In my roundup of the Top 25 dance-music albums of 2012, I noted that, stylistically, electronic music was all over the place this year. That's not a complaint: On the dancefloor, it was an invitation to oscillate wildly. Genres collided; totems crumbled; mutants multiplied and ran gleefully amok.
As TNGHT, Hudson Mohawke and Lunice turned grime inside out and came up with some of the most innovative, idiosyncratic beats to fly under the banner of trap. Traxman and DJ Rashad took Chicago footwork to the outer limits, throwing an already dynamic style into evolutionary overdrive. DJ Marfox merged kuduro with U.K. funky. Lee Gamble turned the interstitial moments from old jungle mixtapes into rosy, droning ambient music; Holly Herndon worked in the opposite direction, putting cutting-edge software experiments into the service of visceral body music. And artists like Jam City, Girl Unit, Ital and Lukid continued to twist synth-soaked and sample-shirred strains of techno and that amorphous style known as "bass music" into strange, singular shapes.
Of course, there was plenty of classically minded club music, too: Vintage-inspired house thrived in records by I:Cube, Todd Terje and Arttu, among many others. The young brothers in Disclosure brought back U.K. garage, a style last popular when they were still in short pants. And Marcel Dettmann, Silent Servant and Petar Dundov took techno back to its roots while still pushing it forward.
There's plenty more where that came from: We've rounded up four hours of the year's best electronic music and club tracks. Dive in and dance your way into 2013.