, but with so much fantastic music being released every week it’s a tough ask.
My criteria for the list are:
Does it have repeat playability?
Does it trigger an emotional or physical response?
Did it annoy my neighbors when played loudly?
If the answer is yes to all of these questions, then we have a winner.
Without further ado…My Best of 2015
Akuratyde – Embrace EP – Blu Mar Ten Music
Ok, so this only came out in November, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t drop the bottom out of my emotions when I heard it. Since then, whenever I’m feeling more than a little melancholy, I put the EP on and remember that there’s beautiful shit in the world. Akuratyde actually captured and helped me emote things I didn’t even know I felt. That’s really powerful stuff.
DRS – Mid Mic Crisis – Soul:R
What do you get when you combine drum & bass’ best MC with a who’s who list of the game’s best producers? Mid Mic Crisis. From the gloomy, yet funk inspired The View to the mad bass in Raptors to the smashing that The Puppeteer delivers, there’s no let-up from first to last. Oh, and the sequel Bun Ya Too, further cemented that phrase into my lexicon. Have you ever seen the face of a Texan when you say “bun ya” to ’em?
Jamie XX – In Colour
I hopped on the Jamie XX train way late because I only picked up the album in October after it’s release in May. In Colour is a strong blend of jungle, garage, house, rap, and downtempo all run through Jamie’s own unique filter. From the quiet intensity of Loud Places to the jungle-vibed Gosh to the most commercially successful tune on the album, I Know There’s Going To Be (Good Times) with Slim Thug it all just works. Never in a million years did I think any project that Slim Thug was a part of would be on my best-of list.
Chimpo & Fracture – From Early – Metalheadz
Bass, bass, and more bass. Love the off-kilter drums, the reggae sample, and the pacing. Did I mention the bass? One of the most innovative releases of the year.
Ivy Lab – 20 Questions EP – Critical Music
Man. Ivy Lab can do no wrong…this is their time and their world and we’re just living in it. Featuring Sabre, Stray, and Halogenix this is a Voltron like super-group of talent that’s making everything in the drum & bass world better. The 20 Questions EP was their shining moment this year. The titular track features a vocal and synth sounds that catapult it into its own genre, blues & bass. The rest of the tracks take a backseat to that one but are not at all slouches. The darker roller Forex and the garage-inspired El Train remix of Live On Your Smile are two of my favorites. Repeated listening is essential for Ivy Lab, and especially this EP.
Finally, a song that wasn’t released in 2015, but has affected me deeply:
Vic Chesnutt – Flirted With You All My Life
I said all I really wanted to say about this song already. If you get a chance to pick up the At The Cut album, I suggest you do it.