Here's the official Best of 2020 Awards from Trancefix, where we look back and decalre the best tracks, labels, albums and compilations
from 2020 across the Trance, Progressive and general hypnotic dance music scene. Thanks to the great community who helped us
formulate this, with all your sharing, thoughts and discussion throughout the year in the forum.
Runner up: Gardenstate
Congrats to Coredata, what a great year for this underground Trance producer, releasing his Art of Trance inspired, debut album ‘Wander’, and a string of quality releases on JOOF Recordings, Horizon Landscapes and Forescape Digital. His production style has been on a different level, combining insanely good modern techniques with familiar oldskool sounds and textures. You can really hear the passion and maturity in the musical ideas and he's for sure one of the leading producers in delivering the true essence of authentic underground Trance music. Check Out: Picorri Dreams, Theta and Wander (Warehouse Mix)
Gardenstate is Marcus Schossow new(ish) alias alongside co-producer Matthew Felner, both showing their diversity by releasing tracks in the genres of Prog House, Prog Trance, Melodic Techno and Trance Breaks. Surreal featured on Anjunabeats 15 and was one of the best of the year. Hoping they continue to release of Trance/Prog labels in 2021. Check out: Surreal, Delta and Bloom.
Winner: Pure Trance
Runner up: Forescape Digital
Pure Trance had by far the biggest output of quality releases throughout the entire year compared to the other labels and for that it deserves no1. Rich personally vets every single promo he receives and you’ll pretty much hear him showcase every expression of Trance and Progressive music through the label, from the banging to the downtempo. Great to see the diversity. Many of 2020’s best tracks were from this label and often coming from completely unknown artists, which is also something we love to see. You can feel the passion and dedication from Rich even after 25 years in the scene and it doesn’t look like he is going to slow down anytime soon.
Forescape Digital, run by forum favourite Enlusion, gave us a huge amount of great underground Trance and Progressive music this year, with extremely high level of consistency in each release. Actively supporting unknown and emerging talent (alongside the underground scene familiars) is exactly what the Trance scene needs and it’s a blessing we have labels like this one taking that role. Forescape probably comes closer than any Trance label out there in capturing the authentic trance sounds and essence of the original scene ideas and its only going to get better for them as they grow. Much respect to them and look forward to 2021.
Winner: Wander (Coredata) [JOOF]
Runner up: Misty Shadows (Enlusion) [Forescape]
Wander is a sensational record, with a bunch of epic soundscapes, hypnotic rhythms, punchy 303’s, banging percs, psychedelic licks and vivid music ideas that pay a true homage to the Art of Trance 90's sound. Production technique on offer is 10/10 material, you can literally taste and feel every sound, getting you both heads-down stomping and head-in-the-clouds wandering all at once. It’s a modern vs oldskool endeavour and the results are pure magic (as are the Youtube album visuals). One of the best records in recent times.
Misty Shadows is an excellent showcase of Enlusion's passion for deep progressive music, both dark and melodic, plus some sprinkling of breaks and downtempo. Like Coredata his production technique and skill separates him from most in the scene, with the same kind of spacious and balanced sound dynamics which allow all the driving and gritty stuff to breathe alongside the melodies and details. Its an album that definitely gets better with each listen and we highly recommend it for anyone into the deep Trance and Prog worlds.
Winner: Pure Progressive Vol. 1 (Mixed by Orkidea)
Runner up: VII Vol. 2 (Mixed by Sean Tyas, Alex Di Stefano, Simon Patterson and Orkidea)
Pure Progressive is the First volume in a new compilation series from the Pure Trance label, with CD1 showcasing Orkideas latest progressive work and the even stronger CD2 which contained many of Pure Trance’s best Progressive releases from the year from exactly the kinds of artists you want to see, both newcomers and regulars. The mixing is excellent on both CDS as Orkidea successfully creates that seamless and atmospheric experience you would come to expect from him.
VII Vol. 2 is full power Trance music from 4 of the scenes best DJs. Each mix has its own energy and has been assembled very well, with styles and tracks across almost every sub-genre of modern Trance music. Great idea to bring Orkidea in to expand the range of sounds even more (his mix is quality) and its likely that almost all the best high BPM Trance of the year can be found in this mix.
Best Tracks of 2020: Top 60!
Here is our top 60 tracks of 2020, with a top 10 of our chosen best of the year. You’ll find tracks spanning across Trance, Prog Trance, Prog House, Melodic Techno, Breaks and anything else that has that dreamy, hypnotic or trance like essence at its core.
Winners: Top 10
(In no particular order)
- Hoopoe - Hutan [Pure Trance] [Trance]
- Simon Berry - Pangolin (Satoshi Fumi Remix) [Platipus] [Prog House]
- Bliss Inc - Transitions [Radiant Love] [Trance/House]
- Allende - Essence [Pure Trance] [Trance]
- Coredata - Picorri Dreams [JOOF] [Trance]
- Oprofessional - Pause (Beach Mix) [UTE] [Trance]
- Trance Wax - Manyana [Anjunabeats] [Trance]
- Cosmithex - Ground Control (You Are My Salvation Remix) [Forescape] [Trance]
- Super-frog Saves Tokyo - Kyoto (Extended Mix) [Pure Trance] [Trance]
- Jay Del Mar - Nimbus [EDM Recordings] [Trance]
Rest of the best: Top 50
(In no particular order)
- EDU - Twenty Twenty [FSOE Parrallels] [Uplifting]
- Coredata - Lark [Forescape] [Trance]
- Dark Matter - That Which We Never See [Forescape] [Prog Trance]
- Will Atkinson - Pipe Dream [Blackhole] [Uplfiting/Tech]
- Gardenstate - Surreal [Pure Trance] [Trance/Progressive]
- Johan Gielen & Marco V - Timeless [Perfecto Records] [Tech Trance]
- Gardenstate - Delta [Blackhole Recordings] [Prog Trance]
- Coredata - Theta [Forescape] [Trance]
- Neura - Miracles [FSOE] [Prog House]
- New Members - Aquarian Tears [NEW001] [Trance]
- Bliss Inc - Hack The Planet [Trance/House]
- Nuera - Serene [Blue Soho] [Prog House]
- Slam Duck - Stargazing [Pure Trance] [Prog Trance]
- Love Nation - Galactic Birds [Unsigned] [Trance]
- Will Atkinson - Telescope [Blackhole] [Uplifting]
- Solarstone - When I dream [Pure Trance] [Prog Trance]
- Zoya - Brightstar [Pure Trance] [Trance]
- Sunny Lax - Reptile [Anjunabeats] [Trance]
- Dylan Forbes - Soma [Coymix] [Trance/House]
- Marsh - Euphoria [Anjunabeats] [House/Prog House]
- JOC - Simple Solution [Subculture] [Trance/Tech Trance]
- Mikkel Rev - The Human Experience (Empathy Mix) [UTE] [Trance/Techno]
- E00 - Peace & Tranquility [Radiant Love] [Downtempo]
- Breakfast - Morning Rain [EDM Recordings] [Trance]
- Enlusion - Melting Winds [Forescape] [Trance]
- Soundbreeze - Invisibility [Forescape] [Prog Trance]
- Robert Miles - Children (Tinlicker Remix) [Bootleg] [Prog House]
- Frost - Overtones [Anjunabeats] [House/Breaks]
- Yotto - Another Riff For The Good Times [Anjunabeats] [Prog House]
- Jerome Isma Ae & Milkwish - No Time To Wait (Milkwish 4AM Mix) [Anjunabeats] [Prog Trance]
- Solarstone & Ian Urbina - Rust [Pure Trance] [Trance]
- Allende - Fate [Pure Trance] [Trance]
- Activa - Midnight [Pure Trance] [Trance]
- Jaron Inc - Serenity [Pure Trance] [Trance]
- Ground Control - Alfredo Calderini Remix [Forescape] [Prog Trance]
- Robert Miles - Fable (SoundLift Simplified Remix) [Unsigned] [Uplifting]
- Matt Holiday - Convex [Forescape] [Trance]
- Narel - Bassline (Visceral Remix) [Forescape] [Trance/Techno]
- Jay Del Mar - Nimbus (Breakfast Remix) [EDM Recordings] [Trance]
- Alex Di Stefano - 365 Days At Dawn [In Trance We Trust] [Tech/Uplifting]
- Coredata - Wander (Warehouse Mix) [JOOF] [Trance]
- Donna Marie - Hypnotize [Pure Trance] [Prog Trance]
- Adam Nickey - Glimpse of Light [Sola Records] [Uplfiting]
- Dylan Forbes - Closer [Coymix] [Trance/House]
- Coredata - Wander [JOOF] [Trance/Breaks]
- Jody Wisternoff - Andromeda [Anjunadeep] [Prog House/Breaks]
- Toby Tobias - Trippy Steve (Fantastic Man Remix) [Futureboogie] [Prog House]
- Macker - Lost In Space [Pure Trance] [Prog Trance]
- Gardenstate - Bloom [Pure Trance] [Prog Trance]
- Activa - Repercussion [Activa Music] [Trance]
- Oracle - Jungle (Coredata Remix) [JOOF] [Trance]
2020 Scene Summary
Output felt a little slow or quiet this year, perhaps due to the coronavirus, with certain labels and sub-genres not fully at the same levels that we've observed in more recent years, but as always there was plenty to enjoy and lots to discuss. The underground scene showed some interesting signs and promise, with the Techno and House scenes often arguably getting closer to Trance's roots than conventional Trance scene itself. A few made it to our ToTW, including Oprofessionell - Pause (Distant Beach Mix) [UTE], Bliss Inc - Transitions [Radiant Love] and New Members - Aquarian Tears [NEW001], with many other Trance-House-Techno crossovers found lurking in underground YouTube channels, fledgling Soundcloud accounts and niche Bandcamp shops. Trance as a genre first emerged from the underground Techno/House scenes in the very early 90’s, well now 30 years later perhaps we are seeing signs of similar pattern and re-emergence again from within the same scenes? These next generation producers seem open to using the familiar spacey atmospheres, acid licks, dreamy synths and bouncy percs in their productions, all with a certain Trance essence, but its hard to know if they are simply chasing a nostalgia trend or if something more fundamental is happening within underground musical ideas and production techniques. There's still a lot to be desired in terms of the Trance-like story telling, drive and energy in the tracks, as the producers still keep their one foot firmly in the simplistic yet danceable House/Techno structures, but promising signs and we've had some excellent releases so far.
The conventional 'mid-ground' scene seemed very stagnant this year, with many of the familiar labels struggling to get consistency and/or outputting poor production mix-downs and mastering of their tracks. For these reasons we probably had the fewest amount of top quality Uplifting tracks in a single year. Labels still seem up for the 'steroid' bangers to dominate their catalogues, but this wall-of-sound, template and generic feel of the a large number of tracks holds the sub-genre back as the scene still cries out for more mature, flowing and balanced approach. There are still great Uplifting producers and labels out there for sure, and a bunch of Uplifting tracks we really loved from this year...PURE Trance, Blue Soho, Perfecto, Blackhole, FSOE, Subculture and more all playing a role in this...let's see if they can up the consistency and quality in 2021 and perhaps push past the last sounds of the decade and 'reinvent' the sounds of Uplifting.
Finally, some observations from the mainstream scenes may be giving an indication of change in attitude from listeners back to more serious sounds. Anjunabeats had a strong year, with their signature progressive sounds getting more mature in places and some familiar names like Schossow, Sunny Lax and Kyau & Albert steering away from the EDM/Trouse vibes and dropping some great productions. CD1 on Anjunabeats 15 was also very nice, as was the Trance Wax album. We also saw Tiesto make a Progressive track, Armin turn up the Techno styles in his sets and David Guetta drop Trance classics in his DJ Mag Winners set. Is this a sign of change in the markets, or just a change in taste from the veteran superstars? Either way if the mainstream channels continue to move away from the 'EDM' stadium sounds and back towards something more meaningful then that can only mean good things for the rest of the scenes, which undoubtably will see trickle down effect of new listeners open to those sounds.
Happy New Year guys. Look forward to discovering and discussing new music with you all in 2021.
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