Two thousand and ten was as good a year for dance music as any in recent memory, not least for planting the seeds of excellent things to come. Here are ten young artists we’re particularly exciting to see and hear develop as this year progresses, on the dance floor or in our headphones.
Two years ago, this French-born Berlin resident (born Marjorie Migliaccio) released the dank, enrapturing Black Pearl (Contexterrior), whose pitch-black negative spaces set off spritzing keyboard flourishes and sprung rhythms. Last year’s Decadence, on her own Dame-Music imprint, was a virtual 180 — vibrant, kaleidoscopic, bubbly house and techno that’s the yang to Pearl’s yin. With Dame offering good new 12-inches from Sierra Sam and Argenis Brito, not to mention Mary herself, we can’t wait to find out what’s next.
Releasing a single that gets some notice is one thing. Having it run straight to the top of Resident Advisor’s monthly DJ Top 50 chart is quite another. That’s just what 22-year-old Londoner Coles did with her soulful tech-house 12-inch “What They Say” last October. She also makes dubstep as Nocturnal Sunshine, and along with others as diverse as Ikonika, Deniz Kurtel, Jubilee, Cooly G, Bloody Mary, Magda, Margaret Dygas, and Nina Kraviz, Coles is part of an impressive wave (in every sense) of female producers and DJs to emerge in the past couple of years. The fact that almost no one has bothered pointing this out — that it’s being treated as completely normal — is even more heartening.
Jeremy Duffy is another young Londoner rooted in dubstep but moving further into other areas. As Duffstep, his “Know You” added billowing, arpeggiated synths that evoked epic ’90s trance before it needed insulin shots, and he’s also making house as Duff Disco. He’s got a touch, and hearing him develop further should prove fruitful.
This 17-piece NYC disco band arrived fabulously with 2006’s “Starlight,” but they’ve stuck to singles, and not too many of those — 2010’s “Cocaine Blues,” a zingy, stringy, swingy recasting of Dillinger’s ’70s reggae-funk hit “Cocaine in My Brain,” was the group’s first in three years. But all that woodshedding appears ready to pay off for real: Escort are set to release their debut album this year. We can’t wait.
New Yorker Drew Lustman would have made this list even without our knowing he’s got a debut coming out in late March on Planet Mu, simply because his string of 2010 EPs — All in the Place, Phreqaflex, and Endeavour — and remixes (his take on Cosmin TRG’s “See Other People” tops an already terrific original) was so head-turningly distinct.
Not part of the above-mentioned brigade of women, this London bloke blanked 2010 with killer online mixes for Palms Out Sounds and FACT and a pair of singles for Night Slugs, “I.R.L.” and especially “Wut,” a perfect, haunting fusion of Dirty South hip-hop and vintage glowsticks-and-Mickey-Mouse-gloves rave that turned any number of non-dance heads. It’s a daunting peak, especially when you remember that he’s only just getting started.
David Kennedy No producer dominated 2010 like this guy. As Ramadanman he was a staple of year-end lists with the seething neo-jungle “Don’t Change For Me” and the dark, Chicago juke-infused “Glut” and “Work Them.” He’s since tired of that moniker and switched to Pearson Sound, under which name his deliciously sticky remix of M.I.A.’s “It Takes a Muscle” saw a limited vinyl release during the holidays. A volume in the stellar FabricLive mix-CD series is scheduled for March 7; now all we need (pretty please?) is a full-on album.
This Turkish producer announced herself with the spare, spooky “Yeah,” featuring Guests of Nature, a house track that could have come from DJ International in 1987 — no small compliment. Crosstown Rebels releases her debut in February.
Busy, consistent, and quietly authoritative, this Londoner makes music rooted in late-’90s 2-step garage while taking it into more abstract terrain. The 2-step is more evident on the Harlem Power EP and the abstraction defines his album, Kirkwood Gaps (both on the digital L2S label), and according to his bountiful SoundCloud page, he’s got plenty else coming.
Straight techno is damn hard to put a personal stamp on. When the machines do all the talking, how to make yourself heard? That isn’t a problem for this Belgian producer — Van Hoesen communicates a sly sense of humor along with his determination to move a crowd like a collective piston. Entropic City was one of 2010’s most highly praised techno albums, and his standalone singles (we’re especially fond of “Irrational X”) promise more to come.