Dancing Astronaut’s Top 50 Artists of 2011: 31-40

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As individuals, we all have and are entitled to our own opinions but opinions vary widely. For example, I believe Starship Troopers is the greatest movie ever made based on its non-stop action, monsters, female nudity, and Denise Richards in her prime. You see, my criteria are skewed for the standard. But when you start to analyze and rank something comprehensively with integrity, whether it be movies or EDM artists, you need to understand the common judging criteria of the wider audience. Production quality, DJ skills, relevance, potential, etc. Check yesterday’s article if you need a full explanation of all the criteria and biases incorporated in the list, but know that we feel the following most accurately represents the consensus opinion of our audience. Here are the artists we placed at 40-31.

40. Boys Noize

While Boys Noize may not have churned out as many releases as R3hab or Tommy Trash, he deserves this rank based on his prestige. Alex Ridha aka Boys Noize has cemented his spot in the EDM world after over 8 years of consistently good productions. Ridha’s versatility as a producer was exhibited in his December release of  The Remixes (2004-2011) album. The German DJ/Producer is able to span genres from acid house to disco, a true testament to his talent. The Boys Noize experience in a live set is one that will blow your mind and your eardrums.

39. Michael Woods

Michael Woods has had a busy year pumping out remixes and original tracks that are undeniably uplifting. He started the year with his residency at the world-famous Ministry of Sound while issuing huge releases like “First Aid” and his remix of Lady GaGa’s “Born This Way.” However, arguably his crowning achievement in 2011 was his release of “Bullet,” one of the biggest club tunes of the year. More recent remixes of Benassi’s “Close To Me” and Armin’s “Youtopia,” along with orignals like “Last Day On Earth,” show why Michael Woods was one of the biggest snubs on the DJ Mag Top 100 poll.

38. Knife Party

Rob and Gareth hanging out in the studio one day…

Rob Swire: This whole Pendulum thing is cool and all but “The Island” is just too soft for me.

Gareth McGrillen: Yeah, we should start a spin-off group that’s all about hard electro and lasers.

Rob Swire: Ok, let’s start by remixing one of the biggest songs of the year then let’s collaborate on a song with EDM’s biggest supergroup.

Gareth McGrillen: Then let’s make an EP and give it out for free.

Maybe that’s not the official backstory, but that’s pretty much how it went down. Knife Party, founded by Rob and Gareth of Pendulum, shot onto the electro/dubstep scene through their monstrous remix of SHM’s “Save The World.” Known for it’s uplifiting vocals and synths, Knife Party flipped the switch and turned it into a bleepy, dubstep-infused banger. Not bad for a debut. After remixes of Porter Robinson’s “Unison” and Nero’s “Crush on You,” Knife Party got to work on some original material. Along with collaborations with SHM on “Antidote” and Skrillex on “Zoology,” Knife Party produced a four track EP called 100% No Modern Talking  and gave the whole thing away for free. Dancing Astronaut is stoked about what 2012 has to offer for these guys.

37. A-Trak

A-Trak is a world champion DJ. He is to DJing what Derek Jeter is to getting girls playing baseball. That alone should be enough to get him on this list. A-Trak has a masterful ability to infuse hip-hop with electro into tracks that are equally good in the club and in your headphones. Just check out some of his Fool’s Gold mixes and see how he seamlessly mixes between genres. Recently, A-Trak put his spin on Sander Van Doorn and Laidback Luke’s “Who’s Wearing the Cap” by adding a funkier baseline along with some samples and scratches.

Oh yeah, forgot about the whole Duck Sauce side project. Was there a better music video in 2011 than theirs for “Big Bad Wolf?”

36. Wolfgang Gartner

Wolfgang Gartner was nominated for a Grammy earlier this year. End of explanation. This dude rose to fame last year with tracks like “Space Junk” and “Animal Rights” and went nowhere but up from there. Sporting his huge electro house sound, Wolfgang crushed dancefloors around the country this year when he wasn’t working on his newest album Weekend In America. That album not only creatively infused hip-hop with electro, but also featured Wolfgang’s unique sound in tracks like “Space Junk” and “Illmerica.” Not to mention his collaboration with Will.I.Am on “Forever” killed it on the radio and in the clubs. Overall, it was a hugely successful year for our fellow American.

35. Morgan Page

Whattya know – another Grammy nominee on the Top 50 list. If there is one thing about Morgan Page’s music, it’s his ability to find the synergy between vocals and the right progressive sound. Just look at his two biggest tracks of the year: “In The Air” and “Body Work.” Both songs feature uplifting progressive synths and a huge breakdown that set the groundwork for the intoxicating vocals. Along with his work in the studio, Morgan put on live spectacles during his In The Air tour.

34. Tommy Trash

Not many people have had a busier year than Australian DJ/Producer Tommy Trash. How ’bout we start with “The End,” one of the most widely played tracks of the year.  It’s dizzying sound culminating in that giant drop fit perfectly in sets and destroyed dancefloors. Other original tracks include “Future Folk,” “Monkey See Monkey Do,” “Ohrwurm,” and “Blair Bitch Project.” All these songs feature unique instruments and sound distortions that help put Tommy in his own niche somewhere between progressive and electro house. Those originals alone are enough to give Tommy a spot on our list, but the remixes are what really elevate him in the rankings. Let’s go through this list:

We know we’re leaving some out but let’s catch our breath for a second. Do you see the list of songs he remixed? Busy and ballsy are two appropriate adjectives. But Tommy consistently pulled it off, taking those bangers and tactfully mixing in his blend of distortions, synths, and drums to make each of those songs uniquely his. What a year…

33. Porter Robinson

We told you our rankings may exhibit some age bias but regardless of his youth, Porter Robinson deserves to be on this list. His six track EP Spitfire released on Skrillex’s OWSLA label, one one of the top electro albums of the year. Porter displays the versatility of a producer beyond his years, incorporating a unique blend of electro house and dubstep to craft his own sound. Seeing him exhibit his youthful energy via womp-filled drops and fast-paced electro makes you realize just how promising this kid’s future is.

32. Steve Aoki

Besides headlining a major festival, running Dim Mak records, collaborating with some of the biggest names in EDM, and starting a radio show, Aoki hasn’t done much this year. Identity festival was a truly unprecedented event – all those cities, all those acts, all for 20 bucks. While maintaining his Encore Vegas residency, Aoki collaborated with the likes of Tiesto, Afrojack, and Laidback Luke (also Lil Jon and Weezer) to give us some of the biggest releases of the year. See him in 2012 on his Dead Meat tour and watch out for his album Wonderland.

31. Chuckie

No question Dancing Astronaut favorite Chuckie deserves this spot; it could even be argued his work warrants a higher rank. The dirty Dutch via Suriname producer has had a few of this year’s biggest original releases, remixes, and live sets. From huge tracks like “What Happens in Vegas” and  “Who Is Ready to Jump” to his remix of “We Found Love,” Chuckie has cemented his standing as an EDM kingpin. Outside of the studio, Chuckie’s live sets transcend a single genre with hard electro, uplifting synths, and the classic Dutch bleep. 2012 certainly has a lot in store for this dude.

Check back tomorrow for artists  21-30. Stay tuned!


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