Manchester is a city where artists don’t feel constrained by genre, moving with ease between different scenes. EVABEE is one of the best examples of this approach, learning her craft at underground hip-hop cyphers and jungle raves, to become a songwriter and producer making waves within drum & bass.
With subtle, emotive vocals, EVABEE also effortlessly evokes neo soul and jazz, while time spent performing alongside Children Of Zeus and DRS resulted in her becoming one of the city’s best live acts. Working as a full-time creative, EVABEE also mentors young people, opening a studio as a safe space for women to create and explore their musical side.
EVABEE has accompanied solo releases with cuts on select labels including Swing Ting, Village Live, Circus Recordings and Flow Theory, priming her for a collaborative debut album that reflects on what she loves most about making music. Forthcoming in 2023 on DRS’ Space Cadet label, ‘Moments Of Clarity’ is a love letter to her scene, while also exploring themes of self, family, love and pain. “Each song is dedicated to one pivotal moment in my life, whether good or bad,” she says. Kamila Rymajdo
For fans of: Children Of Zeus, DRS, Fatima
In October, Matisa released her ‘Wonder’ EP on Mall Grab’s Steel City Dance Discs, channeling the original spirit of rave. Inspired by the excitement of getting ready for the club, the tracks — all named after types of make-up — travel through fast-paced breaks, chopped vox and chord stabs, all with a ’90s touch. Growing up in Rome and now residing in Florence, Matisa has been honing her production skills over the last three years since her debut release on Optimo Music.
Her EP ‘Peace Building’ on Moxie’s On Loop last year gained her plenty of support, and her DJ gigs have been gathering fast momentum this year too. She made her debut at Circo Loco in Ibiza this summer, as well as securing gigs in Helsinki, Vilnius, Paris, Berlin and London. To satisfy her growing fanbase in the capital, she’s back in London this month. Anna Wall
For fans of: Angel D’Lite, Roza Terenzi, Local Group
European305 are at the forefront of UK amapiano, bringing funky-infused riddims with a particular European twist to the dancefloor. Papercuts, K Legacy and Duncsuei witnessed the grime explosion as school kids, and dabbled in early UK funky, but it’s the piano wave that’s brought them to new musical heights, both at home and abroad.
In 2021, DJ Papercuts launched AmaFest, the UK’s largest open- air amapiano festival, and since 2020, the trio have released no less than 15 amapiano-focused music projects. If you compare their first record, ‘Funkyama Vol.1’, with their newest offering ‘Reunion EP’, it’s clear to see the musical direction of travel. Music collaborations with SA artist Kekzo have brought a finesse to the E305 sound, which seems to be making in-roads on the African continent — which begs the question: any plans to touch South African soil? “We plan to go this December — we have to,” replies Papercuts. “It’s changed a lot for us. We have to see it in its full element, it’s crucial to take us to the next level.” Ria Hylton
For fans of: Supa D, DJ IC, Charisse C
Photo: Michael C Hunter
London-based Sam Black, aka Slacker, inaugurates Bristol lynchpin Danielle’s new Soft Raw label with the multifaceted six-track EP ‘Damage To Be Undone’. Black has built up a buzz in recent years thanks to his potent production style, melding elements of jungle, electro, ambient and drum & bass into heady, atmospheric techno that’s primed for the inky corners of the club.
The Pseudonym Records co-founder flitted between light and dark moods on his debut album ‘What Would I Do With Saturn’, released last year, but here, Black is geared predominantly towards the dancefloor. The title track is seven minutes of captivating, propulsive twists and turns, as saturnine textures give way to racing drums, yawning synths and a menacing acid hook. Other highlights include the Amen-embracing ‘Dulled Voice Of Anger’, that’s by turns airy and pulverising, and the unexpectedly delicate ambient closer ‘Turning Stone Into Symbol’. Cleverly executed, contemporary sounds from an emerging UK producer who’s definitely no slouch. Claire Francis
For fans of: Solid Blake, Overmono, Andrea
Colombia-born ADI built her foundations in Bogotá, and has become an important part of the country’s scene. Playing alongside international artists and locals at esteemed venues such as El Rio and Video Club, and through running her own Automagicalley events, ADI has refined the art of diverse, explorative sets. Her vinyl collection is ever-growing, with records often discovered during her worldwide travels.
She prefers parties that aren't’ focused on the DJ; it’s more so about the experience and special moments created on the dancefloor. “It’s lovely when music takes over and it is no longer about an individual but about the collective experience,” she says.
Since relocating to Belgium, she’s been making an imprint across Europe, playing parties at Hoppetosse in Berlin, Waking Life in Portugal, and famed spots across Brussels, including Kiosk Radio. Her debut album, ‘Basic Moves 14’, came on Basic Moves in 2020, and it’s a beautiful musical representation of where she’s at as an artist; experimenting with intricate sounds, varying tempos and plenty of emotion. Her next release will come on Munich-based label Different Times. Anna Wall
For fans of: Jane Fitz, Nicolas Lutz, Margaret Dygas
As her moniker suggests, Bristol-based Raggo doesn’t mess about when it comes to delivering full-throttle sets. Like one of her inspirations, DJ Marky, Raggo’s sound takes in a wide spectrum of drum & bass — from sleek modern techstep to rowdy bass-fuelled belters and junglist encounters — but always maintains a relentlessly rolling momentum and upbeat energy on the dancefloor. She’s performed at festivals like Hospitality On The Beach, Boomtown and Outlook, and since making the move from London to the West Country, regularly reps for local crew Bad Girls Club/Tunnel Vision.
This year has seen her guesting for the likes of DJ Mag fave Sherry S on SWU.FM, delivering a no-holds-barred mix for BBC Introducing, celebrating The Mine’s 10th anniversary in Brighton, indulging some of her other musical interests by supporting UK hip-hop dons Datkid and Verb-T for her Sheffield debut, and laying down some UK funky back in Bristol on Bonfire Night. Now looking to pass her experience on to the next generation, Raggo is also in the process of setting up a DJ programme for women — look out for that come January 2023. Ben Hindle
For fans of: DJ Marky, Skeptical, Charli Brix
Mozes Mosuse, along with Oliver Geerts, was once a member of Ego Troopers, a duo that traded in a particularly raucous and grungy sort of acid house; later, the two formed Future Sound Of Antwerp, which split its short discography between tripped-out headphone material and full-on club fare. Now, Mosuse has gone through a full musical metamorphosis to emerge as Movulango. The first fruits of the project, the ‘Mirror In Man’ EP, has just come out on Deewee, the label run by Soulwax’s David and Stephen Dewaele, and it bears little resemblance to either Ego Troopers or Future Sound Of Antwerp: It’s closer to an electronic version of ’60s psyche-folk than the clubland sound of his earlier work.
Lead single ‘The Peak’ is a prime example of Mosuse’s current sound. A three-chord acoustic guitar riff layered over humming synths is anchored by a rock ’n’ roll-esque drum pattern; Mosuse’s voice floats above, and it all tumbles toward the most heavenly of choruses. There’s something charmingly idyllic about it, and the brothers Dewaele wouldn’t disagree — “We’ve always called him the psychedelic romantic of the studio,” they say. Bruce Tantum
For fans of: James Yuill, A Man Called Adam, Caribou
ALIGN’s music is for thinkers, dreamers, and those who seek solace in melodic, four-on-the-floor beats. The artist born James Fisher wants to soundtrack all of life’s moments. From morning commutes to lively dancefloors, his output as ALIGN finds its focus in feel-good melodies and immersive, swirling synth lines. Earlier this year, he dropped the ‘Clear My Mind’ EP, an enveloping three-track collection packed with cleverly re-pitched vocals, textured builds, and scintillating swells that elevate an already fresh take on electro house.
That was just one triumph in a year positively full of them, as this month marks his largest show to date when he headlines Lincoln Hall in his hometown of Chicago on December 2nd — a development that’s well-deserved, following appearances alongside scene- shaping artists like Louis The Child, Hayden James, and Madeon in recent years. For a good sense of what ALIGN does best, sink into his newest groove, ‘Steady,’ another buoyant treat featuring the lush tones of vocalist Max Green that just may be the best cure for seasonal affective disorder we’ve heard yet. Megan Venzin
For fans of: Madeon, Manila Killa, Jai Wolf
She’s been a force in the Netherlands as a DJ and party-starter for a while now, but 2022 was Cincity’s year. She’s had slots at Belgium’s Tomorrowland, Germany’s Fusion fest, and her home country’s Awakenings; a gig playing alongside Black Coffee in London, and a b2b session with Seth Troxler at Pikes in Ibiza; a remix for LevyM, Yves Eaux & Lazarusman’s ‘Out Out’ on the New York label Nervous, and the debut of a new event, Agartha, at Amsterdam’s Pleinvrees club.
That was all just a prelude to Cincity’s debut EP, ‘Kijiji’, just released on Floyd Lavine’s Afrikan Tales label. Rotterdam, where she lives, is a melting pot of a city, and the EP’s title track and its flip, ‘Lately’ — along with a pair of steller remixes from William Djoko and Enoo Nap — are a reflection of that. Spacious and dripping with emotion, both tracks are grandly ambitious stunners, kissed with Afro house influences but transcending the limitations of genre.
“Kijiji means village,” she says, “but I would describe it as the Village of Love. My kind of utopia, where people of all colours and backgrounds live together, a place where only love can save humanity... Love is not an easy thing, but we need to hold on to it — as it’s everything we’ve got.” Bruce Tantum
For fans of: Black Coffee, Manoo, William Djoko
Melbourne’s John Chamberlain melds the best of glitch-hop, hip-hop, and experimental bass into one “berserk” sound. Though he started playing piano at just six years old, 2017 marked the Aussie producer’s deep dive into electronic territory, wherein he joined the Adapted Records family and played at major festivals across his home continent.
He eventually turned heads at the fondly remembered Oregon Eclipse Festival, a showing that landed him as direct support later on for scene staples like Blanke, Sticky Buds, and K+Lab. In the half-decade since, he’s released on North American imprints like Westwood Recordings and Gravitas Recordings — the second being the longtime home of CloZee, the DJ Mag cover star who recently championed Chamberlain on her own Odyzey imprint. Pop ‘Muzique Vol. 2’ on, and find Chamberlain’s ‘Bite Me’ in the number four slot: It’s a deliciously twisted, vocal chop-driven heater that’s an apt introduction to his way-out-there stylings. It also stands out as the annual compilation’s funkiest, so dig in. Megan Venzin
For fans of: Gramatik, K+Lab, OPIUO
Two cultural hotspots find sonic harmony in ‘Galavision’, the newest EP from Mexican DJ and producer Paulina Rodriguez, aka Paurro. The five-track collection arrived via Cómeme on October 28th, and draws its influence from New York City’s pulsating dancefloors, as well as the signature sounds of Mexico City — the artist’s hometown. It’s a jacking melange of slick samples and fast-moving drums, slathered and stamped with a gritty, acidic touch. ‘They’re Here’, for example, is one of those grooves that rings nostalgic — it’s like a gem plucked straight from the setlist of a ’90s-era warehouse rave.
The rising star’s been championing CDMX’s scene for some time, working for the community-focused radio station Aire Libre (which sadly shut down earlier this year) and releasing critically acclaimed tunes via the local imprint Discos Sentimento. Still, ‘Galavision’ may be one of her most successful experiments of fusion to date, as one listen lives up to its reputation as being a fervent dose of “house music ecstasy.” Megan Venzin
For fans of: Danny Daze, Jubilee, Nala
House music is often made with little more than a drum machine, a synth, and a decent idea or two. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that — that’s the basis of some of the genre’s all-time classics — but there’s also something to be said for house that’s the end product of deep musical knowledge and serious chops. That’s the kind of music that Tommy MRali, a DJ and producer based in Pretoria, South Africa, has been making and playing since 2013, when he teamed up with a college friend under the Vynal Giants banner to release music that took in elements of deep house, jazz, Afro house, Latin music, R&B, and more, all imbued with a heavy dose of spirituality.
MRali’s music, much of it released on his own MRali Recordings, has continued in that vein in the years since; if anything, his tracks are even more richly soaring. Take the new ‘Error’, a collaboration with his fellow producer Modisa and vocalist Munaishe: it’s a sublimely dreamy tune, brimming with lush instrumentation and full of emotion. It’s the kind of track that would have sounded great at New York’s Body & Soul back in the fabled party’s heyday, and would work just as well on today’s likeminded dancefloors. Bruce Tantum
For fans of: Anthony Nicholson, Jazzuelle, St Germain