Coming out of proverbial nowhere, Baauer not only changed the game this year, but he also rose to be considered a pioneer of his craft; quite an accomplishment for 12 month’s time. Brooklyn native and all-around nice guy Baauer developed a style of music that has people loosing their inhibitions and pop-lock-and-droppin it in a manner that hasn’t been seen in quite sometime. May 17th was the exact date that “Harlem Shake” entered our lives and we saw an instant hit going into the summer season. What resulted was seemingly every artist under the sun playing out this track at various shows and festivals across the world–all while Baauer kept delivering banger remixes of Flosstradamus, No Doubt, and Nero and touring with the likes of Knife Party, Araabmuzik, Dillon Francis, and more. We hope that 2013 sees more of the same for Harry Rodrigues. We can only pray that a full LP is in the works.
I remember years ago in Chicago when Flosstradamus was just a duo that liked to play fun dance music. In their early days, tracks like “Big Bills”, “Act A Fool” and their “Y’all Know The Name” remix were some of my favorites, and no matter where you saw Kurt and Josh, it was always a party. Flosstradamus’ fame might have exploded over night due to their reworking of “Original Don”, but what a lot of people don’t know is that the two have been making a hybrid of dance and rap music for a long time. “Act A Fool” is a prime example, and while it’s more ravey than anything else, it’s a great crossover tune.
Trap music has been around for years, but Flosstradamus gave it new life in a big, big way: Their take on “Original Don” is still the best trap remix I’ve heard to date (you can argue if you want, but you know it’s true), and you’d be hardpressed to find someone that likes dance music and hasn’t heard of Flosstradamus by now. Without these two, we wouldn’t have the most misunderstood sample of all time: “Run The Track”, which magically changed into “Run The Trap” (and nobody said anything?).
It’s undeniable that trap’s intense popularity will soon decline (not disappear, simply dwindle slightly), and with it many producer will fade into obscurity. But with their relentlessness, innovativeness, and knack for spawning some of the most outrageous parties, Flosstradamus are here to stay.
There isn’t much to say about GRiZ’s year that hasn’t already been said. We wrote in September that although 21-year-old Grant Kwiecinski had only a few SoundCloud and Bandcamp tracks to his name, he was able to build the most intense and lasting hype for any LP this year (it was supposed to drop in the Spring, was actually released this Fall, and never once lost a shred momentum). What we received from the young producer was nothing short of game-changing, but what has really allowed GRiZ to be one of our breakout artists this year is how he has handled the attention.
He seamlessly developed a home in the CO community, most notably demonstrated by “Digital Liberation is Mad Freedom,” his extended collaboration with PLM’s Gramatik. It seems as if Grant has been around for years, circa Wide Awake and Filling Up The City Skies even. Despite his actual sound–which, as we’ve explained, is on path to change the production of electronic music–it’s Grant’s attitude and handling of this success that makes him one of 2012’s best.
Believe it or not, UK-based Star Slinger (born Darren Williams) has been making beats for quite a long time. He dropped Volume 1, an 11-track, self released LP, in 2012 and consequently introduced the world to his now-famous style of producing–laced with hyperactive drums and sporadic sampling. A collection of remixes, a brief EP titled Rogue Cho Pa, and 3-song package of Bedroom Joints were also released in 2010 and 2011. But what allowed Darren to shine this year like the star he was born to be were his seemingly endless supply of remixes, or as he prefers to call them, refixes. Drake, A$AP Rocky, Jessie Ware, Rihanna, NazcarNation, the list goes on; no one was safe from the Star Slinger treatment. And I say “safe” because most of the time his refix ended up being more fun to listen to than the original. While always maintaing his signature vibe, Williams constantly pushed each release to a higher level. His strategy unconventional and his tunes addicting, Star Slinger broke out in 2012.
(Oh, and he had an original with Lil B this year. I mean, c’mon.)
With how much quality material this guy has churned out, it’s hard to imagine that Shadow Child was considered a “side project” just mid-way though 2012. Initially created as a brain-child of the U.K.’s DJ Simon Neale (a.k.a. Dave Spoon), the booty-tech/deep house experimental alias saw his “first” release, “String Thing,” on Claude VonStroke’s Dirtybird Records just before this summer. The sound was extremely playful, but also mysteriously dark, catching the eyes of label owners worldwide, including Hot Creations (Jamie Jones & Lee Foss), Alive Recordings (Tom Budden), and Fool’s Gold Records (A-Trak) to name a few.
Disco ain’t dead. In fact, Miguel Campbell has been pushing his funky-ass nu-disco sound since 2008, adding his own deep house twist to the popular 80’s genre. Even though he’s been producing for half a decade, 2012 was a definitive year for the young producer, seeing releases on esteemed labels such as Defected Records, Culprit, and his first full-length LP via Hot Creations.
What sets Miguel apart from the rest of the deep house producers, is his uncanny ability to add a deep and dark feel to sexy disco samples. His collaboration with fellow nu-discoer Matt Hughes (under the name MAM) saw the release of one of the best nu-disco EP’s yet; the “Happyness EP,” released on his own label Outcross Records. His full-length LP, “Back To Flight School,” (one of our favorites of 2012) highlighted his intriguing and infectious taste of music, and exposed Miguel to the mainstream limelight. With some of the best releases of the year, its hard to imagine how Mr. Campbell plans to top 2012!
Quite possibly the biggest story of 2012, was the rise of garage/deep house/indie dance artists Disclosure. Comprised of siblings, Guy, and Howard Lawrence, the duo has only been producing for only a year, but already boasts critical acclaim in both U.S. and U.K. house scenes. Releasing one of the best overall EP’s of the year, “The Face,” Disclosure received massive support from the likes of Skream, Kastle, and Jamie Jones to name a few.
Beyond their superb production, the duo also puts on one hell of a show. Taking their tour to the U.S. this year, we at The Dankles were fortunate enough to catch Disclosure in Denver, and they proved to be one of the best live acts we’ve ever seen. Incorporating live X1’s, synth’s, and APC’s, their performance is not one to miss! With so much phenomenal material released in their freshman year, 2013 proves to be extremely promising for the duo!
In 2012, Frenchman Amine Edge, with a brand new “G House” sound that is distinctively new and broadly appealing, exploded. Basically called “gangsta house,” the sound creates a special atmosphere at shows, another vision of the house music, consisting of a stunning combination between funk’s deep basses and inspired by the latest 80s and 90s hip-house movement. This gritty sound is truly unique in that it blends the emerging 120 BPM deep house with Notorious B.I.G., Ma$e, and Lil’ Kim samples.
This was a brilliant year for the young producer, seeing releases on esteemed labels such as Nurvous, Runnin’ Wild (Bubba & Chris James), and 2DIY4 (Solomun). Amine Edge made some of the best tracks of the year with dancefloor burners such as, “Going to Heaven with the Goodie Goodies,” “Pop 60,” as well as a slew of poppin’ remixes.
Not only is Krewella hands down the sexiest threesome out there right now, but they have a strong gift for producing dubstep tracks with a pop flare. The Chicago natives know what their fans want, and make sure they get it. Not to mention they are one of the few artists who fully interact with their fans during their shows, which makes their performances that much better. The trio consists of two sisters Jahan and Yasmine, who provide vocals to their hard-ass tracks, while producing with their longtime friend Trindl.
The three really began to take off after their Play Hard EP, which was released in the beginning of summer 2012. Ever since, they have been a must have at the majority of festivals and an essential show to see for many dubstep fans. Watch out for this up-and-coming trio in 2013!