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Thump UK’s Ten Heroes that Made 2014 Great

Get the low down on the artists who've brightened up 2014 for our brethren across the Atlantic.

THUMP is one big, happy, globe-spanning family dedicated to providing you with coverage of everything brilliant about dance music from Detroit to Delhi, Caracas to Cologne. We're a crew who spend our days wishing we were in nightclubs. We can barely function without a 4/4 pulse. We live for this and we love it.

Following on from our worldwide end of year lists, THUMP UK take a look at the heroes who've brightened our grey little island in a most miserable of years.


10. Andy Stott

In a year where everything seemed futile and fucked, records like Stott's Faith in Strangers sounded like monochrome transmissions from a planet beyond repair. The Modern Love owner's languorous blend of Basic Channel and William Basinski continues to stun, and his explorations of the limits of punishingly corrosive jungle with Miles Whittaker as Millie & Andrea position him as one of the most quietly important producers working today.

9. Annie Mac

Just listing what Annie Mac's been up to this year is exhausting: she's released an album, launched a new US radio show, presented a six-part dance music documentary, been an almost ubiquitous presence at festivals this summer, and even found the time to give some sound recommendations on cheese in a Reddit AMA. In addition, the Radio 1 DJ also had a few words to say about the gendered questions and stereotypes that "women DJs" persistently have to respond to, a critique that everyone should make a point of reading.

8. Actress

One of the UK's most forward thinking producers kept things bubbling and crackling in customary style in 2014, putting out the luminously chiaroscuro Ghettoville and the determinedly difficult Xoul EP. Like the man himself, these releases were confounding and wondrous in equal measure. His Werkdiscs label went from strength to strength too, dropping sensational material from the likes of Inga Copeland and Moire.


7. Evian Christ

From the avant-screamer that was "Waterfall" to hanging out with Tiësto at a Hood By Air launch to the headphone masterpiece that was his Resident Advisor mix to the never-less-than-incredible Trance Parties, the Yeezus contributing producer managed to keep things invigorated throughout 2014.

6. Bicep

In the year that the house revival – though, let's be honest, house has never gone away – bulldozed its way to the top of the charts, it's interesting to note that a DJ and production duo associated with that bouncy big room sound of mid-90s Strictly Rhythm took things in a darker, trippier direction. As always, Bicep proved themselves to be adept crate diggers, stunning DJs, and a pair capable of putting out a diverse smattering of singles like it was nothing.

5. Bok Bok

The Night Slugs co-head honcho has been everywhere in 2014. Though NS have had a relatively quiet year on the release front, Bok Bok still found time to put out an EP of his own, as well celebrate the label's sixth birthday with a string of events around the world, host a Radio 1 takeover, and drop the Club Constructions manifesto. As Night Slugs' influence over dance music, on both a sonic and visual level, is felt more and more as the years go by, Bok Bok has played an important role in forming collaborations between dance music scenes across the Atlantic – performing and releasing music together with New York label Fade to Mind and the legendary DJ Funk.


4. Aphex Twin

With the Kickstarter backed release of the previously unheard Caustic Window album, and the commercially available Syro hitting shelves within months of each other, the eternal prankster of acid-fried post-hardcore-post-drill-and-bass-post-mutated-boogaloo pastoral rave, Richard D James, found himself back in the spotlight. In an age of uncontrollable connectivity, having someone like him around, someone who uses press obligations as a means of creating and furthering myth, rumour, and legend, is a vital necessity. A man out of time, in many ways, and one still capable of producing some of the most intriguing, interesting, and downright incredible music around.

3. Fatima Al Qadiri

Since the videogame inspired Desert Strike EP landed in 2012, we've been waiting for Al Qadiri to have that breakthrough year, that 12 months where everything she touches turns to gold. This was it. We got the Orientalist critique Asiatisch, a record that demands deep listening and full critical engagement, a string of DJ sets that strung together everything from Young Thug to UK funky, and the arrival of her new project with NGUZUNGUZU and J-Cush, the abstract-trap unit Future Brown.


In 2013, SOPHIE still seemed an outlier in the PC Music collective, strange as that seems now. His earliest releases on Huntleys & Palmers and Glasgow's Numbers, while not affiliated with PC Music, explored a similar aesthetic with the sugary vocals and effervescent sound effects of singles like "Bipp" and "Lemonade". It was only with QT, his collaboration with A.G. Cook, that the SOPHIE and PC Music merger was completed – fittingly for a high-concept fake energy drink. There is, however, a sense that he's continuing to pursue his own interests: with a collaboration planned with J-pop artist Kyary Pamyu Pamyu after interviewing her earlier in the year. How that creative tension between collaborative and individual interests plays over 2015 will be interesting to watch.

1.  Todd Terje

After years of toiling away in the world's finest clubs, slapping together sensational edit after incredible remix, dropping game-changing singles on a regular basis, and coming across as one of the nicest people in dance music, Norway's premiere disco don Todd Terje finally gave us what we'd all been waiting for: a stellar, sunshine-filled full length record stuffed to the gills with some of the finest four-to-the-four stompers this side of Studio 54. Terje himself is impossible to dislike, a charming, erudite dude committed to getting us up and dancing at any cost. He can even steal Dolly Parton's "Jolene" from the clutches of shit office parties and reassemble it as a certified bit of dancefloor dynamite. Basically, we love you, Todd.