Dance music runs on remixes as much as anything — it’s where burgeoning producers and moonlighting DJs get to put their stamp on someone else’s tune (or, sometimes, a classic). And this year was an especially busy one for dance music on all fronts: stripped-town techno, bubbling bass mutations, and classicist house all brought forth lots of good records. Many of them were new tracks, straight and simple. But the collaborative projects of many artists across genre lines made for a handful of terrific moments when DNA started swapping. After the jump, our top 10 remixes of 2010, listed alphabetically by (original) artist.
Braiden, “The Alps (Kassem Mosse Fix)” (Doldrums)
The original infuses techno with dubstep bounce, but Mosse’s remix goes it one better by transforming it into down-and-dirty house that’s faster, heavier on percussion, and grimier than the original.
The Bug, “Skeng (Autechre Remix)” (Ninja Tune)
This track got remixed plenty when it first appeared two years ago, but the dance world’s most highly respected avant-gardists gave it a menace no one saw coming.
The Chemical Brothers, “Swoon (Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas Remix)” (EMI)
“Just remember to fall in love/ There’s nothing else” — and to prove it, Norway’s answer to Tom and Ed rework that duo’s head-trip into a disco idyll by the lake.
Cosmin TRG, “See Other People (FaltyDL Remix)” (Rush Hour)
In a year where rave’s ’90s golden age was so plainly part of the club equation again, this remix-trade 12-inch (TRG’s version of FaltyDL’s “St. Marks” is also worth your time) reminded us of the days when classic jungle labels Moving Shadow and Suburban Base used to swap mixes to stunning effect.
Cubic Zirconia, “Josephine (Egyptrixx Dub)” (Don’t Cry)
That boing will never leave our head or feet.
Hot Chip, “Take It In (Osborne Remix)” (EMI)
Mellow ’70s AM disco-pop gold like the group could only hope to make on their own.
Emmanuel Jal, “Kuar (Olof Dreijer Remix)” (Innervisions)
The Knife’s music man carves a sticky, otherworldly groove to go along with a Somali rapper’s song — especially its chants.
Joy Orbison, “Hyph Hngo (Andreas Saag’s House Perspective)” (MP3)
Slowing down the original and adding choirs, organ, a grinding bass, and diva vocals, a Swedish deep-house producer turns a dubstep anthem into a righteous gospel throwdown.
Kingdom ft. Shyvonne, “Mind Reader (L-Vis 1990 Remix)” (Fool’s Gold)
One of the founders of Night Slugs, the great London bass label, shows off his arsenal on one of the year’s big dance anthems.
Shackleton vs. Kasai Allstars, “Mukuba Special” (Congotronics/Crammed)
A Kenyan percussion troupe meets dubstep’s most glowering figure, and for more than ten minutes they achieve slow-burning fissure.