The Top 5 Albums of 2016: The "OG" Edition
Yesterday we gave credit to 5 DJs and producers who owned the year of 2016, putting out debut albums that established them within the dance music scene, or following up developing careers with secondary releases that solidified their positions within the genre. Today, we shift our focus to 5 more DJs and producers who blew us away with equal force in terms of their production. The difference? Today we direct our attentions to DJs/producers already comfortable within EDM—the veterans of electronic music who offered the freshest albums of the year. Let’s get started…
1. Yellow Claw, “Barong Family Album”: The hardstyle Amsterdam based duo, made up of Jim Aasgier and Nils Rondhuis, has dominated trap since 2010, although some of their most popular singles—i.e. “DJ Turn It Up,” (2013) and Flosstradamus collab’d “Pillz” (2013)—would not come until years later. Back in 2014 YC established their own label, the “Barong Family” label, a label that was then supported by Spinnin’ Records, but currently stands alone. Yellow Claw released “The Barong Family Album” on August 12th of 2016, an album that features the talent of San Holo, Rochelle—from the YC single “Shotgun”—Mightyfools, and Moksi. The undeniably dirty album caught our attention early, with many of its tracks appearing on YC’s “Mixtape #10.” Bow down to the self declared “party gods” with our favorite track from The Barong Family Album, "Work That," by LNY TNZ and The Galaxy.
2. Flume, “Skin”: If 2016 was the “year of The Chainsmokers,” it was duly also the year in which Flume truly broke out as a prominent producer with the release of his second album, “Skin.” And that’s not news. The Australian musician and DJ showed hints of brilliance back in 2013 with the release of his debut, self-titled studio album, “Flume,” and his awe inspiring remix of Lorde’s “Tennis Court.” In consideration of “Skin,” it seems that Flume showed less skin and more soul with this secondary offering. Our favorite track, “Smoke & Retribution” appears below.
3. Eric Prydz, “Opus”: The “Lillo” producer came out with a musical masterpiece this year, materializing in the form of his 2016 debut studio album, “Opus.” The album’s status as Prydz’s “debut album” is perhaps surprising given the longevity of Prydz’s presence within EDM, but more specifically, within the genre of Progressive House, where Prydz has rightfully gained immense respect as a DJ/producer. Call us cliché, but our favorite track off of the synth dependent Opus is 2016 hit, “Generate.”
4. Zeds Dead, “Northern Lights”: If there was any mix we would want to be getting cozy with in the dead of winter, it’d be Zeds Dead’s 2015 same title “Dead of Winter Mix.” The Canadian duo stunned us with the 2015 mix, one an hour and change in duration. This year, they wowed us again with the release of their debut album, “Northern Lights.” The album was a milestone in a pretty flawless musical track record, bringing heavy bass, strong vocals, and some dubby sounds for dubstep enthusiasts. We were tempted to list “Blame,” the Diplo/Elliphant collab as our favorite track off of the album, but given the track’s considerable popularity already, we direct you to “Where Did That Go,” a wistful yet satisfying song off of the EP.
5. Kygo, “Cloud Nine”: If anyone “stole the show” this year in deep & tropical house, it was Kygo. The “I See Fire” remixer invited interested listeners to “Stay” and delve deeper into familiarization with his undeniably chill sound with 2016 release, the 15 track “Cloud Nine.” We’ve loved Kygo through all stages of his growth as both a songwriter and DJ, and this record confirms our belief that Kygo is truly one of the greats. Let us be clear: we like too many tracks off of “Cloud Nine” to pick just one, so by linking a couple below, we too elevate you to “cloud nine” status.