Dancing Astronaut’s Top Tracks of 2018

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Dancing Astronaut’s Top Tracks of 2018Skrille 1

Paring down an entire year’s worth of songs is no easy feat.

2018 saw the explosion of songs like ZEDD‘s “The Middle” and Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa‘s “One Kiss,” dominating both the dance music charts and the radio airwaves. Ear-catching tracks like these, along with fan favorites like FISHER‘s persuasive “Losing It” and Anti Up‘s entertaining “Pizza” wiggled their way into festival sets around the world and — love them or hate them — stood out as notable tracks that do their part in immortalizing this whirlwind of a year.

We also saw a creative collective of remixes surface in 2018, including Rinzen‘s compelling take on deadmau5 and Rob Swire‘s hit “Monophobia” and Skrillex‘s intoxicating rendition of Travis Scott‘s “Sicko Mode.” We celebrated the return of Gesaffelstein with “Reset” and welcomed new projects from Diplo in LSD and Silk City. We welcomed collaborations from Ekali, Medasin, and Elohim in “Forever,” Tiësto, Dzeko, Post Malone, and Preme in platinum smash hit “Jackie Chan,” and ZHU and Tame Impala in “My Life.”

Ultimately, though, we’ve narrowed 2018 down to 30 tracks that stole our hearts and smashed streaming records.

Dancing Astronaut’s Top Artists of 2018

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Dancing Astronaut’s Top Artists of 2018Da Artist Of The Year

2018 saw the dance world stepping its game up. In a scene that is rapidly diversifying itself and demanding more originality, artists in all corners of electronic music were seen stepping outside their comfort zones and kicking up experimentation within their sounds. The result was a breath of fresh air and imagination, where fans were invigorated by new takes on classic sounds, intriguing collaborations, groundbreaking new concept albums, and out-of-the-box style mashing that set the bar high for the coming year.

Careful deliberation has led to the following ten artists ranked as our top in 2018.


1. Dillon Francis

Dancing Astronaut’s Top Artists of 2018DnpJI4UUwAEkTne

Choosing a top artist of the year was an arduous task, for sure. Ultimately, however, we have to give Dillon Francis the number one spot. Francis had an unprecedented year in 2018. It was the year his artistic vision became fully actualized with the release of his warmly received WUT WUT LP — a wholehearted return to his moombahton beginnings, backed by a stellar cast of emerging Latin artists. The record resulted in a Latin Grammy nomination, Francis’ first, and ultimately cemented him as an independent artist fully in control of his own creative direction.

The album is the culmination of a lot of work, ultimately set into motion by Francis’ split from Columbia Records in early 2017. After signing a major record deal and releasing a palatable debut LP aimed at mass appeal, Francis split from Columbia and hit the ground running on his own terms, when going dark in the wake of losing an international distribution network was probably much easier, and at times, probably more appealing. Nonetheless, 2018 brought the album Francis’ day one fans had been waiting for, and it was done in well-thought and intentional fashion that intersected perfectly with Latin pop’s massive moment in the sun this year. Francis made good on his promise to return to moombahton, a genre he helped champion after Dave Nada coined the term more than a decade ago, but he also managed to do much more with his time in 2018.

This year Francis also managed the launch of his Like and Subscribe series, a feature on NBA 2K19’s soundtrack, co-production credits with Panic! at the Disco, a role on Comedy Central’s Taskmaster, along with a slew of remix efforts and a firm grip on the festival circuit’s most coveted events of the year. Putting up a marquee year in terms of output and creative diversification without compromising in either direction, Dillon Francis is Dancing Astronaut’s Artist of the Year in 2018.

Dillon Francis, we salute you.


2. Alison Wonderland

Dancing Astronaut’s Top Artists of 2018Alison Wonderland Easy 2018 Billboard 1548It’s been lovely to watch witness Alison Wonderland’s swift ascension to the top this year; it was truly a culmination of the sturdy groundwork she’s laid over the years, proving herself on the global scale as a well-trained musician who’s conquered the studio and honed her sound. The Australian talent is known for her openness and humility as well as her beatmaking, making for an organic connection with her audiences rarely exhibited among her peers. Awake showed off her vulnerability in sonic form as well as her versatility, unfolding across fourteen hugely distinctive tracks that skillfully blended together hip-hop, bass, EDM, and pop and eventually leading to her selling out gigantic venues across the globe, from the Shrine in LA for multiple nights, to Washington DC’s Echostage. Additionally, she played to her biggest crowd of over 20k as the highest billed female DJ on the festival’s bill — a deserved placement.


3. Illenium

Dancing Astronaut’s Top Artists of 2018Illenium Lost Lands Supplied By TeamOnce on our Breakout lists, Illenium has since blossomed into an icon over the past few years — and with good reason. Ever the evolutionist, the young artist unveiled two brand new live setups this year while deepening his bond with out-of-box instrumentation and arrangement. Illenium truly dominated the festival and club circuit as well, appearing at virtually every high-profile festival in the states like Lollapalooza, Coachella, Austin City Limits, and beyond, plus iconic venues like Red Rocks. Of course, we can’t forget about his vast output over the past year either, which has included a number of vast number of collaborations like his notable “Gold” alongside Excision, in addition to remixes and bootlegs for the likes Kaskade and Halsey. Having been taken under the Astralwerks wing this past summer, we expect Illenium is in for yet another big year in 2019.

 


4. REZZ

Dancing Astronaut’s Top Artists of 2018Rezz Porter Robinsin Divinity Remi Live DebutMeanwhile, REZZ continued to build upon the empire she started in 2018, becoming another one of the major standouts this year. There are hardly any venues she touched that didn’t completely sell out, including another round at Red Rocks, and appearances at other famed venues around North America. The young musician continued to captivate minds with her extraterrestrial electro sound, putting out a brand new LP in the process aptly-named, Certain Kind Of Magic. The album was carefully constructed with her usual expertise and won REZZ her first Juno Award, spotlighting her as a consistently remarkable talent while backing her placement as headliner for major events like Shambhala, Wobbleland, and more. Paired with her humble attitude and openness on social media, her rabid fan base has seen exponential growth. It won’t be long before she is a household name.


5. Diplo

Dancing Astronaut’s Top Artists of 2018Diplo Dame Dash
Every year feels like a big year for Diplo; the producer-turned-crossover legend has his hands in too many projects to count, and is easily one of the most well-known producers in the music scene at large. However, 2018 was a particularly innovative year for the producer that really saw him branching out his creativity. The main motif for him this year was collaboration, where this creative exploration truly manifested itself. We first saw this in the form of LSD, his collaborative project with Sia and Labrinth — by their first release, they’d poised themselves for radio domination. Then, weeks after debuting LSD, Silk City came to fruition: his disco-leaning Mark Ronson project. Both groups served to diversify Diplo’s growing repertoire, and further cast him as a universally-loved producer. Diplo also had his fair share of production credits this year: he worked on songs with John Mayer, Ellie Goulding, and more, contributed to the Fifa 19 soundtrack, and produced for YouTuber Poppy, to name a few.


6. Boys Noize

Dancing Astronaut’s Top Artists of 2018Boys Noize 2018

 

Its difficult to think of a year in which Alex Ridha hasn’t been at the top of his game. In more than a decade of activity as Boys Noize, he has continuously improved upon his oeuvre, neither slowing his prolific output nor sacrificing quality for quantity. The German maverick began his year with the long-awaited sophomore installment of his Strictly Raw compilation series, expanding upon the signature brand of industrial techno and electro fusion which defined 2015’s Strictly Raw, Vol. 1 and his career at-large. In 2018, Boys Noize unsurprisingly made waves via a predictably large flurry of singles, remixes, and collaborations, including his anthemic joint effort with RL Grime, “Power.” However, even alongside Ridha’s exciting offerings from his main moniker, he arguably put forth his most scintillating contributions in the past year via his ancillary projects. Over the summer, he debuted his new Diynamic-backed alter-ego, ELAX, and in October, he reunited with Mr. Oizo to release the first Handbraekes EP in four years. And, with rumors of a Dog Blood renaissance brewing on the horizon, it seems likely that Herr Ridha will top himself once again in 2019.


7. Charlotte de Witte  Dancing Astronaut’s Top Artists of 2018Charlotte De Witte Boda Gabor

One could argue that Charlotte de Witte has become a bit of a new-gen figurehead in recent times. Like others on this list, it didn’t take her long to transform from an “artist to watch” to an all-out icon right away. The past twelve months have seen the Belgian mainstay express her love for classic rave sounds via pounding techno laced with acid, earning the adoration of older and younger fans alike. She’s climbed so far up the ranks, in fact, that she was even called to play Tomorrowland’s main stage for its 2018 edition, in addition to hosting her own at the festival. Her name also found its way onto the top of notable underground lineups, like Awakenings, DGTL, Movement, and many more. Meanwhile, choice releases like her Heart Of Mine EP on Suara and Healer on Novamute found their way into techno crates all over the world.


8. Martin Garrix

Dancing Astronaut’s Top Artists of 2018Martin Garri DryoMartin Garrix started off 2018 headlining the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, which few musicians (and even fewer electronic musicians) have been asked to do in their lifetime. Over the course of the year, the 22-year-old released 12 tracks, where he continued to successfully navigate putting out chart topping pop collaborations like “Ocean” featuring Khalid while also remaining true to the hard-hitting big room sound that brought him into the spotlight in the first place with “Breach (Walk Alone)” alongside Blinders, and more. Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) was a focal point of the producer’s year, where he released a 5-track electronic EP over the 5 days of ADE. His new live show ANIMA, which was also debuted at ADE, continues to push the boundaries of what is possible within an electronic music show.  Lastly, Garrix has not let global success keep him from innovating his sound and experimenting in a way that few producers of his stature have had the courage to do. His collaboration with New York subway singer Mike Yung titled “Dreamer” features a gospel choir and has a soulful sound that is hardly mainstream, but supremely authentic to Garrix’s ability to continue to produce music that is outside of the box.


9. Mat Zo

Dancing Astronaut’s Top Artists of 2018Mat Zo Two Hour Anjunabeats Best Of Mi 1While Mat Zo often acts as a behind the scenes player, his output in 2018 has been nothing short of spectacular. Growing his role as a tastemaker, his Mad Zoo roster now houses up and coming artists like Shadient, Wavedash, and Swardy, all of whom have had a massive year. However, the British DJ made major waves with his own music as well. 2018 marked Mat Zo’s return to Anjunadeep, with his textured and entrancing No Words EP and a two-hour “Best of” compilation. He also dabbled in drum & bass on his one-off single “Vice.” Showing a diversity of styles on a number of releases, Mat Zo kept his head down and put out some of 2018’s most exciting music.


10. RL Grime

Dancing Astronaut’s Top Artists of 2018RL Grime Day Of Dead Billboard 1548

Many wondered how trap stalwart RL Grime would be able to follow up what many considered to be a masterpiece in 2014’s VOID; he certainly set the bar high for himself. With his initial singles ranging from the pop-leaning “I Wanna Know,” to the trap heater “Pressure,” it was hard to tell which direction the album would take. However, diversity of styles is part of what made RL Grime’s comeback so intriguing. Dropping NOVA in July, RL Grime carved out a lane for himself in a variety of genres. From recruiting Joji and Chief Keef for the enthralling “OMG” to leaning into his garage influences on “Shoulda,” RL Grime took 2018 as an opportunity to establish himself as a top tier producer in this post-EDM world.

Dancing Astronaut’s Breakout Artist of 2018: Medasin

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Dancing Astronaut’s Breakout Artist of 2018: MedasinMEDASIN IMG 1

At the beginning of the decade, when electronic dance music was experiencing a lightning-speed growth spurt into the multi-billion dollar industry it is today, commentators began to gravitate towards an economic buzz-term that had already permeated out of a number of different industries — a “bubble” was forming. EDM’s rapid global expansion was the subject of much speculation; what would happen when the proverbial “EDM bubble” inevitably popped? As the decade begins to wind to a close, the result has turned out to be considerably more positive than most of us anticipated. What would happen after the fanfare of the passing EDM fad? Well, the unremarkable would disappear, and out of the heavily diluted pool of semi-marketable talent would emerge passionate creators free to explore a lot more than just big room house and commercially viable electro-pop. The bursting of the so-called “EDM bubble” created a space where producers were able to sift through a wide chasm of influences to push electronic production to different spaces and audiences. In 2018, Medasin undoubtedly seized that opportunity, making him Dancing Astronaut’s Breakout Artist of the Year in 2018.

The Texas-native producer, lesser known as Grant Nelson, put together a rap sheet in 2018 that checks all the boxes for a breakout year — it started with a complementary remix of Portugal. The Man‘s inescapable shaker, “Feel It Still,” followed by timely reworks of Post Malone and Khalid‘s material. The high profile remixes then laid the ground work for one of the year’s most intriguing records in Irene. On Medasin’s debut LP, the producer soundtracks a coming-of-age story blurred in experimental escapism. The nine-track album isn’t packed with swelling breaks and notable collaborators — rather, it’s a personal collection of sonics that wears its emotions on its sleeve, which makes its chart-topping status atop the iTunes electronic rankings earlier this summer all the more deserved.

Beyond just proctoring one of the most noteworthy albums of the year, Medasin also proved a versatile performer that is on the cusp on graduating from the undercard and onto the billing’s top line. He helmed his first headlining tour in support of Irene, but also managed major support bookings including an appearance at ZEDD‘s LA Historic Park show this summer, and some of the country’s most in-demand festivals like HARD Summer, Lollapalooza, and Electric Forest. Beyond his own original works, Medasin expanded his catalog in 2018 with collaborations alongside fellow wave makers Ekali, Elohim, and Louis Futon.

It was a banner year in 2018 for the 20-year-old ALT:VISION recruit. In a year’s time, Medasin not only managed to find his stride and significantly hone his production capabilities, he also successfully brought electronic music in his own innovative direction and cemented himself as one of the genre’s brightest forward thinkers. Irene is only one component to Medasin’s breakout, but with the wealth of potential he’s showing at the onset of such a promising career, we’re excited to see what’s next for the burgeoning wunderkind.

Medasin is Dancing Astronaut’s Breakout Artist of 2018.

 

Armin van Buuren releases ASOT 2018 Year Mix

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Armin van Buuren releases ASOT 2018  Year MixA State Of Trance Armin Van Buuren A State Of Tran

Another year is wrapping up, and with it an array of reflective mixes and compilations. One of the most sought-after is Armin van Buuren‘s Year Mix. Each December, fans of the icon and his beloved ASOT brand can look forward to a diverse mixture of the finest trance, big room, and pop cuts that Armin discovers and proliferates throughout the year. Heavy dancing is often involved.

The 2018 edition is a standout once again, kicking off the mix with euphoric, progressive-leaning cuts by Omnia and Audien, before kicking it up a notch with fierce uplifters and a dose of psy from the likes of Jorn Deynhoven, STANDERWICK, and more. A wild ride with precise mixing and cohesion, it’s safe to say the Dutch artist has still got it.

A Year In Review: The Stories, Scandals and Trends That Rocked The World Of EDM In 2018

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As the year begins to wrap up, we here at EDM Sauce are taking a look back at the moments which influenced the dance music industry the most over the last year. Over the last year, there have been some incredible highs and deep lows in the world of dance music. Let’s take a look

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Drake dominates both Spotify and Apple Music’s 2018 stats

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Drake dominates both Spotify and Apple Music’s 2018 statsDrake Getty

2018 was undoubtedly the Year of Drake. The Toronto-native rhymer managed to plant himself in the headlines all year long, from rap beef and juicy drama to the year’s most ubiquitous album, and a handful of broken records to boot. Now, as the year draws to a close, Apple Music and Spotify have both released their top album and artist statistics, and unsurprisingly, Drake occupies both lists with a dominating presence.

Apple’s official rankings for top songs of the year include three Drake cuts, the inescapable “God’s Plan,” New Orleans bounce anthem “Nice For What,” and viral sensation “In My Feelings.” Drake’s Scorpion also deservedly took home the top album designation, beating out Cardi B, Post Malone, and Travis Scott‘s hugely successful LP drops this year. Spotify’s official year end numbers mirror Apple’s, with Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, and Ed Sheeran in contention as well. Spotify’s year end totals also claim Drake’s music was streamed a cumulative 8.2 billion times on the platform this year.

That’s a wrap on another marquee year for Drake.

Forbes Reveals the Highest Paid DJs of 2018

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Recently, Forbes Magazine revealed the highest paid DJs of 2018. Many of the DJs on the list are known to be some of the greatest DJs of the decade. Their hard work has surely allowed them to reach their full potential, as well as building up a large profit. Without their work, dance music wouldn’t

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Spotify now boasts 83 million subscribers, reports second quarter loss

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Spotify now boasts 83 million subscribers, reports second quarter lossGettyimages 474099442

At the end of 2018’s second fiscal quarter, Swedish streaming giant Spotify has shared new reports on the company’s performance since their debut on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this year. Boasting 83 million premium subscribers and 180 million monthly active users, Spotify will be looking to hold onto and expand their share of the market, though Apple Music has been providing some stiff competition in the US market this year.

Though the impressive 83 million paid subscribers is an increase of ten percent since last quarter and, at $1.49 billion, revenue is at an all time high, the company posted a loss of $461 million, over twice as much as their loss at this time last year. To Spotify’s credit, they claim that over $30 million of that loss came from the price of going public back in April. Even with these losses, Spotify’s stock price is steadily rising, likely thanks to the vast amounts of revenue, investment, and cash flow at the company’s fingertips. With online streaming platforms are consistently securing more listeners and paid subscribers, the DSP arms race remains a fascinating industry to watch unfold.

H/T: Billboard

Bassnectar, Dillon Francis & Friends, Kaskade and more lead EDC Orlando’s 2018 lineup

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Bassnectar, Dillon Francis & Friends, Kaskade and more lead EDC Orlando’s 2018 lineup18PRectw

EDC Orlando will descend upon its historic host venue Tinker Field from November 9-10, and as in all past years of production, the Insomniac festival will bring a slew of stars to the Sunshine State. After last year’s record turnout, the events giant had to follow with a special billing, and suffice it to say they’ve delivered with their 2018 lineup.

Alesso, Alison Wonderland, Dillon Francis & Friends, Kaskade, Bassnectar, and more will take to the decks, their performances interspersed among a series of heady back-to-back sets, including 4B, GTA and Valentino Khan sharing the stage, Nicole Moudaber back-to-back with Paco Osuna, and Jamie Jones joining the Martinez Brothers, among others. Tiësto is slated for a special sunset performance, along with appearances from Martin Garrix, Tchami, Pendulum and many more.

Tickets to EDC Orlando are currently available and can be purchased here. Two-day GA passes to the festival begin at $189, while VIP passes start at $359.

Bassnectar, Dillon Francis & Friends, Kaskade and more lead EDC Orlando’s 2018 lineupEdc Orlando 2018 Lu R05 1

Photo Credit: aLIVE Coverage

 

Music Performances For The 2018 X-Games Are Moving

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Earlier this spring, the music lineup for the 2018 X-Games was announced. Zedd, Kaskade, Ice Cube and Brother Ali were all set to perform at the same location as last year’s X-Game performances. However, recently it was announced that the music will be moving down the block from its former location to The Armory. The

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