2017 was yet another landmark year for electronic music worldwide and more importantly for the little nation of Ireland. Plenty of our more notable artists continued their ascension to worldwide notoriety with busy touring schedules to go along with well produced and well rounded releases on some well recognised labels. Not only that, but a number of new Irish artists and labels made waves this years by taking monumental steps and growing enormously.
We’ve put our heads together and harrowingly had to see some of our personal favourites axed from the list, but from the past 11 months we’ve chosen what we believe to be the top 10 releases featuring Irish artists, many of which were released via Irish labels. The significance of some of the EPs themselves as well as of course the quality of the tracks were taken into consideration. It’s been a big year and hopefully next year is an improvement again.
10. r.Kitt – Jigsaw [Pear]
To kick off the list we have this house offering from Dublin native r.Kitt. Pear are one of the capital’s many collectives and the latest to launch their own label, with this three track EP from r.Kitt serving as the debut collection. Their latest release was by Glasgow native and Dixon Avenue Basement Jams signee, Big Miz, who they then hosted in Wigwam earlier this month. Upcoming parties with Ben UFO and Young Marco will serve to end the year on a high for one of the country’s most exciting up and coming collectives.
Release date: 15.9.17
9. Tommy Holohan – Subaru Impreza [Rave Selekts].
This one comes from the start of year and again another debut release for a Dublin based label. The ravey techno banger has proved to be a fan favourite for many including adopted Irishman Mall Grab, who included it in his BBC Essential mix. This EP also featured two tracks from fellow rising star Casper Hastings, who has had a busy year himself. The label’s second EP is on the way featuring tracks from Myler, Keepsakes and Holohan under his DJ Trans Orbital Gamma Wave alias.
Release date: 24.3.17
8. Eomac – Lair of the lich king [DSNT]
Eomac is one of the country’s more decorated techno producers with releases on Killekill, as well as R&S as part of the Lakker duo. This was part of a 4 track EP alongside Sunil Sharpe, AnD and Fran Hartnett. The Belfast imprint had another monster year with big LUMEN shows featuring Perc & Truss, Randomer and loads more. They’ll continue their production-heavy shows with a collaboratory effort alongside Techno & Cans in Hangar in December, not to mention the small matter of their 6th birthday with none other than Paula Temple, Sunil Sharpe, Stranger, I HATE MODELS and Altern8 all involved. Check out the DSNT-produced video below.
Release date: 28.4.17
7. Long Island Sound – Delusions [Kyoku]
One of the biggest Irish releases of the year that came right at its beginning when Australian imprint Kyoku decided to feature the duo on their third release. The now Berlin-based pair got a year where they’d play festivals like Metropolis off to a great start with this 4 track EP, that also features a remix from Loz Goddard.
Release date: 28.2.17
6. Flexure – Blizz [Bastardo Electrico]
Massive techno anthem coming from the country’s longest standing techno label and collective who just celebrated their 16th birthday with a massive show featuring one of the genre’s legends, DVS1. Label head Jamie Behan has promised that the coming year will ‘go back to the roots’ of the label and incorporate more of the sounds that have brought it to where it is.
Release date: 10.3.17
5. Sage – Tidy Wires [Jheri Tracks]
A more relaxed track from the Subject resident who has supported a litany of acts this year. Highlights include a Berlin show alongside Jordan, as well as an appearance on NTS Radio, not to mention this number, which was picked up by house connoisseurs Stamp the Wax. This was featured on Jheri Tracks’ second compilation album and politely accompanies his other release on US label Tasteful Nudes.
Release date: 6.9.17
4. Brame & Hamo – Trants [Brame & Hamo]
After a two and a half year break from releasing music, the Sligo duo are back on the map with a three track EP on their newly established self-titled imprint. They continued their consistent touring schedule with an energetic show in District 8 along with shows abroad on some pretty stacked lineups. They showcase three contrasting styles with the title track carrying a vintage house sound and two other more club orientated tracks following it up.
Release date: 30.10.17
3. Or:la – Kyoto Dance [Deep Sea Frequency]
Or:la is one of Ireland’s fastest rising stars thanks to her memorable Boiler Room at AVA Festival. With releases on Hotflush and featuring on lineups with Mall Grab, Ben UFO and more to go along with a number of headline gigs the Northern Irishwoman is on the fast track to stardom. Kyoto Dance was picked up on OOUKFunkyOO and really puts an exclamation mark on a landmark year for her and her totally individual sound.
Release date: 17.7.17
2. DeFeKT – VHS Romance [Zone]
Funnily enough, this is only the second track on the list that wasn’t released on an Irish label, which is a testament to the strength of the industry as a whole in Ireland. Despite featuring on a number of techno lineups for Techno & Cans and DSNT, the EP goes back to DeFeKT’s original electro sound. Each track goes deep into both the genre and his particular sound and really expands upon his already diverse sound.
Release date: 6.9.17
1. Bicep – Glue [Ninja Tune]
It somewhat goes without saying that the Belfast boys would take the top spot in some shape or form after the success of their self-titled debut album that dropped a couple of months back. This track has been a special one since it was released prior to the full album. The pair recently dropped a video to go along with the track featuring the reactions of those that listened to it and what it meant to them. Ravey breaks coupled with soul-wrenching pads would have even the strongest willed men in tears, which really is a testament to the song’s power. A monumental track to close out a monumental year for Irish electronic music.
Release date: 1.9.17
Words: Cóilí Collins & Jake Nolan
Feature image: Bicep – Dekmantel