Is there anyone in the Western hemisphere who hasn’t heard of Erol Alkan, the leather-clad DJ maverick of Cypriot-Turkish descent who’s had a hand in the development of almost every current, identifiable dance floor direction?
Labeling Mathew Dear’s talent is not the easiest of tasks. First of all, he works in a wealth of different guises such as Audion, Jabberjaw and False that showcase the diversity in his musical ability.
Tiga James Sontag accomplishments have been documented a 100 times over. He’s a skilled DJ, a savvy label head of Turbo Recordings and a flamboyant, charismatic entertainer. What most people don’t know, however, is that Tiga’s dad is a legendary Goa-trance DJ and that the young Tiga would travel back and forth between the hippie-infested beaches of Goa and snowy Montreal.
Like many other bass music aficionados, Steve Goodman AKA Kode9’s first encounter with the lower end of the electronic register was jungle and drum ‘n’ bass. The Glasgow native went to a local club where he discovered the music that changed his life. Today, he has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the university of Warwick, he’s written a book on ‘ Sonic Warfare’, he keeps releasing his own eagerly anticipated productions and he runs Hyperdub, the bass music label of the moment.
Naysayers and haters will tell you that DJs are just random guys who play other peoples records for a living. If you’re ever confronted with this cynicism, you should hand them two mixes: Michael Mayer’s legendary ‘Immer’ from 2000 and his crucial Fabric mix from 2003
Philipp Jung is one half of M.A.N.D.Y. , the Berlin-based duo who have kept the world’s more discerning dance floors moving since they started their first Frankfurt club night in the mid 90s. And the pair hasn’t rested on its laurels. Philipp Jung and Patrick Bodmer are presently the heads of the world-conquering Get Physical label, they’ve played to around 500.000 people at the Love Parade and they’ve recorded a significant number of exceptional mixes.
If someone had told us 11 years ago that Norway was well on its way to becoming an epicentre of krautrock-influenced space-disco we would have laughed our asses off. Sorry, Norway, but that just wasn’t in the cards for us. Nevertheless, here we are in 2011 and Norwegian Thomas Moen Hermansen AKA Prins Thomas is one the prime exponents of a trippy genre that shows no signs of dying out. The worldwide disco mafia is still in full effect and the psychedelic Prins Thomas DJ set is one of their most frequent places of worship.
Aksel Schaufler AKA Superpitcher has created epically moving, subtly experimental techno for over a decade. The friend of the original Cologne-based founding fathers of the Kompakt label (Wolfgang and Reinhard Voigt, Jürgen Paape and Michael Mayer) has created his own wonderfully idiosyncratic branch on the rapidly growing tree that is contemporary electronic music.
Beatsmith Ramble John Krohn AKA RJD2 has so many unrealized psychedelic beats stored in that brilliant dome of his, that the world’s collective consciousness would suffer some sort of brain-frying meltdown if he were to release them all at once. Luckily, he’s chosen to put them out in relatively slow succession, thus saving us all from kissing our brains goodbye by ‘kissing the sky’, as Jimi Hendrix put it.
Berlin-based Seth Troxler is the exact opposite of the anonymous, graphic design T-shirt-wearing DJ. He brings personality, wit and a healthy dose of depravity to the table, and his productions and mixes on labels such as Spectral Sound, M_nus, and Bpitch Control are warped, sex-filled takes on the sound of the ‘motor city’ that has given us so many deliciouslydark machine anthems.
Sometimes we wish we knew French because it would make us able to understand what Julien Pradeyrol AKA Teki Latex was rapping about. It sounds like the head of the dance floor- conquering Institubes label (RIP!) has something important to say when he’s spittin’ and we’re no doubt missing out. We’ll just have to settle for his choice DJing skills and party-starting stage persona that’s the epitome of rowdy, good vibrations.
Aaah, Tim Sweeney. That bespectacled purveyor of all things tastefully eccentric and subtly subversive. When Tim’s New York radio show Beats in Space is claiming its small share of the airwaves on Tuesday nights, the international DJ mafia know it’s time to listen.
Crunch, swish, bleep, Ross Birchard AKA Hudson Mohawke’s cominatcha with tumultuous technicolour beats and 8-bit, neon-tinted melodies.
American folk singer and full-beard-bearer extraordinaire, Bonnie “Prince” Billy once teamed up with Hot Chip to do a vocal reworking of their forthcoming single ‘I Feel Better’, which was renamed ‘I Feel Bonnie’. This marks yet another unlikely collaboration in a series of many, a former being the Alexis Taylor/Robert Wyatt duets on ‘Whistle for Will’ and ‘We're Looking for a Lot of Love’.
Pilooski maintains an unwavering dedication in his DJing and re-editing and in his own productions that are always placed somewhere out in leftfield. Moreover, his output is getting recognition from production heavyweights such as James Murphy, so it’s pretty safe to say that Pilooski is on the rise.
Like many other boundary-pushing electronic acts, Hamburg-based Stefan Kozalla started out in the hip hop scene. He earned his DJ stripes in German group Fischmob where he became an accomplished turntablist with an ear for incorporating the more progressive end of the hip hop spectrum.
Swiss-based Lucien Nicolet, or Luciano as most of the world knows him, has been active on the global techno scene for quite a while. He started DJing in the early to mid 90s in his native Chile alongside Latin American contemporaries such as Dandy Jack, and he has since then gone on to produce landmark albums and singles that have stood the test of time
If you had to sum up the last decade in one name, you could do worse than offering up James Murphy. The producer of The Rapture’s first album, lead singer of LCD Soundsystem and co-founder of era-defining DFA records was none other than the guy who got the po-faced indie kids dancing.
DJ, Producer and fashion designer, Ellen Allien burst onto the scene in 2001 with her debut album ’Stadtkind’ (child of the city), an ode to the city she was born in, which she released on her own revered techno label, Bpitch control.
Detroit native Barclay Crenshaw AKA Claude VonStroke is all about having a good time. He’s not averse to playing a dancing hobo in his videos (Deep Throat) and his stripped-down, throbbing, yet soulful ghetto-techno productions are currently putting firecrackers up the rear end of discerning dance floors the world over.
Louis Brodinski is yet another Frenchman with chiselled features, a skilfully dishevelled indie haircut and zeitgeist-y production skills. These boys get all the girls and quite frankly it’s starting to annoy us. Thing is, We’re not gonna turn the crowd at Sónar into a sea of raving chimps by dropping bass-heavy, etno-techno tracks like ‘Peanut Club’ anytime soon, and it’s a bit hard to compete with that kind of mojo. Having said that, it’s even harder to stay mad at him as his DJing skills and unquestionable talent for creating fist-pumping anthems, makes him such a lovable Frenchy.
Berlin has in recent times become one of the world’s most significant cradle of new ideas. And Booka Shade definitely dwells firmly within the category of the good ones. In 2005, they leapt to the forefront of contemporary dance music with their classic singles “Body Language” (with M.A.N.D.Y.) and “Mandarine Girl”.
Alex Ridha produces epic, thunderous syntheziser riffage carved out of fire and brimstone. This is maximalist music aimed at sweaty dance floors, ready to party the eff down and it’s anything but predictable.
Jesse F Keeler and AL P are the Torontians from planet Dance in the Modular system. Their remix of Wolfmother’s ‘Woman’ took the brilliant 70’s, zeppelin-sounding track, and wrist-kicked it straight into the 80’s. On Earth, there was much rejoicement.
As certain participants in 2009’s blisteringly hot Roskilde festival will remember, the 2MANYDJs gig took place at the Cosmopol stage – at the same time as Oasis. While the two white-clad Dewaele brothers were cooking up another punishing tour de force of mash-ups, synth-driven filth and edgy rock ‘n roll, the crowd proceeded to shout: ‘F**k! Oasis! F**k, f**k Oasis! In tune with the music. 2MANYDJs gigs always elicit an interesting response.
The Canadian Macklovitch clan were clearly at the front of the queue when the mojo was handed out. So far, the family has given the world David Macklovitch (AKA Dave 1 from Chromeo) and, of course, Alain Macklovitch or A-Trak, the guy who won the DMC World Championships when he was 15 and went on to DJ for Kanye West. Phew.