11 emerging artists you need to hear this September
The latest and greatest DJs and producers rising to the top this month. From fiery percussive club music and techno to celestial synths and deep house here's September 2021’s list of upcoming talent you should be keeping track of
Italian-born, London-based Giulia Tess’ genre-defying releases glide between off-kilter techno, dancehall rhythms, leftfield electronica and more. So far, they’ve caught the attention of labels such as Fever AM, More Time Records and Jamz Supernova’s Future Bounce, and her first release of 2021 comes as an EP entitled ‘200417’ on Ross From Friends’ label Scarlet Tiger. On the title track, cosmic worlds collide with interplanetary bleeps and pensive synths that glide skywards across off-kilter rhythms.
‘Hey’ is another fine example of her morphing style, with high energy, chopped up vocals, while the undulating rhythms of ‘Mesto Ritma’ feature the vocals of London artist ioieo. Label boss Ross From Friends has also remixed the latter, completing an EP that’s sure to bring Tess further into the spotlight. She’s made a mark on the London DJ circuit too, recently participating in the System Revival live stream series at FOLD, and presents a monthly show on independent London radio station Threads.
For fans of: Mor Elian, Batu, LCY
Words: Anna Wall
Lusaka, Zambia’s SHE Spells Doom has developed his sound patiently over the past decade. Subtle influences of ’80s sci-fi and horror (a result of his parents running a video rental store when he was a kid) merge with the hefty gloss of ’00s hip-hop and the percussive energy of African dance music, all woven together through a tapestry of house and techno. Having developed a love for club-focused music while living in Geneva, the producer and DJ, who began his musical journey as a rapper, has developed a distinct, hyperkinetic style that blends buoyant melodies with hard-hitting beats.
In the last couple of years, SHE Spells Doom has released EPs and tracks on labels including New York’s Creme and Sweat Equity, London’s NEVER DECAY and France-based Monstart, as well as sharing numerous standalone cuts and remixes on his own Bandcamp. In August, he released a fiery triptych of club belters on All Centre, and he has also contributed a track to Berlin club Tresor’s massive 30th anniversary comp, due out in October. SHE Spells Doom season is upon us.
For fans of: DJ Swisha, DJ Lag, MoMA Ready
Words: Eoin Murray
Mauritius-born, Paris-based DJ and producer GЯEG has made 2021 his most prolific year yet. Resident DJ for La Creole — one of the most distinctive party collectives based in Paris — and member of ever-growing crew, Boukan Records, the 20-year-old showcases his eclectic ear further through his monthly residency on Rinse France. The end of June marked the release of his debut EP, ‘Eau Coulée Smart City’ — four tracks filled to the brim with a potent amalgamation of kuduro, jungle, shatta and more.
The EP meticulously blends this mixture of musical influences, most notably in ‘Dembow Tronico’. With this track, GREG presents an adrenaline-charged banger, cooked up in collaboration with French producer/ beatmaker King Doudou, who has an armoury of hits that includes productions for PNL and J Balvin. An idyllic, 16-minute, fast-paced concoction, ‘Eau Coulée Smart City’ sets the precedent for future sounds to come from GЯEG.
For fans of: Jaymie Silk, Ben UFO, Kampire
Words: Niamh Ingram
‘Mála Ádh’, meaning ‘Lucky Bag’ in Irish, is the name Céilí chose for the record label he launched last summer. The Offaly-born artist intends to use it as a platform to showcase a motley crew of talents alongside his own leathery productions. A vinyl and digital V/A-focused imprint, it’s where Céilí continues to flourish as a producer as well as a curator, with the first release delivered by MarcelDune, DJ Ketaflush, Cressida, Wheez-ie, Julien Andreas and Céilí himself.
Based in London, Céilí hosts a bi-monthly show on Threads Radio, and has produced gnarly rhythms for the labels BPitch, Obscuur and Lobster Theremin. Expect to see him spinning a powerful selection of techno, acid, Goa trance and electro as clubs finally begin to open up again. Aural serotonin, guaranteed.
For fans of: Pounding Grooves, Marc Acardipane, Manni Dee
Words: Niamh O’Connor
Everyone needs a dose of fka.m4a in their lives. The London-born artist moved to Berlin over two years ago and remains a constant source of warmth on the airwaves of the city’s HÖR Radio, where they bounce between Italo disco, chunky house, hi-NRG beats and pepperings of psychedelic techno with exuberant energy.
Standing out like the intricately-coloured tattoos emblazoned on their chest, fka.m4a’s seamless, feel-good mixes have anchored their presence in Berlin’s dance music and queer scene. Recently signed to Apelago agency, there’s no doubt fka. m4a is ready to take on an increasingly busy schedule of bookings that will propel their radiant sound worldwide, and the’ve begun to drop hints online about a solo production in the works, due for release at the end of the year.
For fans of: Honey Soundsystem, Honey Dijon, Gerd Janson
Maya Q was born in the United States, but is now based in London. She first came into the limelight with a debut EP on DJ Pitch’s All Centre label that cruised through a variety of UK sounds; the 2-step rhythms and irresistibly catchy hook on ‘I Just Wanna’, the broken beats and UK funky shuffle of ‘Saunton Sands’, and junglist drills on ‘Are My Close (For Joe)’ displayed her diversity. Her recent track ‘Belief’ on Scuffed Recordings is all about the rolling breaks and some seriously sub-heavy bass.
She has a track called ‘My Heart’ out via not-for-profit charity label and cassette tape mix series, Sticky Tapes, as part of its first birthday compilation alongside the likes of ELLES, Jossy Mitsu and LUXE, the proceeds from which go to The Samaritans, and is also a resident for Co-Select, the London-based collective with a focus on equality and balanced line-ups. Maya Q appeared on their compilation released last year, with all proceeds being donated to the UK QTIBIPOC emergency relief and hardship fund.
For fans of: Fauzia, Interplanetary Criminal, DJ Crisps
Words: Anna Wall
For fans of deep house, music doesn’t get much better than ‘Moses,’ produced by South Africa’s Tsépang Setipa, who releases under the Solodo banner. Released this past July on Iron Rods Music/Music Matters, the track’s placid yet bumping rhythm provides the scaffolding for muted chords, hovering synth pads and lead lines, all blanketed in copious amounts of dub effects and overlaid by guest vocalist Griffith Malo’s spiritually- inclined spoken words.
It’s one of a handful of beautifully rendered Sololo tracks, one that could pass for the work of an artist who’s been at it for decades. In reality, though, Setipa’s only been releasing music for a couple of years, with his skills as a house producer evident from the start — more proof of the pure quality coming from South Africa right now. We’re promised more Sololo music soon, and we can’t wait.
For fans of: Larry Heard, Rick Wade, Osunlade
Words: Bruce Tantum
Quality wins out over quantity — and Malik Hendricks is proof. Based in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, the DJ and producer has released only a handful of tunes over the past few years: A couple of solo EPs, tracks on compilations from the Coloring Lessons and Darker Than Wax labels, and a few misty-eyed house edits under the Malik Da Freek moniker. Nearly without exception, they’re gems.
On the recent ‘Cutting Shapes’ EP on Coloring Lessons, for instance, Hendricks conjures up a dreamland version of club music, alchemizing what might seem like fairly standard house tropes — jazzy chord progressions, rolling hand percussion, well-chosen vocal samples — into something quite magical. His next release will be the vinyl-only ‘Blue Flame’ EP on Bliss Point Recordings, though due to the current backlog at pressing plants, it might be months before the record actually sees the light of day. In the meantime, take the time to explore Hendricks’s short yet exquisite discography.
For fans of: Byron The Aquarius, Jenifa Mayanja, Ron Trent
Words: Bruce Tantum
When Alex Wagner (aka ASW or ‘A Single Wave’) was diagnosed with bipolar disorder back in 2013, he leaned into self-discovery and began volunteering for Crisis Text Line so as to help others facing similar struggles. His newest concept EP, ‘Dahlia’ (which dropped via Popgang Records in August) turns his visceral life experiences into sonic art, and has been the basis for a fundraising series that has raised thousands of dollars for the same national nonprofit. The collection is filled with deep vocals, steady percussion, and soothing progressive house beats that may bring peace to weary listeners. ‘Soil And The Seed,’ the EP’s third single, is an especially cathartic listen with a deeply personal message.
“‘Soil And The Seed’ is the acceptance of life as a flawed, uncomfortable, dark, beautiful ride. This acceptance heightens us. Makes us present,” ASW explains. “I wrote ‘Soil And The Seed’ about those who hide from this truth, fear it, but eventually let go, embrace it.” It’s safe to say the experimental queer artist and mental health advocate has accomplished just that, with thoughtful melodies that effectively free the soul.
For Fans Of: PRAANA, VOLO, Tycho
Words: Megan Venzin
At only 18 years old, Mau5trap’s newest wunderkind, Lamorn, wows audiences with his unique live sets and mesmerizing melodic productions. After winning a remix competition for his take on Deadmau5 & ATTLAS’s ‘Half Light,’ the accomplished producer and guitarist was asked personally by label boss Joel Zimmerman to lend his treatment to Deadmau5 & Kieza’s single ‘Bridged By A Lightwave,’ which transformed the heart-pumping tune into something sweet and mid-tempo.
In July, he made his New York performance debut at The Brooklyn Mirage, and around the same time dropped ‘Physical Layer’ — a string-laced, electro house serenade that’s sunny, vibey, and a promising sign of what’s to come from this versatile, young musician. It’s worth noting that his two-track August release ‘Lonely Light’ has a darker edge, but lingers all the same.
For Fans Of: Big Wild, Kill Paris, Madeon
Words: Megan Venzin
The glitchy, computerized hymns of helloworld are clearly recognizable, even if the producer behind their creation is not. After turning heads with their debut single ‘Voices,’ featuring the angelic tones of Pauline Herr, helloworld was plucked up by Insomniac Records’ Lost In Dreams sub label, which released the mysterious producer’s sophomore single ‘only way out’ just last month. Bolstering emotional lyrics is a euphoric, chipped-out symphony of ascending keys, energetic bleeps, and immersive synths.
Don’t spend too much time trying to unravel the riddle that is helloworld. Instead, turn the volume up and plot a well-deserved escape — after all, it’s what the enigmatic artist ordered.
For Fans Of: Ducky, Moore Kismet, Virtual Self
Words: Megan Venzin