2020 has undoubtedly been a dismal year for many reasons, we don’t have to tell you that. But one bright silver lining to this shittiest of clouds has been the music. Here’s Hubie’s chart of his favourite tunes of 2020, accompanied by a few short ramblings to explain why he chose them. Feel free to read along as you listen…
01} Gaby (Featuring Moodymann) – Hold On [Mood Funk]
This tune has popped up on my radio show a few times this year, mainly due to its fun and irreverent nature. Also, the “fuck that” vocal seems to be an appropriate response to the year we’ve just had to endure, I’m sure you’ll agree.
02} Mason (Featuring The Melody Men) – Loosen Up (Illyus & Barrientos Extended Mix) [Toolroom]
I love this, mainly because it’s so damn uplifting. And right now we need all the uplifts we can get. Say what you like about Toolroom as a supposed ‘business techno’ label, you’d have to have the cold heart of Dominic Cummings not to enjoy this. Also, this is obviously disco house, so it gets a pass.
03} Powder Monkeys – Beautiful Animal (Birdee Remix) [Black Riot]
This is by a good mate of mine, Birdee. Including this in my chart could be seen as nepotism (hey it’s 2020, everyone seems to be doing it!) but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a beautiful tune. It does what the title says. ‘Nuff said.
04} Renato Cohen – Lone Ranger [Pets]
Another one that’s featured a lot in my shows this year. I just love the low-slung bassline. If early Daft Punk had sexy times with a ‘70s cop show theme tune, this would be their baby.
05} Dmitri Saidi, Sinner & James – Dis Poem [Kittball]
I love a bouncy bassline. And this has one of the bounciest. What else is there to say?
06} Dennis Ferrer – Hey Hey (Riva Starr Paradise Garage Club Remix) [Defected]
The legendary Riva Starr remixes a modern classic and manages to make it even better! This remix pushes everything up to eleven, creating a bona fide, Moroder-esque, disco dancefloor smash. This comes a very sweaty, intimate second to my tune of the year. More on that later.
07} Magnus International – Sitronsyre (Prins Thomas Mix) [Full Pupp]
Taking a diversion from house music, I only found this when searching for breaks tunes for a recent breakbeat-oriented show. You’d never know it’s a new release. It would fit comfortably in a ‘90s acid house/big beat set. And the biggest surprise (for me anyway) is it’s by Norwegian disco don Prins Thomas! Undoubtedly a man of many talents.
08} John Tejada – Champignon [John Tejada]
Another slight change in direction with this tune. John Tejada has released lots of quality music this year, but I narrowed it all down to this one, mainly because of the hip hop samples and the boingy bassline. It’s somehow equal parts sensible and bonkers.
09} Kosmas (Featuring Irini Liapikou) – Fancy That (Sons Of Immigrants Remix) [Mr. Nice Guy]
At this point in the mix I change up a few gears into significant breakbeat banger territory. It’s fair to say 2020 has been a good year for the resurgence of breakbeat, and this tune is a good example of it. I’m a big fan of classic breaks samples, and this tune, as well as others later in this chart, makes good use of those beats.
10} Stones Taro – To Rave [Scuffed]
Speaking of a good year for breakbeat, it’s also been a strong year for Scuffed Records. The likes of Stones Taro, Dubrunner, and Chungo have been smashing it with their brand of old skool, ravey tech breaks, and this tune is a perfect example of the excellent year they’ve had.
11} Pearson Sound – Alien Mode [Hessle Audio]
Another artist and label that’s been flying the flag for underground ravey beats. This has received airplay on plenty of mainstream stations too, with it’s Prodigy-like swagger, heavy breaks, and a breakdown that wouldn’t sound out of place in Fabric’s Room 2 at 6am. Of all of these tunes, this one makes me really miss getting sweaty in a club.
12} Breaka – The Ambush [Off Beat]
The first of two consecutive Breaka tunes. This artist is new to me but has quickly earned must-listen status. Another significant banger packed with old skool breaks flavours.
13} Chungo – Pineapple (Breaka Remix) [Scuffed]
Scuffed’s second appearance in this chart, this is slightly more eccentric than the tunes that precede it, but it’s still packed with tasty beats and sub bass that’s so lively and obliging it’ll take your dog for a walk.
14} JT Company – Don’t Deal With Us (Dusky Edit – Extended Mix) [17 Steps]
Moving into end-of-set, arms-in-the-air-before-you-hug-a-stranger territory. This is another breaks-oriented tune that caught me by surprise, mainly because of who it’s by. I’d long since dismissed Dusky as an artist I’m probably too old for, but this has forced me to open my mind a bit more. Lovely, warm melodic vibes that (imo anyway) leads perfectly into…
15} Bonobo & Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Heartbreak [Outlier]
My tune of the year. Well, well, well. Bonobo & TEED smash it out of the dance tent with melodic goosebumps pressed into a record. This could easily have formed part of the Plump DJs back catalogue when they were at the top of their breakbeat game. And even though Class Action’s Weekend has been heavily sampled of late, this tune samples the main verse in a fresh new way that makes me love it all over again. When this pandemic is over, do what you like, my dear, but I’m not stayin’ home.
16} Eris Drew – Fluids Of Emotion [IT]
Starting to wind things down now and this tune bridges this part of the mix quite well. We’ve hugged all of the strangers on the virtual dance floor, now it’s time to gather what’s left of our marbles and try and figure out how to get home. This tune represents the emotional post-party glow, mixed with the muddy confusion of what to do next…
17} Daniel Avery – Lone Swordsman [Phantasy]
But before we go, there’s still time for some melancholy and the opportunity to salute The Guv’nor, Andrew Weatherall, who sadly left from this mortal coil not long before Covid invaded these shores. Always ahead of the game, he obviously saw it coming and set sail for calmer lands. And this tune is a beautiful tribute to the great man, by one of Weatherall’s proteges Daniel Avery. “Fail we may, sail we must” indeed.
18} Holy Magick – Even Though [Lost Room]
Now it’s all back to mine with these last three tunes. This one didn’t actually come out this year, but I’m sneaking it in anyway. Firstly, because it flows nicely from the previous tune, secondly because I’ve closed a few shows with it this year, and thirdly because I absolutely love its psychedelic vibes. Co-produced by Dom Keen from Death In Vegas.
19} Little Simz – Might Bang, Might Not [Age 101]
I love Little Simz and firmly believe she’s the hottest rap talent in the UK. That’s it. That’s the post.
20} Marlowe – Future Power Sources [Mellow Music]
Speaking of rap, this last tune in my chart is by my new favourite hip hop duo Marlowe, aka producer L’Orange and vocalist Solemn Brigham. I only recently discovered them but I’ve been listening to their new album, Marlowe 2, on constant repeat. They narrowly beat Run The Jewels to get into this chart, which probably says all you need to know about their skills. Great use of bars, beats and samples.
Ok, I hope you enjoyed this mix and my ramblings. Thanks for your ears and your eyes and all your other bits. If you want to hear more of this kind of thing, you can catch my radio show, the Hubie Sounds Lock-In, fortnightly on Fridays at 5pm UK time on Cutters Choice Radio. I look forward to seeing you in the chatroom! In the meantime, take it easy and keep safe x