It's been a good year for dance music in the Bay Area. Last week, we took a look at the 10 best releases from local producers. This week, we've turned our attention towards the year's biggest dance tracks. These are the tunes that have kept San Francisco's most forward-thinking clubs hopping. Read on and see what's made the cut.
"Battle For Middle You," Julio Bashmore
2011 was the year when UK garage and dubstep producers decided to go back to their roots. It was an exciting time of cross pollination between scenes that saw fresh forms of music taking hold. At the fore of this contemporary British invasion is Julio Bashmore and this tune, "Battle For Middle You." Incorporating aspects of classic house with the clean and clinical production aesthetic of UK garage, the song features a monster chorus that was the highlight of some of our favorite DJ sets of the year.
"Walk & Talk," Benoit & Sergio
Conversely, 2011 was also the year when the city leaned towards tech-ier sounds, with fair showing from such exemplary labels as Wolf + Lamb, Crosstown Rebels, Hot Creations, and Visionquest. The standout act from that movement was Benoit & Sergio who take tech house and infuse it with smart '80s pop sensibilities. Though they've had plenty of standout tracks in 2011, "Walk & Talk" became one of the summer's biggest anthems with its Kraftwerk-like bassline and druggy vocals about ketamine addiction. Check out our review of their recent show to get a feel for how popular this song is.
No artist is more emblematic of the current genre-bending going on in Europe than Paul Rose. Recording under a number of names, Rose has been busy experimenting with dubstep, Berlin techno, tech house, classic house, and now trance. Under his Scuba moniker, Rose put out "Adrenalin," one of the most surprising releases of the year. Championed by the likes of Sasha, its bizarre -- but surprisingly tasteful -- fusion of trance, UK bass, and techno proved a peak-time success that's still showing up in sets today.
"Sicko Cell," Unknown
"Sicko Cell" was one of the year's strangest releases. An uncredited white label that made the rounds earlier in the year, it has only recently been discovered that the producer behind this record is Joy Orbison. The track itself was regularly featured in the sets of touring DJs from the UK as well as in-the-know San Francisco residents. Its clever sampling of Drake, overt cocaine references, and stark rhythm made the cut a big local favorite.