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Harder Blogger Faster’s Best of 2013

This year’s Best of 2013 is a little different than previous years, in that we have a team of writers who have both shaped and driven the site forward throughout 2013 – so it only seemed only fair that they shape this year’s Best of lists. So instead of just one list you have five – so you’re sure to find at least one you’ll agree with, well hopefully.

Andrew Rafter (Editor & Founder)

2013 was an absolute corker. In 10 years time we’ll probably still remember it as such. Any year where the Robots decide to release an album is always going to be remembered. And for me, ‘RAM‘ was a massive return to form, and while the album was a bit challenging in places there’s no doubt in my mind – in both scale and vision – it will almost certainly stand the test of time.

Once you look past the shadows of G-man and T-bang there were some truly amazing moments littered throughout 2013. Underground acts like Duke Dumont and Disclosure hit the top spot in the UK which was really heartening too see. The big guns from Paris did what was expected, with Justice reaffirming their hold on the Live CD concept. And Kavinsky’s debut also hitting the spot for the most part with a little bit of help from SebastiAn.

2013 was littered with some memorable debuts albums, from Daniel Avery’s rebirth of acid to Shook’s luminous vision of funk, and Acid Washed’s welcome return to form with their second long-play ‘House of Melancholy‘, were all real highlights. Elsewhere, the electro-void was fill in part by Brazilian trio Mixhell who marked a new chapter in Igor Cavalera impressive career with their debut album ‘Spaces‘. America’s biggest disco acts also got in on the act with Classixx’s debut hitting the spot for the summer’s best kept secret, whilst Stuart Price’s red-hot form continued unabated with production credits on the Pet Shop Boys’ new album as well as his own artist albums.

2013 saw a disco resurgence of sorts but it was necessarily from Daft Punk but more from the Belgium brigade of Aeroplane, Villa and ATTAR!, as well as France’s Yuksek – who all enjoyed as stellar year with a range of spell-binding singles, remixes and collaborations. There were also some fantastic new acts who managed to catch my ear from Daze’s p-funk vocoder action to Du Tonc’s blessed out disco, and Little Freaky Things, who managed to finally make urban and dance music work. And let’s not forget Marcus Marr’s ‘The Music‘ which is probably the best track you’ll hear this decade.

Roll on 2014.

Top 10 Originals

1. Marcus Marr – The Music
2. Du Tonc – Darkness
3.Villa – Mint
4. Is Tropical – Venezuela
5. Little Freaky Things – What A Bad Day
6. Daze – Thinking About You
7. Jackson & His Computerband – Arp #1
8. Alex Metric & Mark Yardley – Illium
9. Tensnake – Love Sublime Feat. Fiora & Nile Rodgers
10. Chromeo – Sexy Socialite

Top 10 Remixes

1. Para One ‘When The Night’ (Breakbot Remix)
2. Boys Noize ‘What You Want’ (Chromeo Remix)
3. Peter & The Magician – On My Brain (Dub remix.
4. Compuphonic Feat Marques Toliver – Sunset (Aeroplane Remix)
5. Memories of a Scientist (ATTAR! Remix)
6. Kevin Mckay – Body Talk (Grum Remix)
7. Alex Gopher – No Drop (NTEIBINT Remix)
8. Blende – Rikki (Moonlight Matters Remix)
9. Tom Tom Club – You Make Me Rock And Roll (The Penelopes Remix)
10. Mayer Hawthorne – Wine Glass Woman (Aeroplane Remix)

Top 10 Long-plays

1. Justice – Access All Arenas
2 .Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
3. Kavinsky – Outrun
4. Pet Shop Boys – Electric
5. Acid Washed – House of Melancholy
6. Shook – Shook
7. Daniel Avery – Drone Logic
8. Mixhell – Spaces
9. Stars On 33 – This Is Love
10. Classixx – Hanging Gardens

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James Trigo (Contributor)

Looking back over the last 12 months, and with the sequin clad robots disappearing over the horizon, choosing the top picks of 2013 I’m reminded of what a year it’s been. With some surprises along the way in the shape of The Strokes 5th studio album, ’Come Down Machine’, packed with plenty of well-produced, catchy pop songs to kick off the year. Single release ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ sees Drake diversify with a more accessible, mature, song writing style, and once again Justice delivered a stunning live album with ‘Access All Arenas‘, proving that they are the ones to beat for all things live and recorded. Jackson and his Computer band didn’t quite wow as expected, but did manage to create the odd corker, as goes for both James Blake and Kavinsky, who also had their moments.

Newcomers St Lucia packed a decent amount of poolside 80s pop into their debut with the single, ‘Elevate’, being their shining moment so far. Gesaffelstien’s brutal debut ‘Aleph’ saw much of the aggression that influenced Kanye’s recent production in its raw form. Recouping the magic they brought with ‘In Ghost Colours’ all those years ago, Cut Copy fill ‘Free Your Mind’ with a mass of feel good hits that will continue to warm up those winter months, and the new venture from former Lightspeed Champion blends delicate, well written, 80s influenced songs, under his most recent moniker, Blood Orange.

As expected Yuksek and Aeroplane delivered in the remix department this year, as did relative newbie Attar! with an awesome take on Chrome Canyon’s ‘Memories Of A Scientist’. Digitalism made an excellent job of M Machine’s ‘Moon Song’ and Gesaffelstein did justice to ‘Helix‘ with his distinctive brand of powerful electronica. Even in retirement, Mr Murphy managed to get in a belter of a remix this year, giving Bowie the minimal treatment and proving he’s still got it.

Although they may have eclipsed a large part of the musical landscape with a disproportionate amount of marketing and hype, Daft Punk did produce a good album where the classics made up for the not so classic. But for me, delivering a sublime array of awe inspiring sonic fruits, Fuck Button’s, ‘Slow Focus’ takes top spot, drawing you in and spitting you out the other side, as any good album should.

Top 10 Originals

1. Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right
2. St Lucia – Elevate
3. Drake – Hold On, We’re Going Home
4. Fuck Buttons – Hidden Xs
5. Kavinsky – Protovision
6. Jackson And His Computer Band – Vista
7. James Blake – Retrograde
8. Blood Orange – Chamakay
9. The Strokes – Tap Out
10. Gesaffelstein – Obsession

Top 10 Remixes

1. David Bowie – Love is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy)
2. The M Machine – Moon Song (Digitalism Remix)
3. Justice – Helix (Gesaffelstein Remix)
4. Chrome Canyon Memories Of A Scientist (Attar! Remix)
5. Kris Menace feat. Black Hills – Waiting For You (Oliver Remix)
6. Crayon feat. KLP – Give You Up (Yuksek remix)
7. Jackson and His Computer Band – Vista (Hudson Mohawke remix)
8. Donna Summer – Bad Girls (Gigamesh Remix)
9. Pool – Flex (Aeroplane Remix)
10. Para One – When The Night (Breakbot remix)

Top 10 Long-plays

1. Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus
2. Daft Punk – RAM
3. Gesaffelstein – Aleph
4. Cut Copy – Free Your Mind
5. Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe
6. The Strokes – Come Down Machine
7. Classics – Hanging Gardens
8. Justice – Access All Arenas
9. St Lucia – When The Night
10. Arcade fire – Reflektor

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Charlotte Cijffers (Contributor)

There’s little denying 2013 has been a great year for Dance. Electronic music’s big boys Sasha, Kris Menace and Booka Shade all released new albums much to the delight of millions, whilst Daniel Avery’s ‘Drone Logic’ lived up to its fever pitch hype. Talented young guns John Talabot and David August continued to build their burgeoning legends with well crafted LP’s and The Knife stayed on top with the ludicrously good ‘Shaking the Habitual’, LA producer Kastle’s new label Symbols had a particularly stellar year, dropping Romanian native Liar’s latest album ‘Spirewards,’ which is arguable the one of the most dynamic releases of 2013.

The most stunning of singles came from COMA and Baio who both premiered originals of such eye-watering amazingness that they unquestionably took out the two top spots on the list. Belgium boy Locked Groove continued to the lurk in the wings as this years unsung hero, releasing big room piano banger ‘Shirts Off’ as part of a stellar 2 pack EP. Dutchman Joris Voorn gave us ‘Ringo,’ which is appropriately awesome given his number of years in the game, while LPZ got nostalgic about the glory days of Acid with ‘Think For Yourself.’ A late and well-deserved inclusion went to Vaal with ‘Seahnak’ who thankfully managed to sneak in on Tale of Us’ imprint LIFE AND DEATH right at the close of 2013.

On the remix front, illusive producer Shook gave us a dubby disco rework of Jamiroquai’s ‘Lifeline’ that can’t help but be played on repeat. Berlin favourites Tube and Berger produced a perfectly progressive pounder with a remix of ‘Open Air’ whilst Four Tet gave meaning to the term ‘Drum Machine Master’ with a remix of Canadian-based band LAURA. Other remixes worthy of memory came from Lithuanian legend Mario Basanov as well as tracks from Adriatique, Parisian producer Gesaffelstein and Andre Lodemann.

Finally, an honorary mention to the robots, you were so obviously brilliant I thought it defunct to include you. Roll on 2014!

Top 10 Originals

1. COMA – My Orbit
2. Baio – Mira
3. Vaal – Seahnak
4. John Monkman – Itakare
5. Locked Groove – Shirts off
6. Joris Voorn – Ringo
7. LPZ – Think for yourself
8. Simian Mobile Disco & Bicep – Sacrifice
9. LeTranger – Skin
10. Elekfantz – Digging on you

Top 10 Remixes

1. Mano Le Tough – Primitive People (Tale of Us Remix)
2. Edu Imbernon & Coyu – Open Air (Tube and Berger remix)
3. Jamiroquai – Lifeline (Shook Remix)
4. Jimpster – Towards The Seer (Andre Lodemann Remix)
5. Bodhi – No More (Charles Murdoch Remix)
6. Downtown Party Network – Space Me Out (Mario Basanov Remix)
7. The Future Is Yours (Adriatique Remix)
8. Grum – Everytime (Andre Crom Remix)
9. Justice – Helix (Gesaffelstein Vision Remix)
10. LAURA – Perpetual Surrender (Four Tet Remix)

Top 10 Long-plays

1. Booka Shade – Eve
2. Daniel Avery – Drone Logic
3. Liar – Spirewards
4. David August – Times
5. Kris Menace – The Entirety of Matter
6. John Talabot – DJ Kicks
7. The Knife – Shaking the Habitual
8. Sasha – Invol3r
9. Fabricio Pecanha – Silver Lining
10. Catz & Dogz aka 3 channels – Different Marks

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Shea Kopp (Contributor)

My music tastes this year were about as consistent as the weather. Some moments had me listening to the cut up acid-techno of Daniel Avery while others had me lost in the sun saturated chords of Goldroom. While these lists cover a wide spectrum of genres – they are all paramount contributors to the electronic music of 2013.

I look through these tracks and can picture exactly where I was the first time I heard each. I see memories of friends unabashedly singing the lyrics of ‘Let’s Jack’ and ‘100%’ – as if no one were paying attention. I see summer pool parties with Du Tonc and dark club nights in San Diego with my favorite DJs spinning Disclosure. Many of the original tracks I chose made the successful bridge between underground electronic and (semi) mainstream pop.

When you think that a track can get no better your favorite – or unknown – producer will prove you wrong. Oftentimes it is to revamp and energize a track that was not particularly danceable. Showcasing a decidedly retro house flavour, the remixes I chose are repeat offenders on dance floors. The Henry Krinkle, MK and Hot Since 82 remixes are all examples of a throwback nineties trend that swept through the States.

If I had control of all major award societies, I would honour these musicians for creating truly innovative art that remained unsullied by corporate interests. Whether it was blissed out at my computer or dancing manically with my favourite people on a dancefloor, these tracks gave – and still give – me the chills with every listen. Short of going completely fan girl, I urge everyone to listen to these albums, tracks and remixes because they are a perfect snapshot of this year in review.

Top 10 Originals

1. Du Tonc – Darkness
2. Breach – Let’s Jack
3. Tiga – Let’s Go Dancing
4. Alex Metric – Safe with You
5. Yuksek – Last of Our Kinds (ft. Oh Land)
6. Disclosure – F for U
7. Duke Dumont – I Need You (100%)
8. George Fitzgerald – I Can Tell (By The Way You Move)
9. Jon Hopkins – Collider
10. Benoit & Sergio – $100

Top 10 Remixes

1. Le Youth – Cool (Henry Krinkle Remix)
2. Bondax – Gold (Moon Boots Remix)
3. Mayer Hawthorne – Her Favorite Song (Oliver Remix)
4. Mirror People – Kaleidescope (Psychemagik Remix)
5. Rufus – Take Me (Cassian Remix)
6. Moullinex – Darkest Night (Xinobi Remix)
7. Green Velvet – Bigger Than Prince (Hot Since 82 Remix)
8. Crayon ft. KLP – Give You Up (Yuksek Remix)
9. Storm Queen – Look Right Through (MK Vocal Edit)
10. Royksopp – Running to the Sea (Villa Remix)

Top 10 Long-plays

1. Disclosure – Settle
2. Gesaffestein – Aleph
3. Daniel Avery – Drone Logic
4. Classixx – Hanging Gardens
5. Woodkid – The Golden Age
6. James Blake – Overgrown
7. Goldroom – Embrace
8. Moderat – II
9. Jon Hopkins – Immunity
10. Rudimental – Home

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Antonation (Contributor)

2013 in music will be forever remembered as the year a couple of robots toyed with the worlds emotions with the most highly orchestrated campaign for a dance release ever. The music world it seemed was almost in stasis, before the release of RAM waiting with baited breath for any scraps of information that were slowly being drip fed. Artists in their own ways responded to the hype, some bitched, some ignored, some rose to the challenge producing some of their finest work while others forged new and exciting alliances.

2013 to me however was defined by the amount of quality dance albums.

Whether it was the final reveal, of long in the works debuts by Gesaffelstein and Kavinsky or the inexorable rise of Daniel Avery’s amazing ‘Drone Logic’ you could not go a month without hearing a high quality album by a dance act and quite often it was their debut album. Artists who who had been around for years like Mixhell, finally managed to get their album completed and to such a high standard that it was definitely worth the wait. Other artists who debuted albums to muted fanfare but managed to worm their way into my brain include Hot Natured’s multi-faceted album and Tesla Boys’s distinctly retro style. Making sure that come the end of the year when thinking upon my albums of the year that I would be able to hear beyond the robots and their ‘Random Access Memories’. 2013 also saw the rise of exciting talents such as Du Tonc, Clancy, and Kwi, while not to be outdone the veterans of the scene Erol Alkan, Adam Freeland and In Flagranti produced to my ears some of their finest work to date. Finally a recap of the year 2013 cannot go by without mentioning the fact that Duke Dumont’s ‘Need You (100%)‘ got to the top of the UK charts in April which was both surprising and amazing, only for it to happen a few months later when Storm Queen’s ‘Look Right Through‘ achieved the very same thing.

Two quality dance music tracks topping the charts in the same year well played 2013!

Top 10 Originals

1. Du Tonc – Darkness
2. Daniel Avery – Drone Logic
3. Rory Phillips – Mixes Fortunes 5
4. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
5. Todd Terje – Strandbar
6. Tiga Vs Audion – Lets Go Dancing
7. Villa – Mint
8. Clancy – The Way You dance
9. Horixon feat Robert Owens – Lifeline
10. In Flagranti – Headrush

Top 10 Remixes

1. Night Works – Long Forgotten Boy (Erol Alkan Rework)
2. Lindstrom – Vos-Sako-Rv (Fred Falke Remix)
3. Monarchy feat Ditta Von Tease – Disintegration (Mike Luck Remix)
4. Justin Faust – Space Rhumba (Xinobi Remix)
5. Pulp – After You (Soulwax Remix)
6. Foals – Bad Habit (Alex Metric Remix)
7. Lana Del Rey – Summertime Sadness (Adam Freeland Vox Mix)
8. Phoenix – Trying To Be Cool (Breakbot Remix)
9. Tom Tom Club – You Make Me Rock & Roll (The Penelopes Remix)
10. Haim – Falling (Duke Dumont Remix)

Top 10 Long-plays

1. Daniel Avery – Drone Logic
2. Kavinsky – OutRun
3. MixHell – Spaces
4. Gesaffelstein – Aleph
5. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
6. Tesla Boy – Universe Made Of Darkness
7. Duck Sauce – Duck Tape
8. Jaqwar Ma – Howlin
9. Hot Natured – Different Sides of the Sun
10. Phoenix – Bankrupt

We’d like to say a quick thank you to all of our readers who have stuck by us over the years, we’d also like to thank all the PR’s, label managers and club promoters who have helped us throughout 2013 – we could do what we do without you, so we’re eternally grateful.