Opening the 2020s in pandemic mode, the dance music stage progressed into a new era with a cohort of young talents and trailblazers who got us in awe over the past challenging months, on and off the dance floor. It felt good to highlight those stellar energies that kept us confident in our scene’s bright future. Here is a selection of DJs and producers we loved to see shine through in 2021, in alphabetical order.
The techno scene is slowly moving away from its sturdy, poker-faced purist times. Finally, dance floors aren’t battlefields of a marching Roman army anymore. Instead, self-irony and tipsiness take their place. At least if you’re attending a DJ Heartstring gig. Shamelessly dropping and producing cheesy Eurodance and trance bombs have seen the anonymous Berlin-based duo sign to Lobster Theremin’s sublabel 1Ø Pills, and they’ve been booked by none other than Possession in Paris. Now that a collaborative two-track EP with Narciss is out, they seem to be on a roll. I’m assuming big things are, in fact, coming. LN
“I think I’ve spent an unhealthy amount of time in the studio over the past years.”, the Helsinki-based artist said in his Groove portrait earlier this year. Listen to his music made up of intense soundscapes equally fitting for dance floors and home listening, and you’ll immediately notice what he means. His productions are hard to pigeonhole into a genre as they fuse the best of breaks, trance, house and techno into a sound exclusive to the young Finn. Soft-spoken vocals, warm synth-lines, precise breaks, and dark basslines take turns in his tracks, enabling him to express in one track what others can’t in a full LP. Naturally, his 2021 debut album was released by Kalahri Oyster Cult, one of electronic music’s true tastemaker labels. What’s in store next? DJ-sets, livesets and the next drop is probably closer than we think, considering Sansibar’s favourite place is his studio. LN
Sina XX is one of the brightest stars emerging from Paris’ blooming techno scene. As a regular DJ at the French capital’s sweatiest nights like Possession, Mess or Monarch, the young artist embodies the original rave and club spirit based on diversity and generosity with his industrial-fuelled DJ sets deeply rooted in the wild energies of the 80s and 90s. Regularly playlisted by Ellen Alien, Dax J or Anetha, he just released Funderground, a new EP on Lobster Theremin’s sublabel, Techno Is The Devils Music. Sina has become a pillar of his local scene with his collective Subtyl and collaborative label Body To Body. MD
Whether alone as THC or with her brother DHC as S-Candalo. Bogotá born, Berlin-based DJ Tania Humeres Correa has been shaking up the Berlin club scene with spicy 90s house and trance selections. Calm and collected behind the decks, she captivates listeners and dancers with sets that seem spontaneous and fun, but with a clear vision. Her mixes are a reminder that peak-time music doesn’t have to be a slamming techno set, and that smiles, love and unity belong on a dance floor. The vibe she created at the Radiant Love party made me feel like the 90s club kid era never ended. She’s been DJing for years but 2021 saw her star rise with gigs at Boiler Room Barcelona, Berlin’s hottest house party Multisex, multiple Hör sets, ∄ Kiev, a Berghain debut (which unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the pandemic) and a match made in heaven: her residency at Byron Yeates’ Radiant Love party. She’s here to stay, and I couldn’t be happier about it. LN
AV artist, producer, DJ and curator, Zoë Mc Pherson articulates the world of sound design with visual arts. They won the 2019 award of Best Electronic Artist at the ‘Octaves de la Musique’ in Belgium before starting SFX, a multimedia platform, label, and community based in Berlin, which released the charity compilation XquisiteForce.collection/01 in support of the people in Beirut in 2020. Zoë’s love for rhythmic explorations and quirky throbbing pulses merges into an experimental live set that sent Berghain’s Garten and the crowds of Positive Education festival in trance right before our eyes. I cannot wait to see what they have in store for 2022. MD
All images courtesy of the artists.
Words by the EB editorial team: Marie Dapoigny (Senior Editor), Caroline Whiteley (Editor), Claire Schäfer (Social Media Editor), Ellen King (Social Media Editor), Nicolo Fischer (Social Media Editor), Laurenz Niemeyer (Junior Social Media Editor).
Published December 17, 2021. Words by Caroline Whiteley, Claire Schäfer, Laurenz Niemeyer, Marie Dapoigny & Nicolo Fischer.