House Recap for 2011

Posted by on January 11, 2012

I chose Avicii for the picture because it was his year, he was able to hold the EDM community in the palm of his hand with his unreleased tracks that he would play live, but never release. His sound has become one that many have attempted to emulate and “Levels” was the song of 2011 (teaser). It was a year that saw the rise of new stars such as Madeon, Alesso, Tommy Trash, Cazzette, R3hab, and more. The grip that Europe had on EDM is slipping away and the US has become the largest market in the world for house with its wealth, space and population. The large number of festivals sell out incredibly fast and are only growing in their popularity and number. One prime example of the rise of EDM in US festivals are the headliners at Coachella, a festival with a tradition in rock and hip hop and some EDM, but this year with stars such as Swedish House Mafia, Alesso, David Guetta, Kaskade, Avicii, Afrojack and more gracing the stage, one cannot argue the prominence of EDM in American music. It has taken over pop music with producers such as David Guetta, Calvin Harris and Afrojack, all producing number one hits in the US. While Sweden and the Netherlands still hold the titles of having the highest total of most talented Djs, countries such as France and England are coming along right behind them with guys such as Gregori Klosman, Tristan Garner, Madeon, Arno Cost and more from France, and Tim Mason, Calvin Harris, Third Party and more from England. In 2012, the prominence of the US will become even stronger with festivals drawing even larger crowds and bigger bills for the summer festival season and clubs having packed schedules with guys touring the US multiple times a year.

I also foresee the rise of Asia as the next big landing point because there is infrastructure of clubs in places like Japan and South Korea, but with the rise of EDM in Asia, the numbers will only swell. Also areas that have growing economies such as Taiwan, India and Indonesia are also getting more and more clubs and throughout their respective countries and they becoming hot places to tour. I also know that India and Bangladesh are going to be big and the EDM scene will expand rapidly in the coming years because we have a solid base of fans there. Check out the rest of the recap with top 25 songs of the year, artists to watch in 2012 and more after the jump.

This was very difficult to pick because of how good a year it was for EDM as a whole. I know some or many of you will disagree with these choices for top 25 and let me have it if you do, but these are songs that charted well, were played by all the top DJs, are simply outstanding, and are now part of a lasting memory of 2011. There is obviously bias here because I like certain artists more than others, and I like certain genres of house more than others, but that happens in any yearly wrapup. Songs that are more recent or had a chance during the summer festival season may have had a bigger impact and of course some songs and artists were left off of this list, but that is the way this is. Let me know your thoughts on the rankings in the comments section. Also, consider we are in the US, so these rankings show a bit of what is big in the US.

25. Michael Calfan – Resurrection (Axwell’s Recut Club Version) – This end of the year anthem has been getting support and play time from every DJ out there. The Axwell Recut version is the prominent version, but be sure, this is the work of Michael Calfan; Axwell had very little to do with this. Calfan, the number 2 guy to watch out for in 2012, is going to use this track to propel himself to bigger and better things in 2012, possibly under tutelage of Axwell, and create some more monster tunes with his flawless productions.

24. Tiesto – Maximal Crazy (Original Mix + Remixes) – This song has been heard everywhere from sporting events to clubs and festivals. It has been played by almost ever Dj and has so much energy in to create a maximal crazy (sorry) atmosphere when played live. It shows the power that Tiesto has in his change over to house and how he can capture audiences and crowds with this one song.

23. Dada Life – White Noise / Red Meat – Dada Life has had a fantastic year in 2011 and made a plethora of amazing songs during that span. “Kick out the Epic Motherf*cker” is a close second to this, but their single at the beginning of the year set the tone for a year that would see them rise from being a primarily an opening act to headlining clubs across the world. “White Noise / Red Meat” exemplifies all that is Dada Life; hard hitting electro, heavy bass and just a crazy song that makes you want to party with champagne and bananas.

22. Calvin Harris – Awooga – “Awooga” was a slight change of pace from the songs Calvin has been making with “Flashback”, “Feel So Close” and others where his vocal samples have become staples of live sets everywhere. This one is a bit heavier with a driving bass and synth-laden drop with that signature Calvin Harris synth sound in the build.

21. Axwell – Heart Is King – Axwell is a legend on his own and has only grown through his work with Swedish House Mafia and with the rise of Axtone in 2012, there will be nothing stopping Axwell. “Heart is King” is his latest work, which exemplifies his style with a deep house and house undertones and progressive melodies. It is skillfully produced and put together by Axwell and a must have from 2011.

20. Avicii – Fade Into Darkness (Vocal Club Mix)– The first anthem that Avicii released this year cannot be denied top 25 status. The vocals have become classic by now with the uplifting, progressive piano instrumental we have come to love from Avicii, this song is a classic from him. It does not have the same energy as the number one song “Levels”, but is rather a more uplifting, emotional song. Albin Myers does a good job with the remix to give this some more energy.

19. Kaskade – Turn It Down feat. Rebecca feat. Fiona – Here the geography bias comes into play a bit because Kaskade is an American and since we are based out of the US, there will be some bias towards the winner of the winner of the best Dj in America award. Rebecca & Fiona lay down some beautiful vocals for Kaskade on this track and he does the rest with a hard build and a huge synth laden drop that is absolutely breathtaking live.

18. Diddy, Dirty Money feat. Skylar Grey – Coming Home (Dirty South Remix) – I will admit that the drop of this song is not that impressive on your computer speakers, but put this in a live arena or in a club and this is amazing, getting the crowd very much alive. The opening vocals from Skylar Grey are sublime in this mix and Diddy adds that litte bit extra with the vocal. This song is a favorite of many to bootleg and will be continued to be heard with its combination with the upcoming smash hit “Quasar” from Hard Rock Sofa and “Aerodynamic” by the members of Swedish House Mafia.

17. Florence and the Machine – You Got The Love (Mark Knight Remix) – Whenever this song is played, it makes you want to start belting out the lyrics and possibly put your hands in the air with its easy, smooth build with an addictive drop. This has been a massive tune this year, perfectly using Florence’s beautiful vocal, while giving all profits of the song to Japanese Tsunami relief showing the love in EDM.

16. Deniz Koyu – Tung! – This song is just so powerful with support from everywhere; it has everything to be a massive song. It is meant to be played live and loud; in the beginning you can hear the slight sounds of a live crowd and it has that echoing reverb in it for that big room feel.

15. Bassjackers – Mush, Mush – One of the heaviest songs on the list and of the year in terms of house, “Mush, Mush” is the perfect compliment for any Dj set to give that little extra energy to get the crowd going. “Mush, Mush” has that perfect electro house synth drive to it that is great for your computer speakers, but even better on proper club or festival speakers.

14. Tim Mason – The Moment (Original Mix + Steve Angello Edit) – With that recognizable rising snare opening, “The Moment” was the song that really broke Tim Mason through this year on Size. The Steve Angello Edit was the one that got the most airtime in sets, but the original is much the same. The synth line in the drop is timeless and is the song is still played.

13. Fedde Le Grand – So Much Love (Original Club Mix) – Fedde had a ridiculous year in 2011 and if my list were to be any longer he would have many more additions to the list. This song exemplifies traditional house. It has the long build getting your ready for the vocals that describes how we feel for our viewers, “So Much Love” and an addictive house drop that is perfect for the dance floor.

12. R3hab & Swanky Tunes – Sending My Love (Original + Hard Rock Sofa Remix)– This song combines the vets, Swanky Tunes and their progressive sound with the chainsaw madness of R3hab to create to more subdued chainsaw madness that is simply amazing. Max C, one of the more legendary vocalists in the business lays down some great vocals for this track and the drop is incredibly powerful with a driving bass and some hard electro synths. This song is amazing live and with a remix from Hard Rock Sofa that may be even better than the original, it finds its way all the way at number 12.

11. Arty – Around The World (Original Mix) – This song has been an anthem of the year for Arty with a skillfully crafted build and an amazing synth driven drop that is simply stunning live. This song really exemplifies the blend between house and trance that Arty has done and his ability to move seamlessly between genres. He can do both within live sets and he can do a live set almost entirely of house, as seen with his set at Pier 94 and a set of all trance with sets such as ones at trancemission and others.

10. Sander van Doorn – Koko (Original Mix) – The song is as addictive and infectious as it got in 2011. The whistle line is about as recognizable as there is in EDM right now, up there with “Levels”, and is something sings live. When the violin harmonizes with the violin in the second drop, the song goes to a whole new level and becomes the festival magic that it has become all year.

9. Hardwell & Tiesto – Zero 76 – This was one the biggest releases in the first few months of the year and has not come close to falling out of grace. With the signature Hardwell driving synth and Tiesto’s new house sound it was made to be big and do well in big room. This really helped Hardwell start his absolutely massive year that we tracked for you here, and helped launch Tiesto’s new venture in house, which he is conquering just as he did trance.

8. Tommy Trash – The End – This was the song that broke Tommy Trash through and has been a lasting memory of 2011. It is still being played and bootlegged regularly live by many Djs and will continue its prominence well into 2012. Its very heavy electro drop really took the EDM scene by storm and made Tommy Trash a name to reckoned with.

7. James Blunt – Dangerous (Deniz Koyu & Johan Wedel Remix) – As Sebastian Ingrosso said “Wow, this song really got me dancing in the studio, it’s banging”. It was given an Axwell edit that did not much for live purposes and it has been played by all sorts of Djs live and it does damage. Just listen to this and you will understand why it is lucky number 7 on this list with its driving bass and synths and with a heavy drop.

6. Dirty South & Those Usual Suspects feat. Erik Hecht – Walking Alone (Original Mix) – While “Alive” was a masterpiece, “Walking Alone” was even better from the Aussie who has absolutely exploded onto the scene this year. The vocals are quality and meaningful from Erik Heckt and the track itself is of utmost quality.

5. Kaskade Feat. Mindy Gledhill – Eyes (Extended Mix) – One of the most moving songs of the year with Mindy Gledhill providing absolutely amazing vocals on this song. It such an uplifting song with a great build and an even better drop that you cannot help but put your hands in the air and lose yourself in the music.

4. Swedish House Mafia – Save The World (Original Mix + Remixes) – Everyone knows this song and whether it is the heavy Knife Party remix, the fantastic Alesso remix or the original mix with some live lyrics, this song is fantastic. It was an anthem over the summer and showed the power of Swedish House Mafia to impact EDM with one single.

3. Sebastian Ingrosso & Alesso – Calling (Original Mix) – It was the anthem of Electric Zoo as Big and G could tell you, and has been played non stop at festivals and shows since. It has been getting the same treatment as “Levels” and Pendulum’s “The Island” where people sing the melody of the song. If that happens, you are doing something right.

2. Alex Kenji, Starkillers & Nadia Ali – Pressure (Alesso Remix) – The remix of the year and if you ever went out you heard this song; it was played by everyone and their mother at festivals, clubs, theaters etc. It got a second life with the East & Young bootleg with Coldplay’s “Fix You” towards the end of the year, but this remix catapulted Alesso into stardom and will not go away for quite some time. The stutter that makes it so unique has now become commonplace in songs such as Fedde Le Grand’s remix of Coldplay’s “Paradise” and many other productions.

1. Avicii – Levels (Original Mix) – You cannot argue this one. This was played at all of the New Years countdowns, even though it was first premiered in 2010, it has been an anthem of 2011 played by every DJ in every set getting probably the best reaction of any song this year. Levels is the song of the year without a doubt, no matter how tired of it you are.

Top 10 guys/gals to look for in 2012

1. Otto Knows – Visa & Million Voices. Get to know those two songs because they have already been supported by Djs high and low and are ready to be released in 2012. He is just waiting on the release dates from labels. Otto Knows is yet another Swede with a great uplifting house sound that is bound to propel him have a meteoric rise to fame next year.
2. Michael Calfan – He was really unknown quantity for the majority of the world for most of the year but he has exploded onto the scene, especially with his massive hit “Resurrection”. His productions are flawless in quality, even his latest remix of “Turn Me On” was of superior quality and with the guidance of Axwell, expect great things next year.
3. Tim Mason – If “Anima” was not good enough for you, just look at the singles and remixes that he has done this year, such as the number 14 song on the list “The Moment” and you will see quality all across the board from this Brighton native. A label member of Size, Tim Mason is going to have a huge year in 2012, starting off with his Anima tour going on right now. The young Brit is only getting started.
4. NERVO – The lovely Nervo sisters have really done it big this year. They have always done amazing work writing songs for others and helping to create songs for huge artists, but this year they really broke out and made some great single work of their own such as “We’re All No One” or “The Way We See The World. ID fest was great for them being able to tour the US and get to expand to a whole new audience. Their success this year will not end here as they have some huge songs to be released next year such as their collaboration with Omarion, “Army”. Also their collaboration with Avicii, “You’re Gonna Love Again” is going to be possibly the biggest song of 2012, so these sisters are going to be f*cking huge. UPDATE: This is not a collab with Avicii as previously though, just a song they did and it is ridiculous.
5. Deniz Koyu – Deniz Koyu really put the world on notice this year with singles such as “Tung” and “Hertz” which have been festival favorites by everyone and bootlegged by all of the top Djs. He is part of the remix that made the top 10 for me here that is absolutely insane and has so much energy. He has another song with Johan Wedel and Fedde Le Grand “New Day” set to be released soon so watch out for him in 2012.
6. Dyro – Dyro really came on at the end of the year with releases on Revealed and Mixmash that have propelled him to front of many people’s conscience. He is a 19 year old from Holland with an incredible amount of talent and has plenty of quality music to be released in 2012, so watch out for this guy to have a breakout year in 2012.
7. Dimitri Vangelis & Wyman – These guys have been cranking out remix after remix this year with their amazing, uplifting, hands in the air progressive house sound. Their Coldplay “Scientist” was a huge hit and they have released a plethora of other remixes this year you can find on the site. They are just getting started though and these two Swedes (I know right, they are all Swedish or Dutch) are going to have huge 2012.
8. Matisse & Sadko – These two Russians have had a successful 2011 with releases such as “Amulet” and “Svenska” and look forward to a bigger 2012. They have already teased two massive collaborations with Swanky Tunes and Arty with the songs, “The Legend” and “Trio” respectively, which will be massive songs this year.
9. Nari & Milani – These guys have been around for a few years and have made a few pretty successful songs, but nothing compared to what “Atom” will be next year. It has all the makings of what “Epic” was this year and possibly be even bigger because it is more complex than “Epic”. Watch out for these guys in 2012 on Size records.
10. Erik Arbores – He is just 14 and is still in school, so that will stunt his true potential as a touring Dj, but this kid is really talented and is ready to have a big year in 2012 and beyond. He played a live set at “Dance Now” in the Netherlands and premiered a few new songs that are not only different sounding from what he has done, but are also amazing. He is a 14 year old on Armin van Buuren led Armada Records, so there should be no doubt he is going to be really good.

Be on the lookout for FNT Favorites:
Pierce Fulton – With singles upcoming from the Vermont native, Pierce is going to be someone we will have our eye on to see how he progresses in 2012 after a big 2011.
FareOH – With successful singles and remixes under his belt such as Wynter Gordan’s “Buy My Love” and Rihanna & Calvin Harris’ “We Found Love”, Fareoh is ready for a big 2012. He has played big shows such as Electric Zoo this year so the bright lights are no issue for this young up and comes from New York.

More Established DJs to Watch For in 2012:
Max Vangeli & AN21 – These two Size Record label mates have been incredibly successful with the help of Steve Angello and their anthemic remix of Pendulem’s “The Island” as well as other work they have done together. AN21 is also Steve Angello’s brother so I guess house runs in the family. They have their artist album “People of the Night” coming out next year with collaborations with Example, Tiesto, and possibly Alesso; this album is going to be one of the biggest of the year.

Label of 2011:
Size – Their releases and signings this year have been the best bar none. With artists such as Tim Mason, Third Party, Max Vangeli & AN21, Thomas Gold, and label owner Angello on the roster, they have a stacked lineup with no holes. They also have other releases from artists such as Swanky Tunes & Hard Rock Sofa, Nari & Milani “Kendo”, Kim Fai “Era” and many more who have made huge songs played by many around the world. Their live show “Size Matters” has been a staple at festivals from Creamfields to Escape Wonderland to clubs around the world carrying either the entire roster or parts of it.

Label to Watch out For in 2012:
Axtone – With releases such as Trio, In My Mind, Leave the Lights On and Quasar, Axtone is going to have a meteoric rise to prominence in 2012. Axwell has largely used it for his own releases and some smaller releases, but with the success of Size and Refune by his fellow members of Swedish House Mafia, he probably thought it was time to pay attention to his largely dormant label. He is the most successful of the 3 individually with his remixes and singles from years past still being played consistently, so expect his astute ear to find the shiniest gems in the morass of artists out there and deliver some absolute bombs in 2012 and beyond.

Top 4 Bootlegs of 2011
Kaskade VS. Tiesto, Hardwell, EDX & Marco V. – Angel On My Shoulder Reaver 76 (Kaskade Mash Up) – This mashup was outstandingly put together by Kaskade using the dorp of Marco V’s “Reaver”, our number 9 song “Zero 76” and the vocals from “Angel on my Shoulder” by Kaskade & EDX. This song kills live and is so artfully put together seamlessly moving back and forth between songs, it easily gets top bootleg of the year honor.

Axwell vs. R.E.M vs. Ferry Corsten – Heart is King vs. Losing My Religion vs. Punk (Arty Rock-n-Rolla Remix) – Ever song here is fantastic and with the R.E.M vocals adding that little extra to Axwell’s “Heart is King”. Then when it drops into Arty’s remix of “Punk” it is wild and this has been played all the time by many Djs, especially championed by Axwell and SHM.

Cassius vs Michael Woods vs Nero vs Calvin Harris – I Love You vs Bullet vs Promises (Dirty South Bootleg) – A brilliant bootleg using the Calvin Harris remix of Nero’s” Promises”, which does not sway much from the original in the bootleg with the stunning vocals from Cassius “I Love You” and drops in Michael Wood’s much supported “Bullet”. Everything about this bootleg from the multiple vocal samples and the seamless change in genres and the heaviness of it makes it so good.

Starkillers, Alex Kenji, Nadia Ali & Alesso ft. Coldplay – Fix You(r) Pressure (East & Young Mashup) – The aforementioned East & Young Bootleg of the number 2 song on the top 25 songs of the year is a weapon if used right by Djs can be perfect for any set. It brings the calmness of the “Fix You” into the up-tempo remix of “Pressure” and gives the song a change of pace, without changing it at all.
DOWNLOAD: Starkillers, Alex Kenji, Nadia Ali & Alesso ft. Coldplay – Fix You Pressure (East & Young Mashup)

Prediction for 2012:
Alesso will have the same kind of year in 2012 that Avicii did in 2011.

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