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DJ Mag's top compilations of 2022

For 2022's end-of-year coverage, we've once again asked our contributors to write about their personal favourite tracks, albums and comps of the year, offering an unranked overview of the sounds that made the past 12 months so memorable for electronic music around the world

DJ Mag compilations of 2022 - A
‘A Permanent Vacation Dance Therapy - Fundraiser For Ukraine’ [Permanent Vacation]

Earlier this year, fans were treated to a mammoth V/A from Munich’s mainstays Permanent Vacation, featuring 20 tracks from 22 artists. It’s hard to pick a favourite among such a stacked line-up, but the acid-tinged energy of Sarah Wild’s ‘Jardin’ and Alan Dixon’s ‘Machina Jam’, both playful and raw in approach, have fuelled a number of dancefloors this summer. An outstanding release, for an outstanding cause. LIAM SMITH

‘Adrian Sherwood presents Dub No Frontiers’ [Real World Records]

Adrian Sherwood reproduces 10 classic dub tracks (with Lincoln ‘Style’ Scott credited on half) for Skip ‘Little Axe’ McDonald to arrange, showcasing a versatile gang of global women artists. Putting a refreshing spotlight on women in a male-dominated genre, it also shows what’s possible when we work through borders. Languages from Hindi to Romani to Arabic meet sounds both loyal to the genre and influenced by this multitude of cultures. Food for thought amid a divisive and often toxic year. MARTIN GUTTRIDGE-HEWITT

Thandi Draai
'Africa Gets Physical, Vol. 4' [Get Physical Music]

Showcasing the full power and uprising of Afro house music on a worldwide scale, Thandi Draai delivered a full compilation true to the essence of Africa. Connecting musical talents from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana to name a few, the likes of Thakzin, Cuebur and Saint Evo fuse together 17 tracks rich in African percussion, rhythms and vocals from stars such as ​​Miči and Maline Aura. Here, Thandi shows her commitment to the growth of African electronic music, so that its birthland is not forgotten. KITTY AMOR

Anthony Naples + DJ Python
‘Air Texture VIII’ [Air Texture]

Who better to steer the Air Texture series towards the dancefloor than Anthony Naples and DJ Python? The distinctive styles of the two mainstays of the New York scene permeate this 18-track compilation, offering a contemporary snapshot of the city's electronic melting pot via techno, ambient and downtempo cuts. 'Off The Top’ by Aurora Halal & DJ G is a slowly-grooving highlight, as are tracks by downstairs J, Huerco S, and Naples and Python themselves, but there's tonnes of emerging talent to discover here too. CLAIRE FRANCIS

'AMEN! Vol. 1' [T4T LUV NRG]

Detroit’s Beige has described ‘AMEN! Vol. 1’, released on Eris Drew and Octo Octa’s T4T LUV NRG label, as a “fantasy gospel rave”, and that’s as apt a description as we can think of for this rapturously go-for-broke mix. Brimming with heavenly gospel-tinged vocals and fire-and-brimstone speechifying — Lil Louis’s ‘Blackout’ is a looming presence throughout the set — it’s a masterclass in smart, dynamic sequencing by someone who’s clearly in love with the power of DJing. You don’t need to be a believer in a higher power to feel the dynamic uplift of ‘AMEN! Vol. 1’— you just need to believe in the life-affirming energy of house. BRUCE TANTUM

The Pyramids
'Aomawa: The 1970s Recordings' [Strut]

Led by visionary saxophonist Idris Ackamoor, the Pyramids mixed ritualistic spiritualism with 1970s jazz trends, launching Afrocentric consciousness, Black Panthers political activism, San Francisco hippie jam vibes, and a hint of funk into cosmic Afro-futurist freakouts, anchored by pre-colonial percussion and groovy electric bass. ‘Aomawa’ gathers the collective's three albums and a public radio concert from the era before they first disbanded. (The Pyramids reformed, miraculously, 35 years afterwards, and still perform.) It sounds spot-on in this moment of jazz reinvigoration. MARKE BIESCHKE

'Atlas / 2' [1985 Music]

Alix Perez has calmly established himself as one of the most respected artists in drum & bass over the past 15 years or so, and his label 1985 has itself become a buy-on-sight outlet — both run the gamut of d&b and dubstep with aplomb. Following last year's 'Atlas / 1', the label continued to use the series to push veterans and newcomers in with this second edition, highlights including Paige Julia’s junglistic ‘Ease Your Mind’, Monty & Visages futuristic stomper ‘TEK’, a mind-melting cut from Metrodome, and the label boss’ melancholic liquid roller ‘Not Alone’. ROB MCCALLUM

 DJ Mag compilations of 2022 - C to F
'Chromophore Vol 2' [Slow Life]

Berlin-based label and collective Slow Life — run by S. Moreira, Indi Zone, Laurine and Cecillio — has been going from strength-to-strength over the years, building a solid discography of timeless music with their unique, warm and distinctive sound. ‘Chromophore Vol. 2’ gathers key artists and friends, and includes music from Paolo Mosca, Alex Neri and Primary Perception, travelling through tracks that reveal an essence of classic house with a modern twist: perfect for the warm-up through to peak-time. ANNA WALL

'Ciao Italia. Generazioni Underground Volume 2' [Rebirth Records]

Rebirth Records returned this year with a V/A exploring dance music that was emerging from Italy in the early ‘90s. A blend of influences from their Detroit and Chicago counterparts, the sound of the Italian underground had its own unique twist, its own energy. Milestone tracks include the hard-to-find Exotica’s ‘Fluteride (5th Floor Mix)’, originally released in ‘95 on URM Records, and the timeless ‘Innerspace Mix’ of Vienna’s ‘Tell Me’ from 1991. This is a must-have collection, defining an era that has truly come back around. ANNA WAL

'Club Entry' Vol. 1' [Borne Fruits]

The second release on Amaliah's Borne Fruits starts the 'Club Entry' series, designed "to celebrate new UK club artists who are emerging in the London scene as ones to watch". The first instalment showcases a range of young artists making sound system music in the capital, with a release best described in a Bandcamp review as "wall to wall bangers". Highlights include one of the biggest club tracks of the year, in the shape of Bailey Ibbs' 'Jungle Splash', and label boss Amaliah's shuffling darkside garage cut 'Speedy G', as well as music from Angel D'lite and Bluetoof. ROB MCCALLUM

DJ R3ll & DJ Kiff
'Cuff Yo Chick' [2 B REAL]

After Drake’s butchering of Jersey club on his latest record, this lost time capsule from the genre’s early 2010s SoundCloud heyday serves as a reminder of the seminal Brick Bandits style that propelled the sound into the mainstream. This is Jersey club in its purest form, vocal chops and bounce, bed squeaks and breaks. A victim of major label DMCA takedowns and resurrected by Britain’s white label culture, 'Cuff Yo Chick' holds up today as a manifesto of Jersey innovation. James Gui

'DJ-Kicks' [!K7]

Berlin's Cinthie is one of the most down-to-earth characters in the scene. As well as DJing and producing, she runs various labels and a record store, yet there is no pretence to her whatsoever. And that shines through in the music she threads together on her excellent DJ-Kicks mix — timeless house from across the ages, with dusty soul and deep grooves making for a celebratory vibe that is never too obvious nor too conceited. It's exactly how house music should sound. KRISTAN J CARYL

Theo Parrish
'DJ-Kicks: Detroit Forward' [!K7]

A collection of new material from Detroit artists, deftly mixed and matched by Theo Parrish, 'Detroit Forward' is one of those DJ mixes that feels like it’s going to stand up to repeated listens. Not only is the music super-fresh and predictably high quality, but the genre leaps and artful twists and turns of Parrish’s programming defy expectations in a most enchanting manner. You get house, techno, jazz, soul, dub, and tracks that happily ignore genre entirely. High class. HAROLD HEATH

'EARFUL OF WAVS | VOL.1' [Earful Of Wax]

The first digital compilation on London-based label Earful Of Wax is a bouncy blend of breaks, bass, downtempo, acid, 2-step and techno, highlighting a slew of international artists keeping today’s dance music scene vibrant. Former DJ Mag Bubbler Amaliah delivers a wavey number on ‘T-Siren’, while Bluetoof delivers a breaks-meets-techno mutation on ‘Orb Ponderer’. Other notable names include a grime collaboration between Callum Asa and 140, UK funky vibes from NOIRE, and low-slung bass by Bristolian couple EM + STAV. Big tunes. NIAMH O’CONNOR

Leon Vynehall
'fabric presents Leon Vynehall' [fabric Records]

Leon Vynehall’s DJ sets dart all over the place, like prismatic swirls of many different genres. This kaleidoscopic style was captured brilliantly on his 2019 ‘DJ-Kicks’ mix, and this year’s blend for fabric’s ‘presents’ series finds him again taking the best bits from everywhere, pulling together music from the likes of DJ Deep & Traumer, Skee Mask, Or:la, Ehua, Commodo and Mala. Though the mix addresses the dancefloor throughout, it’s also unafraid to step away for those quieter moments, as long as the mood is maintained. To listen is a truly absorbing and hypnotic experience. BEN MURPHY

Nicola Cruz
'fabric presents Nicola Cruz' [fabric Records]

On releases for Rhythm Section, On Loop and Optimo, Nicola Cruz has balanced a questing experimentalism with an understanding of dancefloor dynamics. This equilibrium is evident again on his entry in the ‘fabric presents’ series, documenting his impressive abilities as a DJ. On the mix, the Ecuador-based artist foregrounds Latin American producers, and blends a disparate selection of genres into a coherent whole. Broken steppers sit next to hypnogogic techno fare, eerie breaks and late-night electro, as Cruz bounces between bass-driven sounds, acoustic percussion and steely machine beats. It all blurs together in the most satisfying way. BEN MURPHY

'fabric presents TSHA' [fabric Records]

Despite her well-documented imposter syndrome, Ninja Tune signee TSHA has had praise heaped upon her for her unpretentious, joyous approach. Her output feels like a return to the welcoming togetherness of rave’s roots, while still keeping her eye firmly trained on the future. We saw it with her debut LP, ‘Capricorn Sun’, and then we saw it writ large on this fabric mix, where a colourful bouncer from Posthuman brushed up against a heavy-duty stomper from Sally C and a warming Jacques Greene throwback. JAMES KEITH

DJ Mag compilations of 2022 - H to M
‘Heavenly Remixes 4: Andrew Weatherall Volume 2’ [Heavenly Recordings]

Andrew Weatherall’s death was among our last memories of the world pre-virus, so the arrival of two stunning compilation albums in January, both showcasing the UK’s finest producer of the past 40 years in glorious diversity, was welcome and painful. Memories of all we lost flooding back, deciding which to include was hard, but this wins through Two Lone Swordsmen smoky dub (St. Etienne), eerie metal-tinged grind (Unloved), and euphoric acid-hued good times (Confidence Man), among other noises. MARTIN GUTTRIDGE-HEWITT

'HOA21' [HAUS of ALTR]

HAUS of ALTR is a great example of underground musical excellence that creates space for experimentation and mystery to flourish. Personal favourites from the latest in the label’s excellent compilation series include DJ SWISHA’s 'WABBLEDEEDABBLEDEE', with its gorgeous grazing drumline, the atmospheric 'Wasn't Me' by Amal, and the beautiful set piece 'Good One' by AceMo, Kush Jones, DJ SWISHA and MoMA Ready. The latter is reminiscent of kankyō ongaku — Japanese ‘environmental music’ — as it gives the feeling of being surrounded by nature's gloss. TICE CIN

'Hospital Mixtape: Lens' [Hospital Records]

Lens' ascent from Hospital's go-to warm-up act to a star in her own right is testament to her supreme skill as a DJ. This year that talent was officially put on record — or rather, cassette — when she helmed the return of the ‘Hospital Mixtape’ series. A masterclass in switching between styles, Lens races through 41 tracks in just 43 minutes, each blend smoother and more captivating than the next. The only downside is that it’s so much fun to listen to, it's over before you know it. Good job you can flip the tape and start again, then. BEN HINDLE

'Luke Una Presents É Soul Cultura' [Mr Bongo]

From ‘Day One’ zero to Worldwide FM hero, Luke Una’s online early morning musings have spread his ethos of ‘moving it on’. Driven by the redemptive and community-building power of music, ‘É Soul Cultura’ simmers down a lifetime of ecstatic nights and bleary dawns. From the heavenly Brazilian boogie of Robson Jorge & Lincoln Olivetti’s ‘Eva’ to the narcotic electro-funk of Michael J. Blood & Samizdat’s ‘Love Locked’, it’s a trove of Holy Grails that offer joy, solace and even moments of transcendence. JOE ROBERTS

'Madorasindahouse Selects #4' [Madorasindahouse Records]

Madorasindahouse’s annual selections are a must-have for any house head’s catalogue, and this year’s ‘Volume 4’ offers one-hour-and-seven-minutes of voracious and vast numbers that create an immersive experience worthy of high praise. The majority of the compilation revels in Afrocentric productions, with its makers fearlessly finding sounds that stand the test of time, with smatterings of electrified highlife, soca and mijikenda music peeking through gilded tech sonics, made for day and night alike. SHIBA MELISSA MAZAZA

¥ØU$UK€ ¥UK1MAT$U w/ Friends
‘Midnight is Comin’’ [Midnight Shift]

Over the course of Covid, ambient music went mainstream. From Guardian think pieces to endless Spotify playlists, everyone seemed to look to ambient as a panacea for a world on fire. ¥ØU$UK€ ¥UK1MAT$U's mixtape, 'Midnight is Comin'' was an ambient mix, but it operated differently, showcasing the tougher, dissonant edges of beatless music. Mixing jagged soundscapes with the velocity of techno, this was a mix of some of the most exciting ambient music of the year, that will certainly never soundtrack a hotel lobby. HENRY IVRY

'Music From Saharan WhatsApp' [Sahel Sounds]

In 2010, Sahel Sounds released ‘Music From Saharan Cellphones’, collecting tracks that were being exchanged over bluetooth among music fans in Saharan Africa, and introducing western ears to talents like Mdou Moctar. This year’s ‘Music From Saharan WhatsApp’ offers a snapshot of a sprawling music scene that’s every bit as vibrant and innovative. Listening to the winding licks on tracks by Etran de L’Air, Amaria Hamadaler (of Les Filles de Illighadad) and Bounaly, the guitar sounds like an instrument reborn. SAM DAVIES

'Muzique Vol. 2' [Odyzey Music]

Low-end, downtempo, glitch-hop, dubstep, deep house... numerous styles have found a home on Odyzey Music, the imprint helmed by CloZee. In August, ‘Muzique Vol. 2’ hit streaming platforms with a mission, it seemed, to demonstrate just how all-encompassing the label can be. A delicious mix of dreamscape music, groovy bass and some four-on-the-floor heaters to round it out, ‘Muzique Vol. 2’ is a more energetic follow-up to its 2021 predecessor, and proof that CloZee’s growing label family is one of the most innovative on the block. Our personal faves from this volume are Chamberlain’s ‘Bite Me’, which offers a funky "Down Under" take on electro, and ‘Control’, a churning treat from brothers Wreckno and 7UDO, who capture a perfect blend of seductive and swanky sounds in one tight three-minute package. MEGAN VENZIN

DJ Mag compilations of 2022 - N to S
'Nervous Horizon Vol. 4' [Nervous Horizon]

London label Nervous Horizon brought more interdimensional sounds on its fourth mixtape. With a reputation for curating regional underground club sounds, the 13-track compilation serves to define what is filling floors on a global scale. Beginning at a smooth 90BPM and ending at a whiplash-inducing 160, the label’s usual suspects and new signees bring it all to the table: dancehall-inflected beats warped into new shapes, percussive jams with amped-up low-end. The dancefloor is Nervous Horizon’s for the taking. SOPHIE WALKER

'no pare, sigue sigue' [Tra Tra Trax]

Around the world in 2022, soundsystems rumbled with the bass-heavy club music of Latin America and its diaspora. Few labels embody that energy like Bogotá’s Tra Tra Trax, whose releases encompass industrial dembow, deep n’dirty reggaeton, cosmic cumbia, tribal techno and more; you couldn’t swerve Nick León’s scorching ‘Xtasis’ this summer. The imprint’s tenth release catches that wave and charges forward with thundering beats of all speeds, blazing bass and heartstopping sound design from established and emerging talent. The future is here. EOIN MURRAY

Barbie Bertisch
'Prelude Remixes' [Love Injection Records]

Following the release of Buenos Aires-born, New York-based Barbie Bertisch’s debut album ‘Prelude’ in June this year, the Love Injection Records co-founder dropped a digital remix package to boot via the label, tapping the likes of creative and life partners Lakuti and Tama Sumo, Japanese duo Dazzle Drums, Brooklyn’s Olive T and Discwoman co-founder Umfang for the compilation. Ranging from downbeat, ebbing edits and spacey vocal cuts to straight up techno and groove-laden, key-heavy re-imaginings, it's an all-star package from an all-star cast. AMY FIELDING

'Radiant Love IWD Comp Vol 3' [Radiant Records]

Berlin’s Radiant Love crew put out their International Women’s Day compilation year on year with all proceeds going to charitable causes, and this year they supported homeless migrants, inter and trans healthcare, and various charities in Ukraine. The compilation never fails to produce liberating dancefloor moments. Check Pascale Project’s euphoric vocal house cut ‘Feel’ or Bliss Inc’s ‘Get Some’, which samples Tarrentella’s 1999 tribal trance banger ‘Substance’: these are only two examples from this sizzling third edition. SOPHIE MCNULTY

'Sintesis Moderna: An Alternative Vision Of Argentinean Music (1980​-​1990)' [Soundway Records]

In 2022, the rhythms of Latin America electrified dancefloors, as sounds like cumbia and reggaeton were woven into new mutant forms by the most adventurous DJs and producers. But machine music has a long history through the vast region, and ‘Sintesis Moderna’ detailed one of its lesser-known hot spots. For a decade, Argentina had a vibrant underground, and the tracks included here range from lo-fi, brightly lit synthpop (Abaddon’s ‘No Es Computable’) to bubbling disco punk (Toby’s ‘Ain’t That Better’), to brittle cold wave (Ultimate Warriors’ ‘Running Away From You’). BEN MURPHY

'Sounds From The Iranian Ultraverse' [Shaytoon]

New York-based, Iranian-American artist Sepehr runs the Shaytoon label, an imprint dedicated to foregrounding electronic artists of Iranian heritage. The compilation ‘Sounds From The Iranian Ultraverse’ takes in all manner of styles; from Voiski’s hypnagogic electro to the twisted illbient of Saint Abdullah and Paramida’s vintage progressive house, via the experimental, industrial reggaeton of Maral and the synthwave of Xeen, it highlights the creativity and innovation of the Iranian diaspora and artists based in the country. BEN MURPHY

'Spezial Series Vol 3' [GLBDOM]

GLBDOM use their Spezial Series as a vehicle for artists pushing sounds from across the UKG spectrum. On 'Vol 3', breaks, breakstep and deepstep sounds, as well as bumpy, darkside and speed garage cuts all jostle for attention, with featured producers including Pj Bridger, DJ Crisps, Enrico Dragoni and Daffy. Physical tapes of the Spezial Series always sell out, a testament to their incredible quality, and not content with one of the best compilations of 2022, the label also dropped 'Vol 4' this year, which could easily have made this list too. ROB MCCALLUM

'Stay True Sounds Vol. 4 Compiled By Kid Fonque' [Stay True Sounds]

Kid Fonque is a tastemaker at the forefront of South Africa’s deep house sound, nurturing and promoting talent from across the genre through his much-coveted label. So when he releases a ‘Stay True Sounds’ compilation, it’s a real annual event. ‘Vol. 4’ landed early this year, featuring returns from label stalwarts Fka Mash, China Charmeleon and Hypaphonik. And it was a jazzy, evocative affair, with stirring melodies and a deep soulful thread. Another reminder of the Stay True Sounds founding ethos: taste and longevity above all else. RIA HYLTON

DJ Mag compilations of 2022 - T to W
'to hell with it (Remixes)' [Parlophone]

Newcomer PinkPantheress proved she’s here to stay with her debut album, ‘to hell with it’ — but with the supplementary remix album, she substantiated just how in-the-know she is, musically. Touting both longtime legends (Flume, WondaGurl, LSDXOXO) and bubbling acts (Anz, Evilgiane, Nia Archives), PinkPantheress enlists a diversified discography in hip-hop, dance music, pop, and R&B. Unsurprisingly, most artists prolonged the timestamp of each song, which isn’t too difficult, seeing as the young songwriter is a one-minute-30-second-long mainstay. ARIELLE LANA LEJARDE

'Together With Ukraine' [Together With Ukraine]

The outbreak of the Ukrainian war and the resulting humanitarian crisis sparked an outpouring of support, from Poland welcoming millions of refugees, to western countries sending military aid. Music scenes from across Europe also mobilised to help those fleeing Putin’s invasion, with the Red Cross-supporting ‘Together With Ukraine’ being a highlight for drum & bass fans. Compiled by labels such as Hospital, RAM, Shogun Audio and plenty more, the compilation is a 136-track rarity, in that it brings together artists from across the scene, including Ukraine’s Dub Head and Warm Roller. KAMILA RYMAJDO

'Touching Bass presents: Soon Come' [Touching Bass]

South London’s Touching Bass has been getting a lot of love this year and it’s more than deserved. The label and party series is known for pushing artists in the extended TB family, and ‘Soon Come’, conceived in the depths of the pandemic, is an extraordinary display of the kind of talent the crew are surrounded by. Cuts from the likes of Ego Ella May, Wu-Lu, KeiyaA, Contour and Ben Hauke make this, without any exaggeration, one of the best comps of the year. RIA HYLTON

'Undesignated Remixes' [Love Love Records]

dgoHn’s 2020 album ‘Undesignated Proximate’ was an incredible feat of infinitely intricate drum programming and eerie, emotive soundscaping. News that a remix package from a cast of jungle, braindance and beyond’s finest was understandably exciting, then, and the result didn’t disappoint. From Equinox’s cosmic opener, through an Amenist maelstrom courtesy of Rognvald, to Quavis’ halftime deconstruction, it’s a wild ride that reminds you just how brilliant the original was, while taking things to a whole new dimension. BEN HINDLE

'WhyPeopleWar Fundraiser for Ukraine Vol​. ​1 [whypeopledance / Ledotmat Musique]

The Bandcamp charity compilation format is now a familiar one, but Lithuanian label and collective WhyPeopleDance took it to new heights this March. Within a week of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, they released ‘WhyPeopleWar’, a formidable collection of 162 tracks by over 100 artists across two volumes. In line with their penchant for wonky sounds, the project brings together disorientating downtempo excursions and high-NRG acid and electro pumpers, from the likes of Anatolian Weapons, KHIDJA and Eva Geist. SAFI BUGEL

'WZY2​.​5' [Woozy]

Ireland’s outpost for soundsystem culture and low-end club sounds, Woozy, returned this year with a new collection of futurist bass from an international cast of emerging talent, curated by label founder EMA. Like its debut compilation in 2020 and Coe’s ‘Radial’ EP from last year, the eight tracks on this comp drink deep from the dubstep source, while branching into colourful capillaries of 2-step, techno, electro and d&b. A thrilling bounty of inventive club music from an imprint with a clear, purposeful vision. EOIN MURRAY

'РАЗОМ ЗА УКРАЇНУ / TOGETHER FOR UKRAINE' [Standard Deviation x Mystictrax]

This year has proven how music can bring people together in times when it’s needed most. In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 65 Ukrainian and international artists came together to release ‘РАЗОМ ЗА УКРАЇНУ’ — or ‘TOGETHER FOR UKRAINE’ — a groundbreaking compilation, with all profits going towards four charities benefiting Ukrainian forces and civilians. The release, put together by Standard Deviation and Mystictrax, is a meld of forward-thinking dance tracks — a testament that Ukraine's clubbing community is thriving, even in the face of adversity. JACK RAMAGE