The Quietus Tracks Of The Year 2016

For the final of our year-end lists, we round up the best tracks of 2016 with a Baker's Dozen selected by John Doran, Luke Turner, Karl Smith and Christian Eede, as well as lists from our contributors

Over the last couple of weeks here on tQ, some of you may have noticed that we have been doing our bit to round-up the year with our take on the best music that was released in 2016, be it via our list of our 100 favourite albums or in last week’s pick of 100 reissues, compilations, mixes and the all-important "etc". Do take a look over those if you haven’t already for as good as any a summation of what exactly has been making us tick musically over the last 12 months, and do, if you can, consider supporting our trusty friends at Norman Records by purchasing some of the releases that take your fancy.

With those two aforementioned lists already out in the world, as well as the countless others you may have come across this month, we know you might feel like you’ve seen all the lists you need to by now. But do hold your attention just a little longer for the third and final of our 2016 round-ups as below we shift our focus to the best tracks of 2016. Collected from the favourite three tracks of each tQHQ member (with an extra agreed upon track thrown in to complete the list), myself, John Doran, Karl Smith and Luke Turner have all collaboratively put together a Baker’s Dozen of the best tracks of 2016 which you can find below (in no particular order) accompanied by handy embeds for each selection. We also thought this would be a good opportunity to call upon our excellent team of contributors to add their personal lists of the tracks that have stood out most for them this year, so you can find those below also. The selections down the page attest to a year that was rich in brilliant music across a multitude of scenes and genres even if, as we all well know, it didn’t quite hold much promise elsewhere.

Thanks for reading the site this year – without our readers and contributors, none of this would be possible of course – and thanks also to former tQ staff members Sophie Coletta and Laurie Tuffrey for all that they did for the site this year. I would like to echo John and Luke’s previous sentiments of perhaps considering turning your ad-blockers off if you want to support independent publishers, or donating to our support fund of which 100% of money contributed goes directly towards paying freelancers. You can do that here if you so wish.

I guess this counts as a semi-official sign-off from us for the year, though do keep your eyes peeled for some further content on the site over the coming weeks including a round-up of 2016 in tQ articles. That can be found on the site this Friday. Have a happy Christmas and New Year break however you are celebrating and see you in the new year. Christian Eede

The Quietus Baker’s Dozen Of 2016 (in alphabetical order)

The Body & Full Of Hell – ‘The Butcher’

Brian Eno – ‘Fickle Sun (III) I’m Set Free’

The Bug & Riko Dan – ‘Iceman’

Cakes Da Killa ft. Peaches – ‘Up Out My Face’

Frank Ocean – ‘White Ferrari’


Gnod & Anthony Child – ‘Behind The Lids (Parts 1 & 2)’

Jessy Lanza – ‘It Means I Love You’

Julianna Barwick – ‘Nebula’

Kanye West – ‘Ultralight Beam’

Pearson Sound – ‘XLB’

Sleaford Mods – ‘TCR’

Solange – ‘Cranes In The Sky’

The Quietus Contributors’ Tracks Of 2016

Jeremy Allen

David Bowie – ‘Girl Loves Me’

Acid Arab – ‘Buzq Blues’

Justice – ‘Chorus’

Leonard Cohen – ‘You Want It Darker’

El Perro Del Mar – ‘Breadandbutter’

Joe Banks (in no order)

Melanie De Biasio – ‘Blackened Cities’

Blown Out – ‘New Cruiser’

David Bowie – ‘Blackstar’

Cavern Of Anti-Matter – ‘Hi-Hats Bring The Hiss’

Douglas Dare – ‘Doublethink’

Exploded View – ‘Lost Illusions’

Gong – ‘Kapital’

JuJu – ‘Samael’

Ryley Walker – ‘Funny Thing She Said’

Woods – ‘Sun City Creeps’

Tristan Bath

Aphex Twin – ‘CIRKLON3 [Колхозная mix]’

Sex Swing – ‘A Natural Satellite’

Mikael Seifu – ‘How To Save A Life (Vector Of Eternity)’

Danny Paul Grody – ‘On Leaving’

Jay Glass Dubs – ‘Late Dub’

Shirley Collins – ‘Awake Awake/The Split Ash Tree/May Carol/Southover’

David Bowie – ‘Lazarus’

The Comet Is Coming – ‘Journey Through The Asteroid Belt’

Jessy Lanza – ‘I Talk BB’

Bat For Lashes – ‘Sunday Love’

Joseph Burnett

Frank Ocean – ‘Nikes’

Kuedo – ‘In Your Sleep’

Burial – ‘Young Death’

Yves Tumor – ‘The Feeling When You Walk Away’

Asiq Nargile – ‘Yert Yeri’

Joe Clay

Spectres – ‘Sea Of Trees (Andy Bell Remix)’

Not Waving – ’24’

Kiiara – ‘Feels (Jai Wolf Remix)’

The KVB – ‘White Walls’

Four Tet – ‘Evening Side (Oneohtrix Point Never Edit)’

Danny Brown – ‘Tell Me What I Don’t Know’

Nadia Rose – ‘Skwod’

Christine & The Queens – ‘Tilted’

Burma Camp – ‘Even This River’

Steve Mason – ‘Hardly Go Through’

Sophie Coletta

Shackleton – ‘Father, You Have Left Me’

Schwefelgelb – ‘Bis Zum Nächsten Tag (Phase Fatale Remix)’

Croatian Amor – ‘An Angel Gets His Wings Clipped’

Asda – ‘Lungs Full And Heavy’

In The Mouth Of The Wolf – ‘Need Of Angels’

JASSS – ‘Mother’

Leatherette – ‘Cruiser’

Dedekind Cut – ‘Descend From Now’

Puce Mary – ‘The Night Is A Trap II’

Powell – ‘Do You Rotate?’

Russell Cuzner

Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Noto – ‘The Revenant Theme (Alva Noto Remodel)’

Jay Glass Dubs – ‘Compound Dub’

Fovea Hex – ‘The Golden Sun Rises Upon The World Again’

Kevin Drumm – ‘Irradiate’

Council Estate Electronics – ‘Urals’

Simon Fisher Turner – ‘Guerrilla 11’

Carla dal Forno – ‘What You Gonna Do Now’

Thomas Brinkmann – ‘Untitled’

Skullflower – ‘Centripetal Spiral Dance (Widdershins)’

Ewa Justka – ‘This Is The Last Song Of This Album’

Christian Eede

Kanye West – ‘Ultralight Beam’

Solange – ‘Cranes In The Sky’

Jessy Lanza – ‘It Means I Love You’

Pearson Sound – ‘XLB’

Avalon Emerson – ‘The Frontier’

Bruce – ‘I’m Alright Mate’

HELM – ‘Olympic Mess (Beatrice Dillon Remix)’

Kanye West – ‘Real Friends’

Ondo Fudd – ‘Blue Dot’

Bruce – ‘Summers Gotta End Sometime’

Matt Evans

Cult Of Luna & Julie Christmas – ‘The Wreck Of SS Needle’

Meshuggah – ‘Clockworks’

Babymetal – ‘Tales Of The Destinies’

Oathbreaker – ‘10.56/Second Son of R’

Gae Su Akyol – Fantastikir Bahti Yariminm

Kaada/Patton – ‘Red Rainbow’

Jamala – ‘1944’

Oranssi Pazuzu – ‘Vasemman Käden Hierarkia

Colin Stetson – ‘Sorrow’

The Dwarfs Of East Agouza – ‘Where’s Turbo’

Charlie Frame

Rae Sremmurd – ‘Black Beatles’

Radiohead – ‘Daydreaming’

Olatunji – ‘Oh Yay’

Young Thug – ‘Wyclef Jean’

Wet – ‘You’re the Best’

Paul Simon – ‘Cool Papa Bell’

Autechre – C16 Deep Tread’

A Pass ft. Lilian Mbabazi – ‘Memories’

Fay-Ann Lyons – ‘Hands In The Air’

Lil Yachty – ‘King Of The Teens’

John Freeman

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – ‘Jesus Alone’

Hannah Peel – ‘Conversations’

Tacocat – ‘I Hate The Weekend’

Weaves – ‘Tick’

Field Music – ‘Disappointed’

MONEY – ‘Suicide Song’

The Magnetic North – ‘Little Jerusalem’

Richmond Fontaine – ‘Let’s Hit One More Place’

Pumarosa – ‘Priestess’

Tanya Tagaq – ‘Rape Me’

Ben Graham (in no order)

Map 71 – ‘Tough Blondes’

David Bowie – ‘I Can’t Give Everything Away’

Nick Hudson – ‘I’m Not Looking For Love’

Silver Apples – ‘Nothing Matters’

Bloom – ‘Shout’

Shirley Collins – ‘Death And The Lady’

The Early Years – ‘Nocturne’

Iggy Pop – ‘Gardenia’

Deutsche Ashram – ‘Little Matter’

Wolf People – ‘Night Witch’

Josh Gray

Melanie De Biaso – ‘Blackened Cities’

Gogo Penguin – ‘Protest’

A Tribe Called Red – ‘R.E.D.’

The Cinematic Orchestra – ‘To Believe’

All Them Witches – ‘Charles William’

Our Mother – ‘Age Of Empirez’

The Anchoress – ‘Long Year’

DJ Shadow ft. Run The Jewels – ‘Nobody Speak’

Frank Ocean – ‘Seigfried’

Snow Ghosts – ‘Vetiver’

Philip Harrison (in no order)

Danny Brown – ‘Pneumonia’

The Lavender Flu – ‘Lay In The Sun’

Frank Ocean – ‘Nikes’

A Tribe Called Quest – ‘We The People

Blood Sport – ‘Reflective Orange’

Super Furry Animals – ‘Bing Bong’

Melt Yourself Down – ‘Body Parts’

Sex Swing – ‘Night Time Worker’

Fat White Family – ‘Tinfoil Deathstar’

Leonard Cohen – ‘You Want It Darker’

Kate Hennessy

friendships – ‘The Roof’

The Drones – ‘Taman Shud’

NO ZU – ‘Ui Yia Uia’

Mere Women – ‘Numb’

Rainbow Chan – ‘Work’

Lost Animal – ‘Do The Jerk’

Jarrow – ‘$$Spoilers$$’

Simona Castricum – ‘Nights Don’t Breathe’

Ela Stiles – ‘Molten Metal’

Bone – ‘Neighbour’

Tara Joshi (in no order)

Solange – ‘Cranes In The Sky’

Fat White Family – ‘Hits Hits Hits’

Kanye West – ‘Fade’

Frank Ocean – ‘Nikes’

David Bowie – ‘Lazarus’

Angel Olsen – ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’

Drake – ‘One Dance’

Julia Jacklin – ‘Pool Party’

Kano – ‘A Roadman’s Hymn’

Anohni – ‘Drone Bomb Me’

Filip Kalinowski’s Polish Picks

PRO8L3M – 777moneymaker

Lotto – ‘Rope’

Lautbild – ‘Remarkable Jaw Apparatus’

Żywizna – ‘Zakukała Kukawecka’

Michał Wolski – ‘Mer Baltique’

Sarmacja – ‘Sztuka Oczekiwania’

Wacław Zimpel – ‘Tak, Picture’

Das Komplex – ‘City’

Olgierd Dokalski – Nie Zapomnisz Mnie

TRYP – ‘Nagie Serce’

Dustin Krcatovich

Battle Trance – ‘Blade Of Love II’

Clipping. – ‘Wriggle’

Mega Bog – ‘192014’

Horse Lords – ‘Truthers’

Spelling – ‘Run To The Devil’

Fred Thomas – ‘Echolocation’

Umberto – ‘Drifters’

Willis Earl Beal – ‘Window Of Memory’

Open Mike Eagle/Paul White – ‘Smiling (Quirky Race Doc)’

Catherine Christer Hennix/ Chora(s)san Time-Court Mirage – ‘Blues Alif Lam Mim In The Mode Of Rag Infinity / Rag Cosmosis’

Julian Marszalek

David Bowie – ‘Lazarus’

Iggy Pop – ‘Sunday’

Super Furry Animals – ‘Bing Bong’

Cavern Of Anti-Matter – ‘Tardis Cymbals’

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – ‘I Need You’

Underworld – ‘Low Burn’

The Lucid Dream – ‘Epitaph’

Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind – ‘Til It’s All Gone’

Shit Robot – ‘Ten Miles High’

Ultimate Painting – ‘Bills’

David McKenna’s Rockfort Picks

Ta-Ha – ‘I Deserve It’

Léonore Boulanger – ‘Toquade’

La Nòviarlt – ‘Tu M’as Encore Crevé Un Cheval/Revoir La Mer’

Electric Electric – ‘Obs 7’

Perrine En Morceaux – ‘Anguish’

Débruit ft. Gaye Su Akyol – ‘Kaçiyorum’

PoulainJars – Au Fil Du Temps Sous La Neige’

Delphine Dora – ‘Le Mystère Demeure’

Heimat – ‘Weider Ja!’

J.R. Moores

David Bowie – ‘Lazarus’

Jenny Hval – ‘Conceptual Romance’

CCR Headcleaner – ‘Curl Or Pearl’

Arbor Labor Union – ‘Mr Birdsong’

Kandodo/McBain – ‘Blowed Out’

Oozing Wound – ‘Everything Sucks, And My Life Is A Lie’

Big Business – ‘Send Help’

Terminal Cheesecake – ‘Poultice’

Fat White Family – ‘Satisfied’

Bruxa Maria – ‘New Dawn Dawning’

Maria Perevedentseva

Juan Atkins & Moritz von Oswald – ‘Riod (Version)’

Steve Hauschildt – ‘Horizon Of Appearances’

Monolake – ‘LogC (VLSI Version)’

In Aeternam Vale – ‘B’

Basic House & Metrist – ‘Speed V1’

The Caretaker – ‘We Don’t Have Many Days’

Biosphere – ‘Aura In The Kitchen With The Candlesticks’

E.R.P. – ‘Ancient Light’

Delroy Edwards – ‘10th Ave’

Driftmachine – ‘Ambler’

Pete Redrup

David Bowie – ‘Blackstar’

David Bowie – ‘Lazarus’

Grumbling Fur Time Machine Orchestra – ‘Music For Mark Titchner’s Rose’

Melanie De Biasio – ‘Blackened Cities’

Laniakea – ‘The Contagious Magick Of The Superabundance

Urthona – ‘Reppu’

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – ‘Girl In Amber’

Swans – ‘The Glowing Man’

Grumbling Fur – ‘Golden Simon’

Sleaford Mods – ‘TCR’

Chris Roberts

David Bowie – ‘Lazarus’

Iggy Pop – ‘Gardenia’

Leonard Cohen – ‘You Want It Darker’

Dexys – ‘You Wear It Well’

Iamthemorning – ‘Chalk And Coal’

Ed Harcourt – ‘Occupational Hazard’

Pretenders – ‘Alone’

ABC – Singer Not The Song’

Philip Kane – ‘Flowers & Ledges’

Fiona Brice – ‘St Petersburg’

Barnaby Smith

Cass McCombs – ‘I’m A Shoe’

Yeasayer – ‘Prophecy Gun’

Steve Gunn – ‘Nature Driver’

How To Dress Well – ‘Lost Youth / Lost You’

Field Music – ‘Disappointed’

Yorkston / Thorne / Khan – ‘Sufi Song’

Xenia Rubinos – ‘Lonely Lover’

Homeboy Sandman – ‘Talking (Bleep)’

Katie Dey – ‘Fear O The Light’

David Bowie – ‘Blackstar’

Chloe Spencer

Frank Ocean – ‘Seigfried’

Trim – ‘Man Like Me’

Kamaiya – ‘How Does It Feel?’

Bon Iver – ‘8 (Circle)’

Kano – ‘This Is England’

Kanye West – ‘Ultralight Beam’

Lung Dart – ‘Healthy Functional Tissue’

Rihanna – ‘Needed Me’

Vince Staples – ‘War Ready’

Solange – ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’

Aug Stone

Beyoncé – ‘All Night’

Oren Ambarchi – ‘Hubris Part 3’

Postiljonen – ‘Are You Thinking Of Me?’

TeenCanteen – ‘Friends’

School Of Seven Bells – ‘Ablaze’

Mick Harvey ft. Xanthe Waite – ‘Don’t Say A Word (Ne Dis Rien)’

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – ‘Rings Of Saturn’

Whitney – ‘Dave’s Song’

Yeasayer – ‘Silly Me’

Kate Jackson – ‘Metropolis’

John Thorp

Mitski – ‘Happy’

Bruce – ‘The Trouble With Wilderness’

Jessy Lanza – ‘It Means I Love You’

Carla dal Forno – ‘What You Gonna Do Now?’

Karen Gwyer – ‘Prophase Metaphase Anaphase Telophase’

Angel Olsen – ‘Those Were The Days’

Kanye West – ’30 Hours’

Scott Seskind – ‘I Remember’

Omar S – ‘Heard Chew Single’

Pearson Sound – ‘XLB’

Ian Wade

Christine & The Queens – ‘Tilted’

Låpsley – ‘Operator (DJ Koze Remix)’

Metronomy – ‘Old Skool’

Field Music – ‘Disappointed’

Massive Attack – ‘The Spoils’

Radiohead – ‘Burn The Witch’

Pet Shop Boys – ‘The Pop Kids’

The Avalanches – ‘Subways’

Smerz – ‘Because’

The Chemical Brothers – ‘C-h-e-m-i-c-a-l’

Wyndham Wallace

Brian Eno – ‘Fickle (III) I’m Set Free’

Arborist – ‘Dark Stream’

Kutiman – ‘Dangerous’

William Tyler – ‘Highway Anxiety’

Underworld – ‘I Exhale’

Kez Whelan

The Body – ‘Two Snakes’

Urfaust – ‘Meditatum II’

Oathbreaker – ‘Second Son Of R.’

Jenny Hval – ‘Period Piece’

Dälek – ‘Masked Laughter (Nothing’s Left)’

Dystopian Future Movies – ‘NYD’

Ghold – ‘Despert Thrang’

Zeal And Ardor – ‘Blood In The River’

Earl Sweatshirt – ‘Balance’

Primitive Man – ‘Servant’

Tony Wilson

Autechre – ‘Latentcall’

Demdike Stare – ‘Animal Space’

Convextion – ‘Saline Moon’

Equinknoxx – ‘Timebird’

Yally – ‘Burnt’

Anna Wood

Beyoncé – ‘Formation’

The Moonlandingz – ‘Vessels’

Christine & The Queens – ‘iT’

Fat White Family – ‘Hits Hits Hits’

Rihanna – ‘Desperado’

The Julie Ruin – ‘I’m Done’

Mollie Zhang

Katie Gately – ‘Lift’

Solange – ‘Cranes In The Sky’

Anna Meredith – ‘Nautilus’

Julianna Barwick – ‘See, Know’

Childish Gambino – ‘Me And Your Mama’

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today