SoundCloud has delivered its 2020 Playback list, a comprehensive throwback to the top-played artists, songs, and, of course, DJ mixes from the late year. It comes as no surprise that RL Grime‘s latest Halloween mix installment, “Halloween IX,” reigns as the most-streamed mix of the past year, according to the annual review.
Featuring cameos from none other than T-Pain, and as always, Grime’s namesake, Goosebumps author RL Stein, the mix rinsed tracks and IDs from Sable Valley mainstays such as Kumarion, Juelz, and Heimanu, as well as from talent beyond Grime’s imprint, including DROELOE, Hudson Mohawke, and Baauer. SoundCloud’s 2020 Playback also spotlights the platform’s most-played artists, such as Mexico’s rising star, Natanael Cano, 100 Gecs, Beabadoobee, and Rema, all of whom sat at the top of SoundCloud’s list of artists to watch in 2019.
If you still haven’t gotten enough of “Halloween IX,” you’re not alone. Stream it again below.
On December 31, 2020, the family of legendary rapper MF DOOM informed the public that Daniel Dumile had passed away two months prior on October 31. Frequently referred to as “your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper,” Dumile’s boundless creativity and talent had a transcendent impact not only on hip-hop, but also on music’s broader scale. As the year came to a close, artists and fans flooded Twitter with tributes to the masked villain known as MF DOOM; read just a few below.
Pennsylvanian prodigy, pluko, has stepped up to the plate with another otherworldly output. This time, the young phenom takes on Frank Ocean with his new flip of “Godspeed.” The original track has made an astonishing resurgence in 2020, first with James Blake‘s highly requested cover and now, with pluko’s upbeat reincarnation.
The flip begins with Ocean’s heart-stopping “I will always love you” vocals slowly picking up with a soft baseline. As the groove takes flight, pluko’s classic future bass synths protrude. Finally, adding an array of rhythmic vocal chops to the beat, the flip instills the beguiling nature of the original with pluko’s classic bass and synth-driven expression.
Diplo‘s foray into ambient in late 2020 with 12-piece MMXX marked a formidable pillar of his advancing fluidity as an artist. A rare, yet meditative showcase from the multidimensional producer, the album now receives a transformative effort, recruiting Kölsch for its first official remix.
Perhaps no one other than the lauded techno auteur would be better suited to reconstruct the calming closer of MMXX, “XII” into a dance floor production. Recomposing key elements of the original, Kölsch commands a gradual progression of skittering breakbeats, dominating brasses, and intensity-building breakdowns in harmony with Rhye‘s seraphic vocals. Balancing a portfolio of high energy beats and instrumental delicacy, the melodic maestro brings an intuitiveness to his dance-ready realignment of Diplo’s ambient composition.
On New Year’s Eve, electronic veteran Jean-Michel Jarre returned for a highly unique digital concert. Titled “Welcome To The Other Side,” the performance was filmed in a French studio but broadcast live in virtual reality (VR) inside a digital rendering of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral. Viewers could either tune in using VR or watch the set as a video on any device. Of the medium, Jarre said,
“Virtual reality is to the performing arts today what cinema was to the theatre in its early days, a kind of curiosity. I believe that VR will become tomorrow, a mode of expression in its own right.”
Jarre’s stint largely comprised tracks from his 2015 Grammy-nominated record Electronica 1: The Time Machine, but also included reworked tracks from Oxygène and Equinoxe. The impressive visuals include live footage of Jarre himself and footage of an avatar copying his live playing, a combination that marks a first for livestreamed VR shows. Welcome To The Other Side is available to relive in VR until January 4. Learn how to stream the set in VR here, or watch the performance below.