Best of 2018 I by I 18.12.18

Deep Inside: The best house and techno of 2018

In the four years I’ve been compiling FACT’s best house and techno tracks, I can’t recall a 12-month period that’s been so full of innovative, diverse and – most importantly – fun music as we had in 2018.

If electro was last year’s most obvious trend, 2018’s breakout sound was a proliferation of faster, harder techno with its roots in ’90s hardcore and early trance. Courtesy’s new label Kulør led the charge with a compilation of music from Copenhagen’s fast techno scene, as did Berlin’s D.Dan, with his frentic track, ‘Sudan Sedan’.

Detroit via Berlin label Jacktone (one of my favorites of 2018), repped lots of different sounds, but Midwest-inspired ’90s rave sounds were plentiful there too. Scottish duo Clouds even created an entire post-apocalyptic universe for their album of hardcore rave bangers, Heavy The Eclipse. The grim, greyscale, minimalist techno of a few years ago seems, thankfully, so far away.

House music continued to obsess over the past, but this year’s best tracks found new ways to engage with a genre that’s now pushing middle age: Dawit Eklund, Kiki Kudo, Lone, Parris, CLUBKELLY, Laurel Halo & Hodge, Flora FM, Perko, Violet and Kornél Kovács all made new shapes from familiar building blocks.

And of course, 2018 had its anthems: Krystal Klear’s festival favorite ‘Neutron Dance’, Eris Drew’s transcendental ‘Hold Me (T4T Embrace Mix)’, Marie Davidson’s techno thumper/capitalist critique ‘Work It’, Ploy’s percussive floorfiller ‘Ramos’ and Peggy Gou’s ‘It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)’, one of the few underground house tracks of the past several years to cross over into the mainstream.

There was so much good house and techno this year (check the past six months of this column for proof), I had to increase this year’s list to 50 tracks, and I’m still only scratching the surface of how good things are. The list below (arranged in no particular order) isn’t just the best of 2018 – it suggests that 2019 is going to be even more exciting.

Tracklist:

01. Peggy Gou – ‘It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)’ [Ninja Tune]
02. Kiki Kudo – Interactive_Gee’ [Incienso]
03. Dawit Eklund – ‘New Life’ [1432R]
04. Laurel Halo & Hodge – ‘Tru’ [Livity Sound]
05. Parris – ‘Puro Rosaceaes’ [Idle Hands]
06. Violet – ‘Antifa Beats’ [On Loop]
07. CLUBKELLY – ‘Hiway’ [Crazylegs]
08. Kornél Kovács – ‘Metropolis’ [Unknown to the Unknown]
09. Krystal Klear – ‘Neutron Dance’ [Running Back]
10. Perko – ‘Rounded’ [Numbers]
11. Analog Tara – ‘Propulsion’ [1432R]
12. D. Tiffany – ‘Spirit Alien’ [Oscillate]
13. Eris Drew – ‘Hold Me (T4T Embrace Mix) [Naive]
14. Flora FM – ‘Eternal Huron Shadows’ [Argot]
15. Lone – ‘Oedo 808’ [R&S]
16. E. Myers – ‘I Am Alive’ [Unknown Label]
17. Russell E.L. Butler – ‘Builder’ [Left Hand Path]
18. Marie Davidson – ‘Work It’ [Ninja Tune]
19. Batu – ‘Flash React’ [XL Recordings]
20. upsammy – ‘Another Place’ [Nous’klaer Audio]
21. Ploy – ‘Ramos’ [Timedance]
22. Pangaea – ‘Bone Sucka’ [Hessle Audio]
23. Overmono – ‘Daisy Chain’ [Poly Kicks]
24. Taraval – ‘Aardvark’ [Text]
25. Neville Watson – ‘Reet Dux’ [Don’t Be Afraid]
26. Giant Swan – ‘Pax Britannica’ [Whities]
27. Solid Blake – ‘Warp Room’ [Seilscheibenpfeiler]
28. Isabella – ‘Penchant Disenchant’ [Peder Mannerfelt Produktion]
29. Funeral Future – ‘Heute nicht’ [Kulør]
30. D.Dan – ‘Sudan Sedan’ [Lobster Theremin]
31. E-Saggila – ‘Brunette Cistern’ [Bank Records NYC]
32. Ghorba – ‘Scoby Apprentice’ [Jacktone]
33. Helena Hauff – ‘Hyper-Intelligent Genetically Enriched Cyborg’ [Ninja Tune]
34. The Mover – ‘Doom Computer’ [Planet Phuture]
35. SHXCXCHCXSH – Fuofuofu [Rösten]
36. Szare – ‘Translocated’ [Different Circles]
37. Bruce – ‘What’ [Hessle Audio]
38. Special Request – ‘Tiresias (Anastasia Kristensen rework) [Houndstooth]
39. Jasmine Infiniti – ‘Flight at O’Hare’ [Club Chai]
40. Mor Elian – ‘Dossgroove’ [Fever AM]
41. Abby Echiverri – ‘Nadezhda’ [The Bunker NY]
42. Beta Librae – ‘Ephemeral’ [Allergy Season]
43. Laksa – ‘It Feels Like I’ve Been Here Before’ [Whities]
44. Slowglide – ‘Reigi’ [Antinote]
45. Gábor Lázár – ‘Unfold’ [The Death of Rave]
46. Peder Mannerfelt – ‘Sissel & Bass’ (ft. Sissel Wincent) [Peder Mannerfelt Produktion]
47. Clouds – ‘Dark Leviathan Krew’ [Electric Deluxe]
48. The Higher – ‘The Core’ [XL Recordings]
49. Skee Mask – ‘50 Euro to Break Boost’ [Ilian Tape]
50. Barker – ‘Look How Hard I’ve Tried’ [Ostgut Ton]

Scott Wilson is FACT’s tech editor. Find him on Twitter.

Olivea Kelly is an independent artist and designer. Find her on Instagram or at opk.design.


Keep up with all of FACT’s Best of 2018 coverage here.

Read next: What does “rave” mean in 2018?

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