2012 is over and out. It was a good year for house music and for Soul to Unite too. In 2012 we gave you 26 shows with total listening time of 54 hours. That’s 54 hours of quality house music. We’re extremely happy to see our listener-base growing and we are reaching all the far corners of the world.
The biggest news for us this year was the new website launched in October. Almost five years of Soul to Unite has seen different website layouts and ideas but this here is the biggest update yet. No more is www.soultounite.com just about sharing the show but its about sharing the love for house music. With exclusive features, news and reviews we’re trying hard to make a bigger splash in the house music scene. In 2013 we will continue to push things forward.
As you know, Soul to Unite Radio Hour is not only about soulful house. In fact we don’t know what soulful house is. In 2012 we’ve seen some genre-expanding music coming out and we’re always thumbs up for everything that sounds different. That’s why in so many cases you will hear us promoting deep house, African grooves, Latin vibes, broken beats and jazzy flavours. We don’t know how to sum it up – let’s just say it’s the sound of Soul to Unite.
No top tune? Whaaat?
Radio stations and DJ’s often pick out the biggest tracks of the year – either by sales or number of plays. We thought of doing that too and went through all the playlists of the year. That Excel file has 601 rows! And we found out just what we were afraid of. Our selection is so wide, that there aren’t too many tracks we have played more than three times. There are loads of tracks we’ve played two times, loads of jams we have played three times but only two we have played four times. Give it up for R. Kelly and his track Africa, which is produced by Maurice Joshua. Funny thing is, that this song was released in 2009…. So the biggest track in terms of airplay on the Soul to Unite waves is La Vida by Mi Casa. It indeed is one of the best tracks of the year but it is not THE best track. There is no THE best song. At least this year. And we’re very happy about it.
So instead of focusing on individual track, we took a closer look who’s behind the music. Who are the producers, singers and labels making big in 2012.
Biggest names of 2012
This year was a big year for DJ Spen. In fact if you take a closer look at the most featured labels chart below you see his label Quantize placing at number two. Almost all of Quantize releases have been produced or remixed by DJ Spen.
To launch the new website we had a little chat with Spen and talked about Quantize. Back in October we knew, that Spen and Quantize are top of the charts this year.
Without any doubt DJ Spen has been huge this year and we can’t wait to hear what he has in store for 2013.
On the most featured names of the year we also find a South African group Mi Casa. Their single La Vida is one of the most played songs of the year. The original of this one was released to the public in late 2011 but this year also so a few remixes finding their way to the Radio Hour. In addition to La Vida, jams like Heavenly Sent and These Streets also found their way to the playlist.
Another favourite of ours is Distant People. He has worked with Magic Soul, Nickson, Nicole Mitchell, Sofia Rubina, Tasita D’Mour to bring us songs we have been more than happy to feature on the show. We have to give credit to Distant People – his music has been released on labels like Solid Ground, Arima, Soulstar, Hallo Productions and United Music. This is a big reach for one year!
There’s a name which almost every year reaches house music charts. Joey Negro aka Dave Lee has been on heavy rotation on Radio Hour. This is mostly because The Sunburst Band released their anticipated album this year and this didn’t go unnoticed. His disco-funk sounding grooves are timeless and we’re really looking forward what he has in store for us in the coming years.
Another producer who blessed us with an album this year is Ralf Gum. Never Leaves You has been making huge waves this year and we’ve been playing jams from that album. And we see no reason why we shouldn’t continue doing it in 2013 too.
To finish up this little list of names we have The Layabouts. We agree with many, that the duo is genre-braking. Their album Future Retro is probably the most important album in the scene this year. It’s been a big year for them and we hope they can fulfil the high expectations we know have for them.
Homegrown talent from Estonia
Estonia has proved to be a fertile ground for house music producers. But when it comes to soulful side of house it gets narrow. We have two names standing high above the rest.
Ricky Inch is one of the most productive soulful house producers in Estonia right now. In 2012 he has remixed Kimara Lovelace, Clemens Rumpf, Hennings Project and more.
We haven’t heard too much of his original productions. But tech house label Manchester Underground released an EP titled “Tallinn Express” which includes Estonian house music from the likes of Rulers of the Deep, Merimell, Madpac, Spin Science, DJ Meri, Janno Kekkonen and Ricky Inch.
We’re sure Ricky Inch has some truly soulful gems coming your way in 2013.
And then there is Juki. To be honest I’m not sure if she’d make the list here if we didn’t know her personally. And that’s exactly why we know she has a bright future ahead. In 2012 she had her music released on Raisani and Soundmen On Wax and that’s a big deal! Our favourites from her include I Could Lie and Peace of Mind.
Addition to being a producer and singer, she’s also a DJ touring the world. Right now she is spinning beats somewhere in the Caribbeans. But we do hope she finds time to continue producing music and sending it over to us. And when she comes back home, she’ll be the guest in studio again.
Most featured labels of 2012
Although we are listing Defected as the most featured label of the show in 2012, we are going to give all the honours to Quantize. Without a doubt the label run by DJ Spen has been the biggest thing in soulful house music scene this year. Continuously putting out chart-topping singles, Quantize is a living proof that in the world dominated by something called EDM, soulful house is still very much a live and sounding kickin’ as ever.
High in the chart we have Farplane. But we’re going to be honest here – about half of the songs featured this year have been older ones. This simply shows that the music released on Rasmus Faber’s label is timeless.
High in the chart are also King Street and Solid Ground – labels we have loved throughout the Soul to Unite history.
We’d like to point out Tony Records. In addition to many they also released one of our favourite jams of the year – Universal Dreamers by Ricky Diciotto & Kenny Carpenter featuring Wendy Lewis.
Here’s the full list of the most featured labels on Soul to Unite Radio Hour in 2012:
4-6. King Street
4-6. Solid Ground
4-6. Z Records
7-8. Universe Media
7-8. Purple Music / Purple Tracks
9-10. Nu Soul
9-10. Tony Records
Final words before we hit 2013
So indeed it was a good year for house music. New names in the charts and old kings pushing things forward. (Soulful) house music scene is doing very well.
In 2013 we at Soul to Unite will be pushing things forward putting together the best house music shows we can. Surely there are going to be some developments and new approaches. Just to keep things fresh you know.
Trying to find time we will also be pushing the Soul to Unite online house music mag forward to bring you the best pieces that house music world has to offer.
Have a good 2013!!!