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Eight emerging artists you need to hear: May 2024

The latest and greatest DJs and producers rising to the top this month. From bassy breaks and minimal techno to fizzing hyper-pop, experimental lo-fi and beyond, here’s May 2024’s list of upcoming talent you should be keeping track of

Black and white photo of ULTRA MIA on a bright green background
Credit: Emile Gauthier

Singer and musician ULTRA MIA’s new single ‘Thin Line’ is a marvel of gauzy synths, looming bass, subtle 2-step beats and expressive vocals. Only her second release, it’s a hugely confident step forwards for the Parisian artist. Influenced by classic R&B vocalists, ULTRA MIA also employs touches of modern dance music to arrive at a blend in a similar dimension to Erika De Casier and Kelela. Last year’s track ‘Neophyte’ had submerged jungle breaks beneath its expressive melodies, while the flip side to the new single, ‘Once A Week’, has celestial ambient elements woven between its soulful vocal.

Talking about her writing process, ULTRA MIA has said: “I ask myself: is it possible to create lyrics from poetry? I let the words reveal themselves to me. Both songs are about the same theme: control. So ultimately about trust and safety. Singing has been — still is — a wild journey. It puts me into such a vulnerable place that I usually hate it. The amount of resistance is insane. But I also cannot remember a time when I didn’t want to sing.” Expect more ULTRA MIA singles, and a debut EP, later this year. BEN MURPHY

For fans of: Erika De Casier, Tirzah, Kelela

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Shyam Anand, aka SNAD, aka Spandrel — also one third of the trio Mothership alongside Jakob Seidensticker and George Boronas — is not just a man of many aliases; he is also a shapeshifter of sounds. Under his SNAD moniker, releases on 20:20 Vision, Phonica AM and Long Vehicle last year illuminated him as one of the producers reviving minimal techno. His version is typically stripped but also effortlessly bouncy, and often with a welcomed hint of classic style deep house or dub techno.

As Spandrel, he delivered a debut album via Ba Dum Tish that played into the grooviest side of house music, breaks and UKG. His follow-up LP ‘The Intergalactic Gambler’ on a new imprint by Ben Boe (called Retro Future Space Agency) delved into deeper, trippier territories. It’s “swung MPC music with a penchant for delayed and reverbed out hardware synth stabs” as he describes it himself. He admits he couldn’t live without his MPC1000, which is the nucleus of all his productions, alongside other beloved hardware including his Roland JX-3P, E-mu Proteus 2000 and the E-mu Orbit. Born in Philadelphia and having lived in Chicago and Berlin, he’s a certified globe-trotter; with upcoming tours in Europe and the USA, keep an eye out for Spandrel in your city. ANNA WALL

For fans of: Bushwacka!, Charles Webster, Bassam

Head shot of TYPE on a bright green background

TYPE is an essential new name in jungle/drum & bass, but he’s been involved and honing his craft since the ’90s. Hooked by electro and hip-hop as a kid, he got swept up by the emergent d&b scene, becoming a DJ and producer, which evolved into a degree in sound design. He’s since made every kind of electronic music, but jungle/drum & bass and hip-hop/breakbeat have remained constants. TYPE tracks are characterised by abyssal lows and taut, custom-built breaks — hypnotic, drumfunk loops and maelstroms of clattering drums that feel desperate to tear free from whatever production magic binds them together.

He’s released via MC Conrad’s Resonance label, and Dexta’s SweetBox, delivering tracks like ‘Vibration’, with its gravity-well bass, and the menacing, sci-fi ‘Eclipse’, which has drawn fans from new-school star gyrofield to techno stalwart Nastia. He’s just dropped four tracks via Rupture LDN, featuring peak-time berserkers ‘SK85’ and ‘Force Majeure’, the steely ‘Sprinter’, and ‘Deeper Still’, where his signature break switches pair with globular bass. A hardware junkie — he also runs the excellent Tubedigga YouTube tutorial account, where he’s known as the MPC Jedi — TYPE utilises an arsenal of standalone workstations to produce and play live sets. “It’s a very intimate [world] which I have always felt comfortable in,” he explains. “I like working within a small self-contained sonic universe. Computers are amazing, but I feel so much more connected to a single machine.” BEN HINDLE

For fans of: Paradox, Double O, Rumbleton

Photo of Jaydonclover wearing a pink dress against a blue sky on a bright green background

Jaydonclover keeps going from strength to strength. The Birmingham native has released a solid stream of music over the last few years, and while her talent was obvious in her earlier work, it’s her most recent projects that have elevated her presence on the UK R&B scene. Blessed with a vocal style that borders on the ethereal, Jaydon has a way of blending the warmth of sensuality with the pain of heartbreak, and she has a knack for writing hooks that will be swirling around your memory long after the music fades.

Her debut album, ‘Recovering Lover’, released in 2019, was underpinned by the vulnerability that love affairs can expose and the anguish that follows when things fall apart. It was produced by fellow Birmingham artist, dylantheinfamous — aka Dylan Gray — who became Jaydon’s regular creative partner. His beats are the perfect counterpart for her songwriting, as perhaps best demonstrated on the 2023 release, ‘room service? volume two’, which also shone a light on Jaydon’s close proximity to UK hip-hop, thanks to features from Lee Scott and CLBRKS. An artist who is insistent on raising the bar with each new release, we can only expect more great things from Jaydonclover in the future. TIM FISH

For fans of: Baby Rose, Lyza Jane, Cleo Sol

Photo of Natalie Red wearing large black sunglasses on a bright green background
Natalie Red

The terms commonly used to describe hyperpop-tinged music — “fizzy”, “bubbly”, “perky” et al — certainly apply to the songs of the young Estonia-born, Finland-raised and London-based artist Natalie Red. But they only partially explain the appeal of her sound, one that owes as much to pure songcraft as it does to pink-hued eccentricity. She’s just in her early 20s, but her tracks have a certain pop maturity to them — she name-checks such chart-topping names as Ariana Grande as an influence, as well as artists like the pop-plus renegades of the Loud LDN collective.

You can hear hints of both of them, and a grab-bag full of others, in her music, starting with last year’s double-sided, buffed-to-a-sheen ‘Mad / Hit It’ single. The release gained her plenty of accolades, even in the mainstream press — but if anything, this past March’s propulsive, addictive ‘U Been On My Mind’ and April’s ‘Official’ are even better. Both appear on her new five-tracker, ‘Silence Through These Walls’, a wide-ranging set of tunes that touches on house, drum & bass, and general pop perfection. BRUCE TANTUM

For fans of: 100 gecs, Namasenda, Charli XCX

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Scarlet Veil

‘Sunder’, the lead track on Scarlet Veil’s debut LP ‘Every Fantasy’, leads with hymnal organ tones and gently pleading vocals, before lunging into a plus-sized chorus that owes as much to metal grandeur as it does to synthpop. It’s a perfect intro to the work of Baltimore vocalist Brandi Overstreet and Jacksonville’s Jerrod Tyler — the album swells with emotion, brimming with both despair and hope, intimate in its ethereal moments and majestic in its more bombastic passages. It’s the kind of music that would sound great at the right festival, preferably as the sun rises over a field of eyes-to-the-sky revellers.

Considering Overstreet and Tyler have only been releasing music for less than a year, ‘Every Fantasy’ is a remarkably assured work, but the pair aren’t exactly novices. Among her other musical endeavors, Overstreet’s been DJing breakbeats and drum & bass as Sodie since the early ’00s; Tyler, meanwhile, makes music under the WARLOK moniker. But with ‘Every Fantasy’, it’s likely that the pair have found the project that will fully resonate with fans of impressively grand electronics. BRUCE TANTUM

For fans of: Purity Ring, Holy Other, Crystal Skies

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Ella Romand

Fluttering keys, deep percussion and groovy melodies tie together Ella Romand’s signature sound, but listen carefully and you’ll get the undertones of a robust multicultural background, too. In her productions, the French-Brazilian, Miami-based live artist pays homage to the rhythms of her home country, and the places her artistry has taken her over the past 12 years — destinations like Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Germany, just to name a few.

As host of the Ellaments podcast, she weaves the best of such global sounds into a continuous mix, spotlighting emerging artists and labels within the deep, melodic and Afro-house spaces. In recent episodes, listeners likely caught her collaboration with Aaron Pfeiffer coined ‘Unforgettable’ — a lilting, jazzy tune that, as its title suggests, will leave a lasting impression as fans await plenty more in the pipeline, including a track alongside Mexican-Colombian producer and fellow instrumentalist, Sinego, a remix with the Tulum-based artist Paige, and a collaboration with rising Afro-house producer ARYMÉ. However, those who want to catch Romand in her actual element should swing by California’s Lightning In A Bottle later this month for a live set that promises a true transportive effect. MEGAN VENZIN

For fans of: Francis Mercier, DESIREE, Satori

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zensei ゼンセ〡

Art evolves. Canadian artist Dillon Wong, aka zensei ゼンセ〡, explores this notion with keen introspection in his newest ‘Sound Therapy’ EP, which arrived via Monstercat Silk earlier this spring. In this warm and enveloping collection, five dreamy cuts mesh the sensibilities of his earliest works with the textured soundscapes he’s known for today. “Each song is a chapter, connecting the dots between my progressive house beginnings that marked my entry into the world of production and the experimental lo-fi productions that reflect my current artistic vision,” he shares of the new project. “With a delicate balance of familiarity and progression, this EP invites you to witness the growth of my production, showcasing the coexistence of past and present.”

Though Wong has been in the game for some time, also producing as a member of the group Eminence, he’s fully come into his own with this body of work, which he attests is motivated by sheer emotion. “Music has served as my therapy even since I was young, it was the only thing that healed my wounds, even when no one else was around,” he says. “On this EP, I hope it can do the same for someone out there.” MEGAN VENZIN

For fans of: Chet Porter, Porter Robinson, Ryan Hemsworth