Drinking is a sport (The Hawt's top 15 releases of 2012)

     I am hoping that every citizen of music has enjoyed the last few weeks of, well, not being sober and receiving gifts of all sorts; for this is the only time of the year where it is acceptable to let go of your inhibitions, in every sense of the word, and take part in multiple ORG... festivities.  Additionally, if this is not your first holiday season, you must be well aware that giving is an equally important aspect of what comprises our current joviality.  Whether a cool hand-knit sweater from the g'ma, or simply a gift card to Hollister (which I hope is not the case), we all crowd the malls in the hopes of putting a smile on the faces of our loved ones. I, however, have chosen the unbeaten path, and have stuck to bringing ear tears to you, fellow Hawt members (in other words, I am cheap as fuck).

     Rants aside, the year is coming to a close, and in my holiday-drunken state, I am demanded, due to the ubiquity of lists these days, to spew out a list of my own, comprised of songs that have blessed my ears, and that of many, over the last twelve months of my existence. However, before I name the aforementioned, let us go over the year, musically speaking of course.

1. Dubstep, and all its half-cousins

     We have lived through the distortion of what is commonly referred to as dubstep by the plebeians. It is time to set the record straight. Emerging from Southern London in the late 90's as the darker, experimental cousin of 2-step garage, this genre began to set a certain notoriety for itself at the start of the new millennium. With releases from the likes of Zed Bias, Oris Jay and other UK natives, you would most likely be left confused listening to one of their works; you may ask yourself where the laser shooting dinosaurs are, and why the drop is of such subtlety that it is inaudible to the bro-step ear. Unfortunately, I have no other reply than to insult your lack of musical culture. Then along came Rusko and friends, in which the stereotypical bro-step aficionado can find slight comfort. The rise of modern "dubstep" sprung from the aforesaid during the turn of the decade, wobbles galore and what not. As of today, the evolution from garage towards dubstep towards what is now referred to as bro-step and moombahcore (refer to Mark's post pertaining to the difference between the two) has seen a massive increase in popularity. I guess people seem to enjoy laser shooting dinosaurs. To keep it brief, let's just say that any listening ear has heard of "dubstep", and nothing can be more mainstream, other than Mr. Bieber and your usual avicii-style progressive house. However, Mad Decent (Diplo's record label) still attempts to spice up your hits fm radio show, hosting an array of relatively decent (get it? because the label name is the same as the quality of the music they.... nevermind) moombahcore and bro-step for the masses (decent is as good as it will get in my books; call me biased, zero fucks will be given).

2. Damn son, where'd you find this? 

     In all seriousness, I fucking love trap music. There's something about a hard baseline and the sound of never-ending hyperventilation that just strikes one of my deepest desires to cook crack/cocaine. So what if myriads of commoners are searching for trap remixes of all their beloved Odd Future songs; doesn't bother me in the slightest, for trap music is E for everyone.  Originating from the southern US in association with the drug dealing scene, the early 2000's were full of crisp snares and pitched vocals over some straight spittin'. Nowadays, it seems as if the movement is veering towards EDM, since trap is, at the very core, a hybrid genre capable of leniency. All this being said, with huge releases from labels such as LuckyMe, Mad Decent, Kannibalen as well as unsigned artists, this genre is not going extinct anytime soon. After all, the people need their crack/cocaine.

3. There is a supreme ruler in the Trance World

     This year, as many of you may know, Armada music now has control of the Anjuna labels. This being said, the majority of amazing trance you will hear will be coming out from the aforementioned record company. However, the competition came prepared. Huge label Spinnin' records have people such as Leon Boiler, and Garuda music has Gareth Emery and Ben Gold, amongst many. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that Armada now oversees the development of trance music.

     All the above aside, it is now time for Fred, Justin and I to bring to you....  

The Hawt's 15 most beloved songs/EPs/albums of the previous year

15. Theophilus London - Why Even Try (Bloody Beetroots Remix)

     This is a track Bloody Beetroots released on their soundcloud as an unreleased track (basically, you can only find a low-ish quality version of the track and you can't buy it anywhere). It's not the type of track you'd play at a party, because everybody would leave for another party if you did, but it has this really chill feel to it and I really enjoy listening to it. I'd qualify this song of "indie electro rap", since it's the type of track you'd probably had found on the Hype Machine 3 years ago. Listen to it, it's worth it. 

14. Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks (The Knocks Remix)

    To be fair, it’s a bootleg. When Universal Records got word of the unofficial remix being offered for free via SoundCloud, the New York-based producers had no choice but to take it down. However, the few days it was available was enough to set the blogosphere ablaze, with upwards of 10,000 downloads being recorded. The recipe was simple; take an already catchy tune, add some big city panache and a disco bassline so sweet, you make the label owners worry whether or not it overshadows the original.

13. Labuzinski & Graef - Trash Ludi

     This song is the dark horse of the list. A song recorded on the Box Aus Holz label as well as featured on an earlier set I played in September, I believe Trash Ludi to be one of the hidden gems of 2012. To give you an idea of just how much digging is required to find it, this piece is unavailable nearly everywhere; the only place you could obtain a free listen, to my knowledge, is on a youtube video with 300 views. In other words, forget a free download, it will not happen (if any of you are aware of a link, please provide it in the comment section below).  This one, in the words of a friend, "really creeps up on you". Love it or hate it, in its uniqueness lies the beauty. The subtleties within Trash Ludi are so well harmonized. For developed deep house ears only.

12. Flosstradamus - Total Recall 

     Like Nikhil said earlier, trap this year exploded in the edm scene. This track is from one of the first artist to make trap music popular: Flosstradamus. You may remember the Original Don remix he did... yes the one that got "slightly" overplayed, but man that track was cool. I feel like Total Recall is  a better track overall, less of a banger and more of an actual track while keeping its "fucking cool" factor. Flosstradamus went all out on that track, mixing a lot of different synths with the trap feel (even euro synths and such). Check it out:

11. Hot Natured ft. Ali Love – Benediction

    When Hot Creations label heads Jamie Jones and Lee Foss got together with their Hot Naturedbrethren Ali Love and Luca C to follow-up last year’s “Forward Motion,” the intent was to birth an Ibiza poolside ballad. What resulted was just that, with the added dimensions of peak-time summer festival bomb and house’s most-anticipated release of 2012.

10. Hideaway EP - Maths Time Joy 

     I was so pleasantly surprised to hear this wonderful EP only short months ago. Everything works so well together, and Maths Time Joy's implementation of so many instruments would seemingly prove otherwise. In all honesty, this EP is meant to put you in a good mood and is a great soundtrack to any of your psychonautic experiences.

9. Express Yourself EP - Diplo

     This is a no brainer. Diplo pushed the limits of EDM even farther with this one, mixing some unexpected genres toghether, like dancehall, New Orleans Bounce and EDM. It was a huge success and was played countless times all around the globe. If you don't have time to listen to all of it, listen to the Express Yourself track, it'll give you an idea of the rest.

8. Porter Robinson – Language

    The brightest spot in a supernova of a year, Porter Robinson’s flagship track of 2012 proved that while he may look like a 20-year old, he has the musical genius of a well-established EDMveteran. Despite sporting a ridiculously short mix-out section, “Language” was championed by DJs worldwide, shooting to the top of Beatport’s and iTunes’ dance charts upon its release and selling roughly 125,000 copies to become one of the most-purchased EDM tunes of the year.

7. A Meaning EP - Braille

     There are very few labels that produce consistently good music. Amongst them, Hotflush recordings has done everything right in 2012, and subsequently launched themselves into the new year with quite some momentum. This being said, it is with logic to assume that one of the best EP's from Hotflush in the previous year will make this list. Braille's usage of vocal sampling, percussive brilliance given the monotony for the sake of deep house, as well as a signature prolonged and subtle synth which does not overpower makes this EP great. I will only post the first song off the EP, but feel free to purchase (download) it and listen to the others, for there is no full soundcloud set for this collection of songs.

6. Live Forever (feat. Aruna) - Ferry Corsten feat. Aruna

     I'd qualify this as Trance-House (fuck you trouse). The first time I've listened to it was at last year's Bal en Blanc, during Ferry Corsten's set and it was love at first sight (listen..?). It has this liberating feel to it and is amazing in a big event when every one has his hands in the air. Go ahead, listen to it.

5. Disclosure ft. Sam Smith – Latch

    Expect to see this name in end of year countdowns for decades to come. Disclosure’s emergence onto the EDM scene in 2012 was nothing short of spectacular and certainly hit a high in “Latch,” their soulful, garage-infused, vocal house track with Sam Smith. Signed to prestigious PMR Records, Disclosure’s best to date reached the 11th spot on the UK charts and was remixed by the incomparable Jamie Jones, setting a path for a doozy of a career.

4. Tenishia - Where Do We Begin (Andrew Rayel Remix)

    Featured on ASOT 581 as the tune of the week and on the mix of the year 2012, Andrew Rayel has made a ton of noise this year in the trance community. In ASOT's tune of the year, he has approximately 5 tracks in the top 20, and with good reason. This song is absolutely mind blowing, and is a true representation of the soul-peering nature of trance. The breakdowns successfully harmonize vocal use and  soft synth stabs to create quite an atmosphere. There is much potential in this young man, and we expect to be seeing him at Bal En Blanc in the following months.

3.  TNGHT EP - TNGHT (Lunice & Hudson Mohawke)

     Everyone knew this would make the list. The infinite use of sampling in this and the sheer hardness of the beat (tubas galore in Higher Ground, for example) can drive an entire crowd nuts.  For the uninformed, Lunice and Hudson Mohawke comprise this duo and, well, since Lunice just so happens to be a Montreal native, we will be seeing the two at Igloofest in the following weeks! Get excited! On a side note, this pretty much blew up trap to what it is now, alongside with the Mad Decent crew. The following is a teaser of the entirety, go get it if you haven't already.

2. Major Lazer - Get Free

     Aaaaaaaaaahh, this track. Well it's fucking amazing and it makes you feel like you're floating, with or without the help of drugs. Open your ears people, this is indescribable with words:

1. Eric Prydz presents Pryda

    Already with a life-long measure of success under his belt, Eric Prydz unleashed Pryda in 2012. His first full-length album to date, the 3-disc behemoth includes 13 unreleased tracks and a 2-part retrospective mix featuring the best work from his Pryda alias. If the size of the release doesn’t impress, consider the emotional scope, which spans so many different feelings that it takes the listener on a literal escapade. “Leja,” Eric’s favorite from the album is a deeply personal one about his daughter, while “Allein” and “SW4,” the album’s singles, are huge party tracks perfect to pump up a big room. Altogether, Pryda is not only an album of year candidate, but equally one for EDM album of the 2000s.

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