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Top Deep Tech / Minimal Artists of 2020

A brand new list for 2020, this year we’ve chosen to dedicate a write up to a sound that traverses the border of classic Minimal, groovy Deep House and this era’s chunky form of Tech House. We’re of course talking about the Deep-Tech flavour that has become popular in clubs across the world, and impossible to ignore.

This list represents the growth of a sound bubbling up through the underground across cities like London, Amsterdam and Berlin, that encompasses bumpy basslines, heavily swung percussion and a downright irresistible groove. It’s a sound that’s found throughout parties and labels like FUSE, Solid Grooves, PIV, Eastenderz, Cinthie’s cutting-edge We R House and ANOTR’s NO ART (amongst others) and we’re seeing a massive expansion in the area, coming from die-hard deep-tech heads, emerging newcomers and old timers evolving their sound. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but demonstrates the players we’ve seen coming through in the last 12 months, flying the flag for the genre and proving that they’re playing (and making) an underground sound that’s here to stay.
89. SYAP
43. Guti
Known for: Seb Zito - Nut In Your Mouth Seb Zito - Flow Seb Zito - Put Your Phones Down feat. Woodzy
Known for: Audiojack - Higher Audiojack, Polarbear (UK) - Introspection (Nick Curly Remix) Junior Jack, Pat BDS - Tecky Dream (Audiojack Remix)
Known for: Darius Syrossian, Rich NXT - Space Pirate (Original Mix) Rich NXT - Rex Press (East End Dubs Remix) Rich NXT - Attery (Malin Genie Remix)
Known for: Matthias Tanzmann - Chano (DJ CHUS Extended Remix) Matthias Tanzmann, Black Circle - Runner (Extended Version) Matthias Tanzmann - Crazy Circus (Paco Osuna Remix)
Known for: Tommy Vercetti, Abi - I Want You (Original Mix) Tommy Vercetti - Don't Fear Change (Rossi. Remix) Tommy Vercetti, Florence Bird - In The Groove (Prunk Remix)
Known for: Sonoma (MX), Delator - Meraki (Ray Mono Remix) Ray Mono - Esperanza (Original Mix) Ray Mono - Biometric (Original Mix)
Known for: Darius Syrossian - Tivoli's Groove Darius Syrossian - Mustang 74 Heller & Farley Project - Ultra Flava (Darius Syrossian's Full Pressure Extended Remix)
Known for: Somersault - Come Inside (Original Mix) Somersault, Daniel Meister - Moreover (Original Mix) Somersault, It Bends - Back Again (Sparkling Version)
Known for: DJOKO - Facettes Djoko - Barbrady (Original Mix) Enrico Mantini, X Woman - What U Want (Chris Stussy & Djoko Remix) [Feat. X Woman]
Known for: Dimmish - Lunar (Original Mix) Dimmish - Troll (Original Mix) Dimmish - Spacey (Original Mix)
10. Jizz
Number 10 is an EOY list debut and goes to relative newcomer Jizz, an artist steadily rising through the ranks. Only one track this year in the top 200 for the burgeoning producer, but that track is ‘Onyx’, the Rawsome Deep release that finished 2020 as our most-downloaded Deep-Tech track of the year. The Mexican artist has had a busy 12 months, releasing music on Smashing Trax Records, Samani, Dusty Editions, Strictly Flava, OVRDOSE Deep and elrow, placing regularly in our weekly ‘Essential Deep-Tech/ Minimal’ charts and growing a profile in and out of Mexico, but it was the Deep-Tech workouts ‘More Bounce’ and ‘Onyx’ via Rawsome Deep that really caught your attention. Other highlights for us this year include ‘Deep J’ and ‘House Jacker’ via Smashing Trax and ‘Road Again’ released through elrow. We have no doubt there’s more heat on the horizon from this breakthrough artist.
James Dexter has spent the past few years cutting his teeth in some of London’s most prominent underground parties, spinning everywhere from the famous East London haunts 93 Feet East and Basing House, through to Soho’s brand new Orange Yard and even regularly at the capital’s iconic clubbing institution, fabric. The young Londoner has also already made a firm name for himself over here on Traxsource, now sitting behind releases on some undeniably influential labels; PIV, Crosstown Rebels, Moan, Gruuv and Poker Flat Recordings. His release history already goes 35 pages deep on the site, and throughout that history we’ve witnessed a true maturation of his production and a serious dedication to his craft. He also heads up his own label Inermu, now almost 5 years old, which has become home to other memorable faces in the scene Toman, ANOTR, Chris Stussy, Sante and Timmy P, proving how embedded Dexter is in the sound and that he’s got a sharp A&R ear too. Moving on to his production output this year, he features a hefty 6 times in the top 200 list with ‘Wait’ (Moan), ‘Gone’ his collaboration with Frink (Cyclic), his remix of Adam Chapman’s ‘Your Love’ (Lacuna), his remix of Timmy P’s ‘Born Unslippery’ (Make You Move Records), his collaboration with Denney ‘Lucid Dreams’ and his Leftroom offerings ‘The Pressure’ and ‘Give Me More’. A true trend-setter, we know he’s cooking up more of the good stuff for release in 2021 and beyond.
An old favourite in the Tech House world, those familiar with Sidney Charles from the Avotre days will already know him as a hard-working and talented producer and this year he showed us more of the same, along with a new versatility as he took his sound deeper. One thing’s for sure though, his productions remain top-quality dancefloor-oriented groovers. We were given a real taste of his new flavour in December last year, when he remixed Luuk Van Dijk’s ‘Suavo’ on Luuk’s Dark Side of the Sun imprint, a mix that held its own in the charts well into 2020. His ‘Swing Theory’ / ‘Sub Society’ release via his own label Heavy House Society was an obvious top-seller, with both original tracks and the Black Loops remix finishing in the top 200, and ‘Sub Society’ finishing #9 overall in the genre. But it was his brilliant 3 track NO ART release ‘Keep On’ that took the biscuit for us, with ‘Phony’ epitomising the rich, deep underground sound coming out of Europe right now. Charles had 5 tracks in the top 200 this year and we’re expecting more of the same in 2021, the feisty forward-motion of his newer releases make them irresistible and we can’t wait to unleash these when the clubs reopen.
Romania (home of the likes of Rhadoo, Petre Inspirescu, Raresh, Praslea, Arapu and legendary Romanian Minimal haven ‘Sunwaves’) is an undeniably fertile breeding ground for electronic music, specifically under the Minimal/ Deep /Tech umbrella. Popoviciu, a well-respected pillar of the Romanian scene, proves time and time again that he’s a force to be reckoned with and this year it’s a pleasure to formally recognise that progression of talent in our top 10 list. His brand of Deep-Tech / Minimal rollers has earned him fans across the scene, with his music being played and supported by everyone from Darius Syrossian, Audiojack and Joeski, to Steve Bug and Joris Voorn. He’s released an outstanding body of work this year, with lots of remixes and new original material. Not to mention his stunning ‘Motion Manifold’ album on Steve Bug’s Poker Flat, the latter featuring big-hitters on the site this year like ‘Double Clap’ and ‘Understand’. In our debut Deep-Tech genre analysis, he’s clocked up an impressive 5 tracks in the top 200, including remixes of Lucio Agustin’s ‘Upgrade’ and Yulia Niko & Coro Coro’s ‘Molly & Sally’. But one of our standout favourites of the year has to be his emotive, rolling remix of Shimammo’s ‘Rhopalocera’ - Unbelievable sunrise set material.
Amsterdam’s Luuk Van Dijk is becoming well-known for his strong basslines, groovy vibe and having one of the smiliest faces in electronic music. He’s caught the attention of heavyweights like Jamie Jones, East End Dubs, Hector Couto and Sidney Charles, who have all chosen to release EPs with the youngster via their esteemed imprints Hot Creations, Eastenders, Roush Label and Heavy House Society respectively. 2019 saw him launch his Dark Side of the Sun imprint, which has become home to some of his finest work to date, including the late December debut ‘Suavo’ EP, which was still working dancefloors at the turn of the year! This year saw his focus on the ‘Collabs’ project where he teamed up with the likes of Wheats and Ben Sterling. It was a total of 4 tracks in the top 200 this year for Luuk Van Dijk, but his Q4 entries on Tamango, Heavy House Society and Dark Side of the Sun will continue to shine well into the new year. A special mention has to go to his tune ‘Da Revolution’, which hit the genre #1 and finished one of the best-selling tracks of the year in Deep-Tech (#4).
We couldn’t give a nod to the sound without mentioning any of the FUSE London crew, and for us, Archie Hamilton has proved the star of 2020. Hot off the back of his debut album and associated tour in 2019, Hamilton finished off the year with remixes of his album tracks by legends of the biz Bushwacka! and Radio Slave, kicking the new year off with a bang. This year alone he’s been commissioned for remixes by Dirtybird, Rawsome Deep, PIV, Danny Howard’s Nothing Else Matters and Frame Music. Contributed a track to the CARE4LIFE compilation (alongside the likes of Jamie Jones, Daniel Avery, The Chemical Brothers, Patrick Topping, Hammer and Nic Fanciulli) and released originals on Pleasure Zone and SUKHUMVIT, alongside a healthy output on his own labels Moss Co and Moscow records (15 tracks and remixes!). Speaking of which, both recently celebrated their 10 year anniversary and are proving themselves to be a go-to to find both established and up-and-coming talent like Isaac Carter, Tuccillo, Dimmish, Jaden Thompson, Chris Stussy and Toman. His best performing track on the site this year was his remix of Peace Division via his own Moscow, which made it into the top tracks for the genre this year (as did Chris Stussy’s release on the label) and we certainly expect to see him continuing to grace this list in future years.
The ANOTR boys are no strangers to the site and have featured in our end of year charts before. This year they put out another consistent 12 months of music and it seemed like their releases (and those on their label NO ART) were always in the charts. Since its inception in 2018, NO ART has become home to a whole host of talent paving the way for the sound, including Toman, Rossi., Azteca, Dimmish, Luuk Van Dijk, Tommy Vercetti and DeMarzo. This year they also featured the well-received Sidney Charles EP ‘Keep On’ that signified his shift into a deeper sound. As for their own productions, they managed an impressive amount of genre #1s in 2020 and a huge 9 tracks in the final end of year top 200 for Deep-Tech. Standout records for the duo included ‘Retpoid’ via PIV (#22), ‘Don’t Mind Ya Weight’ via their own NO ART at #28 and ‘Gamba Roja’, their collab with Toman finished #15 overall in the top 200. We’re watching the guys refine their sound year after year and look forward to their output for 2021.
An artist we’ve championed from day one, it’s great to be able to include Chris Stussy here in the top 3. It’s been 5 years of incredibly hard work from the Dutchman and we’ve watched his sound and productions mature, whilst retaining an inherently groovy nature that’s been there from the start. It’s clear that his hard work has paid off, Stussy has massively blown up in 2020 and we’re seeing him now at the forefront of the funky deep-tech sound that is highly popular across the pond in Europe. He’s amassed a serious 5 tracks in the top 200 this year, kicking things off at the start of the year with his huge ‘Never Ending Story’ via one of the scene’s standout imprints - East End Dubs’s ‘Eastenderz’ before releasing and remixing via some of the best names in the game; Archie Hamilton’s Moscow, Phil Weeks’ Robsoul Essential, FUSE London offshoot Locus and Politics of Dancing. His mighty collab with Toman ‘Ardent’, reached #13 in the top 200 and to top it all off, he also remixed Kerri Chandler and Troy Denari’s ‘The Way It Goes’ on Chandler’s Madhouse records. Now a firm PIV favourite (Prunk’s label and party that’s become a fertile environment for the next generation of artists producing this sound), Stussy’s name has become a regular on the label and his latest ‘Across the Ocean’ EP is one we’re sure will still be doing some damage long into 2021.
A long-standing artist in the scene, Cruz needs no introduction to House music fans. A highly-respected DJ, producer and sound engineer, Cruz has made an enviable stamp over the past decade, aligning himself with electronic music mainstays like Suara, Suruba, Snatch!, Stereo Productions, Hot Creations, Moon Harbour, Nervous and Crosstown Rebels. Dennis Cruz is known for holding up one of the highest outputs in terms of quantity, and this year was no different, releasing over 40 tracks and remixes. 8 of these found their way into our top 200 for the genre this year, alongside further placements across his usual stomping grounds of Tech House, Deep and Techno. Highlights include ‘I Can’t Go To Sleep’, and ‘Five’ via MUSE, indicative of Cruz’s journey a little deeper and bouncier, and of course ‘High’ (Moon Harbour) and ‘Get Them Up’ (MUSE) which held down the #2 and #4 spots for the genre in the end of year lists.
For us at Traxsource, this genre has been dominated by one man this year: Toman. The Amsterdam-based powerhouse has gone from strength to strength over the past few years, supported by everyone from Archie Hamilton, Enzo Siragusa and Rich NXT to Darius Syrossian, Franky Rizardo, Martin Badder and ANOTR - the list goes on! 2019 showed the Dutch DJ to be in high demand, and saw him tour the globe with sets across Europe in Manchester, London, Leeds, Barcelona, Venice and Zurich, playing for some of the biggest names in dance music including FUSE, elrow, fabric, Awakenings, Extreme Outdoor and Thuishaven. His pull even allowed him to venture further afield to play shows in Brazil, Sydney and Mexico and we have no doubt he’ll pick up right where he left off with another packed schedule in 2021. 2020 saw a hugely consistent production output from Toman, featuring releases in all the right places like Trommel, Archie Hamilton’s Moss Co, East End Dubs’s Eastenderz, Cinthie’s We R House and FUSE offshoot Locus. But we’ll let the numbers do the talking here, the Dutchman has a whopping 9 tracks in the top 200 for the genre, not including his massive 2019 hit ‘Hesitate’ that’s still being downloaded regularly and holding down #12 in the top 200. Notable releases this year include his outing on Tamango ‘Hindsight Bias’, ‘No Strings Attached’ on Drumma, ‘Surfin’ on the 5 years of PIV Compilation and ‘Feel For You’ via Archie Hamilton’s Moscow Records. These, alongside collabs with regulars of the genre ANOTR and Chris Stussy, plus remixes for Dimmish, Christian Burkhardt, Wlad Lenz and Luuk Van Dijk cement him firmly at #1 for us this year, in our debut run-down for the genre.

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