Future R&B for right now
CASSIA O’REILLY (pictured above) aka Bonzai’s talents were spotted by ‘Love$ick’ producer Mura Masa. After moving to London and singing backing vocals for singer/songwriter NAO, she quickly moved into the limelight after her debut single ‘KBG’ caught some serious heat back in 2015. Her soulful tones and playful delivery are infectious and EPs such as ‘Lunacy’ followed with the same success. Her stage presence has led to performances at some major festivals including Wild Life, Forbidden Fruit and Spring Altitude, and a European tour supporting Flume. Her latest single ‘I Feel Alright’ is a rock guitar-led anthem, with crunked up percussion, designed for the main stage.
SOUNDS LIKE? M.I.A., Santigold, Diplo
Daydreaming of Disco
THIS FINE French export named Folamour is head honcho of For Heaven Use Only Records; much like its name, the label stands by the vibe of ethereal house music for DJs and dreamers alike. Together with compadres Ethyene, Kaffa Crème and St Paul, he heads up the label Moonrise Hill Material, known for its glimmering feel-good house and disco. His own solo work sits in perfect harmony, with his latest EP for Defected’s Glitterbox ‘The Power and The Blessing Of Unity EP’ bringing blissful ‘70s inspired synths and retro piano melodies reminiscent of the legends that have already set this summer alight. This could be the future of classic disco.
SOUNDS LIKE? Dimitri From Paris, Metro Area, 6th Borough Project
THE INCREASED popularity of modular synthesis over the past few years has been most noticeable through the well-established producers that’ve fallen in love with the medium: Surgeon, Mumdance, Boddika — you get the picture. But there’s a new kid on the hardware-heavy block who’s not only got himself signed to Steve Bicknell’s new 6dimensions imprint, but has the backing of names like Ben Klock, Function and Slam too. Having honed his expert ears through resident DJ, promo and sound engineer work around Cardiff, Bobby James Pike — aka Heartless — was inspired to step out of the shadows by the richly textured sounds of modular. Praise the techno gods he did! While Pike’s kicks hit like a B-2 bomber, the real winning element in his tracks is his imaginative use of warped, enveloping synth lines. Heavily layered, from sludgy bass to cutting acidic leads and subtle, bleepy earworms, together they form an enveloping mesh of sound, like being balled-up in the very mass of wires used to create them. We can’t wait for the next instalment...
SOUNDS LIKE? Karenn, Neil Landstrumm, Surgeon
LIDA PAWLIUK and Ashlee Luk are the Canadian duo with a serious penchant for techno, getting kudos across the globe for their dusty drum-laden beats and high energy live shows. They are currently riding the vinyl stacks with releases on 1080pm, USA’s Jungle Gym, Ireland’s First Second and a sterling remix of Space Dimension Controller on the legendary R&S. Their latest EP on Lobster Theremin includes ‘HMV 94’, taking inspiration from the 90’s rave and breakbeat era, while ‘Acid Lakes’ stays true to its name with a subtle Roland 303 bassline weaving throughout. Classic sounding synths, low-fi drums and high rolling BPMs are the order of the day and we’re hooked.
SOUNDS LIKE? Palms Trax, Juju & Jordash, DJ Zozi
SUCCESSFUL in his attempt to obscure fledgling releases by adopting the alias Kamera in 2015, James Welsh debuted on Erol Alkan’s Phantasy Sound with the simply stunning ‘ARC’ EP. Having truly found his own sound using that name, he has now stepped out of the shadows to continue work for the label using his own. An analogue chameleon referencing rave and Artificial Intelligence-era Warp, his productions range from degraded four-four techno to blissed out electronica. April 2017’s ‘Standing’/’Slip’ was truly a game of two halves, a lo-fi take on bleep techno backed with his most Aphex-esque outing to date. New release ‘Thread’/’North’ is even better. On the former an ominous techno track suddenly erupts into Welsh’s singular take on Hi-NRG, the latter sounds like a reverb-drenched shoegaze remix of Boards Of Canada. Vital and very exciting.
SOUNDS LIKE? Claro Intelecto, Telefon Tel Aviv, Chris & Cosey
MICHIGAN-BORN but based in London for over a decade, Karen Gwyer has carved a space all of her own within electronic music. Early releases via the capital’s own No Pain In Pop label saw her hover in the misty wastes between ambient electronica and leftfield techno, playing with oddball beat patternsand dense soundscapes. Gwyer’s latest effort — her debut LP for Don’t Be Afraid (and second overall), ‘Rembo’ — finds her trending further towards the dancefloor, composed primarily of hypnotic cuts with solid percussive backbones. The album combines elements of prog, electro and dusty techno, withharder drumwork in tracks such as ‘The Workers Are On Strike’ and ‘He’s Been Teaching Me To Drive’ offset by twinkling, dreamlike atmospherics. Gwyer’s talent for building heady, evolving rollers stems from her live performances, during which she’ll develop productions over the course of several shows. As such, whether it’s in the club or on record, Karen Gwyer is an essential pick for any discerning muso!
SOUNDS LIKE? Call Super, MGUN, Bruce
Makcim-um minimal tech
MAKCIM IS the Moscow-born, Amsterdam-based DJ/producer making classy stripped-back tech-house which has seen release on labels including Apollonia, Lazare Hoche and Raum...Musik. A regular at Berlin’s Club der Visionaere, Hoppetosse and Arena club, this year has seen him spin at Slapfunk’s afterhours party in Amsterdam, and land a spot at the planned Fuse London x VBX showcase at London’s Village Underground in September. Real name Makcim Donskoi, he regularly works alongside studio partner Levi Verspeek as Makcim & Levi, who together were responsible for ‘1055ML’, which has been simply huge this summer. ‘Blorp ap’, from the pair’s recent release on the VBX label, is a perfect summation of what the duo can do too — wonky oor-focused tech that’s fast becoming a favourite of discerning selectors on the minimal circuit.
SOUNDS LIKE? Diego Krause, Lazare Hoche, Brawther
Raxon, rax off
HAVING CONQUERED the less recognised rave area just to the east of the Mediterranean, in his move to Barcelona Egyptian born DJ/producer Raxon now seems intent on taking on the region to the west. Short of 10 years into his career it’s a bold move, but no less bold than his initial decision to quit architecture in pursuit of this dream. A statement of both intent and a growing pro ciency, his productions have sonically shifted up in gear of late. Recent remixes of Noir & Olivier Giacomotto’s ‘Reste’ and, perhaps even better, Oliver Huntemann’s ‘Rotlicht’ have con dently reined in the originals’ exuberance, following instead a darker, full-bodied approach. New EP ‘Delta’ on Gardens Of God’s ‘Sodai’ is a con dent shift again, into uncompromising, Chicago-tinged techno.
SOUNDS LIKE? Maceo Plex, Tale Of Us, Solomun
Bow down to the Earl
FOLLOWING A few years dropping on a plethora of releases across the likes of Subtle Audio, Plush Recordings and Heresy Beats, Manchester beatmaker Earl Grey found a home on Inperspective Records last year with a two-track 12”, titled ‘Dorsi exion’/‘Karmic Sprain’. For 2017, Grey is back with his debut album ‘Headwinds’ — his most de ning work to date. Building upon the percussion-heavy style laid down in previous efforts, the LP showcases just how exquisite Grey’s drumwork can be. Harnessing the energy of organic-sounding beats, arranged in intricate, rolling but madcap formations, and contrasted by oaty pads, Grey weaves order out of chaos, creating tracks that are both intriguing and sublime. With the album offering hard Amenist slammers and chin-stroking drum workouts, plus featuring a number of skits at different tempos, Grey’s versatility and raw talent is impossible to deny — get to know him ASAP!
SOUNDS LIKE? Photek, LTJ Bukem, Peshay