ITM’s Artist Poll: The Best Of 2012

‘Tis the season for end of year polls, with websites dropping ‘Best Of 2012’ lists in every direction. For our round-up of the leading labels, DJs, live acts and tracks of the last 12 months, inthemix decided to do it differently.

Introducing the inthemix Artist Poll, where the players on the frontline of electronic music pick the favourites. The process was simple: we went to a wide cross-section of our favourite acts – both local and international – to find out what’s inspired them in 2012. In this feature, you’ll find the opinions of big-room headliners and underground trailblazers, veterans and rising stars, world-renowned names and hometown heroes. You can be sure they all know their stuff. So dive in below, and we hope this first-edition of the Artist Poll leads you to some new discoveries. And if you haven’t heard of one of our expert artists, click their name to find their inthemix page.

Mark Ronson: I’m a fan of music and artists as opposed to labels, but if I had to give it up to one label, I’d say Maybach Music Group – mainly for Meek Mill’s I’m A Boss, Stalley’s Journey To The American Dream mixtape and most of everything Wale’s been putting out.

Robbie Lowe: I’d have to mention a few here, and I’d probably say Rush Hour, 20/20 Vision, Airdrop, Hotflush or Smallville Records. I just found the consistency and quality of music on these labels was always spot-on for me.

Future Classic DJs: We’re not great at narrowing things down to just one thing that we like. Some of the labels that we’ve been excited about this year have been Greco Roman, Rush Hour, Wolf Music, Friends of Friends, Hivern Discs, Delusions of Grandeur, PMR. Fair chance if I looked at this question on another day there’d be a whole list of other labels that we’d list. There’s plenty of great music out there at the moment and lots of labels doing great things at different levels.

Cyril Hahn: Tri Angle Records. So many incredible releases this year: Holy Other, Alunageorge and Evian Chris.

DJ Marky: I think Playaz because this year DJ Hype & Pascal released some really good tunes, not just jump up like people are used to from the label, but some liquid, techy vibes as well. The full spectrum of D&B.

Mike Callander: Pampa. It’s hands down the most interesting and genuinely diverse label of the last years, releasing a diverse collection of artists from Dntel to Michel Cleis, Robag Wruhme and Matthew Herbert.

T Williams: I have to say PMR – no bias, as I am signed to them, but they’ve done so much this year across a wide spectrum from Jessie Ware’s debut to breaking Disclosure’s Latch in the charts, to their developing artists like Javeon McCarthy and Two Inch Punch. I think they’ve achieved what they set up to do: to change people’s perception of what pop music is and what it should sound like.

Ben Korbel: Warp Records. Still consistently pushing out diverse, inspiring music from Flying Lotus, Clark, Brian Eno, Grizzly Bear and so on.

Ivan Gough: Anjunabeats/Anjunadeep have been a favourite of mine all year. In an era when five-minute records with aggressive sounds are the mainstay of a lot of main floors and festivals, these guys are pushing a more melodic electronic sound, and I love it! Proper dance music for the ages.

Harris Robotis: Sweat It Out! For a small boutique label they are doing big, cool things: Parachute Youth, Twinsy, Yolanda, What So Not. Also it’s not just for the dancefloor world but also for radio, which is impressive.

Eelke Kleijn: Ellum Audio. The stuff Maceo Plex has been doing is wicked and his own imprint has really lived up to that standard.

Brodinski: Pelican Fly. Belgian label created by the amazing DJ Slow. House of producers like Richelle, Mister Tweeks and the New Sensation, Cashmere Cat. Best music out right now; this is the real future!

Yolanda Be Cool: Hypercolour. They were able to convince Groove Armada to start making music again which should be reason enough and which has seen two amazing underground house EPs from the legends that are Groove Armada. Add to that releases from Eats Everything, Huxley, Maya Jane Coles, Maxxi Soundsystem, Tom Demac, Tom Flynn…..you can be sure we check their promos straight away.

The Presets (Kim): Motorik! I love what these guys are doing; the parties and the music are all very much close to my heart. They are creating there own universe which for me is exactly what it’s all about; plus they are bringing back some much needed sausage-fest techno to the streets of Sydney. I’m wearing a Motorik! t-shirt as I type. True believer.

Don Rimini: I really can’t choose between these three labels. They are all awesome. Clone, Lucky Me and GND Records. For house music lovers like me, Clone is essential. Lucky Me Records dropped the hottest producers this year: TNGHT, Baauer, S-Type or Machinedrum. At the moment, when I play techno, I always DJ a track from GND. You should follow them. Tasteful, efficient and smart: that’s the techno I like to play.

The Aston Shuffle: Internationally I think Greco Roman had a massive year – so many of the biggest and most important acts of 2012 have come up through Greco Roman in some way: The 2 Bears, Disclosure, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. In Australia, I think Motorik absolutely killed it this year. Their releases have been super consistent and they are locking right in with that slower heavier techno sound that was so big everywhere this year.

Lancelot: Greco Roman. Why? Disclosure.

Claire Morgan: Sushitech, for releasing my favourite album of the year, Delano Smith’s An Odyssey, and for recently re-pressing some much-loved tracks from their back catalogue. Happy days.

John 00 Fleming: Mistique due to their constant stamp on quality music. You can reach for a Mistique release I know you’ll like it before you’ve even heard it.

Danny T: Without a doubt…Sweat It Out! What a year for the homegrown Aussie label. 2012 has seen a surge in coolness with chart-topping club weapons and balls-to-the-wall backroom jams.

Nicky Romero: Protocol Recordings. This is my own label that saw its inception this year. I don’t want to come across like a self-absorbed arse but I am very proud of this. We have a pretty good track record so far and I hope we can keep this up. Protocol is my baby; I do all A&R-ing myself and am proud of my team that helps to put the music out there.

Gabby: Fuse London – I just love everything that Enzo Siragusa, Seb Zito and those cats are doing at the moment. It’s deep and weird and beautiful and I can’t hear enough of it.

Kris Menace: I feel that labels and label names became very unimportant over the last year as there are just too many. There are too many big, “hyped” labels out there that are releasing mediocre music and it seems like people are buying their tracks, not because they are into the music, but only to buy into the brand! I could name tons of smaller labels releasing good music and who should have a larger profile than what they currently have based on the strength of their releases, but they aren’t ‘hyped’ up so no one knows about them. To be honest, I’m fed up of label names and A&Rs who think they know everything and try to sell their brand instead of the music…isn’t it about the music? People always forget this.

Miss Nine: My own label 925 Music. The label is growing and had a couple of strong releases this year, plus the mix compilation Around The World 02 mixed by the Australian progressive house hero Luke Chable.

Rich Curtis: Natura Sonoris, Henry Saiz’s imprint. Consistent with Henry’s own vision and musical taste, they’re always releasing fresh and upfront-sounding material with diverse influences and bending the lines between genres. The various guest remixers are all talented and prolific in their own right but when they’re working for this label their abilities seem to lift to a new level of expression.

Dusky: Aus; we’ve played tracks from almost every Aus release in our sets this year.

Deepchild: 50 Weapons – a breath of fresh and ballsy air, from local heroes and bona-fide international superstars, Modeselektor. Momentarily setting aside their equally dope Monkeytown imprint, the 50 Weapons is the perfect vessel for exploring more rawly-hewn, off kilter and bass-heavy techno from the likes of Cosmin TRG, Doc Daneeka, Shed and Benjamin Damage. Plenty of Berghain-friendly cuts here, and a defiantly jubilant take on dub-heavy, brooding Berlin techno, with the irrepressible jubilance that the Modeselektor aesthetic imbues on all it endorses. Gorgeous, muscular bedroom-techno and heavy futurism.

Goodwill: Toolroom. I have a huge respect for Mark Knight. Having a label that has a distinct flavour is a really hard thing to achieve consistently. The label is just a class act all round.

Nick Thayer: OWSLA. They have consistently pushed the boundaries in every genre in every way. The strongest player in the scene all within the space of a year.

Marc Romboy: Dirtybird! In my eyes they have again released innovative and dancefloor-compatible tracks in a high quantity and quality, with outstanding artists like Justin Martin, Eats Everything and Catz N Dogz.

Norin & Rad: Gotta go with our family label Anjunabeats! The reason is because we have seen both sides of a lot of labels now. From a fans perspective and an artist and Anjuna has always had that special aura about it. After hearing what’s to come recently from all of the artists including A&B we’re excited to see the fans reactions. And of course having such a profound sub label in Anjunadeep really make them one heavy hitter in the dance music industry.

Wax Motif: Fool’s Gold Records because this year (and almost every year) they have dropped an amazingly diverse range of solid music. From hip hop via Danny Brown, Cardo and the massive Baauer remix of Flosstradmus to club bangers like Tommy Trash’s Truffle Pig and A-Trak’s Tuna Melt EP these guys have you covered not matter what the occasion. On the deep house tip, Exploited Records definitely deserves an honourable mention.

Cassian: Probably Dirtybird. They’ve been putting out strong club tracks all year while keeping with the unique and weird traits that the label is known for.

Sampology: Bandcamp. Because while labels can help an artist in so many ways in 2012 you don’t need one, and I’ve found platforms like Bandcamp can facilitate independent releases really well.

Kid Kenobi: Is this a trick question? Klub Kids of course! Why? Because we represent world class Australian talent (such as Phetsta, Doctor Werewolf, Karton, Northie, Too Fresh, Surecut Kids, Spenda C, The Mane Thing, Conway, and more) that may well have gone unnoticed in this heavily commercialised industry. Oh, and cause it’s my label.

Thomas Gold: Axtone, because their releases this year have been settings standards and they have been dominating my personal DJ sets all throughout the year.

Audiojack: Hypercolour. They’ve been constantly putting out quality stuff that isn’t following typical music trends. Everything from banging electronic house like Bareskin to trippy broken beat journeys from J.Alvarez.

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