While the city’s always been known for its thriving underground 2014 was the year Vancouver’s independent electronic music community got some shine on a global level. Numerous electronic artists dropped digital and vinyl releases that earned rave reviews landed on multiple year-end lists and bolstered the city’s reputation for forward-thinking playful and adventurous electronic music.

Yes the rest of the world finally got in on the secret but as Max Ulis puts it the city’s constant stream of interesting music is nothing new. “Vancouver has been ruling for years” he says. “I think that certain acts like the Mood Hut guys and [label] 1080p have helped to really bring more attention to the city but it has always been a hotbed for talent.”

Ulis is right to name check the Mood Hut collective along with the 1080p Collection record label — both have spread distinct singular and visionary new music to all corners of the music world this year. That said Vancouver label Hybridity Music also celebrated a banner year with remarkable releases from Project Pablo Michael Brock and most notably Ulis’ own Sabota project.

The group a collaboration between Ulis and Robbie Slade (also of the Vancouver duo Humans) released their self-titled debut to critical acclaim in February. The album pairs the artists’ talents perfectly offering creative organic-sounding dance music with plenty of pop appeal thanks to Slade’s smooth vocals.

Though it plays out like a fully formed complete album Ulis explains they’re not necessarily tied to the format as a necessary medium. “Well to be honest we were not focused on an album” he says “but when we sent an EP’s worth of material to the distro they liked it so much that they thought we should add three more songs and make it an album — in their opinion albums get more attention. We were making songs at such a quick rate at that time that it made sense.”

Releasing it as an album was a wise decision — not only does the release stand on its own as a complete artistic statement but it pushed Sabota into a busy touring schedule in 2014. “We got to play some cool shows and festivals and people seem to like us so that’s nice” says Ulis mentioning a slew of memorable moments from the year. “Playing Atmosphere Festival in Cumberland was a big highlight as the set went off without a hitch and the vibe of the fest is really sweet and genuine. Playing Tall Tree was really great a lot of people seemed to know our songs which was cool and the tent was packed and smiley.

“A low point for me was losing two pairs of sunglasses in two months” he continues.

The 10 compositions that comprise Sabota have a surprising amount of staying power which Ulis credits to its honest representation of who they are as musicians. “We are definitely sick of a couple of the songs” he admits “but also I am still really proud of the album it feels super natural. It genuinely feels like us.”

Fortunately they’re already back at work on music both separately and as Sabota. Ulis says they’ll have a new EP out in the spring including a collaboration with Los Angeles performer Grenier and a remix from Sei A. First however they’ll ring in the New Year with a performance at the Hifi Club. Ulis recalls the last time they were here: “Robbie trolling these two girls… who knew the track list on our album better than us.” Here’s hoping they have an equally memorable evening this time around.