A pseudo-countdown of top picks and underrated favourites made for the love and not the pay check. Well... not the biggest pay check. 2013 was the year when house finally crept to the top of the pop charts with a new wave of artists reclaiming its throne of dramatic four-on-the-floor hits. Can't help but thank the Brits for making people realize that pop music could sound good again. That's not to say the U.K. was doing all the work this year, no-one can talk techno without mentioning Germany's gross domestic product blaring out of Europe's revered clubs like Berghain and Trouw.
The push and pull between Europe's dance giants has made the culture become increasingly commercial and increasingly weird—so this year's crate can be found in all corners of the dancefloor, pressed against sweaty warehouse walls and torturing festival barricades. And just like all of our crates in the past, it's about giving props to white-label experiments and accepting honest radio hits.
Kirk Degiorgio & Ben Sims
#60. Strike (Original Mix): Machine
Ben Sims & Kirk Degiorgio team up once again for a peak time techno gem on their jointly owned Machine label. A driving, relentless rhythm only Sims can replicate pushes the track into the intense darkness that drives the Machine club night they've been running for a few years now.
#59. DB011: Dolly
Taking inspiration from her impressive residency at arguably the number one club in the world, Panorama Bar in Berlin, the Dutch born Steffi has been keeping busy with releases this year including the light hearted "DB011" on Dolly that features a bouncy bass line to grip the track while percussion rattles around overtop.
#58. Get Ready: Rinse
As if you didn't already know UK garage was making its way back into the forefronts of dance music, XXXY's early year output for Rinse was one of many vocal heavy, bass driven tunes that caught our ear in 2013. What does 2014 hold for the future of this booming subgenre?
#57. Young Lord (Alixander III Remix): Rare Beef
Although we should have expected it with an EP titled "Extinction Event", the end of Azari & III still came as a huge surprise as one of most influential dance music acts in recent years parted ways. The upside? We can expect more from the solo efforts of Alixander III who's techno prowess comes into fine form remixing another Toronto talent, HolloH.
#56. The Dirt: 50 Weapons
As we mentioned last week when we featured his alter ego Wax, the many monikers of René Pawlowitz are sure to frequent the EARMILK crates and he makes another splash in the Top 100 as Shed with "The Dirt", a massive techno tune that feels right at home on Modeselektor's 50 Weapons label.
#55. Kool FM: Text
One of the best electronica albums of the year from Kieran Hebden, better known as Four Tet, featured an array of tracks ranging from melodic and psychedelic to more dance oriented outings like "Kool FM", proving his trippy sounds can work in a club as well as it does on vinyl in your parents basement.
#54. The Light Comes: Turbo
Another Turbo release cracks the top 100 with Belgium based goldFFinch, who's previous appearance on Dirtybird seems to have rubbed off on the Twin Turbo brand, as this bass heavy output doesn't hit quite as rough as some Turbo predecessors.
#53. No Good: Boysnoize Records
Audionite's 2013 release on Boysnoize Records is one for the crates. An organ drenched peak time techno masterpiece with BNR written all over it, this timeless output that received impressive remixes from Jon Convex, J. Tijn & SCNTST was on repeat from some of the usual suspects this season, and with reason.
#52. Case (Nabis): Fifth Wall Records
At least the second track from Brooklyn's Fifth Wall to crack the list, Hound Scales transforms a unique female vocal along with a growling sub bass that drives this one. An intricate drum programming adds to the excitement and the newly titled Nico Jacobsen makes a grand entrance with "Case (Nobis)".
#51. Gave Up: Man Made Music
First heard on George Fitzgerald's Essential Mix, the tandem of Leon Vynehall and Christian Piers drop their first EP on Fitz' Man Made Music imprint, and with classic house pianos swimming around in female vocals what's not to love? House is back with names like Bicep and Laszlo Dancehall leading the charge.