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Thursday, December 27, 2012

End Of The Year 2012: Best Free EDM

One of the best things about the massive amounts of EDM out there today is that a lot of it is free. Whether an artist wants to give away everything he/she releases for no charge, makes a song off a release free in order to promote the release as a whole, or makes a song for the fans just because, there's a lot of good free stuff out there. In this end-of-year feature, we aim to round up the best of the free compilations, artist albums, EPs and short releases, and songs of the year.

Compilations:

OWSLA presents Free Treats Vol. 2

Genre: Various
What It Is: Ever since starting up as a label mid-2011, Skrillex's OWSLA has been on fire, releasing some of the biggest tunes in the EDM community from some of the biggest artists around. Here, we see the label releasing 19 tracks from big-name producers like KOAN Sound and Plastician alongside lesser-known ones like Ghastly! and Culiner. This is one of the best releases of the year, period, and the fact that it's free is a huge bonus.

Artist Recordings Free Drum & Bass LP

Genre: Drum & Bass
What It Is: Some of the better drum & bass you'll hear all year. From the beautiful liquid of "Nocturne" to the banger that is "Lonely," all 17 tracks are absolutely worth a shot.


JesusDied4Dubstep Ayano Compilation

Genre: Dubstep
What It Is: A great 25-track dubstep compilation from one of the leading YouTube promotion channels in the genre. There are some really great artists here, like the legendary Jakes and the up-and-coming Pegboard Nerds (look for the latter to make it big soon, as they're on the fast track to the top right now).


Vital Presents: Infinity

Genre: Various
What It Is: A 12-track sampler just in time for the end of 2012, showcasing some incredible young talent. Especially interesting is final track "Ascension Meditation" from Kannamix & V!xen, a house tune of upwards of 10 minutes with a meditation sample playing behind almost ethereal synths.

Albums:

Freedom

Artist: Rameses B
Genre: Primarily Drum & Bass
What It Is: Technically not free, but the 40 pence Rameses B charges for 23 songs is the least that Bandcamp allows him to sell the album for without actually being free. Plus, Rameses B is one of the finest drum & bass artists of the past few years, and he absolutely deserves your pennies.


Mad Liberation

Artist: GriZ
Genre: Glitch Hop
What It Is: Some of the funkiest glitch hop this side of KOAN Sound. A full-length's worth of dirty yet excellently produced glitchy goodness. If you need any more convincing then something is wrong.

heat.wav

Artist: Robotic Pirate Monkey
Genre: Various glitchy styles
Location: http://roboticpiratemonkey.com/
What It Is: Eight tracks of excellently chilled-out EDM. There's a whole lot of stuff on here, from straight brostep (Banana Cannon) to some Glitch Mob-esque glitch hop (Bank On That) to some straighter beats (Sizzlin'). It's a wonderful release that shows off the lighter side of heavy, and there's something for everybody on the release.

Dance Floor Filth 2

Artist: 3LAU
Genre: House, Mashup
Location: https://www.facebook.com/DJ3LAU/app_499307093419010
What It Is: Fantastic mashups by one of the finest DJs to make it big in the past year or so. 3LAU's (pronounced "BLAU") modus operandi seems to be taking an EDM tune (for example, "Language" by Porter Robinson or a mix of Nicky Romero's "Toulouse" and Knife Party's "Internet Friends) and throwing perfectly-matched pop vocals on top (in these examples, "Call Me Maybe" and a mashup of "Sexy And I Know It" and "We Found Love"), and the result is nothing short of impressive. 3LAU has a lot of clear talent, and I for one am very excited to see where he takes his ideas in the future.


Love's Shadow

Artist: Truth
Genre: Dubstep
What It Is: Probably the least "EDM" of the entire list, Love's Shadow is a 19-track offering from some of the rising stars in the realm of darker dubstep. The duo isn't a "nobody" group either - they've released on major labels like Tempa, Deep Medi, Wheel & Deal, and more. If darker stuff is your thing at all, this is a must-listen - it's a fine release, and the "free" label added on makes it even sweeter.

EPs/Short Releases:


Play Harder

Artist: Krewella
Genre: Various
What It Is: So far, there have been a few artists which I've said will make it big soon. Krewella is one of those artists who managed to make it big already, and they've been headlining major events for a few months now and have been present at basically every major American EDM festival over the course of 2012. This release comes as a sort of thank-you to fans - it's a remix album mostly, with four remixes of their huge song "Killin' It" and as many of their equally huge song "Alive." There's also an original here, a drum & bass song titled "Come & Get It," but the bulk of this album comes in the form of remixes. It's an excellent freebie from a trio who's full of energy, and it's a testament to the success of their landmark EP Play Hard.

The Greed

Artist: Block Dodger
Genre: Neurofunk
What It Is: The YouTube channel NeurofunkGrid has been a leader in the promotion of good neurofunk for a while now, and as a celebration of the popularity it's achieved the channel has released their first original publication, a two-track EP from excellent producer Block Dodger. And what an EP it is - Block Dodger is an excellent producer, and these two tracks are an excellent showcase of what he can do. The growling, menacing synths throughout are perfect for the genre, and the pieces are paranoid and fast paced, exactly how it should be.

Moe Moe Kyunstep

Artist: chibi-tech
Genre: Chipstep?
What It Is: This one's sort of out of left field, but it's an excellent release nonetheless. In part II of the release, chibi-tech creates a drumstep banger of sorts, complete with heavy wobbles and distortion, entirely out of NES sounds. Part I is excellent as well, though it's not quite as inventive as part II as it's a more standard chiptune piece. Fantastic release from someone who's quickly become one of my favorite chiptune artists, and I expect big things from chibi-tech in the future.

Fragments

Artist: Chipzel
Genre: Chiptune
Location: http://www.noisechannel.org/8825
What It Is: A short offering from one of the leaders in the chiptune field. We interviewed Chipzel earlier this year following the release of the soundtrack of Terry Cavanagh's fantastic game Super Hexagon, and a little while after the interview she decided to release these four songs for free. Chipzel is one of the best chiptune producers out there, and if you want to get into the genre this isn't a bad place to start.

Freezee D

Artist: Subzee D
Genre: Dubstep
Location: https://soundcloud.com/subzeed/subzee-d-freezee-d-ep-free
What It Is: Subzee D is one of the most exciting new faces in the realm of kinda-heavy dubstep, and it's awesome to see him release a full three-track EP for free. His production is very good, up there with the best of the best in the genre right now, and this release is an excellent demonstration of that. Nothing here quite stacks up with his massive 2011 tune Jack In A Box, but everything here is very good nonetheless.

Songs:

Escape Reality (Synchronice Remix)

Artist: The Bolivian Marching Affair
Genre: Moombah
Location: https://soundcloud.com/playmerecords/thebolivianmarchingaffair-escape-reality-synchronice-remix (Helpful Hint: the download button is the fifth button from the left under the track itself.)
What It Is: As a disclaimer: since there are so many good free EDM tracks out there every year, the ones featured in this article are the best of the best of 2012. This is no exception - the chorus is excellent, the buildup is very nice, and the main section is heavy and well-done. It's an excellent song from beginning to end.

She Was (ft. Birds Of Paradise)

Artist: Seven Lions
Genre: Glitch Hop
What It Is: One of the best melodic glitch hop tunes of the year, shining out brightly from the rough of a decent yet disappointing EP released earlier this year on OWSLA. It's got Seven Lions' trademark "trancestep" sound over a funky glitch hop beat, and it's really interesting overall.

Sly Fox

Artist: KOAN Sound
Genre: Glitch Hop
What It Is: It's no secret that KOAN Sound are my favorite producers right now, and this song is a great example of why. It's heavy, it's funky, it's fun, and it's perfect for most EDM situations. Plus, the top-notch production is a bonus, although we've come to expect that by now.

Rise And Fall (ft. Krewella)

Artist: Adventure Club
Genre: Dubstep
Location: http://www.facebook.com/AdventureClubDub?v=app_178091127385 (currently the 7th song on the list)
What It Is: Adventure Club are committed to releasing every one of their songs for free, and this approach has netted them tons of fans from all over the Internet. This is one of the best they released this past year, combining their talents with those of Krewella to create an epic piece with one of the best intros of the year, rivaled mostly by the Synchronice remix above.

Requiem For The New World

Artist: AZEDIA
Genre: Orchestral Dubstep
What It Is: A mammoth piece to end the year on a high note. While the world didn't actually end on December 21st, this song was made in honor of the date anyways. And it's really a beautiful piece - it's a great orchestral setting, with synths and guitars over it all, on top of a standard dubstep beat, and it's a really nice way to close out the year for AZEDIA.


INDEX OF RELEASES

Compilations:
JesusDied4Dubstep Ayano Compilation

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