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The cycle of change and transformation that is life also serves as the lifeblood of the dance music community. It’s that never-ending power of a remix, to capture the spirit of a song and keep it alive forever, send it back in time or update it for a new generation, that makes our community so sinewy and diverse. They allow producers to engage with each others’ work, reinterpreting and envisioning their own heart into someone else’s work, colliding in a fusion of progress and evolution.

In 2017, we have seen some great remixes, and these 20 highlight what we consider to be the best and most creative revisions from the past 12 months. Read on and listen in below, and stay tuned the rest of this week for the remaining categories — Music Videos, Albums, Producers, and Who To Watch.

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NEST HQ’s Best of 2017: Remixes
*20 tracks listed in alphabetical order by artist

Alina Baraz ft. Khalid – Electric (Electric Mantis Remix) [Mom+Pop]

Electric Mantis managed to make this remix ultra-smooth and dreamy, simultaneously oscillating between a wobbly, space-bass vibe and downright sexy R&B dressed up to be more, well, “Electric.” While never quite getting too heavy, there is a subtle, frenetic, reverberating energy to the progression that really heats up around the 2:40 mark, which feels almost rock ‘n roll. — MH

Chee feat. Noclu – Get Hot (G Jones Remix) [Saturate]

2017 proved to be a fine year for face-melting bass music, and G Jones had a noteworthy hand in the madness. His remix of Chee and Noclu’s “Get Hot” is one of the year’s pinnacle productions in the realm of wonky, distorted bass destruction. Reactions of shock and pure insanity stretch endlessly while scrolling through the comments for this track on SoundCloud. — JM

Chris Lake ft. Dances With White Girls – Operator (Ring Ring) (Mr. Oizo Remix) [OWSLA]

Mr. Oizo is a French enigma, underrated and legendary, king of sound and visuals alike, and offering his creative insights to the Ed Banger crew for the past decade. For his remix of Chris Lake’s “Operator,” he takes one of HOWSLA’s hottest anthems and veers it into uncharted space. Oizo throws all its elements into a tizzy, spinning them out towards heights and rolling them down on whichever drums or synths they can latch onto. This man invented fidget before spinners ruined it, and it’s an honor to have him remix anything, ever, really. — NR

cln – breathe (DEVOTED Remix) [NEST]

This year, Point Point member and Record Record co-founder DEVOTED offered us one of the best remixes that NEST has ever had the pleasure of releasing. His take of cln’s “breathe” is sharp and simple like an artisanal blade. The record is grounded in foundational melodies, held up by support beams of percussion, sealed in by reverb-drenched drones. All of these elements aptly create the texture and space expected from a song titled “breathe.” — DN

Daryl Hall & John Oates – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) (Pomo Remix) [RCA]

Allowing anyone to take on Daryl Hall & John Oates is a big risk, but when RCA handed Pomo the stems to “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),” they knew he was up to the task. The HW&W affiliate’s gained his chops remixing, writing, and producing for years, and he speeds it ever so slightly, with a vocoder twinge and light touches all over the place, updating a timeless classic for the modern dance floor. — NR

Ekali – Babylon (Josh Pan & X&G Remix) [OWSLA]

Ekali’s “Babylon” received an unrivaled remix from josh pan and X&G that left fans dumbstruck. This package included top work from multiple artists, but josh pan and X&G took an unprecedented approach to the original neo-trap release when they combined a club-friendly beat with bizarre, glitchy sound design and carefully crafted, rapid-fire plucking noises. Whether they predicted it or not, this remix challenges the concept and production of today’s dance music, with an intensity and progression that make you question whether or not to dance to this in the club, or stand there in awe. — JM

Goldie – Inner City Life (Burial Remix) [Metalheadz]

Burial has consistently been a beacon of light throughout his entire career. Whether it’s the sheer emotion in his sound design, the incredible attention to detail, or his “music first, fame never” attitude towards art, he is easily one of the most inspiring artists of this generation’s infatuation with electronic music. This year, he dropped an official remix for Goldie’s 1994 groundbreaking hit “Inner City Life” from his debut album Timeless. Burial’s signature cinematic sound design and naturesque foreground elements seem to have matured even more now, with the rain, fog, and white noise all working together like the soundtrack to a noir film about a dystopian retro-future. Once again, he welcomes us into a world of his own manifestation through sound. — NB

GRiZ ft. Brasstracks & Eric Krasno – Gotta Push On (Barclay Crenshaw Remix) [All Good]

Barclay Crenshaw’s wonderfully weird take on GRiZ’s “Gotta Push On,” which also features Brasstracks and Eric Krasno, would be right at home in a more extreme moment of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks with its squealing space-synths over fat, rhythmic bass. The artist also known as Claude VonStroke graciously left some of GRiZ guitarist Muzzy Bear’s licks in this remix, which he brings in and out for maximum mind-melting effect. — MH

IVORY – Break It Down (Tisoki Remix) [self-released]

Riddim: in a sub-genre that often feels repetitive, Tisoki brings a fresh approach with his remix of IVORY’s “Break It Down.” He sets the tone with apocalyptic brass horns and transforms the production into another dimension with dynamic, hyper-metallic sound design. Consistent with the drop’s vocal prelude, “OK, let’s try something different,” he brings a forward-thinking approach and kicks up the LFO rate in the second half, elevating the original into an unstoppable force. Tisoki succeeds on all levels with this remix, and it’s no question why DJs across the bass music spectrum have been rinsing this one all year. — CS

Justin Martin – Back To The Jungle (DJ Marky Remix) [Dirtybird]

It’s only fitting that Justin Martin’s “Back To The Jungle” received the jungle treatment from drum and bass legend DJ Marky. This remix seems like an ode to the underground; it’s one that took the roots of junglist culture and tapped into the hearts of the Dirtybird fanbase. The title track from Justin Martin’s second full-length Hello Clouds landed on last year’s Best of 2016 list, and that album’s legacy continued to dominate the scene in 2017 through its remix package released in February. This back-to-basics remix from DJ Marky takes the cake for transforming a bona fide house track into an underground treasure. — JM

Kendrick Lamar – HUMBLE. (Skrillex Remix) [Top Dawg Entertainment]

Beneath the devoted, kind-hearted Sonny we all know and love lies a monstrous don of speaker destroying music. 2015 brought us “El Chapo,” 2016 saw the Grammy-nominated “Purple Lamborghini,” and now 2017 has presented us with a whole different beast. Skrillex’s remix of Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.” has to be one of the meanest tracks I’ve ever heard in my entire life, and I don’t even want to get started on the mixdown. How you manage to have a song be so loud, with that much headroom and low end, is entirely beyond me: a territory unapproachable by even the most brilliant of young producers. — DN

Maggie Rogers – Alaska (Tycho Remix) [Debay Sounds]

Maggie Rogers launched her career on “Alaska” – it’s the song that visibly moved Pharrell Williams when he first heard it during a demo session at NYU. Her melding of folk and dance influences with her singer/songwriter and experimental background created a tour de force unlike any before it, and two years later, Tycho has breathed new life into this one with this remix. It begins on a vocal wash, rhythms stepping slowly through the plains and riding around Maggie’s verses which lie at its heart, as pads ooze glowing chords near its close. — NR

Moon Boots – The Life Aquatic (Ian Pooley Kreuz Extended Mix) [Anjunadeep]

The German DJ and producer Ian Pooley’s a name that is still unfamiliar to most new generations, even though he’s been making music since the early 1990s. His early work received wide acclaim, including a 1995 track called “Chord Memory” that received an essential Daft Punk remix, and into the 21st century, Pooley evolved his craft to try out different styles and keep his creativity fresh. It’s with this experimentation that his fame waned even as his sounds became more intricate and developed, but his legendary reputation for production prowess persisted, which is why I was so floored earlier this year when Anjunadeep were able to nab him for two remixes of a Moon Boots single they released. I called this remix a “vibe coaster” when it first came out, and stand by that assessment: it cruises to transcendence. — NR

Mura Masa – Lotus Eater (Swindail Remix) [self-released]

Not many would dare to touch the original “Lotus Eater” from Mura Masa’s 2014 debut Soundtrack to a Death mixtape, as it’s a song that’s quickly become iconic, but Swindail brings forward a showstopper with his remix. Maintaining the best elements of the original, he speeds up the tempo and relies on the melodic flute lead and dynamic, highly accentuated percussion to create a fine-tuned sonic wonderland. With two separate, seemingly unrelated vocal narratives, he creates meaning in the complete absence of such; pushing towards a state of disorder that elevates the entropy of the production (and the universe) to unseen heights. — CS

Rich Chigga – Dat $tick (YUNG BAE Remix) [self-released]

The intersection between Chigga’s lighter fluid hooks and Yung Bae’s bed of disco charcoal creates a dancefloor pressure of astounding heat, and this whole record has an energy that makes time sail. This has to be one of my favorite party tunes of the last several years, but then again who doesn’t love a good jazz flute solo? If this isn’t your weapon of choice already, you’d better add it to your arsenal. — DN

Skrillex & MUST DIE! – VIPs (MUST DIE! Remix) [self-released]

Skrillex and MUST DIE! unleashed their monster collaboration “VIPs” from the OWSLA’s Worldwide Broadcast compilation in January 2016, and MUST DIE! teased bassheads everywhere with his personal rendition of the track in sets long before its official release last month. At its core, “VIPs” stunned listeners when two heavyweight bass commanders took an unfamiliar approach by coupling minimalistic wobbles on a house foundation. In this jacked-up remix, the delightfully understated sound design is completely reconstructed — MUST DIE! boosts up the tempo and manipulates a screeching, vicious synthesizer to send a headbanger into a frenzy. Though the original track remains a staple in dance music, there’s nothing like hearing an outstanding alternate take on one of your favorite songs. — JM

The Crystal Method – Busy Child (Future Method Remix) [UMG]

The Crystal Method celebrated the 20th anniversary of their breakout hit “Busy Child” by giving it a 21st century remix known as Future Method. Virtually unrecognizable from the original until the signature synth-line and vocal hook comes in, this turbo-charged rework is a highly cinematic interpretation of the original fit for any film’s chase scene. — MH

Todd Terje – Jungleknugen (Four Tet Remix) [Olsen]

Four Tet was one of the first electronic-centric musicians I really dove into. Head first, I found myself rinsing There Is Love In You like it was the greatest thing in the world. His attention to detail and uniquely crafted structures worked in tandem like two peas in a technicolor pod. It’s 2017 and Kieran has maintained and improved his own performances tenfold since I first heard him in 2011. This year was a huge year for him, and one of his best offerings of the year (besides his album New Energy and releases as Kieran Hebden) was his remix of Todd Terje’s “Jungleknugen.” It remained an ID for a while, popping up into his mixes here and there. It had many of us jogging back through the mixes to listen. Adventuring far into the foliage, he takes a jungle approach to a city track. It’s simply phenomenal in every Four Tet way. — NB

Valentine & 4AM – Us (Chuck Sutton Remix) [self-released]

Chuck Sutton is a name we here at NEST HQ have been watching for a while. The young New Jersey musician has an incredible knack for staccato, playful hits. His work sits somewhere comfortably between trap, electronica, and pure sonic happiness. Tracks like “Tomorrow,” “Pogo,” and “How It Felt” brought a sense of adventure to his symphonic sentimentality. What really cemented his year, however, was his remix for VALENTINE & 4AM’s “Us.” It is, for all intents and purposes, exactly what I hoped I’d hear from Chuck by year’s end. I would happily show this to somebody who doesn’t regularly listen to dance music just to see how they react. It’s definitely one of the best remixes this year, and entirely unique in the best way. — NB

What So Not – Divide & Conquer (Noisia Remix) [Sweat It Out]

This outrageous remix sounds like the Noisia trio are playing a garden variety of grimy synths almost like electric guitars, and when a crispy drum ‘n bass drop comes just before the two-minute mark, it gets absolutely mental. Noisia are masters of building and holding tension, and heading into the third minute, the hype is so palatable I feel like I’m about to start a one-man-circle-pit at my desk. Not to mention the sounds in this remix are quite unlike anything we’ve ever heard – strap in for one of the most insane remixes of the year. — MH


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Words by Neal Rahman, Molly Hankins, Dani Noguera, Nathan Beer, Jordan Mafi, and Cassie Sheets
Artwork by DISCHETTO

Come back tomorrow for NEST HQ’s 10 Best Albums of 2017.

NEST HQ’s Best Originals of 2017

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