The 50 Best Tracks of 2018 - Features - Mixmag

The 50 Best Tracks of 2018

The best tracks of 2018, spanning dance music's entire spectrum.

  • Mixmag Staff & Contributors (Additional words by Chris Nicholls & Sam Halligan)
  • 12 December 2018

It’s that time of the year again. Party season is ramping up, and at the same time we begin to round up the music that’s been sending you into full-blown rave overload over the last 12 months. It's time for the definitive rundown of the best tracks of 2018.

2018 has offered up a lot of dance floor ammo too. Peggy Gou provided a crossover smash fit for a FIFA soundtrack, disco-infused bangers have appeared ten-fold and Amelie Lens has taken the world by storm.

The following rundown is perhaps the most hotly-debated list of them all and it’s time for us to bring forth 50 of the best tracks: 2018 edition.

For this one, we asked our trusted Mixmag staff members and freelancers from all over the globe to tell us what tracks had them fist pumping and grinning uncontrollably this year.

We hope you enjoy the music as much as we've enjoyed assembling this list. Here goes.

Best Tracks 2018

'Hal' Tiga & Kolsch (IPSO)

The pick of the collaborative EP on Kölsch’s IPSO. Tiga joins the German maestro for a floaty, emotive cut with gated-synth loveliness.

'Faceshopping' SOPHIE (transgressive records)

The third single from SOPHIE’s debut album ‘Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-insides’. An intense yet beautifully twisted combination of pop and schizophrenic sound design like no other.

'D.K.Y. (BUT I DO)' Denis Sulta (Sulta Selects)

This vintage Sulta floor-filler has been tearing it up all year and it samples the great Thelma Houston. It’s no wonder the Scottish sensation made it on our cover this year and you can expect more sought-after dance music from the hero next year.

'Singularity' (ANNA Remix) Jon Hopkins (Domino)

Alongside four releases of her own this year, Brazilian ANNA offered up her remix expertise for this sparkling ‘Singularity’ edit. It’s a mesmerising journey through atmospheric, clean rolling techno and one of our favourite re-imaginings of 2018.

'Pulsar' Lone (R&S)

Pulsar is the breaky tear-jerker from the fourth instalment of Lone’s ‘Ambivert Tools’ series via R&S Records. Everything the producer touches turns to gold and his recent In Session mix showcases his style and sound perfectly.

'Daisy Chain' Overmono (Poly Kicks)

With Truss and Tessela finally making music together as Overmono we’ve been treated to a wealth of amazingly intricate dance floor cuts. This simple yet effective rave-infused groover from the brothers became a notable tool in 2018.

'Diva Bitch' Jayda G & Alexa Dash (Freakout Cult)

Alexa Dash’s sexy monologue over a stripped back, old skool Jayda G beat was the perfect pairing back in January and we’ve been listening to it ever since.

'Dial 274' Skee Mask (Illian Tape)

Skee Mask’s second LP on Illian Tape, ‘Compro’, proved why he’s one of the best in techno and breakbeat right now. This intelligent dance floor weapon is our pick from the brilliant album and it further cements Bryan Müller’s status as one of the freshest artists around right now.

'Big Age' TOXE (Pan)

A fragmented cut from Toxe’s ‘Blinks’ EP. We feel shades of Murlo on this one and if you ever needed more proof of Toxe’s exceptional production set, this is it.

'Donny's Groove' Mella Dee (Warehouse Music)

Mella Dee has left us like a kid in a candy shop this summer for bangers. This sensual slapper has been causing meltdowns all year and it fits perfectly alongside the other dance floor destroyers Ryan Aitchison has released via his Warehouse Music imprint.

Best Tracks 2018

'Dished' (Male Stripper) Purple Disco Machine (Club Sweat)

It’s impossible to listen to Purple Disco Machine’s uplifting second release on Club Sweat without bopping your head throughout. This one’s a certified set closer.

'Soul Value' (Jersey Groove) Housemates (Naff)

‘Soul Value (Jersey Groove)’ has been highly sought after ever since Project Pablo’s Sugar Mountain Boiler Room set. Classic old school house with a dreamy sax that feels perfectly at place on both a heavy system and a back garden BBQ.

'Work It' Marie Davidson (Ninja Tune)

Marie Davidson has had a mighty fine 2018. A pop style hook combined with sporadic drum machine work makes this 80s-esque, synth-pop gem one of our favourite releases from Ninja Tune this year.

'Transition 2' Joy O & Ben Vince (Hessle Audio)

Frantic, textural techno pressure from Joy O and Ben Vince. One of four exquisite releases from the Hessle gang in 2018.

'Feel My Needs' Weiss (Toolroom)

Another sunset pumper from Weiss on Toolroom. Luscious old school piano riffs are blended with an infectious, housey vocal; what more do you need?

'Poison' Skream (We are the brave)

Progressive 4/4 techno business from the ever versatile Skream. This one’s been doing some serious damage in clubs this year and arrived via Alan Fitzpatrick's impressive new label. With Fitzpatrick on the remix, this one/two combo was the knockout punch you’d expect from the pair.

'Noid' Yves Tumor (Warp)

Sean Bowie’s Yves Tumor project continues to push boundaries. Taken from his third album, ‘Safe In The Hands Of Love’, ‘Noid’ leans on old school big beat and pop with narration tackling the epidemic of police brutality.

'Beam Me Up' (Up to the goddess mix) Octo Octa (Naive)

Octo Octa crafts a slice of heartwarming house music. Slinking into a breakdown of euphoric synth melodies, ‘Beam Me Up’s warmth is reminiscent of a blinds-open sunrise moment in Panorama Bar.

'Sakura' DJ Seinfield (Deep Sea Frequency)

This powerful electro number defines this year's success for Swedish mastermind DJ Seinfield. Playing at almost every festival you can think of, Seinfield has been pumping out an impressive palate of powerful, elegant releases under his various aliases; Birds of Sweden, DJ Seinfield and Rimbaudian.

'Monster Vip' The Maghreban (R&S)

Grime meets house in this infectious club cut from electronic music royalty, Ayman Rostom. With a catalogue dating back to the mid 90s, Rostom made hip-hop as Dr Zygote before reshaping dance music with his The Maghreban alias.

Best Tracks 2018

'Hands' Octavian (Black Butter)

French-born Londoner Octavian spits over tight beats co-produced with J Rick. Propelling onto the UK rap scene with ‘Party Here’ in 2017, Octavian has since released the 14-track mixtape ‘Spaceman’ on London’s Black Butter Records and signed to Sony’s Stellar Songs.

'Ijzeren Rots' Unknown Artist (Digwah)

Off the back of 2016’s anthem, ‘Something Else’, the vinyl-only label presents its next instrumental of unknown minimal magic. Dreamy piano samples litter into the mix, dancing alongside an assured bassline. The third episode of Digwah has been rinsed by minimal maestros all year.

'At Night' Shakedown (Peggy Gou's Acid Journey Mix) (Defected)

Peggy Gou takes the 2001 classic to a whole new level. Leaving the original synth lines to perform their nostalgic magic, Gou beefs up the base, complementing the classic with an addictive acid line.

'String Theory' Mandar (Oscillat Music)

Delicate melodies shimmer over a refined beat in this dance floor bomb. Mandar's intelligent arrangement gradually reveals a joyous string section which has been stunning dance floors all summer.

'Spectrum' Erol Alkan (Phantasy Sound)

A wild palate of percussion and vocal snippets build tension in an extended intro for Alkan’s return to Phantasy, before drifting into the label’s recognisable techno territory.

'Ramos' Ploy (Timedance)

Hessle Audio favourite Ploy brings the heat in the 14th instalment of Batu’s prolific Timedance imprint. Fresh off the back of a tour of Asia, Ploy’s unpredictable, marching techno blossoms in this high energy cut.

'Honey' Raveena (Raveena Aurora)

Indian-American vocalist Raveena projects emotive soul with a delicate, slick groove. Oozing with class, this single illustrates her warming touch, gaining well deserved attention from listeners across the board.

'Hold Me' (T4T Embrace Mix) Eris Drew (Naive)

Drew’s eclectic broken rhythms have been spreading love across the world this year. Coming off the back of an intense Australia tour, as well as regular appearances at Berlin’s Panorama Bar, ‘Hold Me’ (T4T Embrace Mix) shapes the fourth installment of Violet’s Naive imprint.

A dreamy chord sequence glistens over a muscular beat, patiently building into gentle euphoria, crafting the perfect tender warm-up, or an emotive closing moment.

'Automated Lover' Schacke (Kulør)

Aggressive textures sculpt a fierce atmosphere in Schake’s ‘Automated Lover’, eventually met by an enormous, dream-like orchestral sequences, casting a sea of bliss over a bed of hard-hitting percussion. A frequent feature in techno heavyweight Nina Kraviz’s sets, Schake strikes a perfect blend of destruction and calm in this debut release of Courtsey’s new label Kulør.

'Countach' Butch (Cocoon)

The master of big room techno debuts on Cocoon with one of the summer’s most played tracks. A playful synth line sculpts a peak time atmosphere, mirrored by a punchy bassline.

Best Tracks 2018

'If We Ever' High Contrast (Unglued Remix) (Hospital Records)

Hospital's youngest signing Unglued shows why he has been on the lips of everyone in the drum ‘n’ bass circuit, playing at the infamous Arcadia spider at Hospitality on the Beach, as well as his well received debut EP ‘Chicken In A Spacesuit’. Injecting new life into High Contrast’s 2007 classic ‘If We Ever’, the UK producer gives a modern touch on an iconic track.

'Hidden Beauties' ANNA (Kompakt)

Squelchy acid riffs garnish a grumbling techno banger in ANNA’s return to Kompakt. Crisp hats cement a fierce groove in the Brazilian's fourth output of the year.

'Subway System' Jimothy Lacoste (Hard Up)

Rapping about London’s transport network, Camden DIY artist Jimothy narrates the joys of taking the tube. A breakout star this year, 2018 was Jimothy’s.

'Bone Sucka' Pangaea (Hessle Audio)

Punchy breakbeats carry this club-ready cut on Hessle Audio’s first release of 2018. Vocal samples surface in conversational unison, darting between a deep bassline typical of the Hessle crew. Pangaea nailed this one.

'Make Me' Borai & Denham Audio (Club Glow)

Cut with a joyous garage tinge, a massive bassline, a classic rave vocal and rowdy jungle percussion, Sheffield and Bristol talents Borai & Denham Audio strike the perfect balance of new and old skool in this breakbeat banger.

'Homerton B' Unknown T (Universal Island)

Hackney’s Unknown T brings menacing bars with beats to match in the single that shook the UK, racking over nine million YouTube views since August.

'Immaterial' Sophie (MSMSMSM)

This high energy stand-out from SOPHIE’s debut album ‘Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides’ lends itself perfectly to her breathtaking live show, which has been blowing minds across the globe this year, blending performance art with wildly-original club music.

'T69 Collapse' Aphex Twin (Warp)

Celestial chords open the gates to a new dimension in Aphex Twin’s 'T69 Collapse'. With production levels from another planet, James’ transportive glitch work is an intense mind trip.

'I see you shining' Nines (XL Recordings)

Chosen to soundtrack Anthony Joshua's entrance to Wembley in September, this celebratory cut marked a triumphant year for Nines.

'B O D Y' Kettama (Homage)

Vocal samples stutter between a party starting chord sequence in this peak time house cut from Ireland’s Kettama.

Best Tracks 2018

'Perth' (Dusky Remix) KiNK (Running Back)

Dusky’s subtle retooling of KiNK’s ‘Perth’ was pure and unadulterated dance floor euphoria in 2018.

Best Tracks 2018

'Your Mind' Adam Beyer & Bart Skils (Drumcode)

Nothing was more ubiquitous at techno mega-raves this year than this track’s echoey refrain.

Best Tracks 2018

'Hang Up Your Hang Ups' (The Only One) Paul Woolford feat Kim English (FFRR)

Woolford turned his talents to US house in 2018 with this huge dance floor anthem.

Best Tracks 2018

'Calling Out' Sophie Lloyd feat Dames Brown (Floorplan Revival Mix) (Classic)

Once again, Floorplan proved no-one does hi-tempo gospel house quite like them.

Best Tracks 2018

'Silky' Peach (Intergraded)

Warm, gentle and rousing, Peach's debut on Midland's Intergraded sounds like it was tailor-made for those moments when night turns to day on the dance floor.

Best Tracks 2018

'Roy Keane' Brame & Hamo (Brame & Hamo)

As Bicep became a globe-conquering electronic live act, Brame & Hamo made the best case for filling their disco boots with this joyous slice of filter house.

Best Tracks 2018

'Neutron Dance' Krystal Klear (Running Back)

Unashamadly retro, the New Order-esque 'Neutron Dance' was hard to escape in 2018, and it was even harder to avoid a cracking great big grin whenever it dropped.

Best Track 2018

'Opal' Bicep (Four Tet Remix) (Ninja Tune)

A match made in heaven as Kieran Hebden took Bicep's anthem to the stratosphere.

Best Tracks 2018

'It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)' Peggy Gou (Ninja Tune)

An instant mellow classic and the crowning achievement of Peggy's fantastic year.

Best Tracks 2018

'Pick up' DJ Koze (Pampa Records)

Stefan Kozalla’s masterpiece is shot through with the kind of lip synch-friendly, danceable melancholy that crossed effortlessly from the most intimate club dance floors to the biggest festival stages – and this ode to heartbreak was played by everybody in 2018. It also shares a sample with 2016’s Tune Of The Year, Midland’s ‘Final Credits’. We’re sure ‘neither one of them’ would be slow to show their appreciation for Gladys Knight.

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