I think it’s been a really good year for trance, despite what some people will tell you about it “being dead”. So it’s been a challenge narrowing it down to just 20 tunes. And impossible to try and rank those 20 – so, like last year, I’ve just listed them in alphabetical order. Please use the comments facility to let me know which tunes I’ve left out that you think I shouldn’t have!
Suncatcher – Are We There Yet? (Always Alive Recordings)
This features on Solarstone’s Pure Trance V2 mix and is simply beautiful. Suncatcher is from Romania and a name to watch out for, if you like your trance pure.
Solarstone & Betsie Larkin – Breathe You In (Solarstone Pure Mix) (Premier)
The original mix of this song is on Betsie Larkin’s 2011 album, All We Have Is Now, but Solarstone has weaved his pure magic over it and I just love this version. The Sneijder remix is also very good, but I couldn’t put both in this list and eventually plumped for this one.
Aly & Fila with Giuseppe Ottaviani – Brilliant People (Sneijder Remix) (Black Hole)
Aly & Fila and Giuseppe Ottaviani … with these brilliant people working on a track, you just know it will be fantastic. I love the original, but Sneijder has made it even better. Tune!
Maria Healy – Chatterbox (nu-depth Recordings)
Maria Healy is from Dublin and if this tune is anything to go by, she’s one to look out for in the future. There’s so much great music coming out of Ireland at the moment.
The Thrillseekers with York & Asheni – Daydream (Will Atkinson Dreamy Mix) (Adjusted Music)
I’ve seen The Thrillseekers twice this year and whether he’s dropping classics or contemporary tunes, Steve Helstrip always delivers the goods. And although he’ll always be best known for Synaethesia, he is still producing top quality uplifting trance.
ReOrder & Ian Standerwick pres. Skypatrol – Folding Your Universe (Future Sound Of Egypt)
This is going to be a lot of people’s choice as tune of the year, I suspect. It has an old school feel to it and I hope there will be more from Skypatrol next year.
Armin van Buuren feat. Emma Hewitt – Forever Is Ours (Solarstone Pure Mix) (Armada)
Armin’s new album, Intense, was predictably commercially focussed, with only a couple of nods to true fans of trance (Who’s Afraid of 138?! and Last Stop Before Heaven) but Solarstone picked up on this tune and gave it a Pure mix, which I really like, even if it is slightly cheesy.
Driftmoon – Howl At The Moon (Solarstone Retouch) (Black Hole)
Yes, Solarstone again. I have to confess that I love what he does, as you have probably guessed by now. This is another tune from Pure Trance V2, which is definitely my album of the year!
Solarstone – Love Theme from Blade Runner (Pure Mix)
Another tune from Pure Trance V2, this is a remake of the Vangelis theme from Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic film. And as ever, when Rich Mowatt gets his hands on a tune, it turns to gold.
Adam Ellis – Napalm Poet (Angry Man Remix) (Kearnage Recordings)
Adam Ellis is a name to look out for and his first release is one of those tunes that almost everyone was playing in their sets this year. The original mix is really good, but I think Angry Man makes it even better.
Charles McThorn – Oxydizing (Original Anthem Mix) (Redux Recordings)
I’ve never heard anyone play this, but I think it’s brilliant. I’ve not come across Charles McThorn before and I can’t find out anything about him either. Let’s hope there are more tunes like this to discover!
Solarstone – Please (Bryan Kearney Remix) (Black Hole)
It’s not often that remixers improve on a Solarstone original, but Bryan Kearney does just that, taking the BPM up to 140 and giving the tune added bite. I love it!
Sneijder & Bryan Kearney – Proper Order (Subculture)
Two leading lights in the Irish branch of Team 140 coming together to create a proper trance track. I think this is going to get a lot of plays in the next few months, and deservedly so.
Agnelli & Nelson presents A&N Project – Quest (Adam Ellis Remix) (Subculture)
Whenever I tell people that this is possibly my favourite tune of the year, they all profess not to know it. Well hopefully this will change now.
Liam Wilson – Restrictor (Thomas Datt Remix) (Critical State)
We were very lucky to have both these DJ producers play at Digital Therapy recently and I really like this track. I hope you do too!
Dart Rayne & Yura Moonlight and Sarah Lynn – Silhouette (Allen & Envy Remix) (Amsterdam Trance Records)
Well, this is going to be many people’s first choice for tune of the year and it’s easy to see why. I love it and my only reservation is that perhaps it’s overplayed? I can’t remember when I last went a whole evening without at least one DJ dropping it. While hunting for the You Tube video, I cam across the original, which is horrible beyond belief. So make sure you only listen to the Allen & Envy remix!
John O’Callaghan & Ronski Speed – Sincerely JORS (Subculture)
I first heard this at Dream nightclub in Miami, when Aly & Fila dropped it. I love the way the way the melody rolls through the build up to the drop and then bounces you along with it through to the end. A very under-rated tune, in my opinion.
Paul Oakenfold – Southern Sun (Angry Man Remix) (Perfecto Fluoro)
To be honest, there were a number of remixes of classics that came out this year that I really like, but this was the only one I thought was good enough to make the cut as one of my tunes of the year. There’s a lot of mystery and speculation about who Angry Man is and he always appears hooded and masked, to add to the mystique. But with tunes like this and sets like he played at Luminosity Beach Festival this year, his identity is bound to become much better known in future.
Matt Bowdidge – Still By Your Side (Adam Ellis Remix) (Mental Asylum)
I love this tune from our Aussie mate – especially the Adam Ellis remix. Don’t let it get to your head, Matt!
Aly & Fila – Tula (Future Sound Of Egypt)
Taken from my favourite artist album of the year, Quiet Storm, I just love this track. I could have picked several more tunes from the album in this list, such as Laily, Mysteries Unfold, Speed Of Sound, First Sun, Daydreaming, Fireisland (Chillout Mix), Brilliant People … but I’ll content myself with this one.
So there we have it … 20 amazing tunes. My draft list had 41 on it, so it was really hard to narrow it down. I’d love to pick a single winner, but if I did so today, it wouldn’t be the same as yesterday, or tomorrow, so they will stay in alphabetical order. Let’s hope 2014 is as good as this year!