[END OF YEAR] Chicago’s Top Producers Pick Their Favorite Sounds Of 2016

[END OF YEAR] Chicago’s Top Producers Pick Their Favorite Sounds Of 2016

[END OF YEAR] Chicago’s Top Producers Pick Their Favorite Sounds Of 2016


As each year comes to a close, The Sights and Sounds invites some of Chicago’s best music producers to share their favorite tracks from the previous twelve months. The city, as always, is bursting at the seams with an abundance of production and performance talent. This year’s selectors, and their choices, represent a wide range of electronic music sub-genres, from bass music to house music and everything in between. All of the selectors have released music this year themselves, and played shows and sets of significance. We asked them to provide their favorite moments and accomplishments from the year, and to choose one track that stood out as their favorite and tell us why. From everyone at TSAS, we wish you and yours all the best in 2017 and look forward to another year of creative, interesting, and inspiring music.

Written & Curated by: Xonic
Stream all the tops picks from 2016 in our playlist at the bottom of this post.



Members: Rob Serafin, Tommy Corman
2016 Highlights & Affiliations: Spring Awakening Music Festival, DOOM Records, Played b2b with Figure at Freaky Deaky
Favorite Track: Virtual Riot & Funtcase – Borg (Downlink Remix)

“It’s always a challenge to make a remix that’s better than the original tune, and not many can pull it off. This is our pick for song of the year because it’s just in your face and relentless. Downlink is a household dubstep name, and he really made sure to pack a punch with this remix. This one will make your teeth rattle.”



2016 Highlights & Affiliations: Founded Windy City Artist Collective, Trap Source Release Party, support for Gents & Jawns at the Mid
Favorite Track: San Holo – Light

“Such a huge track! It’s so simple yet every aspect of it leads into the next so perfectly. It’s a catchy tune with a great vibe”



2016 Highlights & Affiliations: Coco Maya Beach Club (BPM Festival), EEC (mainstage), resident at Primary (Chicago), direct support for Saeed Younan, Sharam, Technasia & Plastik Funk
Favorite Track: Kenny Summit & Mousse Blanc – Born Again (Kenny’s Private Stock Mix)

“I first played this track on the Chus & Ceballos Stereo Productions Yacht Party during WMC in March. The response was electrifying, and it is one of those tracks that the crowds respond with a collective “Woooooooo” every single time. This is still heavy in my rotation, I’ve played it at about 90% of my shows this year, all around the country, and it still generates the same frenzied response.”



Members: Mikul Wing, Louis Kha, Jake Carpenter
2016 Highlights & Affiliations: 30-city Tour with Goldroom, Spring Awakening, Do Lab Cochella, Shambala, Lightning In A Bottle
Favorite Track: Autograf – Episode

“This track was both a throw back to doing bootlegs and a look into our future as we prepare for 2017. It is also a memory of our first bus tour since it was written while on the road and we started molding it as we played it out live.”



2016 Highlights & Affiliations: Direct support for Black Gummy (Washington D.C.), Concord Hall with Rezz & Malaa
Favorite Track: Imaginary Friends – Deadmau5

“It was hard for me to decide between Imaginary Friends and the rest of W:/2016ALBUM/ (my other favorites are probably Glish and Deus ex Machina). The reason I chose Imaginary Friends was because I found the track extremely inspirational. It’s the perfect combination of everything that Deadmau5 is the the best at – the chords, the arp and the analog sound design.”



2016 Highlights & Affiliations: Summer Camp, Spring Awakening Music Festival, North Coast Music Festival, Sulanee, support for Pretty Lights
Favorite Track: Carmack – Biotruth

“The cinematic and progressive intro, layers of intricate yet organized percussion, bass tonalities, and the overall vibes are why I chose this track. Love to play this out live, or just listen to it.”



2016 Highlights & Affiliations: 12 releases on 3 labels, remix package for “The Weekend EP” reached #5 on Billboard Dance Charts, headlined at Annex for SSS
Favorite Track: D2A & Akashic Grenade – Glass Dolls

“Nick (Akashic Grenade) and I wrote this with the intention of having a versatile track with an old school piano line. It works for a deep mix if you slow it down, but if you speed it up it will fit right into a midnight set. I’m proud that we could create a song that transcends genres.”



2016 Highlights & Affiliations: “Into the Screen” World Tour, Defected NYE at Ministry of Sound (London), Mamby on the Beach, Farris Wheel Recordings
Favorite Track: Gene Farris & Mihalis Safras – Like This

“Its one of the featured songs of my album “In The Screen” and always gets the party jumping!”



2016 Highlights & Affiliations: Spring Awakening Music Festival, Dancefestopia Contest Winner, Reaction NYE, multiple releases on BASSCVLT
Favorite Track: Basstrick – Ghost Buster

“My favorite track of the year. He’s a French bass house and dubstep artist and this track really plays well in bass sets or club sets. I play it every chance I get.”



2016 Highlights & Affiliations: Cosmic Pineapple Ibiza, Back to Acid Berlin, Genesis Night at Krefeld (Germany), Releases on Trax Records & Impact Mechanics
Favorite Track: Justin Cudmore – Crystal (Mike Servito’s 730 Reshape)

“Such a hard year to pick out a favorite, but always near the top of my playlist is Honey Sound System’s release of Mike Servito’s playful rework of Justin Cudmore’s “Crystal.” Justin is one of the most amazing things to come out of New York in a long time, and of course anything Mike Servito touches is bound to be amazing. The track has just the right amount of sass, jack and acid to absolutely light a night up. 2016 was a lot about major players in the LGBT community taking back the sound and the scene, and this track represents a lot of those feels.”



Members: Marty McKenna, Mike McKenna
2016 Highlights & Affiliations: Reaction NYE, Good Vibe Tribe Gathering, multiple label releases including Perfect Driver and Bohdi Collective
Favorite Track: Intermodal – Cut Loose

“We chose this one, out on Bodhi Collective, because it represents an exciting new direction for us this coming year. Although the sound is somewhat new for us, we were still able to retain classic Intermodal production elements with it.”



Members: Freddy Kennett, Robby Hauldren
2016 Highlights & Affiliations: Coachella, Electric Forest, Mad Decent Block Party, 24-city international tour
Favorite Track: Imad Royal – Down for Whatever ft. Pell

“One of the catchiest songs we’ve ever heard. The message is really fun and carefree, and Pell drops a killer verse. We’re always DFW”



2016 Highlights & Affiliations: Mixshow DJ of the year, Spring Awakening Music Festival, Playing alongside Diplo at XS, playing at PRYSM (Chicago) with Zedd & Marshmello
Favorite Track: Prok/Fitch & Green Velvet – Sheeple

“I chose Sheeple because it’s dirty and in your face.”



2016 Highlights & Affiliations: Summer Set, 515 Alive, direct support for Porter Robinson & Madeon
Favorite Track: Porter Robinson & Madeon – Shelter

“This song just hits me hard. It’s the two artists that really got me focused into what I wanted to be as an artist, coming together to make something absolutely beautiful! (And the animation in the music video is so touching).”



Members: Adrian Westwood, Dorian Westwood
2016 Highlights & Affiliations: Spring Awakening Music Festival, Reaction NYE, shows in 5 countries, over a million plays on Kitchin Records
Favorite Track: Shaun Frank – Let You Get Away (ft. Ashe)

“It melts the nipples quicker than the standard household microwave defrost setting would, and we gotta defrost chicken on the regular.”



Members: PHNM is 1/2 of Light.Em.Up, along with Zebo
2016 Highlights & Associations: Spring Awakening Music Festival, Freaky Deaky, Resident at the Underground, Sound-bar, and the Mid
Favorite Track: Kanye West – Father Stretch My Hands Part I

“The original sample from T.L. Barrett, is an absolute work of art. When Kanye collaborated with Rick Rubin, Metro Boomin, Mike Dean, and DJ Dodger Stadium to take this to the next level it absolutely shook me when hearing it for the first time during the Yeezy Season 3 fashion show. Kanye lead off the entire tour with the long cut of this song showcasing more of the original sample and it was truly an emotional moment to start every show.”



2016 Highlights & Affiliations: played at EEC, Signed to S&S Records, regular sets at Afterlife
Favorite Track: Steve Silk Hurley & CeCe Peniston – He Loves Me 2

“Everyone knows when God said, “Let there be House,” Steve Hurley was the one who hit the switch. Even a cursory search will put any doubts to rest regarding his role in the creation, fostering and continued development of a genre that set the stage for modern dance music and the tremendously diverse global culture that surrounds it. This track gave me tingles only a few bars into my first time hearing it.”



2016 Highlights & Affiliations: Spring Awakening Music Festival, Lollapalooza, Reaction NYE, supported Jauz & Ekali at Concord Music Hall
Favorite Track: Joyryde – Home

“I chose this song because it really describes the new groove of this generation. Its overall production is on point and the vocals are key. This track is full of dancing and energy that truly sums up the good times everyone has had in 2016.”



Members: Andres Garcia, Brandon Myers
2016 Highlights & Affiliations: Spring Awakening Music Festival, Backwoods Music Festival, Reaction NYE, Original track “Echoes” played 6 million times on Youtube, reached 4 million listeners on Spotify
Favorite Track: Jai Wolf – Like It’s Over

“We chose this track because it is incredibly nostalgic and captures more emotion than anything else we heard throughout the year. Overall it paints us a picture of us standing at the end of the world (like the last scene in Star Wars: Rogue One) and realizing that everything is just a temporary experience. The vocals and vocal chops are perfect and overall the sound of the track captures everything we love about electronic music.”



2016 Highlights & Affiliations: Reaction NYE, Spring Awakening Music Festival, Farris Wheel Recordings, Pool House
Favorite Track: Noir & Oliver Giacomotto – Reste (Raxon Remix)

“It’s just perfect. No other real way to describe it. Mixed beautifully and crushes dancefloors.”



2016 Highlights & Affiliations: Dancefestopia, played b2b with Autograf, supported Blasterjaxx at the Mid, 300,000 plays on Soundcloud
Favorite Track: Drezo – Malice

“I can’t count how many times I’ve played it out. There’s something about the track that is both laid back and energetic at the same time.”



Member: Jonathan Gust, ZEBO is 1/2 of Light.Em.Up, along with PHNM
2016 Highlights & Affiliations: Spring Awakening Music Festival, Mamby on the Beach, Freaky Deaky, Reaction NYE, Friday night resident at the Mid
Favorite Track: Childish Gambino – Redbone

“It just came out in December which is crazy, but something about that track grabbed me and speaks to the essence of my being. I’ve been a longtime fan of Mr. Glover as dude is a modern day renaissance man with being a musician, writer, actor, etc. He has a style that seems to “get it” with his various mediums. It’s hard to specifically say exactly why a song hits you the way it does and how one connects with it, but for some reason people will read this and understand. I can’t wait to hear some great remixes of the tune as I know they will be hitting a SoundCloud near us very soon.”


Add to the story...

Kris Hi there! Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Sights and Sounds. Been doing this music writing thing for most my life in one way or another and loving every opportunity it's brought along. Shoot me an email if you have any suggestions for the website, comments, or if you just want to chat. Cheers!