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12 emerging artists you need to hear this May

The latest and greatest DJs and producers rising to the top this month. From deep Afro-house and trance-infused techno to atmospheric jungle and beyond, here's May 2022's list of upcoming talent you should be keeping track of

Mici
Miči

A rising star among deep and Afro-house lovers, vocalist and producer Miči’s Instagram feed reads like a blow-by-blow account of her story so far. The Londoner inadvertently launched her career last summer after uploading a series of clips, one of which included her singing over TekniQ’s ‘Amasiko’. Weeks later, leading Afro-house label Aluku Records released the vocal track on the Pretoria producer’s ‘Journey Of Transitions’ EP, throwing further light on the newcomer. 

Since then, she’s featured on records by deep house salwarts China Charmeleon and Kid Fonque, collaborated with Thandi Draai and even found time to release an EP with Afro-house titans Lemon & Herb. Miči moves easily between vocal styles, offering early ‘00s R&B runs one moment, gospel-like textures another and gentle scats the next, but this year she’ll take things further: look out for the self-produced ‘Lakeside’ single this summer, followed by an album near the end of the year. Ria Hylton

For fans of: Lemon & Herb, Thandi Draai, Bucie
Photo:  Ngima Thogo

RONI
RONI

French-Malaysian DJ RONI is in demand right now. Having discovered Parisian club culture aged 12, in the company of her mother, RONI’s dedication to dance music continues to flourish. Today, the Rinse France resident wields a sound that dips into breaks, bass, rave and techno — as does Nehza Records, the ecologically themed label she founded last year. Signing artists like Wanton Witch, Amaliah and Neida, she uses Nehza to celebrate and protect the earth’s natural beauty. She’s also a short film director — check out ‘DSO by Neida’ on YouTube, which reflects her colourful, classy and fun flair to a tee. 

Next up, RONI will play Drift festival in the Netherlands in June, a soon-to-be-announced Rhythm Section party in October with Bradley Zero, and a Positive Education event in November. In the meantime, her podcast for Possession is a high-powered mix that bounces from slamming drums to choppy breakbeat with an old-skool flavour. Niamh O’Connor

For fans of: Eris Drew, Mall Grab, Anz
Photo: Ghalia Kriaa

CAIVA
CAIVA

CAIVA’s debut EP ‘Fatigue’ on Lobster Theremin gives an insight into her experimental world. Released in March, it highlights her ability to nimbly blend hard-hitting techno with floaty trance and her own tingling vocals (she’s a singer, as well as producer and DJ). With a musical history playing sax and guitar, and at one point working at the Bavarian State Opera, CAIVA’s in-depth study of music theory shines alongside her diverse electronic palette. Although she’s a relatively new artist on the techno circuit, she’s already made a strong impression on HÖR Radio and on a podcast for THE BRVTALIST. 

Gliding from ghettotech to EBM to the kind of trance that induces an out-of-body experience, CAIVA’s aesthetic is tough but delicate and ethereal too. Bookings throughout Germany at Club Douala, Midsommar Festival, Paradox Club and more have allowed her to share her multi- textured sound with a growing fanbase, with plenty more in the pipeline for 2022. Niamh O’Connor

For fans of: Courtesy, Blue Hour, Modeselektor

Elliott Saloman
Elliott Saloman

Weymouth-born and Plymouth-based, Elliott Saloman first made waves in early 2021 with his ‘Jungle Minimalist’ EP for Vienna’s IN:DEEP label. The variety on offer — from hands-in-the-air Reese belter ‘Think You Love’ to the heavyweight, ritualistic ‘Necropolis’ — helped grab attention across the jungle d&b scene, but most key to its success was Saloman’s skippy drum programming and knack for twisting familiar sonics into unfamiliar shapes. 

Later in the year, Saloman launched his own Choppy Waters imprint, putting out four releases of his own material since. These include a rowdy two-track collaboration with Sempra and the four-track ‘Briny Deep’ EP, which features two most-excellent, idiosyncratic atmospheric jungle cuts, ‘Sea Chant’ and ‘Cavern’, plus a remix from another recent Bubbler, poisonfrog. His latest drop is a VIP of ‘Another Place’ — from the Choppy Waters debut — which sees him back on big room-pleasing, bass-bin-battering form. Ben Hindle

For fans of: Sully, Detboi, poisonfrog

Nahi Mitti
Nahi Mitti

There’s something genuinely unique about Nahi Mitti’s music, and her recent debut album, ‘Aisaund Sings’, on the Mutualism label, is a prime demonstration of that fact. Following a series of self-released tracks on Bandcamp, as well as a collaboration with anu on Daytimers and Stamp The Wax’s 2021 compilation, the UK artist’s nine-track LP blends elements of experimental club music, ambient, R&B and Punjabi giddha into a deeply expressive package — one that hypnotises as quickly as it thrills. 

Described by Nahi Mitti as a “collection of gusts and bubblings up of authenticity”, and with artwork that shows a mask held facing in towards the body, there is a sense of something personal at play in these tracks, even at their most abstract. Thick, rhythmic thuds are embellished with tempo-shifting tabla flourishes, while chirruping melodies, environmental audio and lucid FX swirl and swoop with a dreamlike unpredictability. The album’s sonic world reveals new moments of magic with each replay, introducing an artist we can’t wait to hear more from. Eoin Murray

For fans of: BFTT, aya, Enayet

Alec Lomami
Alec Lomami

Alec Lomami strives to break down borders through music. From the Democratic Republic of Congo, and now based in North Carolina having moved around a lot over the years, the DJ, producer, rapper, label co- founder and promoter brings a unifying, genre-free vision into everything he does, with a radiant sound that’s impossible to resist. As co-curator of the label Immaculate Taste alongside Mike Tambashe and Well$, Lomami has released music spanning Afro-house, R&B, hip-hop and pop, seeing particular success in the Nigerian alte scene with releases from acts like Cruel Santino, Aylø and Le Mav. 

His NO VISA party and mix series, which has hosted the likes of Kampire, Anna Morgan and Coco Em, is similarly open-ended, championing any sound from anywhere, as long as it makes feet move. It’s an ethos he carries into his own high-energy DJ sets. Lomami has some big things in the pipeline with NO VISA and Immaculate Taste in the coming months, including new releases from Well$, Nigeria’s LMBKSN and Senegal’s Baaba Maal, as well as parties in Paris and Cape Town. Eoin Murray

For fans of: Kampire, Juba, Coco Em
Photo: Paddy Gedi

Emissive
Emissive

Meticulous sound design, gently tumbling rhythms, and an ambience that verges on the melancholy, yet shot through with rays of lightness — that’s the sound of the five tracks on the ‘City Of Rooms’ EP. Originally out as a digital-only release on Telephone Explosion Records and just released on vinyl, it’s the work of Toronto’s Emissive (born Evan Jamal Vincent); it’s a sublime and flowing follow-up to the producer’s 2021 serene ‘Wave Science.’ It sounds like the work of an electronic music veteran, but ‘City Of Rooms’ is only his second release as a solo artist, though he and friend Ian Syrett also record as Active Rhythm — the pair’s eponymous 2020 EP on the excellent Pacific Rhythm label is also well worth tracking down.

Vincent’s lived in both Detroit and London, and those cities may have helped to refine his sound — there are ghosts of the former’s machine- tooled syncopation, as well as the crystalline arrangements of the kind of IDM that was coming out on UK labels like Warp or Rephlex in the ’90s. Those might serve as useful reference points — but really, Emissive’s otherworldly music is his alone. Bruce Tantum

For fans of: Aquarhythms, The Irresistible Force, Psyche

TĀLĀ
TĀLĀ

Iranian-British producer TĀLĀ may be known for her work behind the scenes, but she’s rightfully stepping into the spotlight now. She and Grammy winner Beat Butcha joined forces on BANKS’ massive single ‘Holding Back’ earlier this spring, and she takes the credit as executive producer on the pop star’s new album ‘Serpentina’. However, a quick peek into TĀLĀ’s R&B-meets-alt-electronic discography demonstrates a deeply defined sound all her own, complete with bold drums, expansive sonics, and world-infused beats that pay homage to her multicultural upbringing.

Recently, TĀLĀ has taken steps to champion female artists in the music industry, and a partnership with PRS x Indonesia resulted in a Digital Residency where she led production workshops for aspiring musicians, and incorporated a few of them on her new multi-sensory EP ’11,’ out in June — and it’s a dark, dynamic one to look forward to, at that. Megan Venzin

For fans of: BANKS, Chet Faker, Phutureprimitive

Funk Messiahs
Funk Messiahs

Squiggly synths, fluid horn arrangements, tasty guitar licks, cooing vocals, and an utterly groovesome rhythm section — those are the elements that make up ‘Save Me’, the first proper release from Funk Messiahs. The combo, mostly based in London, took form during the pandemic, and the song was a product of lockdown — its parts recorded remotely, files sent to and fro — but it possesses an utterly live feel that’s massively addictive.

Released on the new label Golden Ape Records, the track comes with a variety pack of remixes: Crazy P’s Ron Basejam locks the song into a disco groove while retaining its live feel, Michael Williams (in his Dark Wobble guise) adds a healthy dose of electronic grit, and Ben Pest supplies a hard-charging, festival-sized version that’s very much bonkers. As the band’s tagline says: “Saving people from the banal and leading them to the promised land of funk!” Bruce Tantum

For fans of: Atmosfear, Brass Construction, Pimps Of Joytime

Melle Brown
Melle Brown

UK producer Melle Brown meshes house music and neo-soul style with seamless finesse. After getting a nod from BBC 1 Radio for her 2021 single ‘Brown Eyes,’ she’s back with ‘One More Chance,’ which arrived via Monki & Friends last month. It’s a groovy cut with intoxicating drums, warm synths, and echo-filtered vocals, wrapped up with the sort of dreamy effervescence that hits just right during hazy sunrise sets.

In addition to her production prowess, Brown is also an accomplished host, having brought those talents to Apple Music’s Creative Studios in London where she’s interviewed scene legends like Nile Rodgers and Fraser T Smith, and as one of 10 women to be included in Universal’s “She is the Music” Program, we’d guess that there’s much to learn from this multifaceted artist. Checking her out stateside later this year may be a good place to kickstart that education. Megan Venzin

For fans of: Annie Mac, Jamz Supernova, Monki
Photo: P O'Sullivan

Medicine Singers
Medicine Singers

The seeds of Medicine Singers took root in 2017, when the experimentally-minded guitarist Yonatan Gat, best known for his work with Monotronix, joined forces with the Algonquin collective for a spontaneous live performance. Those roots have grown to bear fruit: Medicine Singers’ self-titled debut album is slated to be released this summer on the newly-formed Stone Tapes, a sub-label of Joyful Noise Recordings.

If lead single ‘Daybreak’ is anything to go by, that fruit will be pretty mind-blowing — squalls of electronic orchestration blanket intense percussion workouts, with chanted vocals sung in the Massachusett dialect of the Eastern Algonquian, a language with less than 10 fluent speakers remaining. The album as a whole, which tosses elements of psychedelic punk, spiritual jazz, and electronics into the mix, looks to be equally powerful, especially considering the list of collaborators — Thor Harris and Christopher Pravdica of experimental post-punk combo Swans, no wave icon Ikue Mori (perhaps best known for her work with DNA), and the spiritually-minded ambient artist Laraaji are among those on board. Bruce Tantum

For fans of: Huerco S, The Orb, Rhys Chatham
Photos: Ilka Schlockermann, Ming Wu, Peter Gannushkin, Žiga Koritnik; Collage: Ryan Hove

Ree
Ree

When Ree taught English at his father’s school in India, he didn’t realise he’d soon be adding an enviable list of production credits to his musical resume. After working alongside acts like Dimitri Vegas, Michael Calfan, and Tiësto, with whom he co-produced ‘Tomorrow (feat. 433)’ in 2020, the Swiss-Indian producer is finally attracting attention for his solo project, which sees him build lush, house-centric productions with atmospheric breakdowns and enveloping downtempo melodies.

His newest track, ‘Give Me A Reason,’ dropped on April 29th. It features Foushee on vocals, and is an exceptionally entrancing jam, soft and supple in its composition but with an undeniable groove that gives it a “sound of summer” stamp of approval. It should keep us feeling warm until the sunny season officially hits. Megan Venzin

For fans of: Duke Dumont, Disclosure, Gorgon City