The 50 Best Tracks of 2023

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Dec 7, 2023
Beatport Team
With the help of our contributors, we celebrate the 50 best tracks of 2023.
So, how did we compile this list? None of the songs chosen are based on sales. Instead, we reached out to Beatportal contributors from across the world, and they helped our editorial staff pick the 50 best tracks of 2023, which are listed below in no particular order. Check out the 50 Best Tracks of 2023 playlist on Beatport.
Overmono – Is U
Genre: Electronica Label: XL Recordings London R&B singer/songwriter Tirzah’s voice — a distorted sample of her track “Gladly” — beckons you into fellow Londoners Overmono’s “Is U” — and when the fat, reverberating synth bassline hits 30 seconds in, it’s over. You’re hooked. It’s one of the tracks that sucks you straight in the center of it, fully immersed. Soon enough, some of Tirzah’s words are made clear — “All I want is you,” echoes and loops over a skittering, sparkling beat. It’s a dreamy, driving rave tune that sets the tone of the Russel brothers’ debut album, Good Lies, fusing chopped R&B samples and jungle with classic UK rave rhythms into the unmistakably infectious Overmono sound. — Ana Yglesias
Hudson Mohawke, Nikki Nair – Set the Roof (feat. Tayla Parx)
Genre: UK Garage / Bassline Label: Warp Records It was only a matter of time before Hudson Mohawke and Nikki Nair started sharing stems. The bright and brash hip-hop-infused club music HudMo has been pushing for a couple of decades set the stage for the genre-hopping, bass-heavy weaponry Nair creates. But where Nair’s usual club tunes can be lean, the two turn the dial up to 11 (and then some) on the anthemic “Set the Roof” made with Tayla Parx. In the first half, they go for ’10s post-dubstep vibes with Parx’s chipmunk vocals and some 2-step drum programming. But then the second half turns into a full-on serotonin tsunami with acrylic synth lines fireworking underneath Parx’s soprano wails. — Henry Ivry
The Martinez Brothers, Eliza Rose – Pleasure Peak
Genre: House Label: Rosebud Recordings When looking back across the past 12 months, it is easy to identify “Pleasure Peak” as a heavyweight collaboration. Released on her own imprint, Rosebud Recordings, this track showcases the incredible vocal abilities of Eliza Rose alongside the star-studded production exploits of The Martinez Brothers. The song features pulsating lyrics and the melody provides equally exhilarating qualities. The warm and euphoric synths set the scene for an idyllic soundscape and helped to cement this record as a certified summer anthem. — Jack Syddall
Sofia Kourtesis – Habla Con Ella
Genre: Electronica Label: Ninja Tune Sofia Kourtesis shared her debut album, Madres, in 2023, an expression of love for her dearly departed mother. Coming out on Ninja Tune after Kourtesis earned her stripes on the label’s Technicolour imprint with the Fresia Magdalena EP back in 2021, the album harnesses emotional intricacies wrapped in an expertise for production technology, no more so prominent than on “Habla Con Ella.” Translating to “Talk To Her,” the swelling, soaring harmonics and sonorous piano create a back-and-forth within the song that mimics a musical conversation. With its serene and hopeful feel, it’s clearly a conversation she shared with her mother—one she wants to preserve in time for years to come. — Harry Levin
Baby T – Get To It
Genre: Breaks / Breakbeat / UK Bass Label: Banshee Baby T — the masked and purely underground moniker of B.Traits — brought some seriously badass and aggressive feminine energy to 2023 with the launch of her freshly minted Banshee imprint and its killer debut EP, Shee Punk 01. The record’s standout tune, “Get To It,” builds with junglist breaks dancing around sparse kicks, bringing a bug-eyed technoid flavor that puts one in mind of a high-speed car chase. Pure rave NRG with an abundance of hardcore principles, the Canadian artist’s cloaked moniker has emerged from the shadows and is ready to pounce on a dance floor near you. When speaking about the lyrics behind the track for her Playlist of the Week back in August, Baby T had this to say: “If ever there was a rule to live by – ‘just bounce in the background – get to it now!’ Some of the lyrics that make total sense to me now… Just have a good time, don’t watch what anyone else is doing, and get on with it!” — Cameron Holbrook
horsegiirL, MCR-T – My Barn My Rules
Undoubtedly, the most bonkers (and funnest) track of the year award goes to horsegiirL for her off-the-wall viral summer anthem “My Barn My Rules.” “Long mane, big hoof, shiny coat, what’s new? Small ears, so cute; Nice tail, good mood,” sings the Berlin-based masked DJ, producer and vocalist over an instantly infectious beat. By merging on-trend sounds like happy hardcore, hardstyle, gabber, hyperpop, techno, Eurodance and bubblegum pop, the 147BPM banger galloped out of the TikTok underground to kick down the mainstream’s doors. The enigmatic equine’s gone global since, taking her hedonistic DJ sets worldwide – she’s certainly no one trick pony. — Ben Jolley
Laurent Garnier – Au Clair de ta Lune
Genre: Techno (Peak Time / Driving) Label: COD3 QR “Au Clair de ta Lune,” is a moody, driving-under-the-sparkling-stars techno track from Laurent Garnier’s dancefloor-oriented, fairground-inspired 33 Tours Et Puis S’en. It opens with rocket sounds and a persistent, banging baseline and intriguing sonic flourishes that build through the 11-minute track. “It’s quite a sad track, it has a monster voice is kind of crying on it and a very melancholic vibe,” Garnier told Beatportal earlier this year. “It’s a very personal inner kind of trip. For me, it’s one of the strongest tracks of the album, but that’s very personal… I like Detroit music because it’s melancholic.” — Ana Yglesias
Interplanetary Criminal, PORIJ – Dont Hurt Me
Genre: Indie Dance Label: Pure Groove Interplanetary Criminal’s collab with PORIJ sits at the heart of the superb All Thru Thru Night compilation he assembled for Locked On Records back in April. It completes an unreal 12 months for the Manchester producer which has seen him go from emerging underground talent to smash hit summer anthem maker with Eliza Rose on “B.O.T.A.” and leave him as the king of new school garage. “Don’t Hurt Me” is a sticky, sweaty, bass-driven pumper with aching vocal loops and scuffed-up garage percussion that’s primed and ready to take dance floors to the next level. — Kristan J Caryl
Nia Archives – Off Wiv Da Headz [Little Things]
Genre: Drum & Bass Label: HIJINXX/Island Superstar UK producer, Beatport Next alum, and multi-hyphenated junglist Nia Archives blazed into the summer of 2023 with two blistering flips, including Jorja Smith’s “Little Things” and a seismic solo single (which marks the first since her critically acclaimed Bang Ur Head Against Tha Wall EP), “Off Wiv Ya Headz.” Nia originally crafted the spooky jungle edit of A-Trak’s clubland famous remix of “Heads Will Roll” and YEAH YEAH YEAH’s original joint for Manchester’s Warehouse Project during Halloween 2022. Both tore apart dance floors at Primavera Sound Barcelona and ignited crowds skanking out with Skillerex in Paris at We Love Green as well as the sold-out stadium for Beyonce (with Nia being the first London artist to open for her Renaissance World Tour.) — Tracy Kawalik
Allan Morrow – Willingness
Genre: Trance (Main Floor) Label: Borderline This track is quintessential of a proper classy trance sound. The main arpeggio theme is melodic but keeps the tone serious and doesn’t cross the cheesy line, while speech samples and background mid-hi sound effects add extra layers of depth. Borderline keeps releasing one stunning release after another, and I can’t wait to discover what’s in their pipeline for 2024. — Daniel Sokolovskiy
Hamdi – Counting
Genre: 140 / Deep Dubstep / Grime Label: Deadbeats After the overwhelming virality and global success of Hamdi’s dizzying 2022 single “Skanka,” Hamdi quickly became a hot topic among the dance music world. Seemingly overnight, he became a dance music sensation. With a vast new fanbase of interested listeners, the pressure was on. The world wanted to know what Hamdi would do next. Then, Hamdi dropped “Counting” and one thing became remarkably clear: Hamdi is here to stay. “Counting,” released on the Deadbeats label in May, is a proper lesson on musical longevity. It’s a track that has no intention of branching off from the distinct, whirly bass-driven style popularized on “Skanka,” but instead builds on the battle-tested aesthetic by adding some remarkably simple, and undeniably catchy vocals from Princess Superstar. The result is another unique, dubstep-adjacent rave anthem that’s been sung across the world 100 times over. — Logan Sasser
MK, Dom Dolla – Rhyme Dust
Genre: Tech House Label: Columbia (Sony) In February, MK and Dom Dolla sprinkled their “Rhyme Dust” in house circles for what, 10 months later, remains one of the genre’s largest and most unanimous consensus hits of the year. The heady, club-minded collaboration — their first — exerted a white-knuckle grip on the charts, notching the Australian and American producers, respectively, a Beatport No. 1 that ranked as the second top-selling house track in the Beatport store come August. The Q-Tip-sampling single’s presence continues to be felt on dance floors today, affirming that for MK and Dom Dolla, the first time’s the charm. — Rachel Narozniak
Skrillex, Flowdan, Fred Again.. – Rumble
Genre: 140 / Deep Dubstep / Grime Label: OWSLA/Atlantic Spiritually speaking, “Rumble” had two release dates. The first was in Summer 2022, when Fred Again.. played the track for the first time during his debut Boiler Room set. The club was already going off, but the moment that first bassline smacked and Flow Dan’s grimey rhymes kicked in, the crowd collectively lost it. That was the moment “Rumble” and Fred Again.. went down in Boiler Room history. So when the trio behind the magic finally released it in January 2023, it set a precedent for a year of formidable music that defies genres and encapsulates a new fluidity in dance music culture. — Alice Austin
DJ Heartstring – BAE
Genre: Dance / Electro Pop Label: Teenage Dreams We’ve seen many dance artists step up to the plate in 2023 and make a name for themselves, and DJ Heartstring are certainly one of them. They’ve only been in the scene since 2021, yet the Berlin-based duo have already turned heads with their trance dance music. “BAE” is a testament to why the DJ Heartstring sound is becoming increasingly infectious – big room, feel good energy to nurture the soul. The single landed in February, kickstarting what has been the duo’s most fruitful year yet with two smash EPs, remixes for Ciara and Romy, and big event outings including Pukkelpop and AVA Festival. — Jake Hirst
GiGi FM – Amadamushies
Genre: Techno (Raw / Deep / Hypnotic) Label: Sea~rène GiGi FM has a distinct sound, and it’s why the French-Italian artist continues to ascend as an enthralling producer, DJ and founder of the new label Sea~rène. GiGi has produced the first EP, Kiwi Synthesis Diary Vol. 2, and the hint is in the name on the opening tune, “Amadamushies.” It’s a delicious five-minute trip through psychedelic techno, built with a pulsing bassline, soaring pads and pacey, chime-like percussion. Like her sets on NTS Radio, the Berlin-based artist conjures aquatic atmospheres with a magical touch that works both on the dancefloor and in the chill-out room. It’s why she’s one of the most exciting artists to break through in recent years. — Niamh O’Connor
The Chemical Brothers – No Reason
Genre: House Label: EMI After a two-year break between releases, The Chemical Brothers’ “No Reason” was the ecstatic, full-throttle comeback that fans had been hanging on. The duo’s grand return back in March opened with a snare roll over a spiraling bassline that built to a full stomp and a shimmering, acid-tinged melody. It was unmistakably the work of Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands — complete with a stretched, trippy vocal at its center — while also signaling an energized new era for the dance music veterans. “No Reason” perfectly set the stage for the duo’s tenth studio album, For That Beautiful Feeling, which dropped in September to rave reviews. The lesson? Never bet against the Chems. — Jack Tregoning
HI-LO – Pura Vida
Genre: Techno (Peak Time / Driving) Label: HILOMATIK Oliver Heldens has already shown the world how talented he is in the world of music production, crafting numerous house anthems. Then he decided to showcase his love of techno by releasing music under his HI-LO alias, with “Pura Vida” serving as the inaugural release on his own imprint, HILOMATIK. This record provided a spectacular glimpse into the quality of music that the label would provide. The progressive melody instantly casts a spell, as the sharp percussive bursts enrich the song and add real depth to this techno track. As a first foray into the genre this is a breathtaking creation and certainly fuels the desire for further techno cuts from the Dutch DJ and producer. — Jack Syddall
Coffintexts – Touch
Genre: Bass / Club Label: Clasico Miami’s club music scene has been rife with exciting new producers in recent years, and along with other Miamians like INVT, Bitter Babe, and Nick León, Coffintexts is at the forefront of a group of artists deftly blending influences from US, UK, and Latin American dance music. The title track from her EP on Clasico — the first release on the Local Action sister label — sees Coffintexts’ wide-reaching taste in full flow, with warping bass taking centre stage against a backdrop of syncopated, driving percussion. — Will Gulseven
Gemi, Ell Murphy – Good2Me
Genre: UK Garage / Bassline Label: Jucey Tunes There haven’t been many earworms quite like Gemi and Ell Murphy’s “Good2Me” this year, the kind of garage scorcher that you can expect to hear on repeat throughout the summer months. “Good2Me” kicked up a lot of dust after its release in June, the first of several singles landing on Ell Murphy’s Jucey Tunes label this year, and was certainly a standout of the bunch. The pair come together to create the perfect slice of vocal garage, a treasured collaboration that had fans begging for the track’s vinyl release. — Gemma Ross
Chris Stussy – Midtown Playground
Genre: Deep House Label: Fuse London Undoubtedly, 2023 was, in many ways, the year of the Stuss. Snowballing in popularity with every new production, the arrival of “Midtown Playground” — one of his most requested tracks to date — sent shockwaves through the global house music community. The artist’s Up The Stuss imprint has grown to immense new heights since its launch in 2020, and he’s thrilled us with releases like “All Night Long” and “Rose Bay” on his label this year. But this long-awaited debut on Enzo Siragusa’s iconic Fuse London perfectly sums up the magnetic appeal of Stussy’s warm and inviting groove that has turned this humble Dutchman into one of house music’s hottest names. — Cameron Holbrook
Borai & Denham Audio – Make Me
Genre: Breaks / Breakbeat / UK Bass Label: Columbia (Sony) This one was a long time coming. First teased in 2018 and finally getting an official sample-cleared release in February this year, UK producers and DJs Borai and Denham Audio flipped Donna Allen’s 1986 disco classic ‘Serious’ on its head by pairing its soulful chorus with the classic ‘Amen’ break from The Winstons’ 1969 track ‘Amen Brother’ (a staple of early jungle and hardcore). The long-forgotten ‘90s rave anthem built up momentum through clubs, picking up support from Annie Mac, DJ Seinfeld, Peggy Gou and Special Request. But it was a Mixmag Lab livestream, from the DJ La La, which helped the track to really take off online and end up in Radio 1 playlists. A true underground success story. — Ben Jolley
Chloe Caillet – Moonwalk
Genre: Indie Dance Label: Innervisions After only coming on the scene in 2019, the French-born and currently UK-based dance purveyor Chloe Caillet has built a reputation for her diverse and intelligent productions. Now, in 2023, that reputation caught the attention of the ever-elusive Dixon and Âme who signed her single “Moonwalk” to their even more elusive record label, Innervisions. Honing in on its namesake, the breakbeat kick drum on this track floats around as if in an antigravity environment while astral synth work and cosmic pads find the space between those beats, painting pictures of imagination just like when any mere mortal stares at the stars. — Harry Levin
Floating Points – Birth4000
Genre: Techno (Peak Time / Driving) Label: Ninja Tune Floating Point’s only release of 2023 is an absolute melter, cranking in at 110 percent pure club energy. The wailing synths and crunchy bleeps and bloops of “Birth4000” sound as if Giorgio Moroder created a disco diva entirely from machines. In fact, the extended version opens with an AOL dialup tone from outer space, a chaotic explosion of sounds that eventually give way to the hypnotic, incessant beat. The pulsing, driving bassline is reminiscent of “I Feel Love,” but here, Daft Punk has returned to their home planet and are going crazy on their synths as their fellow androids lose themselves in the strobe lights. — Ana Yglesias
Jessy Lanza – Don’t Leave Me Now
Genre: Indie Dance Label: Hyperdub “Don’t Leave Me Now” is the first bit of new music Jessy Lanza has written since moving to LA. The city had an immediate impact on the dance-pop icon in ways she might not have predicted as she was almost hit by a car not long after arriving. It triggered an episode of agoraphobia, which led her to process the trauma with this tune. While the big, polished drums and summer-ready chords are as upbeat and happy as any of Lanza’s music, listen closer to the lyrics and you’ll hear her vulnerable pleas not to be left alone. They bring lasting poignancy to a classy party starter. — Kristan J Caryl
Anz – Clearly Rushing
Genre: Breaks / Breakbeat / UK Bass Label: Hessle Audio Genre-spanning Manchester DJ and Producer Anz has been creating a Track ID-frenzy for months with her break-driven, acid-soaked club cut “Clearly Rushing.” With its infectious, simmering breaks, fizzy synths stabs, and staple Hessle bass sound started gaining traction and heady hype on dance floors two years back. Since returning to the label after a three-year stint, “Clearly Rushing” has become a staple in both Anz and the Hessle Audio crew’s DJ sets. Well worth the wait, the festival hellraiser was released just in time for summer and wasted no time clocking critical clout and top spots on Songs of 2023 and Songs of the Summer lists far and wide. Celebrating the release, Anz took to Instagram to wax lyrical in a post saying: “After almost two years of rigorous road testing, misnamed YouTube rips and ID request pressure, Clearly Rushing is out on Hessle Audio.” — Tracy Kawalik
Yushh – Same Same
Genre: Electronica Label: Wisdom Teeth 2023 was Yushh’s year. Although she has been a staple in clubs around Bristol and beyond for a couple of years, it wasn’t until this year that she released her debut EP, Look Mum No Hands. It presented a light and airy take on the usually heavy and self-serious world of contemporary UK techno. No track captured this better than “Same Same.” Sparse, but swung drum pirouette underneath dubby chords, like a ballerina holding their breath for a solo underwater. Slowly, though, Yushh builds up a groove filled with strange, but curious synth wails that add a gloss of playfulness. The sound design here is intricate and complex, but the mood is effervescent, and maybe just a bit silly. — Henry Ivry
Nordic Echoes – Roots
Genre: Trance (Raw / Deep / Hypnotic) Label: Unique Sound Records As the title suggests, this track certainly goes to the roots of a more hypnotic kind of trance and is very reminiscent of what’s known as the Scandinavian sound with the likes of Human Blue and Vibrasphere just to name a few. This track, along with other works from the EP, have been on repeat for me and are definitely a must for the music explorers out there. — Daniel Sokolovskiy
Mochakk – Jealous
Genre: House Label: CircoLoco Records “Jealous” is a perfect introduction to Mochakk’s fun-loving, smile-inducing take on modern house and techno music. It’s groovy, it’s soulful, and it’s a fantastic way to kick off any dance party. Led by an impassioned spoken word passage sampled from Loleatta Holloway’s “Dreamin’,” “Jealous” infuses a contagious, sassy energy that’s as animated as Mochakk’s now-iconic stage presence. It’s the sort of song that revitalizes a dancefloor at 5:00 AM; it’s a techno-infused espresso martini concocted to replace sleep’s unfortunate necessity in lou of an all-night dance party. If you need a boost, “Jealous” is a great pick-me-up. Just make sure your dancing shoes are within reach. — Logan Sasser
Baalti – Staying in Touch
Genre: Breaks / Breakbeat / UK Bass Label: All My Thoughts 2023 has undoubtedly been Baalti’s year. The San Francisco duo have released a string of beautiful tracks delivered straight from the heart and drawing inspiration from their South Asian heritage. “Staying in Touch” comes from their Better Together EP, and fuses soaring melodies with harmonic drops. It captures the full spectrum of the human experience and reflects a year in the life of the producers, who wrote it while touring, living with friends, being in love and finding community through music. It’s hard to imagine one track encapsulating all of that, but with “Staying in Touch” Baalti manages it. — Alice Austin
Basstripper – In The City
Genre: Drum & Bass Label: DnB Allstars Records Seeing artists finally break through after years of being on the verge is special. It’s exactly what has happened to Basstripper over the past year. Coming from the Belgium d&b scene where he’s been well respected for some time, the artist has now managed to cement a name for himself on the UK circuit, making various appearances on DnB Allstars line-ups. It was the perfect match — one leading to Basstripper releasing “In The City” on the label. A tune you can’t help but throw a cheeky gun finger at. In a matter of months, it has become Basstripper’s most streamed track, setting the artist up nicely for what is sure to be a bright future in the scene. — Jake Hirst
Pink Concrete – Lost Satellite (Lindsey Herbert Remix)
Genre: Techno (Raw / Deep / Hypnotic) Label: Bipolar Disorder Records Phoenix-based DJ and producer Lindsey Herbert has released a slew of remixes this year, but her mutation of “Lost Satellite” by Pink Concrete via Bipolar Disorder Records is one of many memorable tunes under the Herbert-sphere. With a sound that ripples through rich, bassy textures to bloops and bleeps that add a levitating feel, the co-founder of EvilGroove Records has a knack for creating lush and luminous rabbit holes that you can’t help but stumble into. Pitched at 140 BPM, it’s another potent treat from a multi-talented artist who knows her sound and continues to stand out in a heaving scene for all the right reasons. — Niamh O’Connor
Bob Sinclar – Adore
Genre: Melodic House & Techno Label: Yellow Productions French artist Bob Sinclar is one of those individuals who certainly has his finger firmly on the pulse when it comes to music production. The Parisian musician has forged a formidable reputation over several decades, first bursting onto the scene with “The Beat Goes On” back in 2002. Released back in January on his own imprint Yellow Productions, “Adore” provided a dreamy soundscape to open the year. The soulful vocal and magical selection of synths serve as the perfect ingredients for a record which is the definition of a winter warmer. — Jack Syddall
GIDEÖN – Fridays
Genre: House Label: HOMO-CENTRIC RECORDS Has there ever been a better hype-up track for the weekend? Since first launching his HOMO-CENTRIC RECORDS label back in September of 2022, queer dance music icon GIDEÖN has turned his imprint into a bastion of house music majesty which honors and recognizes the genre’s indisputable LGBTQIA+, Black, and Latin musical tradition. “Fridays” is a low and slow-slung house burner with earworm vocal chops that will work their way into your weekend motivations as you check out from work mode and prepare your body for whichever dance floor suits your fancy on any given Friday night. — Cameron Holbrook
Joker, Skrillex, Sleepnet – Tears
Genre: Trap / Wave Label: OWSLA/Atlantic Skrillex’s return to the stage was undoubtedly the biggest moment for electronic music in 2023 so far, and he brought two albums with him: Don’t Get Too Close and Quest For Fire. While the former album saw him work with major rappers like Kid Cudi, the latter album was the place for the LA-based expert to revisit the bass-heavy genres that made his name. “Tears” sees Skrillex link with two UK legends of low-end sounds, Joker and Sleepnet (who is Nik Roos of Noisia) to produce a deep and uncluttered wave tune that honors the roots of Skrillex’s influences as the resurrected superstar brings those roots into the present. — Harry Levin
Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding – Miracle
Genre: Dance / Electro Pop Label: Columbia (Sony) Pitchfork profiled the current trance revival almost a month before ‘Miracle’s release, but the huge commercial crossover came in March thanks to Calvin Harris’ collaboration with Ellie Goulding. After teasing her heavenly acapella vocal via a TikTok filmed inside a church (since viewed 17 million times), the patiently-punchy fusion of ‘90s techno, trance, and breakbeats went on to reach number one in the UK chart and stay there for a full eight weeks – a clear sign that nostalgic rave euphoria is all the rage right now. — Ben Jolley
Ladymonix – Desire
Genre: Deep House Label: Studio Barnhus Baltimore-born, Detroit-based Ladymonix manages to strike a perfect balance with her music. The new school tastemaker taps into the traditional house tropes dance floors will always crave but embellishes them with her own fresh and forward-thinking perspective. Her standout Welcome 2 My House EP on Swedish label Studio Barnhus proved that once more with “Desire” an irresistible gem at its heart. The humid, fluttering chords are powered by rubbery kicks, with gooey bass down low and a perfectly emotive vocal hook crying out in the midst of it all. Add in the trippy cosmic details that flash about up top and you have something that’s both anthemic but artfully crafted, direct but indelible. House music doesn’t get much better than this. — Kristan J Caryl
Pangaea – Installation
Genre: Tech House Label: Hessle Audio In its fifteen years of existence, Hessle Audio has had plenty of hits. But it’s hard to remember a year like 2023 when every tune the label released seemed to get bigger and bigger. There was the slow-burning thump of Toumba, Anz’s chaotic keyboard contortions, and Olof Dreijer from the Knife’s grand return to techno. But amidst this crowded field, label boss Pangaea’s “Installation” was the biggest of the big. Zippy tech house drum programming and a cotton candy trance lead set the stage for that indecipherable earworm vocal. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the “Esso esso” line (or whatever that vocal is saying), was 2023’s single catchiest refrain and one that punters in smoking areas across the world were humming all year long. — Henry Ivry
Quantic – Run (feat. Andreya Triana)
Genre: Nu Disco / Disco Label: Play It Again Sam The ominous strings and initial restrained vocals of South London’s MOBO-nominated vocalist Andreya Triana suggested June 2023’s “Run” would be another of Will ‘Quantic’ Holland’s smokey, introspective jams, but instead it speedily unfurled into a casually euphoric, dancefloor-clarion call of a track. Part-house, part-disco, part-jazz, part-some-other-wonderful-new-thing, “Run” is a head-nodding, brass-laden, high-summer anthem; warm and welcoming with an irresistible swing to the rhythm and a vocal hook to die for. Perfectly melding rich orchestration, classily joyous vocals and club dynamics, Run is a gift to DJs: drop this as the sun comes up and spread some dance floor love. — Harold Heath
Kwengface, Joy Orbison, Overmono – Freedom 2
Genre: Breaks / Breakbeat / UK Bass Label: Kwengface LTD “Freedom 2” represents the boundless nature of UK Garage, with a melodic and subtle street rap flair that somehow reaches a middle ground between laidback grooves and aggressive grime-infused hip-hop. Kwengface takes center stage on “Freedom 2,” which sees the rapper struggling to embrace his new lifestyle outside of the violent street politics he was accustomed to before his music gained momentum. But many of the threatening bars, like “Man pop this corn like the cinema Vue,” pass by without enforcing a proper sense of dangerous aggression, which makes “Freedom 2” a sneaky UKG banger that’s aided by Joy Orbison and Overmono’s contemporary, lighthearted production style. — Logan Sasser
Above & Beyond, Seven Lions, Opposite The Other – Over Now
Genre: Dance / Electro Pop Label: Anjunabeats Thematically born from an idiomatic search for the light at the end of the tunnel, according to Opposite The Other’s Samuel Burger, “Over Now” reconvenes the South African band, Above & Beyond, and Seven Lions for an anthemic, emotive answer to 2019’s “See The End.” Burger’s languid topline, tinged with cautious but resolute optimism, complements the single’s festival-facing, pyro-adjacent production, which cuts listeners a one-way ticket to raveland while lyrically emphasizing one of life’s simple truths: the sun always rises. — Rachel Narozniak
Sim – Razor Crest
Genre: Bass / Club Label: SPE:C One of the stand-out EPs of 2023 came in the form of Sim’s Sulum, a 5-track affair so heavy on the bass it makes the club quake. “Razor Crest” arguably received the most play outs this year, thanks to its combination of subtle breaks and thudding percussion that makes it both understated and hard-hitting, and the perfect track to transition the energy of a set. The EP came from SPE:C, another stand-out player of 2023. The label isn’t just diversifying the nightclubs of Berlin, but transforming the culture worldwide. — Alice Austin
MCR-T, Mercury 200 – Up And Down
Genre: Electro (Classic / Detroit / Modern) Label: Gangsters of the Groove Berlin-based MCR-T, Germany’s King of Ghettotech, teams up with producer duo Mercury 200 to create the 150bpm summer slammer we desperately needed. Released in April on Mercury 200’s small-run imprint Gangsters of the Groove, this track is the crowning glory of the four-track Techno-Peak EP. The second you hear that crisp 808 cowbell and rimshot in the first eight bars, I challenge you to not be hooked! It’s sexy, it’s ’90s R&B nostalgia without the cheese, it’s shake your “booty bass” all night long. MCR-T’s fast lyrical prowess gives Twista energy but with a techno edge. Label-boss, producer, songwriter, rapper, what can this man not do?! And this was released before another Summer slammer, his collab with horsegiirL’s “My Barn My Rules”… We can’t wait to see what 2024 holds for this genre-bending creative. — Grace George
Verraco – Escándaloo
Genre: Techno (Raw / Deep / Hypnotic) Label: Voam You’d be hard-pressed to find a dull release on the eclectic roster of Pariah and Blawan’s Voam imprint. Coming out of left field with their next offering is TraTraTrax co-founder Verraco, nailing down that Latin-fusion club sound on the EP’s title track, “Escándaloo.” It’s a brazen attempt to turn techno on its head, littered with experimentations from the Colombian producer and a chunky bassline that cuts right through high-octane drumwork and a hypnotic, textural undercurrent. — Gemma Ross
Bou, Chase & Status, Trigga, Irah, Flowdan – Baddadan
Genre: Drum & Bass Label: EMI When veterans of the scene, Chase & Status, jumped into the studio with rising star Bou to create “Baddadan,” they conjured up arguably the most iconic record in the genre over the last 12 months. 2023 has certainly been another hugely successful year for drum & bass. The genre, which already has a huge following in the UK has seen that rampant appetite replicated over in the United States during recent times. The record brings together some of the finest aspects of jungle and drum & bass whilst the acidy synths and powerful vocals help to create one of the most infectious rave tracks. — Jack Syddall
Tibi Dabo – Triple Frontier
Genre: Melodic House & Techno Label: Crosstown Rebels A favorite of the Crosstown Rebels family (and beyond), Barcelona-based DJ/producer and musician Tibi Dabo returned to Damian Lazarus’ imprint this year once again to deliver his masterfully constructed nine-track album, Vista. Packed with knotty and blissed-out sonic adventures, the whole LP presents a considered array of house music moods, the high point being “Triple Frontier” — a swift and cosmically inclined track that picks up the pace with a mellifluous melody, brushing percussion, and honeyed synths that wane and glisten like stars in the night sky. — Cameron Holbrook
Tiga, Hudson Mohawke, Elisabeth Troy – Ascending Into The Clouds
Genre: Dance / Electro Pop Label: Columbia (Sony) When Elisabeth Troy sings, “Grasping for the sun and the sky,” atop frenetic, piercing synths, her voice rising to the heavens, it’s nearly impossible to not raise your hands and close your eyes. On “Ascending Into the Clouds,” left-field electronic provocateurs Tiga and Hudson Mohawke continue their fruitful collaborative relationship as Love Minus Zero with an unabashed hands-in-the-air peak-time euphoric banger, something they’ve always hoped to create. (It’s a lead single from their upcoming collab album, L’Ecstacy.) With a pounding bassline, skittering, sparkling synths, Troy’s warm, powerful voice and a BPM of 141, this is pure rave ecstasy, without the comedown. — Ana Yglesias
Introspekt – Forlorn
Genre: UK Garage / Bassline Label: Shall Not Fade Americans have never been afraid to play around with British genres and sounds, but 2023’s best UK garage track being produced by an LA artist was not on my 2023 bingo card. But it was impossible to deny the force of “Forlorn” from American upstart Introspekt. Syncopated drums and a ten tonne Reese bassline give the track a darkside edge, but it’s the little snippets of saxophone that she weaves throughout that took the track to another level. It was a tune that felt both true to the genre’s history, while also representing the forefront of a new generation reimagining classic sounds. — Henry Ivry
Imogen – In Bed With My 808
Genre: Electro (Classic / Detroit / Modern) Label: Steel City Dance Discs 2023 has been a stellar year for Imogen. The London-based DJ, producer, radio host and label owner has seemed unstoppable this year, with a string of all-star guests on her monthly NTS show, a near-neverending touring schedule, and now a newly-launched label under her belt. Her Albert Road EP on Mall Grab’s Steel City Dance Discs is a perfect encapsulation of her sound – a weighty collection of electro, techno and breaks. “In Bed With My 808” is a sledgehammer of acid electro, driven along by relentless vocal chops and distorted 808s. — Will Gulseven
Marlon Hoffstadt, Daddy Trance – It’s That Time
Genre: Hard Dance / Hardcore Label: Method 808 If there was one artist who had their long-awaited moment in 2023, it was Berlin-based house DJ and producer Marlon Hoffstadt who, a decade into his career, blew up under his relatively new Daddy Trance moniker. Amid a growing appetite for fast yet playful tempos, his Boiler Room set in the HÖR bathroom demonstrated the zeitgeist-hitting appeal of his trance-techno-Eurodance fusion. But it was his own call to the dancefloor workout ‘It’s That Time’ that hit the spot most. Whistle-blowing like a fitness instructor, the pumping bass and mantra-like refrain turned clubs across the UK and Europe into total sweatboxes. — Ben Jolley
Doctor Jeep, Farsight – Spacemaker II
Genre: Drum & Bass Label: Worst Behavior Recs Doctor Jeep and Farsight’s recent collaboration on Worst Behavior Recs is, if nothing, a proper brain melter. Released in August just in time for peak-summer spins on the festival stage, “Spacemaker II” gets its vigour from the clash of east-meets-west coast sounds. New York’s Doctor Jeep brings his own signature style of 160 to the track, while San Francisco-based DJ Farsight injects skewed bass and plenty of rip-roaring percussion. This rapidfire cut journeys through their jungle mastery seamlessly, a labour of love from two ever-rising producers. — Gemma Ross

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