2011 was quite the year for trance as the genre continued to see tremendous innovation from all over the world. Old and new producers alike have stepped up the game, raising the bar on what is expected of a hit track. In the process, the experimentation has introduced such a great variety of new sounds into the genre that our list of 15 only begins to scratch the surface. Hit continue to take a look at who made the list.
Tristan Garner – Raven (Original Mix)
Tristan Garner - Raven (Original Mix) [Xtra Life]
Tristan Garner descends upon the chart with Raven, and thus successfully marks his territory on both our 2011 trance and house charts. He’s joined only by Arty in that accomplishment this year–perhaps it’s not surprising that both are “trouse" producers, as many are calling it. A masterful array of various production techniques and a blend of tribal madness, trance synths, and buzzing electro, Raven has set a high bar for the year to come.
Markus Schulz – Digital Madness (Original Mix)
Markus Schulz - Digital Madness (Original Mix) [Coldharbour]
Nobody can deny the incredible year that Markus Schulz enjoyed in 2011. Clocking in at #9 on DJMag’s coveted Top 100 DJs chart, touring more days than previously thought possible in a year, and releasing hits under both his own name and alias Dakota, it is clear that this man is aiming for the top. Digital Madness is not only a good title for this track, but also for Schulz’ overall sound at the moment, which favors the darker, techier side of trance. We’re impressed by his commitment to his work and expect nothing but greatness from him in 2012 as he continues his techy tear on EDM.
Orjan Nilsen – The Mule (Original Mix)
Orjan Nilsen - The Mule (Original Mix) [Armada]
Orjan Nilsen must be pretty pleased with himself. Having released a plethora of masterpieces this past year including his own album, In My Opinion, and having been named the unofficial producer of the year by Armin van Buuren himself, this man has made his name known in 2011. The Mule was played in as the opening track in Armin’s at the A State of Trance 500 festivities in Den Bosch, The Netherlands, and remained one of the most sought-after ID tracks for quite some time. Its incredible high-energy is accompanied by interesting sounds and rhythms not typically heard in the genre and an unforgettable vocal sample–simply “Welcome Home." This one packs quite the punch!
Aly & Fila ft. Jwaydan – We Control the Sunlight (Original Mix)
Aly & Fila feat Jwaydan - We Control the Sunlight (Original Mix) [Future Sound Of Egypt]
Aly & Fila have created a perfect incarnation of the classic trance formula, definitely making We Control the Sunlight quite noteworthy in its own right, but it’s the astounding vocals from breakthrough artist Jwaydan (pictured) that have garnered this track’s position in the chart. This UK-based artist’s career in EDM is just getting started, so if this is an example of what’s to come we are certainly in for quite a treat from this classically trained pianist and cellist. It certainly comes as no surprise that this tune ranked #1 on this year’s A State of Trance Top 20.
Bart Claessen – Fantomah (Original Mix)
Bart Claessen - Fantomah (Original Mix) [Spinnin']
If you haven’t heard the name Bart Claessen before, you’ll certainly want to know it after hearing Fantomah. The track’s success was quickly recognized in the sheer speed in which it spread throughout the trance world like a virus, with Markus Schulz, Ferry Corsten, W&W, and many others championing it simultaneously by dropping it in their sets. Claessen’s innovative approach to trance combined with his powerfully uplifting beats and melodies make him a standout in 2011.
Jacob van Hage – Convoi (Original Mix)
Jacob van Hage - Convoi (Original Mix) [Spinnin']
Convoi is a particularly fitting name for the 10th entry on our chart, as you’d certainly wish you were a part of one if this song were dropping its bombs outside your vehicle. Jacob van Hage’s unique blend of raw beats mixed with euphoric melodies has created a festival stomper bigger than any dancefloor made to contain even the most massive tracks. It’s not surprising that Sander van Doorn quickly picked this up for release on his own label, Doorn. With a wealth of exceptional new material, Jacob van Hage is one to watch in the coming year.
Ummet Ozcan – Reboot (Original Mix)
Ummet Ozcan - Reboot (Original Mix)
Coming in at #9 is Ummet Ozcan with his entry Reboot. Ozcan’s sound design astounds as it carves away a buzzy electro alternate reality. Enchanting melodic segments and emblematic synths adorn this track between rough, driving beats and fierce drops that will top the list of reasons you’ll be playing it for years to come. The producer’s constant barrage of hits has attracted the attention of the leaders of the DJ world–a particular star in the eyes of Armin van Buuren and Sander van Doorn.
KhoMha – 507 (Original Mix)
KhoMha - 507 (Original Mix) [Coldharbour]
507–perhaps the number of times you might find yourself replaying this tune. This track is one of those secret weapons DJs will keep around for years to come for guaranteed crowd destruction, with its epic breakdown that will transport any listener out of this world as it reaches deep into emotional territory. The 21 year-old Colombian behind the track has much to celebrate, including a new EP out on Markus Schulz‘ label Coldharbour as well as being named Coldharbour’s “Artist of 2011."
Klauss Goulart – Turbulence (Original Mix)
Klauss Goulart - Turbulence (Original Mix) [Coldharbour]
It’s been a while since anything like Stranger to Stability was introduced into the EDM stratosphere, but we now find ourselves back in strange lands with Klauss Goulart’s Turbulence. A seemingly never ending upward spiral of madness characterizes this track as it bounces along its dark bassline foundation, leaving no man behind in its onslaught. Klauss has made tidal waves in the trance world over the past year, releasing hits on labels ranging from Armin van Buuren’s Armada to Markus Schulz’ Coldharbour with absolutely no sign of letting down. Stay tuned for his new release with vocals from LessThan3’s very own Kid Alien.
Tritonal ft. Cristina Soto – Lifted (Mat Zo Remix)
Tritonal feat Cristina Soto - Lifted (Mat Zo Remix) [Air Up There]
Mat Zo’s remix of Lifted is nothing short of breathtaking. Complementing beautiful vocals from Cristina Soto with buzzing electro synths and explosive drops, the young trance pioneer has crafted a deeply driving track with an emotional intensity that is as soothing as it is gripping. Hit after hit, Mat Zo has brought us continued amazement as we watch him explore his creative mind. Gathering support from almost every DJ who matters in the prog/trance scene, Above & Beyond in particular, it’s clear that this man is destined for greatness.
Nhato vs Hedonist – Raise (Original Mix)
Nhato vs Hedonist - Raise (Original Mix) [Hellhouse]
Breaking the top 5 is Raise, which is sure to do exactly this to any mood you are in when you hear it. We’ve often noted that Nhato is trailblazing a new brand of trance and this track quickly makes that apparent–it’s simply unlike anything we’ve ever heard. It’s got an absolutely enormous beat and bassline that simply cannot be stopped. Added to its well-placed vocal samples, beautiful melodic breakdown, and all around top-notch production, Japan has proven that it very much has a place at the table of EDM influences in 2012 and beyond. This is the second year in a row that the producer has broken our top 5–a trend that we hope to see continue.
Ferry Corsten – Punk (Arty Rock-N-Rolla Mix)
Ferry Corsten - Punk (Arty Rock-N-Rolla Mix) [Flashover]
Arty makes his first appearance on our chart with his remix of trance titan Ferry Corsten’s track Punk. The perfect of example of young producers reinterpreting the music of established kings, Punk has incredible mass appeal–certainly a big factor in why it has been dropped without fail at every reputable festival since its release. At 21 years of age, Arty has exploded into both the trance and house scenes simultaneously, but we have a feeling that he’s just warming up.
BT & Adam K – Tomahawk (Original Mix)
BT & Adam K - Tomahawk (Original Mix) [Armind]
Last year, BT (pictured) achieved the #1 spot on our Top 20 Trance of 2010 chart with The Emergency, and this year he is back at our #3 spot alongside Adam K with a weapon for the dancefloors. Tomahawk is a reflection of BT’s musical and all-around EDM prowess and Adam K’s uplifting prog masterpieces assembled into what can only be described as the definition of 2011’s cross-genre melting pot. Ranging from trance to electro house to even more Deadmau5-inspired sawtooth techy elements, this track is an astute fusion of many important recent trends in trance and house. What a phenomenal accomplishment.
Above & Beyond ft. Richard Bedford – Sun And Moon (Club Mix)
Above & Beyond feat Richard Bedford - Sun & Moon (Club Mix) [Anjunabeats]
Moving up to #2 from their previous spot at #4 in 2010 is none other than Anjunabeats leaders Above & Beyond, the unstoppable trio of progressive trance. Any trance festival goer can easily recall their live experience of Sun & Moon, surrounded by countless others singing along with the crisp and clear vocals delivered by Richard Bedford. Not only does the group consistently deliver top-in-class tracks, but their devotion to their work commitment to excellence has been noted by both the industry and fans alike. Our hats off to this incredible team of trance ambassadors.
Arty & Mat Zo – Rebound (Original Mix)
Arty & Mat Zo - Rebound (Original Mix) [Anjunabeats]
The future leaders of trance have been defined through this year’s #1 trance track of the year: Arty & Mat Zo’s Rebound. Together they have forged a simply magical piece of music that reaches deeply into the psyche and extends a welcoming hand on its emotional journey. With beautiful chopped vocals, roaring basslines, and a staggeringly beautiful breakdown, Rebound has everything it needs to stay relevant for years to come. It’s beautiful to see young talent recognize each other and encourage collaboration as they have–an example for all of the EDM world. Congrats on #1!