Deciding the “best drum & bass tracks” that are released over the span of an entire year is almost impossible. Whie today’s meaning of “drum & bass” encompasses many different subgenres, the tracks below represent what we feel are some of the drum & bass tracks of 2012.
Note: This list represents our personal favorites – there is no definitive “best of” list. That being said, please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Sub Focus – Out The Blue
The powerful beauty of this track is unmatched. Sub Focus does an immaculate job of combining the vocals and synth melody to release a liquid energy that I have not seen in any other track since then. I used this one to close out my set when I played in Puerto Rico and could help but jump off the decks and go dance with the crowd.
Fourward – Side By Side
Coming out of nowhere and swooping in at the last minute in 2012, Fourward blew my mind with this one. The massively thick neuro funk style they put together comes closer to what I was expecting from Calyx & Teebee’s new album than what was actually delivered. I can’t get enough of the digitally organic style, and the best part is this track was free.
High Contrast – Agony and the Ecstasy (ft. Selah Corbin)
Another extremely beautiful liquid funk track delivered by the godfather of the genre himself. This track was a benchmark in his staple album of the same title, displaying the composition skills that landed High Contrast the job of arranging all the music for the Olympics opening ceremony.
Logistics – 2999 (Wherever You Go)
This track is an important benchmark in DnB history because it was the first to combine the elements of liquid funk, know for its beautiy and soulfulness, with drumstep – a genre associated with evil sounds and nasty bass. Logistics saw these opposite ends of the spectrum and was able to combine them in a way that not even High Contrast could.
Dominator – Break of Dawn
Dominator was somehow able to tap in to what I believe is the pure essence of jump-up DnB with this one, delivering a spasmatic and sanity smashing experience that is undeniably danceable. If you aren’t familiar with the sub-genre, this would be the perfect introduction. Just keep in mind that this is the kind of stuff you keep locked in the back of your crate until you play the 4am slot at a nasty warehouse rave.
Rusko – Somebody to Love (Sigma Remix)
Rusko’s new sound with Somebody To Love took a while to grow on me, but when I first heard Sigma’s remix I was in love almost instantly. Playing off the vocals from the original, this remix is a thing of beauty.
Camo & Krooked – Reality
Almost a paradox to the track’s title, this number seems like something from an entirely different reality. Very deep bass and lots of industrial samples, it sounds like the combination of LSD and a science fiction film!
Major Look – Hush Ya Gums
Nobody brings more attitude to the table than Major Look. Somewhat of a minimal beat, the emphasis in this track is the rap-style vocals which flow so perfectly and make your head sync to the swagger and beat.
Tantrum Desire – Reach VIP
Another huge vocal track, the massive amount of energy in this one contrasts nicely with the female vocals which balance it out. A very upbeat track which is good for busting out your best moves.
Calyx & TeeBee – Scavenger
Another wacky and psychedelic track that just had to be included. Amidst the wild atmosphere, there is an unmistakable element of liquid funk to this track.
Cyantific – Mirador
The vibes and grooves in this track are plentiful, with lots of funky soulfulness that just inspires you to dance your heart out.
Optiv and BTK – Whatever (Mefjus Remix)
This one is mental! Mefjus has been causing quite a stir this year and I’ve already been a big fan of tracks like Far Too Close. However this remix just kills it. It’s sort of intricate but fairly straightforward at the same time, and is full of energy without sounding crazy. You can also tell it’s him straight away!
Wilkinson – Automatic
This is another one which is fairly simple but works so well. The old school samples just sound sick, and when that huge wall of bass comes in along with the brass notes it’s very easy to get hyped. Wilkinson’s had some great releases but I think this is one of his best.
Wilkinson – Tonight
Totally different to the last track, this one’s full of pleasant summary vibes. It sounded classic as soon as it came out. Another sick one from Wilkinson and on a totally different vibe to Automatic.
Sub Focus – Out The Blue
Once you get past the fact this isn’t another Deep Space or Vapourize, you’ll realise just how good this track is. Sub Focus’ production has somehow got even better since his absence, and those synth notes at the beginning have epic written all over them. The way they cut through the mix is amazing too. This is a track that sounds good at home but is godly in a rave.
Billain – Batbots
This is another tune where you can tell who produced it from a mile away. Just when you think Neuro is beginning to sound the same, Billain comes along and drops this with some MENTAL noises. So Unique
Teddy Killerz – New Drums
Again, lots of music tends to favour polished production and screechy clever noises nowadays, but this goes totally against all of that. It’s fast rolling and is almost like a no-thrills DNB track, so it sounds pretty raw and dirty.
ShockOne – Chaos Theory
When you get a ridiculous introduction, cool voice over work and then samples for one of the best hip-hop tunes in history, you’ll always end up with a banger. I really like the sample use on this one, and the Drumstep mix has destroyed every rave I’ve seen it played. Makes me even more excited for his album next year.
Monsta – Holdin’ on (Skrillex & Nero Remix)
What happens when Skrillex and Nero team up to tackle a track? Well, the last time they did we were given “Promisses”, which still do this day has been one of my favorite tunes of all time. Coupled with The original Vocals from Monsta, “Holdin’ on”, Skrillex and Nero have teamed up to give us one of the best Drum and Bass tunes of the year.
The Prototypes – Suffocate
Need an anthem? Take this tune from two cats out of Brighton, England. more than just your average Drum and Bass tune, The prototypes bring amazing sound design and beautful vocals to the mix.
Wilkinson – Direction
It seems like in the Drum and Bass scene, many of the mainstream acts have done away with the Reese basses; Not Wilkinson. Pure, unadultrated bass. not only is he an amazing producer, but he brings something new to us every time he steps foot inside his studio.
Netsky – Give & Take
Starting off with a sweet Rythem and Blues riff, Netsky brings us yet another crowd pleasing tune. He is one of the few drum and bass producers that really focusses on creating lucious mellodies. Mixing his knowledge of the rave with his production skills, Netsky truly deserves a spot on the list.
Optiv & BTK – Feelings
Delayed vocals and a catchy half step progression? Dark yet clean. Saucy yet smooth. Weird ways to describe this tune, but they fit.
Knife Party – Bonfire
For me, this was probably the most anticipated album of the year. After hearing bits and pieces snatched from live sets, when the full tune was released I had no idea how crazy this was going to be. Who would have thought that reggae vocals coupled with Knife Party’s signature in your face style of production would turn out this good.
Madeon – Icarus (Fred V and Graffix Remix)
Everytime I hear this tune, I want to dance. Theres something about the way the bass moves on the upbeats that just gets me goovin’. I hope it does the same for you!
12th Planet & Flinch – The End is Near pt 1 (Dirtyphonics remix)
Only dirtyphonics can take an already increadble tune and turn it into an incredable drum and bass crowd pleaser. Harmonizing the main riff leading up to the drop, brutally tearing apart the lead after the drop, Dirtyphonics blows the original out of the water with this one!
Loadstar – Black and White ft Beny Banks (Hamilton Remix)
Before hearing this remix, Hamilton hadn’t even been on my radar. After hearing what an increadable job he did on this remix, I couldn’t just stop with it, I had to hear more.
S.P.Y & Kasra – Surface VIP
Dark, minimalistic Drum and Bass. With drums sounding like Jojo Mayor from “Nerve”, Thi tune definitely is a killer tune
Receptor & Neonlight – 800 Pound Gorilla
This by far has to be my favorite collaboration of the year, and with a name like “800 Pound Gorrilla”, I couldn’t pass up a chance at nabbing it. Try imagining the jungle of old brought into the year 2012, filled with crazy, earth shattering basses and drums sure to make any lesser man kneel.