John Roman: 110 Tracks You Should Have Heard in 2010

Over the next seven days, SalaciousSound will publish a series comprised of dozens of articles chronicling the best electronic music that 2010 had to offer, across all genres.

You can view the whole series by clicking the category link above ’2010 in Review Series’, and you can also view every post ever written on SalaciousSound about the artists mentioned herein by clicking on the artists’ links at the bottom of the post.

If you like this type of music, you should also try clicking the genre tags at the top of the post, so you can find more.

I hope you all enjoyed and were inspired by electronic music in 2010 as much as I was. It was a special year!

This is the fifth article in the series, and is a guest contribution from influential Toronto Producer DJ John Roman. John has been featured on SalaciousSound several times, and has even guest contributed in the past. I was delighted to have his permission to republish this extremely high quality article, which he originally released on his blog here. He also offered to give us a sneak-peek of his latest track with this personal note:

A groovy tech-banger supported by Sound of Stereo and NT89. “Sphere” was featured in ElectroTO’s “Producing for Presents” charity EP that raised almost $1000 for Heart House Hospice in Toronto.

My debut EP “Sing!” on Idiot House Records will be coming out January 15. I’ll send out more information on that as well as a free promo MP3 in coming weeks.

[audio:John Roman – Sphere (Original Mix).mp3]

Looking back, I’d describe 2010 as a year in transition for dance music. For some of us, the ideas and elements that first attracted us to the genre had grown tired. And for many others, these ideas and elements were brand-new and exciting; inspiring the same obsession that urged us to dig further into the culture. As a whole, dance music’s popularity in North America grew exponentially in the past year, seeing many mainstream milestones (deadmau5 at the VMAs, Pharrell on SHM’s “One”, the superstar cameos in Duck Sauce’s “Barbra Streisand” video, “We No Speak Americano” everywhere) and a stunning amount of new fan enthusiasm and genuine passion.

But as audience expectations became more refined, definitions of what “dance music” is and should be narrowed for the majority. For DJs, the inner-conflict between entertainer and curator heightened, often creating a strange grey area on dancefloors that was, at its best, magical and inspiring, and at its worst, confusing and alienating. Although this is not an altogether new phenomenon, for a new generation of DJs created from dance music’s recent explosion (myself included), it was a difficult, and at times stifling, creative challenge. The experience that was once communal became adversarial for some. Honesty and integrity were often put at odds with entertainment and commercial appeal. Through no fault of the audience though – these are just the growing pains of reaching artistic maturity.

The DJ’s frustration is inherent given the way he or she listens to music compared to most fans: a greater part of their life is devoted to finding music, listening critically and understanding how tracks function in relation to others. Expecting this same level of interest from the average crowd is illogical and idealistic. To me, a good DJ set is like a good argument: here’s what I like, here’s what you like, and here’s why I prefer what I like. If the DJ and the crowd like the same thing, then this argument is much easier, but if not some convincing is required. A great DJ plays a persuasive role, helping the audience arrive at conclusions naturally rather than educating them against their will.

But expecting great DJ sets to completely shift mainstream tastes is probably just as illogical and idealistic. Popular music is popular for a reason. The emphasis of “lowest common denominator” is more so common than lowest. For something to interest the majority, it has to appeal to people’s most base and universal similarities. By their nature these qualities can’t be complex, unique or individual, they’re shallow, instinctual and the more one grows intellectually and independently, the further one moves away from these basic commonalities.

But this isn’t to say that the current state of popular dance music will be accepted passively forever. Art is reactionary – what is now will not be in the future. Nothing is permanently popular, only temporary. And with the pace that we create and consume music, it’s temporary and disposable nature will only increase with time. It’s very easy to miss some of the amazing, original, and expertly crafted dance tracks within a sea of conventional sound-a-likes and popularity fiends. But the effort of searching to find them is always a worthwhile and rewarding experience.

2010 was a year in transition, but more importantly, it was a year filled with GREAT dance music. I hope this list serves as one of those “magical and inspiring grey areas” between what’s popular and what should be. I’m not trying to create an all-encompassing best-of here, or reflect the esoteric taste of some pretentious music nerd. Rather I hope you recognize a lot of these names, check out some of the picks you aren’t familiar with, and broaden your definition of what dance music is and can be.

  1. (Baby I Don’t Know) What You Want – Jacques Greene
  2. 1010 – Boys Noize
  3. 1992 – Dexter
  4. 1999 (Tim Green Remix) – Cassius
  5. Ancova – Mumbai Science
  6. Antidote – Style of Eye
  7. Arnold Classics (Egyptrixx Remix) – Brodinski
  8. Aspic – Simian Mobile Disco
  9. Avalanche – Boys Noize, Erol Alkan
  10. Babylon – Congorock
  11. Bare Knuckle – Kid Gloves
  12. Beachball (Joris Voorn Remix) – Nalin, Kane
  13. Berlin Booty – Hobo
  14. Best in Class (Soulwax Remix) – Late of the Pier
  15. Beton Brut – Cosmin TRG
  16. Bit This Thin – Djedjotronic
  17. Blitz (Harvard Bass Remix) – Digitalism
  18. Calypso – Round Table Knights
  19. Closed Timelike Curve (Marcel Dettmann Remix) – Traversable Wormhole
  20. CMYK – James Blake
  21. Coma Cat – Tensnake
  22. Coma Cat (Round Table Knights) – Tensnake
  23. Cut To The Top – Round Table Knights
  24. Cvan – Jesper Dahlback
  25. Deeper – Filthy Rich
  26. Dis (KiNK 909 Tool) – DJ T.
  27. Enjoy Music (Riva Starr Remix) – Reboot
  28. Epsilon – Terence Fixmer
  29. Extravaganza – Soul Clap
  30. Fatherless – Breach
  31. Fireworks – Deadboy
  32. Fissa Tune – Homework
  33. Flanter Filnger – Jonas Kopp
  34. Forever This – Phil Weeks, Hector Moralez, Fries & Bridges
  35. Forever You – L-vis 1990
  36. Gain Reaction – Jan Driver
  37. Gare Du Nord – Carte Blanche
  38. Get Funky – Pirupa
  39. Gold – Mumbai Science
  40. Gospel (Super Flu’s Antichrist Remix) – Format:B
  41. Haasten – Egbert
  42. Hands Up – Massimo Massivi
  43. Harmageddon – Green Velvet
  44. Hello Chicago – Guilio LNT
  45. Homeless (Canblaster Remix) – Style of Eye
  46. Horse Power (Popof Remix) – The Chemical Brothers
  47. I Can Change (Tiga Remix) – LCD Soundsystem
  48. I Love You So – Cassius
  49. I Need a Dollar (Tensnake Remix) – Aloe Blacc
  50. I Wanna Be Your Telephone (Tiga Remix) – Jamie Lidell
  51. I Want Everything – Mowgli
  52. I Wonder – Erdbeerschitzel
  53. Into The Night – Azari & III
  54. Jack The Potato – Jori Hulkkonen, Jesper Dahlback
  55. Keep Time – Shed
  56. Klavierwerke – James Blake
  57. Kleine Traume – D.I.M.
  58. La La Land (Derrick Carter’s ‘D’s BHQ Business’ Remix) – Green Velvet
  59. Lazers (Deepgroove Remix) – Sei A
  60. Left Hander – Martyn
  61. Lemonade – Boys Noize, Erol Alkan
  62. Maybes (James Blake Remix) – Mount Kimbie
  63. Mayor – Mount Kimbie
  64. Miezekatze – Ogris Debris
  65. Motion Sickness – Audiojack
  66. Mr. Spock – Justin Martin, Ardalan
  67. My Sweet Vital Angel – Steve Bug
  68. Never Stop (Erol Alkan Rework) – Gonzales
  69. Not The Only Girl – Dexter
  70. Nott (Shadow Dancer Remix) – Boys Noize
  71. NY is Killing Me (Jamie XX Remix) – Gil Scott-Heron
  72. On Off (Sebastien Leger Remix) – Cirez D
  73. One (Congorock Remix) – Swedish House Mafia
  74. Overshoot (DJ Mehdi Remix) – Zombie Nation
  75. Percolator (Riva Starr Remix) – Cajmere
  76. Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy (Format:B Remix) – Hugo
  77. Reckless With Your Love (Tensnake Remix) – Azari & III
  78. Robert Schumann, Clara Wieck – Wolfgang Voigt
  79. Say What – Gary Beck
  80. Scat Track – Renaissance Man
  81. Silly Froggies – Electric Rescue
  82. Sing – Deetron, Seth Troxler
  83. Sinister Boogie – Remote
  84. Soda Caustic – KiNK
  85. Soho – Julian Jeweil
  86. Somebody To Love Me (Congorock Remix) – Mark Ronson
  87. Soms – Hermanez
  88. Souvenir – Slam
  89. Squeek – Zombie Nation
  90. Steal Drums (Julio Bashmore Remix) – The Martin Brothers
  91. Supersonic – Mark Henning
  92. Tarantula – Pleasurekraft
  93. Tellyfoam – Jan Driver
  94. The Chomper (Matt Walsh Remix) – Popof
  95. The Dub Track (Len Faki Remix) – Pfirter
  96. The Look – Jacques Greene
  97. The Majestic – Shlomi Aber
  98. The Secret – Joris Voorn
  99. Upside Down – David Keno
  100. Vallee De Larmes (Pleasurekraft Sideshow Remix) – Jean Claude Ades
  101. Vaporizer – Gingy, Bordello
  102. Variations – Gesaffelstein
  103. Wahhagoogoo – Renaissance Man
  104. Without You – Art Department
  105. World Class Driver (Harvard Bass Remix) – Felix Cartal
  106. Yard Birds – Boy 8-bit
  107. Yearning – Black Van
  108. You Gonna Want Me (Hey Today! Remix) – Tiga
  109. You Know It – Jesse Rose
  110. Zzafrika – ZZT

A Youtube Playlist With All the Tracks:

About the Contributor

DJ John Roman

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