Deep Inside: 2019's best house and techno

As we reach the end of the decade, it’s obvious that techno is fast becoming the dominant form of dance music across the world. This year saw the rise of the phrase “business techno” (coined by Shifted in 2018), a description widely used to ridicule the kind of monotonous, one-note bangers that dominate the setlists of big room DJs. It’s a catch-all term that nonetheless lays bare an uneasy truth: techno is now big business, especially in the US, where it is quickly filling the vacuum left by the collapse of the EDM bubble.

Although the rise of commercial techno events and the incursion of Eurocentric line ups like last month’s Time Warp event in New York and October’s Secret Project in LA threaten to homogenise US dance culture in a similar way to EDM, this year has proven that the country is full of talented and overlooked producers pushing house and techno forwards. Flint’s Huey Mnemonic, for example, offered his own take on the Midwest template, while Ilana Bryne used her experience in the ’90s rave scene to craft some of the year’s most exciting tracks. In NYC, the meteoric rise of AceMo and MoMa Ready proved that a seemingly endless supply killer tracks, a Bandcamp page and word of mouth is enough to cut through the noise.

Elsewhere in the world, Facta’s Wisdom Teeth label and its close-knit circle of artists has delivered rhythmically inventive music across the year. Local Action’s India Jordan and Finn reinvented the vocal anthem in their own image, while Special Request, 96 Back and Bonka twisted electro into new forms. And artists like False Witness, Quest?onmarc, Rush Plus and Cera Khin pumped new life into the techno banger. Even Joy Orbison, who celebrated the 10th anniversary of ‘Hyph Mngo’ this year, proved he’s still full of ideas.

As was the case last year, these 50 tracks barely begin to dig into the year in house and techno, so check the past year of columns for more listening.

Scott Wilson is FACT’s tech editor. Follow him on Twitter

Olivea Kelly is an independent artist and designer. Find her on Instagram or at opk.studio.

Find all of FACT’s year-end coverage here.