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.
#40. Love Your Illusion (Original Mix): No.19 Music
Chances are this was your favourite DJ's secret weapon this year. Eric Volta's "Love Your Illusion" was road tested by the likes of Lee Foss, Sasha, and Art Department until it finally dropped after countless of heads scoured for rips and track ID's. What's not to love about a dance track that plays out like a synth showcase.
#39. Modifier (Original Mix): Ostgut Ton
If there's any 2013 album that's going to stand the test of time, it's Incubation by remnant Sandwell District artist Function. The LP remarkably grafts the bleak futurist bode of a sci-fi soundtrack with the nasty rhythmic frontier of techno. "Modifier" was definitely the number DJ's got the most use out of.
#38. Ahora (Original Mix): MindTrip
A South American icon in today's techno scene, Argentina's Pfirter has honed a fiery percussive approach that blazes through speaker cabs all across the world. His knack for polyrhythmic grooves and crescendoing drum tracks begs for a tribal reaction, and "Ahora" does just that.
#37. A Hold on Love (Original Mix): Phantasy Sound
With all the dues he's paid over the years, it's hard to believe that Erol Alkan released his solo debut just this month. The A-side, "A Hold on Love", has the attention to detail and musical craftsmanship to make things stick. It'll be hard to forget this one.
Simian Mobile Disco & Bicep
#36. Sacrifice (Original Mix): Delicacies
Nothing but high hopes and expectations for Simian Mobile Disco's Delicacies label. The duo has recently taken a liking to collaboration, and the first tag team on the imprint featured everyone's favourite classic house darlings. With 4 guys hacking away at the track, "Sacrifice" was bound to be a hit.
#35. Floorwave (Original Mix): Pets Recordings
Another re-rub of an outrageous Dance Mania beat, "Floorwave" takes its chops from Paul Johnson into darker territories with a grisly 909 and a pulsing bass patch. Trikk manages to keep it simple, just like the original, and we can't thank him enough for it.
Kowton & Julio Bashmore
#34. Mirror Song (Original Mix): Broadwalk Records
This year was a bit underwhelming for Bristol's Julio Bashmore, who is probably laying on a couch right now waiting for some pop star to finally finish her take. His collaboration with fellow local artist Kowton didn't quite stand up to the chart topping hits of his past, but the distorted drums and bit crushed bassline did make for something peculiar.
#33. Lost In Thaw (Original Mix): White Material
Without a doubt the label to look out for in the coming new year. White Material stretches out from Brooklyn to Berlin, and their low-key releases haven't stopped them from lighting up the scene. "Lost In Thaw" is the flagship in this 4-track sampler and with its anxious synth lead and catchy juke sample, it's the perfect intro into what you can expect out of this imprint.
Serge & Tyrell
#32. Pump-O-Matic (Original Mix): Clone Jack For Daze
In line with Clone's Jack For Daze series, label head Serge teamed up with Alden Tyrell to produce 3 classic old school cuts. "Pump-O-Matic" was the midnight floor slammer, sampling Armando's legendary synth line in "100% Dissin' You", and taking it on a ride through some clever drum programming.
#31. Minimalism A1 (Ben Klock Remix): SINO
Let's admit that everything Ben Klock puts out isn't a masterpiece, but when he does manage to pull one off, the end result is timeless. His remake for Terrence Dixon is so offbeat and nutty, it's hard not to find it mesmerizing. The track's awkward hats and reed-like lead make it unconventional even for the techno genre.