Cheeky Bubblers: nine acts you need to hear this month
The latest and greatest DJs and producers rising to the top this month. From haunting experimental sound design and rare funk to lush drum & bass and harrowing electro, here's June's list of next-gen talent you need to know about...
Growing up in a small Utah town with “a side of conservative Mormonism”, the now Berlin-based Moderna soon discovered music was a way out. After playing in a noise band using proper analogue gear, she naturally progressed to experimental electronic sounds and now produces her own raw fusions of acid, techno and electro.
Despite being “a fairly low-key person” with a sage-burning, crystal-loving hippie side, her DJ sets are intoxicating mixes of strobes, smoke machines and visuals and have taken her on tour all around the world, from Rex in Paris to Womb in Tokyo. Her rugged grooves come on labels like Kill The DJ and La Dame Noir, she has a third collaborative EP with Theus Mago on the way, and a debut album is also in the works. 2018, then, could well be her year.
FOR FANS OF: The Hacker, Helena Hauff, Miss Kittin
FOR FANS OF: Charlie Bones, Benji B, Bradley Zero
London-born Klein is an artist that refuses to conform to the restrictions of genre. It was two self-released EPs in 2016 that gained her notoriety, with most tracks starting with her own voice as the initial tool. Her ‘Tommy’ EP on Hyperdub last year was an out-there piece of sound design; in ‘Cry Theme’ she chopped and re-pitched vocals with jilted piano melodies, and haunting loops that crescendo into chaos. Her latest EP ‘CC’ is a seven-tracker using much of the same production mastery. The final track ‘Last Chance’ is a sorrowful R&B acapella with guttural re-pitches and field recordings; an example of how her work can go from bittersweet melody to dark and twisted in one sharp breath. Unique in the fact that she can evoke opposing emotions all at once, it wouldn’t sound unfamiliar in a thriller movie score. Her discordant sounds have built her a solid following worldwide, last month touring Australia and Japan.
FOR FANS OF: Burial, Yves Tumor, Pan Daijing
He’s come from nowhere. He’s given d&b a clutch of significant cross-scene-hammered bangers this year (including a High Contrast bootleg that’s never likely to be liberated from dubplate mythology). He gives tunes ridiculous titles like ‘Chicken In A Spacesuit’ and ‘Bootstrap Bill’. He’s signed to Hospital Records. No one’s really sure who he actually is. Yes, it’s UK producer Unglued. Arguably the most successful new-gen artist to emerge in drum & bass since Benny L, he’s even managed to hoodwink BBC Radio 1’s d&b ambassador Rene LaVice, who suggested on air that Unglued sounded like renowned and hugely respected d&b don Break. Game entrances and peer references don’t come much stronger. The fact he’s a vinyl aficionado and regularly plays records that are almost as old as he is simply adds more credibility and fuel to his mysterious fire. He might have come from nowhere but he’s certainly heading somewhere.
FOR FANS OF: Break, S.P.Y, Serum
BECCA JANE GREY
If you’ve spent more than a minute or two poking around the more vocal quarters of drum & bass, we guarantee you’ll have been bewitched by Becca Jane Grey’s distinctive dulcets. Having quit her career in fashion to study music and pursue her calling as a singer/songwriter, her vocals and lyrics are laced with a sense of realness, honesty and soulful urgency that’s become a signature style for the London artist. Rising to prominence on Keeno’s glistening stepper ‘Light Cascading’ last year, Becca can be found on numerous key d&b labels such as Hospital, Spearhead and Med School — her discography reads like a who’s who of deep d&b. Recent releases have been with the likes of Logistics, Keeno, Bert H, Macca & Loz Contreras and Dexcell, while forthcoming collaborations with Chords, Hybrid Minds & InsideInfo, GLXY and Pola & Bryson are on the horizon. If you haven’t been bewitched by Becca Jane Grey’s distinctive vocals yet, we guarantee you will be soon.
FOR FANS OF: Hybrid Minds, Riya, Etherwood
Although it was born in Chicago in the ‘80s, acid techno may have found a new home in Melbourne, Australia. Lucas Hatzisavas, aka Lou Karsh, was raised in Oz and has just delivered the 11th release on label, X-Kalay — an EP that has had acid heads in a frenzy. Alongside crunchy drum loops from the TR-909, tracks like ‘Ataraxia’ explore the deeper side of the genre with eloquent dreamy pads underlying constantly evolving 303 lines. Right now he’s gone undercover with another alias — Reptant — and has new tunes out on Salt Mines exploring much of the same, with ‘Subcommunication’ paying dues to the early ‘90s breaks era. He’s a hardware junkie and now has a live show to prove it, currently touring the UK, Romania, Germany, France and Belgium. If that wasn’t enough to boast about, this talented 22-year-old also launched his very own LKR Records — and there’s more to come. Think Mr Fingers inspiration for a new generation.
FOR FANS OF: A Guy Called Gerald, Phuture, Paranoid London
Roza Terenzi is the latest Australian artist to be building a name here in Europe. She hails from the beautiful beaches of Western Australia and as long as she can remember was hanging out in her dad’s home studio. These days she’s a self-confessed raver who spends as much time as possible on the dance oor, and that comes over in her productions. “I’ll either set out to make something more euphoric and uplifting, or something darker and more twisted,” she says.
Her latest house and electro trip on Voyage mixes dusty breakbeats, rush-y synths and bleepy melodies to arresting affect, and mirrors her own “pretty restless and energetic” character. As a DJ she is eclectic and hard to pin down to anything other than dynamic, rhythmic selections, but soon heads to Europe on a three month tour so you can check her out for yourself.
FOR FANS OF: Violet, DJ Boring, Nicolas Lutz
With a discography that includes Helena Hauff’s Return To Disorder, Blackest Ever Black, Mannequin and Jealous God, it’s clear to see that Tomas More, aka December, takes no prisoners. The French native’s early work can be heard on British label Where To Now? in the form of a six-track cassette tape that explores gritty, raw and roughed-up sound textures. These days Tomas’ productions combine distorted industrial techno with dark and twisted EBM in his own playful way. He’s a regular on the airwaves on Rinse FM France, a perfect outlet for his delightfully obscure and avant-garde selections, with previous guests including Elena Colombi, JASSS and Alienata. His next release will be on Rotterdam label Pinkman, collaborating with Danish- based øjeRum for the artwork making this vinyl a sure- re collectors item. Over the last few months he’s played Romania, Amsterdam, Poland, Berlin and St Petersburg, and the gigs keep rolling in — it’s beginning to look like December all year round...
FOR FANS OF: Elena Colombi, Alessandro Adriani, Identified Patient
Darwin likes to keep things low-key. She doesn’t want to reveal her real name and there’s very little information about her online. She hails from a “redneck” and freezing cold town in Canada but currently lives in Berlin where she’s resident at Griessmuehle and serves up sets that are consistently “bottom heavy” and filled with low-ends, “snappy breaks and [an] air of moodiness”. It’s a gritty, bass and breakbeat-centric style that isn’t that common in Berlin, but makes perfect sense in the rough and ready Griessmuehle.
“It’s hands down the biggest for me,” she says of the in uence UK music has on her sound. That’s also reflected in the label she runs, SPE:C, which kicked off with an EP from Bristol-raised Decka, and has since put out two more releases from the same artist. Darwin says she has “a very direct vision in all aspects of my life”, so the label is a way to define her own musical world. “I always release new artists, because I like the idea of being able to support up-and-comers and give them a platform to grow.”
FOR FANS OF: Ben UFO, Hodge, Umfang
Copyright Thrust Publishing Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.djmag.com as the source.