2020’s Best Electronic & Dance Tracks

Art by Alan López for Remezcla

In a year when group raves and/or healthy releases of tension on the dance floor were essentially impossible or irresponsible, electronic and dance music kept us sane and moving. From Arca and Ela Minus to Verraco, here’s our top 10 of the batch:

Ela Minus – “El Cielo No Es De Nadie”

It was truly bittersweet that some of our favorite albums this year came from the world of dance music. On her breathtaking techno-pop debut Acts of Rebellion, Brooklyn-based Colombian producer Ela Minus contrasted the euphoria of sweaty nightclubbing with an eerily prescient sense of loneliness. Among the record’s many high points is “El Cielo No Es De Nadie,” a thumping meditation on the performativity of love and how grand gestures can evaporate once the going gets tough. But the song is more questioning than pointed, examining Minus’ own fears of commitment and getting lost in someone else’s essence; anxieties that are unabated even when promised the world. —Richard Villegas

Arca – “Mequetrefe”

Arca’s fourth studio album, KiCk i, seemed to grab pop music by the throat and force it into whatever direction the Venezuelan artist fancied. The songs were rebellious and sometimes even jarring, but an early moment of incandescence occurred on the brilliant ode to reggaeton, “Mequetrefe.” Arca playfully captures the freedom of a woman out looking for a “good-for-nothing” man, but it’s hard not to consider trans experiences when listening to the track, especially as it erupts into ominous, lurking electronic sounds. The contrasts are powerful and even moving, showing Arca at some of her most untethered and radiant as a creator. —Julyssa Lopez

Trillones – “Maribel Vanguardia”

Once upon a time, Trillones was known as the cerebral club weirdo bunkered in his hometown of Mexicali, Baja California but, over the past two years, a major creative evolution has taken hold of the adventurous producer—a change largely fueled by his affinity for memes. “Maribel Vanguardia” towers over the rest of his eyebrow-raising releases in 2020, building upon an electro-cumbia foundation with warbling synths, blipping drum machines and echoing organic percussion. It’s a deceptively emotional track about a figure slowly dissipating from Trillones’ memory; but “Maribel Vanguardia” also embraces humor with cartoonish melodies and a 15-second cyberpunk animation of Televisa star Maribel Guardia showing off some wild footwork. —Richard Villegas

Sexores – “Nos Lo Dijo La Serpiente”


On an album full of arcane imagery, witchcraft, horror aesthetics, and dark lore that vindicates women throughout time demonized and killed by men, Sexores’ “Nos lo Dijo La Serpiente” reframes one of patriarchy’s oldest stories: Christianity’s creation myth. “Todo lo que brilla dentro de mí/Se lo debo a la ofidia,” Emilia Bahamonde Noriega sings, subverting and reclaiming the feminine power attributed to original sin as something much older, more primal, and more sacred. On “Nos Lo Dijo La Serpiente” and across Salamanca, Sexores’ darkwave descent is an essential practice in mythmaking and survival for women as keepers of knowledge and memory. —Stefanie Fernández

Kelman Duran – “Rihanna X William Basinki II”

Among electronic music purists, there are those who raise their eyebrows at popular music genres. In their concern about the DJ’s perfect track transition they forget that the club music ethos is rooted precisely in modest music studios and shameless experimentations. Dominican, LA-based producer Kelman Duran has grasped that since his first release, the 2017 album 1804 KIDS. The track “Rihanna X William Basinki II” proves that he still finds boundaries to push in his particular universe of perreo from outer space. Rihanna’s fast-paced vocal floating above William Basinki’s piano score is a remarkable creative work on its own, but it’s the reggaeton drum loop that makes this song an exquisite piece. —Felipe Maia

BADSISTA – “Machooka”

The Brazilian DJ and producer Badsista has made a global name for herself with vicious dancefloor assemblages of baile funk and hardcore club music. Between performing Boiler Room gigs in Berlin to fostering a Latin American non-commercial electronic music scene, she still finds time to keep her high-skilled beat-making in tracks like “Machooka.” With a DJ-friendly extended introduction, the track is a ballroom banger made out of industrial pan drums and the blatant sample off of “The Ha Dance.” The vocals by MC Larissa, processed with chopped up and high-pitched filters, top off an ideal pick for the return of dips and catwalks when nightclubs reopen—we count on you, 2021. — Felipe Maia

Ghetto Kumbé – “Tambó”

This track is a tidal wave of afro-diasporic percussion, cutting edge electronic production and razor sharp lyrics. Ghetto Kumbé’s revelatory self-titled debut contrasts colorful snapshots of Colombian heritage against the frustration of a country sabotaged by their leadership one too many times. Among the album’s many incisive songs, “Tambó” emerges as a spiritual and emotional oasis, offering the listener refuge in the universal bosom of drumming. “Tambó” is a prayer of gratitude dedicated to the instrument that has stood witness across cultures and human history—an ancestral medium for keeping our stories alive and a tool that guides us in the creation of new ones. —Richard Villegas

Nicolas Jaar – “Mud”

“Mud” is the longest track on Nicolas Jaar´s last album, Cenizas. It splits his most introspective work at the heart of the album; a rite of passage into the isolated realm of the Chilean producer.

It’s a seven-minute piece that depicts the underground initiation ritual of a secret society. Deep bass tambourins slowly syncopate to Monk-like moaning of either prayers or words of wisdom. The melody rarely breaks but rather loops itself into higher pitches towards the following track (or a higher deity?). Gloom like an ancient pharaoh’s dimly-lit funeral, “Mud” draws the listener in to a newer self. A self that Jaar learned to cleanse far before the consequential quarantine of the pandemic. —Paulo Srulevitch

Cholula Dans Division – “Minimono”

For most of us, partying in 2020—particularly the communal experience of dancing to electronic beats—was not an option. This situation made “Minimono” a perfect track for those who yearned for a rave. The Puebla, Mexico duo managed to pay homage to the golden age of acid house while keeping it current within modern electronic dance music. “Minimono” represented a hazy yet starry-eyed ideal of a party that never happened, bringing a shade of nostalgia for missed chances. —Marcos Hassan

Verraco – “Pluriverso”

With his 2020 album Grial, Medellin producer Verraco uses fiction to imagine the possibilities of a future where expectations of what music sounds like based on its creator’s origins are completely demolished. The peak moment of this concept is reached on “Pluriverso,” a song in which Verraco’s influences from around the world crash so dramatically it sends new, bastard structures up to the clouds that we, as listeners, can inhabit. It’s a glitched-out encapsulation of universes driven by IDM that gives us a glimpse of its creator’s quest to make whatever the hell he wants out of the label “Latin American producer.” —Cheky


Lucrecia Dalt – “Ser Boca”
Carolina Camacho – “Enredao”
Sango – “Cangaíba to 7 Mile”
Smurphy – “Intuition”
ÌFÉ – “Music for Egun Movement 2”