Following last week’s 50 best albums, this week we’re counting down our 50 best tracks of 2011.
Again, we’ll be listing ten entries per day, closing this Friday on the top ten. If that’s not enough lists for you, then you can still check out our 10 best record labels of 2011 and 50 best reissues of 2011.
Having wreaked havoc on London’s airwaves and dancefloors for months, UK Funky bomb ‘Tarantula’ finally got an official release this year, courtesy of Lightworks. Dead simple, dead effective.
49: MR. BEATNICK
(DON’T BE AFRAID)
Stunning, quietly regal string-driven house music; the sort of 4/4 that’s so well-crafted that you forget the kicks are even there.
48: PUSHA T
‘ALONE IN VEGAS’
(from FEAR OF GOD, MIXTAPE)
Eerily jangling lament from one half of the Clipse, and the undoubted highlight of this year’s Fear of God mixtapes.
47: PAUL WOOLFORD & PSYCATRON
Almost five years on from ‘Erotic Discourse’, someone, somewhere did 2011 a massive favour and relit the fire under Paul Woolford’s arse, prompting the Leeds veteran to roll back the years and deliver some of his all-time best material. ‘Razor Blade’ and his remix of T. Williams and Terri Walker’s ‘Heartbeat’ were sublime, but this colossal collaboration with Psycatron on Hotflush simply took the biscuit.
46: MARK ERNESTUS MEETS BBC
‘MARK ERNESTUS MEETS BBC’ (VERSION)
At the behest of Honest Jon’s, a dazzling array of producers applied their remixing skills to those hi-octane, marimba-heavy Shangaan Electro tracks this year – among them the likes of Actress, Peverelist, Theo Parrish and Oni Ayhun. Mark Ernestus, who co-curated the original Shangaan compilation, effortlessly outclassed them all with this masterful rub. Miraculously transforming BBC’s jubilant original into a thing of barely suppressed melancholy and dread, it’s also probably the housiest thing we’ve heard from Ernestus since the heyday of Maurizio/Round.
45: AUTRE NE VEUT
(from BODY, HIPPOS IN TANKS)
Initially downcast but ultimately soaring, anthemic lead track from AVN’s mind-bending Body EP, his falsetto vocals reined in – at least by his standards – to make way for near-gothic strings, crashing drums and wriggling layers of synthetic noise. Pop music put through the blender.
‘CLOSER’ (PINCH REMIX)
The return of jungle great Photek in 2011 really wasn’t as special as we’d hoped it would be – who’d have thought he’d end up sounding so Ed Banger? – but Pinch’s larger than life, dubbed out remix of ‘Closer’ righted some wrongs, and would’ve felt right at home on his classic 2007 album Underwater Dancehall.
43: LEVON VINCENT
‘IMPRESSIONS OF A RAINSTORM’
A triumphant production from Levon Vincent, coming over like a tribute to the early work of Carl Craig, and all the nocturnal drama and emotion it entailed. Musically mature and sophisticated, but precision-tooled to keep dancefloors locked into its groove, techno really didn’t get much better in 2011.
(HARBOUR CITY SORROW)
No one does string-laden, cinematic electro like E.R.P. – better known as Convextion – and this particularly moody and moving number, a staple of his live sets for years, is up their with his finest work.
41: CREEP feat. NINA SKY
It’s hard to really get behind Creep – and trust us, we’ve been more guilty than most at wincing at their overly gothic videos, logo and less considered interview moments – but it’s even harder to deny the quality of this collaboration with Nina Sky, the unfairly forgotten r’n'b twins riding those moonlit synths like they were born for it.