10 emerging artists you need to hear this December
The latest and greatest DJs and producers rising to the top this month. From bass-powered techno, breaks and electro to digicore and synth-scored house, here's December 2021’s list of upcoming talent you should be keeping track of
Recording a handful of live-streamed sets — including appearances on Beatport Selects and HÖR Radio — AUCO brought the flavours of UK jungle, footwork, dubstep and IDM online during 2020 and 2021, delivering multiple doses of bass-powered rhythms. When clubs re-opened in Germany, the South London-born, Berlin-based AUCO took their cuts of jungle and dubstep to St. Thomas Church for a night that encouraged freedom and unification in a safe space.
They also DJ’d at Balance Festival alongside dancer Elle Fierce and visual artist Vanessa Opoku. Having launched the DIY party Infinite Quest with Lake District native Neana in 2018, the pair’s yin-yang dynamic in the booth carries through to their monthly b2b show on the community-led Cashmere Radio. In November, Infinite Quest launched as a record label too, with AUCO dropping their debut, self-titled EP (Neana will follow suit next year). Niamh O’Connor
For fans of: Mala, Kikelomo, Anz
Photo credit: Rachel Israela
Marie Montexier — part DJ, part storyteller. The Cologne-based DJ’s collection spans techno, electro and breaks, but it’s the way Marie layers these sounds together that has garnered her a growing legion of fans. Breaking through during a globally challenging time, Marie brought her record bag to HÖR Radio and recorded a stream for Berlin’s postponed Fluid Festival while clubs were closed.
The recent launch of her label Paryìa saw an EP by German-Turkish artist a.b.u.3.0.3 come to light, with the imprint evolving into an event series next year at Gewölbe, Cologne, where Marie is a resident DJ. Paryìa reflects Marie’s tendency to cross-pollinate genres, and she tells DJ Mag the next two releases come from Vancouver and Dublin-born artists, respectively. Ending the year on a high, Marie will make her Berghain debut, before celebrating five years of the Berlin-based Warning party alongside fellow DJs from the collective in 2022. Niamh O’Connor
For fans of: Freddy K, Sunil Sharpe, Dr. Rubinstein
Photo credit: Mathilda Noelia
Bristol-based Jurango has been making a real mark with his production and DJing recently. He’s notched up releases on the Livity Sound Reverse series, Intervention, [re]sources and more, with DJ sets for Keep Hush, Rinse FM, a recent Bleep mix, and a guest mix for Re:ni and Laksa’s NTS show. He’s previously DJ’d with grime label Coyote Records, playing some of their parties and Rinse FM shows alongside the likes of Last Japan and E.M.M.A., while his latest release on Livity Sound’s Reverse series is a warped and sparse techno dancehall exploration, sitting confidently among the label’s impressive back-catalogue. Bristol’s dubstep and soundsystem influence shines through under driven, ice-cold percussion — these are tastefully produced dancefloor tools, full of tension. We’re keen to see what else he’s got up his sleeve. Alan Flindt
For fans of: Peverelist, Laksa, Batu
Digicore has been tapped as “the future of pop music” by more than a few magazines and websites, and while such predictions rarely pan out, you’ve got to admire the sub-genre’s go-for-broke brashness. It’s a playful, whatever-works kind of music, full of distorted video game bleeps and crunchy beats, that’s designed for (and generally made by) the very young — so it’s no surprise that one of digicore’s best practitioners, angelus, is all of 17 years old. Born in the UK to parents from Guadalupe and Germany, and growing up outside Paris, angelus cites everyone from the chameleonic Yves Tumor to superstar bedroom pop star Billie Eilish as influences.
There’s a bit of a bedroom pop vibe on their debut LP ,‘drama queen’, released on the new AMCO label — but it’s an idiosyncratic sort of bedroom pop, run through a hip-hop/trap/R&B filter, and approximately a zillion times rawer than Eilish’s lush productions. The album, brimming with collaborations with some of angelus’ digicore compatriots, is a fun, confident set of tunes — and who knows, it might even find a few fans among those of legal, club-going age. Bruce Tantum
For fans of: osquinn, Beabadoobee, kuru
Photo credit: Chris Orzel
Growing up on a number of musical genres across her native Seoul and Toronto, DJ and radio presenter Oh Annie Oh found herself drawn to the UK music scene and eventually dedicated herself to music full time. Over the last few years, she has established herself as a must-see DJ with her inspired mixes and edits. Alongside residencies on Rinse FM and Reprezent Radio, she is also the founder of Night Dreams, a club night specialising in hip-hop, drill, trap and Afrobeats.
Alongside music, she also runs and hosts the ‘Don’t Call Me “Exotic”’ podcast. Launched in response to the rise in anti-Asian hate, the show presents “an open conversation between POC in the creative industry to feel a sense of togetherness and unity”, and has hosted intimate and honest chats with the likes of Jordss and Almass Badat. Expect more from Oh Annie Oh in the new year as she continues her work, with more edits and remixes on the way. Nathan Tuft
For fans of: Kitty Cash, Kaytranada, Joe Kay
Photo credit: Ellis Scott
When Greek DJ and producer MarcelDune relocated from Athens to London in late 2020 amid a worldwide lockdown, she had little chance of experiencing club culture in the capital. Adjusting to her new home, Marcel produced blistering tracks via a setup of modular synthesizers and connected with other London-based artists online. However, when restrictions lifted in the city earlier this year, Marcel dived straight into the parties on offer, many of which she DJ’d at herself — a livestream with Boiler Room at The Cause and a debut gig in Paris with the Possession crew being recent highlights.
Carving out a sound that dips into metallic techno and experimental anomalies, Marcel’s sets and productions tend to induce palpitations; releases on Haven and Mála Ádh are shining examples. Before the year is out, Marcel will drop a release in collaboration with another artist, and contribute a hammering track to an upcoming V/A. Niamh O’Connor
For fans of: Chippy Nonstop, Brutalismus 3000, Anetha
Edmonton-based producer OBLVYN wants to welcome you to the inner workings of her mind. Her debut EP ‘Dream Theory’ dropped November 5th via Monstercat, and with the help of her nuanced, musically-rich compositions, this collection takes listeners on a sparkly excursion through her colorful dream cycle. The eight-track concept project has a rare dynamism that sound design aficionados will appreciate, and reflects a wide range of genres, from soaring synth-scored future bass to racing d&b, upbeat electro-house and immersive glitch-step. Bookended by a narrative intro and capped off with a sweet, lingering piano line, ‘Dream Theory’ is a delightful listen that borders on euphoric, and is truly anything but sleepy. Megan Venzin
For fans of: Madeon, Moore Kismet, Last Island
Tahiti boasts a small-yet-vibrant electronic music scene. Much of it revolves around the music known as ori deck, a style that fuses moombahton-derived rhythms, banks of whirring synths and a heightened melodic sense. That sound serves as the starting point for the music of the Polynesian/Parisian quintet QuinzeQuinze. QuinzeQuinze formed in 2013, and have spent the years since playing live, producing some exquisite music videos, and perfecting their distinctly cinematic brand of music.
Lyrically, the outfit works in the tradition of ōrero, which the band calls a “mystical, enigmatic, and pictorial” narrative of form. But most of all, it’s just very cool-sounding stuff, beautifully expressive, and positively otherworldly. In February, the band is releasing a seven-track EP called ‘Vārua,’ a record positively brimming with celestial vibes — it might be the record that takes QuinzeQuinze to the next level. Bruce Tantum
For fans of: Body Meat, Fantastic Mr Fox, Soundcloud’s ori dek playlist
Photo credit: Laurent Segretier
A high-profile marketing job wasn’t enough to keep Ali Story glued to her office chair. Nowadays, the classically trained orchestra musician turned producer and DJ from Northern Ireland is moving fast on her feet and honing her craft in the darker haunts of London. Earlier this year, she dropped ‘Higher Love,’ a piano house groove that snagged a nod as a BBC Radio 1 Daytime Tune Of The Week, and set the tone for an impressive run of high-profile releases and appearances at venues like Printworks.
More recently, Story caught the attention of Atlantic Records, which unveiled her tech-tinged single ‘Girls Who Like Boys’ via its new dance music imprint, Signal Supply. The track is a peak-time heater with a percolating texture, driven by an unusual use of vocal chops and energetic claps. These touches lend a stark contrast to the production approach demonstrated on ‘Deep’, an emotive thumper that hit airwaves last month and which touts a sexy lyrical treatment that will keep dancefloors sweltering on colder nights. Megan Venzin
For fans of: Jess Bays, Maxinne, Mella Dee
According to the mysterious masked bass producer Earl The Kid, there are two types of people in this world: People who love donuts, and liars. He’s of the former ilk, and since emerging on the scene has never hesitated to express his unwavering desire for breakfast-time confections, with projects like his ‘Dirty Dozen’ EP, which dropped earlier this year, as well as his newest dubstep thrasher ‘GLAZED ERROR’, which arrives in December via Echoes Collection.
Listeners shouldn’t let the sugary sweet title fool them — the track is a full-on snarler, powered by heavy builds and intense, crashing drops. That same week, WTF's That Sound will release his experimental trap rattler ‘Monogram Bass’, which brings listeners on an eerie, otherworldly journey with its hybrid production technique, distorted samples, and robotic effects. Earl has plans to bake up plenty more tunes in the studio this winter, so grab a piping hot cup of coffee and get to dunkin’ on those beats. Megan Venzin
For fans of: Bear Grillz, Subtronics, YVNG JALAPEÑO