Various Artists

Ultra 2013

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Kicking off with the glittery "Let's Go" from Calvin Harris and Ne-Yo, Ultra 2013 is the usual combination of top-notch picks and undeniable dancefloor hits that fill the series every year. It feeds off an especially fertile and successful 2012 for dance-pop with the EDM explosion in full force, and while one of the year's biggest artists, Swedish House Mafia, isn't represented, superstars Dada Life are, remixing and shooting Kaskade's "Llove" into space with their echoing and dark treatment of the track. Listen for Deadmau5 and Wolfgang Gartner mixing church organs, funky riffs, and whomping dubstep on "Channel 42," Lil Jon and LMFAO Bacardi-rockin' all night long during "Drink," and Afrojack as he pours both purple drank and electro beats into the mixing desk, creating some new kind of syrup-house during the druggy "Beat Down" from Steve Aoki, Angger Dimas, and Iggy Azalea. Unexpected delights come from Nause (bringing back the spirit of airy '80s synth pop with "Hungry Hearts") and Inner Life (disco meets filter house on the sweaty cover of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"), while Congorock "Bless di Nation" along with the dancefloor and bring the 2012 sound of ragga-house, which is slick, polished, and delivered in style by reggae great Sean Paul. Now that's what you call Ultra.

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