The best music of 2021, according to 50+ global DJs - 2 - Features - Mixmag



Joy Orbison ‘still. slippin vol 1

I've been a big fan of Joy Orbison for years and even though he rarely releases, it's pretty much always top quality stuff. ‘still slipping vol.1’ felt like what a mixtape should be with lots of different styles of music spanning from R&B to club tracks to downtempo bits, and it really takes you for a ride in its whole entirety.


Solomun @ Exit 2021 Festival

I've had this on repeat, and it feels like a proper journey in those four hours with electro house, techno, house and more. The standout track has to be from Dukwa with ‘My Journey Into Eternity’, which hasn't left my USB since I first heard it!


The Chemical Brothers ‘The Darkness That You Fear

There’s just something about the Chemical Brothers which you can't beat. Their production is flawless as usual, the music video is perfect as ever, and this is just a feel-good track for the summer we just had!

Guedra Guedra

Tarek Yamani ‘Hilal'
Aya Metwalli ‘Sitt-il Muhanna

From the same album, ‘Various Artists - Nahma : A Gulf Polyphony / نهمة: تعدد الغناء الخليجي’. aims to honour the memory of these valiant free-divers ‘the Gulf’, their culture and their music by the means of a transmedia.

Tenderlonious ‘TEK-88

As a fan of the Roland TR-808, I think this is a very good album that travels between a fairly rhythmic and atmospheric electronic jazz that gives pride of place to the sounds of refined keyboards.


Since the start of the pandemic - especially in the last year, there has been a massive uptick in ambient house and techno music. Selecting my favourites has been a hard task given the amount of amazing music that came out this year. For this very reason, I want to curate two sides to it.

A-side includes music that I love, from my friends and influences. B-side includes tracks that I have been listening to this year around. This curation is an opportunity to admire and support these artists for doing what they do the best.


Saqib @ Abracadabra New Years, 2021

Saqib is a Pakistani DJ and producer based in Brooklyn, New York. He has been a musician since his teens, with a background in rock music and heavy metal that turned into techno and house in 2008.

He was the first resident for NYC-based 'Member’s Only' since 2014 and he is currently a resident artist with BLOND:ISH's Abracadabra, where he hosts a weekly stream called Love Jams. Saqib's productions made their way to a wide variety of splendid labels, and in the last year have made several exciting releases that will see light in the near future. (Check out our track together: ‘Lahore’).

YokoO & Bobi Stevkovski ‘Satya Mix Series 001’

Satya Records launched their mix series, some weeks back, with a feature from YokoO b2b Bobi Stevioski. Always radiating contagious uplifting dancefloor energy when playing together, this mix features a lens into awesome grooves.

Soela ‘XLR8R Podcast 714’

Soela is the alias of Elina Shorokhova, a Russian vocalist who has transitioned into electronic music with releases through the likes of Kompakt, Shall Not Fade and Sushitech. Last year, Lawrence signed her to his imprint Dial Records with Genuine Silk, and just recently she put out two melodic house cuts on Fort Romeau’s Cin Cin.

She’s compiled an XLR8R podcast, using it as an homage to some of her greatest artist inspirations (which I also admire) —the likes of Leafar Legov, Robag Wruhme, Donato Dozzy, and more. As it moves through house and experimental electronica, you’ll find comfort in the calming rhythms and a floating melancholic groove that feels like a warm hug in these colder winter months. (Check out her recent remix for me too!)

Nadia Khan ‘Juanita's Mix 048’

Juanita’s Mix was brought to us by the emerging talents of Nadia Khan of Pakistani origin. With little known about the artist, this mix lets the sublime music do the talking.

Perfect Timing with Axel Boman, Kornel Kovacs & Pedrodollar on Balamii

In this episode of Perfect Timing, Axel Boman, Kornél Kovács & Pedrodollar provided a recording from their set at the Department Festival in Stockholm. Party-starting selections from the likes of DJ Koze, Omar S and Nick Holder.

Clyde Built Radio: Lyla

After moving to Glasgow, Lyla developed a passion for DJing and held residencies at Flat 0/1 and La Cheetah. Her club night Sunny Side Up! focused on raising funds for remote areas of Northern Pakistan. Recently having moved back to Karachi she continues her monthly radio show on Clyde Built Radio where you can catch her playing a range of music from hip hop to disco to electro and everything in between.

We recently shared the stage at my first gig since the pandemic, a Halloween event in October, at District 19, Karachi.

Luis Leon ‘My Ears Have Tears’ (Nie Wieder Schlafen)

With over two years in the making, the debut of Luis Leon on Nie Wieder Schlafen feels like a long overdue salvation. With incredible patience and careful selection throughout the last years of label communication, Luis Leon's debut comes with the name of ‘My Ears Have Tears’. (Check out our remix together for Jayden Klight)

Leafar Legov ‘I Need You’ (Giegling)

For the last few years, Giegling has been at the forefront of underground music with their exclusive curations and releases. Leafar Legov, spelled Rafael Vogel backwards, is a music producer from Thüringen, Germany. He is a part of the dual deep house project Kettenkarussell.

Legov's relationship with club music seems purely conditional—he'll follow its guidelines only when they happen to suit his creative impulses. ‘I Need You’ is a 2021 record that points towards Giegling's emotional depth on the Various Artists sampler. (Purchase on vinyl)

Retza ‘Feel’ (Satya)

Hailing from Melbourne, Retza is a producer and DJ who has the underground heads listening, following his every move. This year Retza delivered a four-track vinyl EP on Satya. The label itself is recent but being directed within a core crew structure, headed by YokoO. (Hear their latest release).

Jeigo ‘Bloom’ (Banoffee Pies)

Having spent the last few years working in the industry at places such as Phonica, Rye Wax, Worldwide FM & Juno Records, Jeigo’s wide palate and deep crates are evident through his nostalgic, euphoric and melancholic productions. ‘Bloom’ is Jeigo’s recent 2021 tune on Banoffee Pies Records that's a rolling groover. Politely served dance music for clubs and mornings.

Mr. Sosa ‘Joy of Pain’ (Of Unsound Mind)

For Mr. Sosa, this year has been remarkable with the highlight being his single ‘Euphoria’ on Anjunadeep’s ‘Explorations’ compilation. The Bournemouth-based producer found his roots in hazy, lo-fi productions back in 2018. 'Joy of Pain EP' sends us on a trip of anthemic and uptempo beats, with a massive nod back to the jungle and garage roots we all loved. The leading track 'Joy of Pain' is a perfect mix of early garage with a blend of nu skool menacing breaks fused with a catchy vocal.

Quatri ‘Without Any Sense’ (Rituel Recordings)

Celebrating the 10th release of Rituel Recordings, Quatri is making his debut on the label with his new ‘System Free’ EP, influenced by wet dark dancefloors and ambient festival atmospheres.

B-Side Spotify Playlist Code:

Half Queen

We're living in uncertain times, but there's something certain to be said about the resilience, grit and power of music communities, and the individuals that occupy them. It's hard to find inspiration in the static of the capitalism and pandemic combo, but these following selects lit a fire under my ass this year. These are what I consider to be love letters to the art of music, to the history and to the communities we all are so incredibly lucky to witness and contribute to.

Special mention to the future legend Elise. Their Twitch stream held me many times this year. !heal

Heels & Souls


Loveshadow ‘Loveshadow

Music From Memory has been once again showing us all the way this year. It’s tough to pick a favourite - shouts to their amazing comps this year - but if pressed, we’d go for Loveshadow’s eponymous debut LP. Eight killer tracks from San Fran-based duo Anya and Izaak - synth pop / new wave vibes we can’t get enough of.


Guy Contact ‘Whip Crack Cowboy

Honestly could have picked so many of Guy Contact’s tracks this year. He’s been on a roll with brilliant, proggy leaning releases on Haws, Coymix, Craigie Knowes and Butter Sessions. Buy on sight stuff, ‘Whip Crack Cowboy' is one of many that we keep coming back to. Yeeeee-hawwwww!


Bar Part Time

Rather than one mix, we’ve picked Bar Part Time’s mix series ‘B.P.T. Radio’. So many gems over the past year - some choice favourites being Fredfades, Bianca Lexis, DJ Patrick, Customs. The quality and digging across the board is exceptional though, file under ‘chillin’.

[Photo: Khroma Collective]



2021 has also been the year that also saw the birth of our new social media app that as well as buying tickets and clothing etc cheaper than elsewhere allows people to make friends, build communities, chat and even date in a environment that has a 0 tolerance policy for racism, homophobia, misogyny and transphobia. We see this as a logical progression of what we do with the events. Disrupt things and change them for the better with diversity and inclusivity at the heart of it all.

HE.SHE.THEY. podcast

We’re veritable chatterboxes at HE.SHE.THEY. so Sophia and I wanted to bring other people’s stories, views and lived experiences to the forefront. This launched with Amy from A Doll Like Me - one of the charities we support - talking about the importance of representation, diversity and inclusivity in a bit of a tear jerking interviewing. Next it had Sita Abellan - fashion icon/stylist/actress/Model/DJ from Spain, Max the Tribrid - one of our performers who identifies as a Hell Hound-Witch-Human hybrid and DJ/producer Eats Everything. It’s eclectic, weird and wonderful as that’s what our community is too.


Cinthie - HE.SHE.THEY. fabric guest mix

Cinthie has been a HST favourite on both a production and DJ level for ages now. Was an honour to have her close fabric for us in Sept 2021. She delivered this mix to tease the fabric show and it’s my most listened mix of 2021 even though it only arrived in August haha …. So much so we had to add it to our new Apple Mix series. Keep this one bookmarked for the first summer BBQ of 2022 it won’t disappoint.

India Jordan Boiler Room

India is another incredible talent both on production and selecting! ‘And Groove’ is another one of my favourite tracks of 2021 always makes me dance round my kitchen. This mix is high-energy and fun with some fun throwbacks and even a couple of tracks from HST Records for which we are honoured and grateful! I wish I’d been there in person! Love India and all they stand for and really hope to see them slaying the crowd on a 2022 HE.SHE.THEY. line-up.

SYREETA HE.SHE.THEY. Radio 1 Residency mix

SYREETA is on a meteoric rise right now and no lovelier or more talented selector deserves it more. The way I’ve seen her command crowds this summer has been electric and I’m so excited for the future for her. This mix gave me a couple of my favourite tunes of summer 2021 and made even my Dad want to go clubbing when I played it to him. Firmly on repeat ever since June, it will definitely get you excited to be inside the rave. If you see SYREETA on a line-up in 2022, trust me and GO.


Cakes da Killa x Proper Villains (Wax Wings Remix)

The bassline in this one is just beyond killer. Wax took some perfect little hooks and elements to take this already incredible track to a deliciously dark techno place. This is one for the gym or getting ready to go out, utterly fierce. The club and radio feedback on this one was so strong, Laurent Garnier fed back in all caps saying he’d hammered it at gigs ever since he got it. We will take that! Big love Danny Howard and Sarah Story also for supporting. As soon as this landed in my inbox I knew we had a club monster, I listened about 10 times in a row on my headphones and couldn’t wait for the world to hear.

Blankson ‘Wraith’

This track is so sexy, we were sent this demo in Feb 2021 after what felt like a really long winter of no events, no travel and no fun basically. This track was one of the first to make me excited to hear the bass inside my chest in a club again. It actually makes me want to put my head inside a speaker still to be fair. Blankson is an underrated talent go check him out.


Maya Jane Coles ‘Night Creature’

A nominee for the BBC Radio 1 Dance Album of the year - for me personally it was the winner, Maya Jane Coles does it again with her third studio album,. Track after track of excellent and intricate productions from more club dancefloor moments to gorgeous lyrical tracks. The videos for ‘Run To You’ & ‘True Love To The Grave’ were shot at London’s Fold Nightclub and feature cameos from many of the key people pushing the envelope on London’s LGBTQIA+ scene. Plus a cameo from Skunk Anansie’s legendary Skin as the mob boss to end them all.

Louisahhh ‘The Practice of Freedom’ (Deluxe)

The first full length LP from Louisahhh and the first full length LP on HE.SHE.THEY. records definitely has to make the list. The opening track ‘Love Is A Punk’ sums it all up really and the whole record shows punk has found its new heroine in Louisahhh. It's made multiple end of year lists for both the lead single and the record and we are here for the industrial chaos and disrupter attitude. Louisahhh bares her soul on this record and is known for honest lyrics and conversations about sobriety, BDSM and speaking openly about women’s and musicians’ rights. Not to mention an album T-shirt charity project supporting The Okra Project with Paris fashion house Alyx. We Stan Louisahhh.

[Photo: Fiona Garden]


Times have been truly strange these past few years, I wish I could sum up the amount of songs I have discovered and listened to .Today I have chosen a variety of tracks to share for my year highlight. These songs have made me feel different energies. For a person that has multiple mood swings, these are my go-tos. They uplift my spirit or make me ponder — well, ponder is all we can do these days. I have also incorporated some tracks from Ugandan, Kenyan, Tuvan artists and Ethiopian artists. This tracklist is for love, for healing, for the nostalgic aura in some senses. Tunes that are soothing and some to shake off the low vibes.

Jay Carder

We certainly saw the full spectrum of music/clubbing in 2021, didn't we...Starting the year in lockdown, I was listening to pretty much solely ambient and BPMs under 100, and closed it on some of the speediest tracks I've ever played out. As a nation we went from absolutely nothing to the likes of WHP, fabric, Printworks and more shelling bangers to the masses. I played some of the busiest and most vibrant festivals to date – Lost Village, Field Day – even smaller, boutique festivals like Cosmic Roots had an undeniable energy that screamed of gratitude for the Return Of The Dance. My resulting 2021 DJ bag is an eclectic mix of moods, speeds and quirky sounds for every occasion imaginable. My DJ sets have been daring, spanning a wider-than-ever range of BPMs, genres and emotions; and the best part is, people have been really tuned into it. Roll on 2022 with this newly invested energy and openness to sonic diversity, both musically and physically, in terms of representation of artists, the importance of which is something that has definitely come to light during the pandemic and post-pandemic world.


Kiernan Laveaux ‘363˚ for pi pi pi’

I've been following Kiernan Laveaux for a while...her mixes always tip into the next 'what the hell, this is incredible' bracket of sonic sensation. Her mix for pi pi pi is no different; in fact, it's arguably her best yet. There's a hypnotic, rhythmic energy bubbling throughout, even though the sounds take a number of turns into dark and light. It holds back and reaches new places at the same time; it's everything you want from a mix – deep, interesting, gently driving and a true journey ideal for listening to in many environments.

Hugo Massien ‘Metamorphosis’

Sometimes an album comes along that literally blows you into another dimension. Not only is Hugo Massien a ridiculous producer, but his eclectic taste and ability to produce a wide range of genres within a whole is nothing short of spellbinding. This is one for driving to; for afterpartying to; for waking up to. There's music for every thought and feeling in here, from trip hop to techno, and it 100% deserves a mention as one of the top albums of 2021. The highlight track for me, which has to be mentioned – is ‘Outer Space Jam’. This track is so versatile, it can be played in pretty much any environment and it will grab the crowd and put them in your pocket. It's the perfect balance of dark and light; spaced out and driving; and when that skewed 303 comes in it literally lights up the soundsystem (and therefore room) with the most deliciously warm frequencies. I've played this countless times this year and dare I say it, it could even be my tune of the year.

Breaka & Frazer Ray ‘The Loudest Woiioii Ever’

It's always going to be TOO HARD to choose just one, or even 100 best tracks of the I'll use personal experience to share the ones that have been going OFF in my sets to help narrow things down. I'd put forward pretty much anything by Breaka, who's absolutely owning Production Land at the moment; his track ‘The Loudest Woiioii Ever’, which he produced with similar legend Frazer Ray, has WITHOUT FAIL lit up every room and scenario I've dropped it in so far, and I've seen clips of it doing the same for other DJs too. Big up to these two for putting out endlessly great music.

Erik Luebs ‘Ascending Bubbles’

This track has only recently dropped, but it's an instant staple. Since first hearing this track, I've rinsed it in every DJ set from room 1 in fabric to Khar Social in Mumbai. It's heavy, it's driving, it's absolutely hypnotising, and once the crowd are tuned into this energy you can truly take your set anywhere you like.

Cleyra ‘Twined’

Start the night with this and you're in for a solid one...Cleyra is yet to become a household name but if she keeps releasing tracks with this much groove, punch and quality, she's bound to be in no time. Both Timedance and Bristol's NOODS, on their first release as a label, are already onto her and for good reason. Can't wait to hear more from this producer.

Karachi Community Radio

These three tracks are fresh from our city's newest independent label, Cape Monze Records. Operating from Karachi, Pakistan, they focus on supporting artists based out of their bedroom and home studios while facilitating them to release and distribute their music on major digital streaming platforms.

All the tracks can be found on their Bandcamp, over at, and in the embed below.

[Photo: SA Choudhry]


DJ JUS-ED ‘El Rio Turns 5’

After two years of not being in clubs or having access to good live techno and house music it was so refreshing to groove and flow through DJ Jus Ed's beautifully curated musical experience.


Lamb ‘Perfect Blue

I randomly stumbled across this EP at the start of 2021, and it gave me so much throughout the entire year. Hearing this work got me really excited because although this is Lamb's first release, I can tell they're visionary when it comes to the synergy of production and the usage of voice as an instrument. This EP has given me many 'main character' moments staring out of a window whilst in a bus or taxi.

Mr. Mitch

There’s been a lot of top tier releases this year but these are all tracks that will be staying in my crates moving into 2022. A mixture of styles/tempos but all work in the club at the right moment. Tried and tested!

[Photo: Piotr Niepsuj]


I'm always fond of compilations that spotlight long forgotten gems from a particular era and/or geographical zone and ’Naya Beat Volume 1’ is no exception. Contemporary South Asian music has mostly flown under the European radar whilst continuing to skyrocket in popularity among the wider diasporic communities. ’Naya Beat Volume 1’ serves as a fantastic genesis anthology assembling rarities across the electronic spectrum, a niche deserving of more attention. I cannot wait for Volume 2!

[Photo: Jack Brigland]


Boiler Room x Legendary Season 2: MikeQ

This was a highlight for me because it was the first time I got to play out of the house after lockdown and got to be with my peers again after such a staggered moment in life. I had so much momentum built up I needed to unleash and this is where it was done.

MikeQ in Mixmag’s The Lab LDN

This was special because again after the pandemic this was during my first weekend of being back on tour internationally in two years. I remember arriving to the door and seeing my name and seeing the people inside that were all there just to hear me and only me. The UK is my #1 favorite place to play so you gotta be on your stuff when you play for them.

Nathan X

This year has shone major light onto the queer community within drum ‘n’ bass. Myself along with a few others have been working hard to create a more accepting and open scene for everyone to enjoy. Our Unorthodox shows have been at the forefront of the movement, proving that there is a beautiful queer community that's been hiding away, who LIVE for drum ‘n’ bass and have needed a space to call their own for some time now. Rave culture comes from queer communities, however the scene of today has forgotten its past; it's been great to see it start to be returned to its rightful roots and for the wider scene to re-learn the meaning of PLUR. I want to use this opportunity to feature some queer artists and allies in the scene who have been smashing it this year, as well as a few personal favourite moments of mine from 2021.

Mandidextrous, Bish ‘Techno On My Mind’

This track has been one of my absolute favourite releases of the year, incorporating Mandidextrous's famous Tek sound combined with drum ‘n’ bass plus elements of trap, it's thrown tradition out the window and is re-writing the rules of dance music as we know it. Along with many other amazing releases, Mandidextrous has had an amazing year and I can't wait to see what's to come in 2022!

Nia Archives ‘18 & Over’

Nia Archives has had an outstanding year with many great releases, but I think her latest track ‘18 & Over’ may be my favourite! Sampling Cocoa Tea's reggae classic in the intro, then building into a ragga drum ‘n’ bass beat with the lyrics replicated by Nia in her own style, leading into a hard jungle beat for the remainder of the track. Although very different to Mandidiextrous' Techno On My Mind, it is also re-writing the rules, taking dance music up a notch, creating new and admirable sounds and styles.

V Dubz, Enamie, Y-Zer ‘Mind’

This track was created for the charity MIND with all proceeds generated from streams and purchases, donated to MIND. V Dubz, Enamie and Y-Zer created this track as a way to lyrically talk about the struggles of mental health, something which is still so often overlooked and is particularly prevalent in the music industry. I think a lot of us have had a tough year mentally, with COVID still rampant, however in a dark time this song really spoke to me and I loved the message behind it.

Paul T & Edward Oberon ‘Strange Days’

Paul T & Edward Oberon have absolutely smashed this album. They've been dropping cheeky singles throughout the year in the lead up to the launch, with features from A Little Sound, Riya, Serum, T.R.A.C, plus more, I went down to their launch event at Peckham Audio where they showcased the album and it really does not disappoint! I also cannot forget about one of the most iconic moments in d’n’b this year, when the legend that is Edward Oberon held a raffle for some album related merch. It was very comical, you had to be there. I'll never forget that moment!


Warehouse Project, WAH x Metropolis - The Concourse, Hospitality - Camo & Krooked b2b Mefjus + Daxta

This event as a whole has got to be one of my highlights for the year. Having never been to WHP in Manchester, I was completely blown away, for the first hour my heart was racing. I couldn't quite believe the scale of the place, it was like a city, albeit some crazy post-apocalyptic rave city. I have an undying passion for raving and music but I also love event production, abandoned spaces and oversized things, for me it was all my loves thrown into one. I don't think I was quite prepared for what I was going to witness. Three huge rooms of artists playing music I love, all held in the most sickening venue with incomprehensible figures of strobes, lasers and soundsystems. However there was one set which stood out to me, Camo & Krooked b2b Mefjus; as an avid fan of their music, experiencing these DJs drop one the most unexpected sets was honestly mind boggling, me and my mates perched ourselves on the terrace next to the DJ booth and watched their 8x deck, 3x mixer set unfold. Every drop I was falling to the floor in disbelief, the crowd reaction was absolutely phenomenal, the energy was just electrifying; this has got to be a rave highlight of the year for me.

Unorthodox Halloween, London - Nathan X b2b Maddy V

A personal highlight for me was my set at Unorthodox with Maddy V. Looking back, I feel proud of my development this year as well as the growth of my event brand, Unorthodox; this all came to a crescendo on Halloween at our St.Trinians themed event. Having been working on my sound throughout the year, I felt that this was the set where I wanted the sound to get to, bringing a blend of pop remixes and dancefloor bangers, cut with dramatic rollers plus elements of dubstep, liquid and jungle. Maddy V also absolutely smashed this set and most importantly it was great to have have the queer community in force, raving it out, making for a magical moment. 2021 has been an epic year, the community we've built around Unorthodox is absolutely beautiful, the support has been amazing and I can't wait to see what 2022 brings!

Niño Árbol

Hey, I’m Kevin Martinez A.K.A Niño Árbol and here are a couple of my favourite tracks from 2021 to PLAY AT THE CLUB.

If I’m honest, this year I listened to a lot of music outside of the party environment, mostly ambient, IDM/experimental, as well as classical music. And yet, on this occasion, I’d like to share with you some of the more dancefloor-orientated tracks that came along with me to play this past year.

Starting with the track ‘NOFM’ by Henry Greenleaf. This was one of the first tracks I saw released this year. I’ve closely followed Henry’s work, and I’ve always liked their very peculiar way of producing and mixing as a DJ, it is undoubtedly included in my list.

Followed by PTTRN’s track ‘LOST 3’ – I’ve long been putting this project in my mixes. I really enjoy the way they produce a techno that is very much theirs: frequencies to set you in a unique mindset. This track truly makes the dancefloor explode in its most frantic and obscure moments.

Overmono need no introduction, we all know they’re top-notch. Their track ‘So U Kno’ I played a couple of days ago at a beach in Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Out of the entire night, it was the one people most revelled in, positively the most applauded.

Another piece I’ve played a lot, and guaranteed to consistently smash, is Kessler’s ‘R2D2 on Crack’. It would literally break the dancefloor, since, from being at a 4x4 rhythm I would jump on to this track and it would always work.

Kanding Ray with their track ‘Doppler Shift’ has accompanied me on so many occasions, especially those when you don’t want the party to end just yet. It would also give a bittersweet touch, with a feeling that would simultaneously give you a high whilst yanking every one of your hairs.

‘Sketch 1’ by James Ruskin & Truncate, is a track that simply elevates the dancefloor, very unique frequencies to dance to.

‘Final Approach’ by Hidden Element I often used to begin my sets, starting the track at 50% of its original speed, and gradually accelerating it until played as it was meant to in the first place. Since the first time I heard it, it’s a piece I’ve become fascinated with.

Another track that would set the crowd on fire was Erol Alkan & James Weish ‘Automatic’. It’s one of those where it becomes impossible to stop dancing.

One of the most acclaimed pieces of this year to me is ‘Dangerous Sound’ by Eeprom. It truly blew heads off at the gigs. On many very special occasions I played it and it got LIT, a neuronally delicious track.

Livity Sound always brings out very interesting releases, I really like percussion music and this time they brought out the brilliant ‘Bait & Switch’ by Destrata.

Denham Audio, another producer that brings out fantastic things like their track ‘Top Boy’.

Black Girl / White Girl’s ‘Galaxian’ always provided that 4x4 line needed in my sets, giving it that certain extra party feeling.

Float Recordings, since I’ve known of them, has been one of my favourite techno labels for their inimitable sound. ‘Polymorphism 4’ by Alexander Johansson always helps me give that rave touch to any party I’m at. The frequencies in this track make my head bubble.

Aleksi Perala released a lot of music this year, one of my favourites is “FI3AC2140230”, what a tune… It’s as fine as 2021 gets.

Something to add flavour to my sets: ‘Eat the Rich’ by Air Max 97’, a piece that is unmatched, mouth-watering and hip-busting, bebe.

To wrap up my selection, this year Truncate released ‘Basic’, a track whose name itself tells you, it’s a basic, as in essential to the dancefloor, if you want it to burst into flames that is.

My favourite album from this year is definitely Skee Mask ‘Pool’. I’ve listened to it thousands of times, they truly are one of my main influences in today’s electronic music. With this new album, they’ve done it again. Never ceasing to marvel, this piece is absolutely genius, the perfect balance between heart and electronic.

Special thanks to my dear Vanebon for help me to translate this <3

Paula Tape

Thanks for having me to do this list, it is always difficult to pick few artist or tracks to mention, and especially for this year where all the music production process has been choked by the amount of orders to vinyl factories, postponed plans by labels and also difficulties with global distribution. I guess many artists could not see their release coming out within the end of ’21 .

Here below you will find some music I've been listening to or playing in my sets, and there is also an unreleased one.

I've been questioning myself about how can I pick one or some remixes to highlight but the sea of option is too wide so I thought of mentioning one from Tornado Wallace. This Red Face Mix is a tribute to that track and artist we all know, and it's very well done, because Tornado Wallace is a great producer, a friend and also my release mate on the ‘Octava Dimesion EP’ that Alzaya Records released this year, where Lewis remixed the title-track produced by Volantis & me, on the same release there's also Elias Mazian's remix.

Mi compañero Trujillo is a Venezuelan producer, DJ and record collector based in Berlin, this compilation ‘Ritmo Fantasía’ came out just in time, I love all the tracks and can't stop singing on ‘Divorcio’.

When I thought about albums to mention I went straight to these three. Two girls on production: Yu Su and gem-K (real name Maria Korkeila from Finland) who scored a high-quality record , really inspiring and catching the zeitgeist. I read Mr. Claussell story behind the record he did, ‘Raw Tones’, was produced in his basement during the lockdown, a similar story happened to me with my EP ‘Astroturismo’ so that pushed me to listen to the details deeper and deeper so in the end I just turned into loving it so much.

Technically this is not a mix pick, but I guess it works anyway as the lupus in fabula is Mr. Ron Trent and he's doing his thing at home and I can stay hours to listen.

A nice video of the recent release on RVNG Intl. by Pauline Anna Strom, thanks Matt and Dave P for highlighting her music and personal story.


In 2021, the world of club music has been on fire! In my opinion, I would say this is one of the best years for it to thrive. It sparked so many artists in the community to go hard and level up their production beyond just the traditional club music chop patterns we've all been hearing. This year we've seen a lot of solo EPs, singles, and mixes that have been pushing the sound to new heights. In this list, you will experience so many different flavours, styles, and approaches to the genre. I am beyond happy to showcase and share this list with you all. These are my TOP picks of 2021 - going into 2022, expect the bar to continue to rise and elevate. This playlist will have you dancing, singing, and in a party mood no matter who you are and where you are in the world.

[Photo: Juan Ramirez]


This year was a whirlwind for me when it came to music. A lot of new and established artists came out with some pretty great stuff.

For me, music took me to Tanzania and here the scene is so different and vibrant. Amapiano! Do I need to even explain the kind of fire Amapiano has unleashed across the globe? I don’t think so. I watch in awe the kind of strides the likes of DBN GOGO, Lamiez Holworthy, Ms Selfie (Zambia) have made, and I am forever amazed.

In Tanzania I met Nasty Nate ‘The Clapping Dj’ and his mix Fungua Kinywa on SoundCloud, which is a daily release, really had me discovering more when it came to house and Amapiano. It’s the kind of mix you listen to when you walk on the beach or take a drive. Highly recommend.

Ms Selfie from Zambia released a few mixes on her Audiomack and my oh my. No but seriously, check it out. I can’t explain the times I would listen to her to get me pumped up for a gig. Just needing that extra push. She delivered.

Malawian music has stepped up its game. I really wish to see more people recognize and actively seek it out cause it's that good. The like of Kim of Diamonds giving gems after gems. Praise Umali and George Kalukusha remain the gold that they are.

I’m never quite sure what to pick out when I’m asked to select songs that I like. I love music and I can never pick anything out. I love all my music I can’t do favorites. But here are tracks and mixes that spoke to me this year.

Honestly any mix the Major League Djz and DBN GOGO released I rinsed and anything Black Motion gave I played without fail.

To end the year Dj Zinhle gave us ‘Siyabonga’ and this is the song that will ride me out. I do hope you enjoy them all.

SAMA’ Abdulhadi

Plastikman ‘Deeper Focus’ for ENDEL app

Richie Hawtin’s Deeper Focus soundscapes for the Endel app - if you haven’t heard of it, you’re missing out. Endel creates soundscapes to help you either relax, focus, sleep, meditate etc My favorite is by Richie as Plastikman - made for Focus, it is subtle techno sounds that kind of play in your brain’s frequencies to keep you concentrated. Really just try it while you are replying to emails or working. I have it in my ears right now as I write this BRILLIANT!

Jon Hopkins ‘Music for Psychedelic Therapy’

An album I’d like to highlight is ‘Music for Psychedelic Therapy’ by Jon Hopkins. Honestly been sleeping to it everyday and it has been helping me a lot with anxiety and insomnia. It is seriously healing. It is crazy what frequencies and sounds can do to your body especially with the fact that you can’t see them or touch them you just feel them really deep inside.

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