50. Moodymanc - Black Paint (Larry Heard's After Dark Mix) [Tsuba]
A house legend goes deep and emerges with one of his finest remixes.
49. Gesloten Cirkel - Yamagic [Moustache Techno]
If Moustache Techno weren't simply a sublabel of David Vunk's Moustache imprint, we'd spend hours trying to decipher the constituent parts of this wonderful new genre name. Hell, let's try anyway: Analogue fetishism directly descended from The Hague's Bunker crew. The type of driving techno that jacks enough to have you wondering whether it actually comes from Chicago instead. The melody that drops at the exact moment that you think you're going down the rabbit hole, never to return. And, um, everyone who makes it has facial hair. Yep. That's moustache techno.
48. Sneaker - You Think You Think [Uncanny Valley]
The first certifiable (and unlikely) anthem from Dresden's breakthrough label.
47. L.I.E.S. - Comeback Dust (Max D's Big Top Dustheads Mix) [Future Times]
"Cubist house" is what we called this deliciously confusing track from the DC imprint.
46. Maurice Donovan - Babeh [SSSSS]
The man formerly known as Ramadan cuts up a classic into something resembling house.
45. Legowelt - Sark Island Acid [L.I.E.S.]
When fledging New York imprint L.I.E.S. dropped, "Sark Island Acid," a Chicago-indebted deep house workout from Legowelt, more and more people began to take notice of the one-man operation. The track's acidic bassline, spacey melodies and frantic percussion were things listeners had come to love from the Dutch veteran, and this effort further solidified his reputation as one of the most consistent producers in the business.
44. Clockwork - It's You Again [Hot Creations]
Big basslines and druggy dialogue: The keys to Hot Creations' success in 2011. This was one of its finest examples.
43. Zomby - Natalia's Song [4AD]
Haunting vocals and bell synths paired to make one of the year's eeriest cuts.
42. Miguel Campbell - Something Special [Hot Creations]
The UK producer's strangely melancholic stormer was an ideal combination of introspect and functionality.
41. M83 - Midnight City [Mute]
There's nothing more dangerous than a saxophone solo, but Anthony Gonzalez pulled it off.
40. Morphosis - Too Far [Delsin]
The non-vinyl vocal highlight from the Lebanese producer's sterling full-length.
39. Cassius - The Sound Of Violence (Franco Cinelli Remix) [Cassius]
An Argentinean updates a classic, and ends up with 2011's perfect end-of-night Ibiza anthem.
38. SBTRKT - Ready Set Loop [Young Turks]
A dizzying, club-ready anthem from the UK producer's song-based LP.
37. WhoMadeWho - Every Minute Alone (Tale Of Us Remix) [Life and Death]
One of the many 2011 highlights from Italy's breakthrough house duo.
36. Tropic of Cancer - A Color [Blackest Ever Black]
It's hard to call Blackest Ever Black a techno label, seeing as how their short discography consists of post-punk, a Regis EP and whatever you want to call Raime. The context is the thing, though, and that's why "A Color" seems absolutely at home on this list. Hit the play button, and you'll hear the reassertion of the sometimes forgotten connections between Throbbing Gristle, Suicide, The Normal and early techno. You'll also hear a killer tune.
35. Floating Points - Myrtle Avenue [Eglo]
A quiet storm from one of the UK's most versatile new producers, lifted from the excellent Shadows EP.
34. Eats Everything - Entrance Song [Pets Recordings]
There were some interesting flourishes on this debut from Dan Pearce, but in truth this one was all about the bass.
33. Genius of Time - Houston We Have a Problem [Clone Royal Oak]
Should Swedish duo Genius Of Time's breakout hit be classed as an edit? How about an edit of an edit? Its title was a cheeky nod to its source material—Whitney Houston's "Million Dollar Bill"—which itself borrowed heartily from Loleatta Holloway's 1977-released "We're Getting Stronger." Semantics aside, the track achieved ubiquity during the summer months by highlighting the irresistible charms of the sample, fattening up the drums and stirring in a soaring synth line—all pretty simple on paper, but executing it this adroitly is by no means easy.
32. Dan Andrei - Trebuie Da, Prima Incercare [[a:rpia:r]]
Classy peak-era minimal house from Romania's [a:rpia:r] stable.
31. Storm Queen - It Goes On [Environ]
How to follow up a classic debut single? Make your next one just as good like Morgan Geist did here.
30. Tiger & Woods - Gin Nation [Running Back]
Gerd Janson's in-house edit duo withhold the pleasure for a tantalizing eight minutes.
29. Oliver $ - Doin' Ya Thang [Play It Down]
The year's most controversial song—and also one of its most ubiquitous.
28. Maceo Plex - Can't Leave You [Crosstown Rebels]
Maceo Plex's breathtaking 2011 started at the end of 2010 with "Vibe Your Love" and ended with him opening his own label, Ellum Audio, and dropping "Stay High Baby." In between those two hits, there were plenty more, but none bigger than "Can't Leave You." This track beats out the rest of Eric Estornel's work as Plex because of its deft mix of the familiar and unfamiliar. The nostalgic drum fill will bring a smile to any '80s baby, while the grinding and unexpected bass noise that emerges early on helpfully signals that this isn't going to be just another bootyshaker. (Although it did plenty of that too.) An anthem in a year full of them for Maceo Plex and Crosstown Rebels.
27. Danny Daze feat. Louisahhh - Your Everything [Hot Creations]
Muted trumpet + Art Department-esque vocals = One of the biggest hits of the year.
26. Mathew Jonson - Learning to Fly [Minus]
The Cobblestone Jazz member returns to the imprint responsible for one of his most beloved hits.
25. Kassem Mosse - Untitled A1 [Workshop]
"-ensuality....ensuality...ensualit—...ensualit...ensualit....." [KICK DRUM]
"ensualit...ensualit..ensualit...ensuality...ensualit...ensualit...ensualit" [SCARY STRINGS]
24. Osunlade - Envision (Ame Remix) [Innervisions]
Dark, soulful and organically produced, this was the summer's most theatrical hit.
23. Four Tet - Pyramid [Text]
Hearing a house track this cinematic makes you realize what a boon Four Tet's been to club music.
22. Peverelist - Dance Til the Police Come [Hessle Audio]
Jungle-inspired-swinging post-dubstep—or in other words, a Bristol-based genius at the top of his game.
21. Session Victim - Good Intentions [Retreat]
Session Victim are one of Berlin's best-kept secrets, but a track as lovable as "Good Intentions" is bound to challenge that. At first pass, this Rhodesy little number is all feel-good summer vibes, but listen closer and there's something strange under the surface. Maybe it's that ghostly voice drifting in, or the ever-so-slight tinge of sadness in those keys, but something about this record gives you goosebumps. On a breezy afternoon in the Welsh countryside last July, it even brought one DJ to tears.
This one dropped off the radar for me a little bit, because I actually thought it was one of the weirder things I had written. I never really grasped the catchy vocal properly until I put it into context. A few guys said, "Yeah, I really like that tune," but nothing more than anything else I sent before. The first person to get anything from me is usually Ben UFO. Ben gave it the first play on Rinse FM, and somebody then ripped it from the radio stream and uploaded it to YouTube—something that seems happen all the time now. That played an integral part of getting the tune in people's heads really.
I'd been playing the tune out a lot, and it had got an OK reaction. I mean, I had always thought of it as filler for a set anyway. But once the YouTube clip was up, a lot of people in clubs knew what it was, even though it was only three or so weeks after I had finished making it. It's really strange how things move so fast.