Top Deep House Artists of 2019
2019 has been one of the strongest years in Deep House for a long time, with a seemingly unending stream of quality, subtle, moody, emotive House music from some of our favourite producers and some new names too. Deep House is the genre that above all others treasures the qualities of restraint, sophistication and musicality, whilst simultaneously never losing touch with the rawness that we find in the very best House. Taking in influences from the history of black music - jazz, soul and funk - and marrying them to contemporary production, eschewing easy or obvious crowd-pleasing techniques in favour of subtle arrangements and smart studio skills, Deep House is the genre that you can always depend on to be true to House music’s roots and to place authenticity above all else. Timeless, emotive, funky, purist - these are the producers who are the very cutting edge of the Deep House scene today, the Traxsource Top 100 Deep House Artists of 2019.
20. Local Options
Local Options are a collaboration between Chicago veterans Santiago and Frank Solano. They didn’t release a huge amount of music over the last twelve months but everything they did release hit the spot. The pair produced a gritty, supa-deep interpretation of 84bit’s ‘Get This’ for No Fuss Records which is #29 in the end of year Deep House chart, and released their inspired ‘After Glow’ on Large Music which ended up at #30. They also released an excellent EP on Lisztomania Records, ‘The Feels’ and Low Fuss put out their ‘Cooler By The Lake’ EP, three tracks of percussion-heavy Deep House goodness.
19. Black Loops
2019 was a good year for Riccardo Paffetti aka Black Loops. Keeping up the momentum he’s built up over the last few years, he dropped plenty of strong releases in 2019. Freerange put out his successful collaboration with Nikos Haropoulos ‘7Hills’, there was a Madhouse release ‘Jah Love’, and the irresistible shuffle of his ‘Stepper’ track on Romantics. Finally, the Black Loops remix of ‘Movin’ by Tender Games fired up many a dance floor this year.
Multi-instrumentalist and producer Cpen delivered a series of well-received Deep House releases over the last twelve months. There was the lush ‘Departures’ EP with house-don JT Donaldson, and a quality three-tracker on Madhouse with Bluey, the ‘When You Say’ EP. Other stand out tracks from Cpen this year include another collab with Bluey, this time on No Fuss Records, the slightly Jackin’ deepness of ‘Yo Body’ and, also on No Fuss, his late-night ‘Jus Music’ EP.
Perhaps the biggest news for UK producer and multi-instrumentalist Crackazat in 2019 was his remix and rework compilation album on Local Talk, ‘Magic Touch’, with five tracks off the album making it into the end of year Top 200 Deep House chart. The Bristolian also remixed Rony Breaker and Shyme P’s ‘Get My Mind Right’, turning it into a gently pulsating Deep House journey, and put his signature stylings on Mousse T and Peven Everett’s ‘Pleasure’ on Mousse’s Peppermint Jam label.
16. Homero Espinosa
In a highly productive year, Homero Espiniso put out quality music on some of the finest Deep House imprints, but mainly on his co-owned Moulton Music, who also released tracks from the likes of Mark Farina, David Harness and Joi Cardwel. Moulton was home to his Cubase Dan collaboration ‘All Day All Night’, Homero’s ‘You And Me’ four-tracker and we were also particularly taken with the warm, voodoo vibes of Homero Espiniso and Tony’s Juno 106 Dub of Doc Martin and Tony Hewitt’s ‘Music From My Soul’. Large Music released the rubbery-bass and tight beats of Homero’s ‘To The Break’ EP and they also put out ‘It’s You’ from Homero with Cris Herrera and Tokita. Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention his deep jazz-tinged Mark Farina collaboration on Robsoul, ‘Detour Jazz’.
15. Jullian Gomes
2019 was a great year for Jullian Gomes, who dropped his collaboration artist album with Martin Atjazz Iveson ‘Big Bad Crazy’ at the very end of 2018, a strong set of tracks that went on to be very well received this year. If that wasn’t enough album action, he also released the eight-track ‘Slow Poison’ album project on World Without End, a quality collection with input from Atjazz, Jinadu, Zaki Ibrahim, Ree Morris and more.
14. JT Donaldson
House master JT Donaldson: always reliable, always quality. Everything he dropped in 2019 was big. His ‘Stay Inside’ vocal track on Classic Music Company was #2 single of 2019 and his Cpen collab EP ‘Departures’ was really successful for him too. We also have to mention the absolute killer remix JT produced for No Fuss when he turned his hand to Cpen and Bluey’s Yo Body’.
13. Rocco Rodamaal
DJ and Producer Rocco Rodamaal put out some serious remixes and reworks in 2019. He reinterpreted the classic vocal ‘Break 4 Love’ with Keith Thompson to great effect, served up a big remix of Groove Addix featuring Annette Taylor’s ‘Faith’ for Soulfuric and treated us to a soulful remix of ‘Look What You’ve Done’ from Kaznova featuring the vocals of Rona Ray. Also, his ‘Midnight Love’ release from late 2018 did some serious damage for Rocco in 2019 too.
12. Franck Roger
Franck Roger runs the Real Tone Records and Home Invasion labels, both of which put out plenty of good music this year in what was a prolific twelve months for the French producer and DJ. Home Invasion released his fresh-sounding ‘Conscious’ and the disco-drive of his ‘Vabre’. Real Tone put out the rolling beats and clipped vocal samples of his ‘Hypnotized’ track and his old-school-esque ‘Hard To Tell’ track. Franck also had a big release on Kerri Chandler’s Madhouse label with the vocal-and-pads-combo ‘Justified’, remixed Osunlade’s ‘Same, Same’ and put out a quality, diverse four-track EP ‘Aux Petits Oignons’ on Rutilance Recordings too.
Dirtytwo are Swedish duo Fredda and Gresse, a pair of producers who’ve been in the game since the late 90s. 2019 was a good year for the duo who gifted us a set of strong releases, including ending the year with a fire remix of Kevin Yost and Peter Funk’s ‘Return To The Deep’ on i! Records. Dirtytwo also turned in a deep, dark and dirty remix of Paul and Panchez and Alex Moiss’ ‘Boiling Hot’ as well an underground interpretation of Byron Stingily’s classic ‘Get Up (Everybody)’. Their solo ‘Bittersweet’ three-track EP for Large Music, a diverse set of dance floor tracks, also got plenty of DJ traction.
Dmitry Meshcheryakov, or Soledrifter is a producer who put out some seriously deep music this year, which proved hugely popular with many Deep House DJs. Check his remix of ‘Vibe All Night’, a feast of pads, tight percussion and production flourishes or his remix of Da Brownie’s ‘Vergo’ on Papa Records for a taste of his unique take on the Deep House template. His catchy original track ‘Shut It Down Boogie’ which got a release on Mood Funk Records also picked up plenty of DJ compliments and dance floor action this year.
2019 was a great year for Fred Everything and his Lazy Days Recordings label. Fred and Shur-I-Kan produced a bonafide piano anthem with their ‘Until Then’ for Lazy Days, which was also the home to Fred’s Afro-Deep mix of Paso Doble and Idd Aziz’s ‘Djadjalo’. In a similar style, Foliage put out Fred’s remix of Dominique Fils-Aimé’s ‘Free Dom’ which also did really well for him too, as did his smooth dub of ‘Just Another Day’ from Abel and Shelley Chapman. Talking of dubs, Peppermint Jam put out Fred’s techy Dub of ‘De La Bass’ from Raw Instinct and in addition to all this, Fred’s 2018 album ‘Long Way Home’ received the remix treatment in the form of ‘No Way Home’, a collection of remixes, alternate versions and new tracks.
A producer who needs no introduction at all, Mr Chandler didn’t release a huge amount of music this year, but what he put out was always absolute top quality. First there was December 2018’s Kerri Chandler mixes of ‘I’m Searching’ from Cpen and Bluey Robinson - a pair of vocal mixes and a pair of supa-deep dubs which continued to sell well into the new year. His remix of Lea Lisa’s ‘Something For The Dancers’ on Wolf Music was a stand out track for Kerri this year and we were also impressed with his rolling, melodic remixes of Marina Trench’s ‘Signature EP Vol 1’.
7. Art Of Tones
At #6 it’s the ever-creative Art of Tones who spent the last twelve months dishing up all sorts of sonic delights across several different genres including House, Nu Disco, Soul and Funk. Art of Tones’ Local Talk album ‘Unbalanced’ came out right at the end of 2018 and did plenty of dance floor damage this year. He achieved three tracks in the Top 200 Deep House of 2019: first, two originals - ‘Have Fun For A Little’ and ‘To The Limit’ both on Large Music, and also his party-friendly remix of ARLE and L’Tric’s ‘Feel It’.
6. Scott Diaz
The #5 slot goes to Scott Diaz, another recording artist, producer and DJ who has scored hits across multiple genres this year including House, Soulful and Deep. One of his biggest releases of the year was the extended EP / mini-album ‘Life On The Outside’, released on his own Grand Plans label which featured seven tracks of funky deepness and which sold solidly. Scott’s three-track ‘205 Days’ on Sub_Urban was also a big winner for him this year as were the chiming chords and US beats of his Grand Plans Dub of Jordan O’Regan’s ‘Never Mind’ on Large Music.
The UK producer, label boss and DJ had another strong year with plenty of remixes and original tracks and his label Freerange scored four tracks in the final Top 200 Deep House of the year, including the three-track Jimpster ‘Curve’ EP with its lush title track. We were particularly impressed with the jazzy shuffle of his remix of ‘Azucena Malagon’ from Felipe Gordon and Jimpster also turned in a restrained re-rub of Atjazz and Jullian Gomes’ ‘It’s My Time’. Finally, a mention has to go to the Jimpster remix of Eben Rees’ ‘Bongo Boulevard’, another one of the perfect Jimpster blends of rich instrumentation and dance floor dynamics.
4. Kevin Yost
DJ, film producer, composer, drummer, producer - Kevin Yost is a man of many talents, one of which is making superb Deep House. This year he released a number of high-selling originals and remixes, including the massive ‘Sounds So Good’ on i! Records who also released his quality STP collab ‘Gotta Love’ too. Then there were the remixes, including a superb take on his own ‘The Moonlight’ on TSOY who also put out the rolling percussion of Yost's Encierro Remix of ‘The Bull’. i! Records was also home to Kevin’s classy vocal Deep House excursion ‘Let You Be’ which was also big for him this year.
Martin “Atjazz” Iveson is one of Deep House’s most reliable and producers, his name a watchword for precise, high-quality productions and his output in 2019 was no different. His pitch-perfect remix of Fred Everything’s ‘Space Time’ showed a confident producer at the top of his game as did his beautiful remix of Dominique Fils-Aimé's ‘Sun Rise’. Atjazz Record Company also had a good year, their biggest news being the Atjazz Jullian Gomes collaboration album ‘Big Bad Crazy’ which was released at the end of 2018 but made some serious noise throughout 2019. They also released Martin’s solo ‘Tear’ which in another year of strong releases did particularly well for him.
2. Sebb Junior
This year saw French producer Sebb Junior successful across many genres including Nu Disco, House, Soulful as well as Deep, following a productive and successful 2017. He’s built on his previous successes and this year has released several stand out Deep House tracks. On the remix front, his warm, glowing take on Scott Diaz’s ‘We Reminisce’ (Blockhead Recordings) was big, as was his the sunny remix of Loui and Scibi’s ‘Who Am’ from featuring Alex Sun Drae. La Vie D'Artiste Music put out Sebb’s solo ‘Feel You Coming’ while Deepalma Soul released his equally funky ‘Throw The Dice’ which got plenty of good DJ feedback on release.
For the second year in a row, North London’ finest Matthew Bandy and Leigh Darlow, better known at Saison, find themselves at the #1 Deep House artist spot. And deservedly so, after another amazing year of music. The pair have the #1 Deep House Track of 2019, their sublime ‘Moments’ on Large Music, an atmospheric combination of minimalist piano stabs, warm pad and bompty-beats. Large Music also released the classy ‘Take Me Back’ from Saison and Dwayne Motley s featuring Tim Davis. Overall they ended the year with six tracks in the Top Deep House chart of 2019 and a total of ten in the top 200, including their stellar re-work of N-You-Up’s ‘Jazz Bar’ and an equally sparkling remix of ‘The Long Goodbye’ by Crispin J. Glover, both on their No Fuss label, which reached #7 and #6 on the Top 200 Deep respectively. No Fuss also put out the hugely popular Saison remix of ‘Soundclash’ by Dean Zepherin. The pair also remixed Art of Tones for MONOSIDE, Lumoon and Robin for Future Disco and put out some heavy-duty solo projects too, the pick of which were perhaps their two sophisticated releases on No Fuss, ‘The Riff’ and ‘A Good Thing’, both of which showed how to perfectly combine musicality and dance floor knowledge. Another great year for a pair of producers who put quality at the very forefront of what they do; we’ll be looking forward to seeing if they can pull off a third year on the trot at #1 in 2020.