12 emerging artists you need to hear this April
The latest and greatest DJs and producers rising to the top this month. From soulful house and industrial techno to razor sharp rhythms and organ drones, here's April 2020’s list of upcoming talent you should be keeping track of
Whether she’s behind the decks or behind the scenes, Kristin Malossi is one of those people who simply makes things happen. A South Florida native who’s now spent nearly a decade in New York, many people first got to know her as a co-founder of the Working Women collective, which spent the past several years uplifting female-identifying artists before recently coming to a happy, mutual end. Throughout that time, Malossi has also been a fixture at The Lot Radio, and she’s currently in the midst of a residency at Noods Radio as well.
Beloved fanzine Love Injection counts her as a contributor, and then there’s her work with Nowadays (arguably NYC’s best club right now), where she’s a booker and resident DJ. Stylistically, Malossi is hard to pin down — her tagline is “energy and drama over genre” — which means the average DJ Voices set is bound to be a dynamic journey with plenty of tempo changes and other surprises.
For fans of: D. Tiffany, Martyn, DJ Marcelle
Gaining a reputation for her futuristic assemblages of everything from kuduro to trap, grime and weird bass music, Bonaventure may be a feted DJ, but it was as a producer that she first made her mark. The Swiss-Congolese artist (real name: Soraya Lutangu) started making music in 2015 and, when she uploaded the track ‘Complexion’ to SoundCloud at the start of 2016, she was contacted by Lausanne collective 823 to perform live at one of their events. It spurred her into creating lots of new material, and the performance gave her the confidence to take her music more seriously.
After being invited by Anastasia to do a guest slot on Berlin Community Radio, she was encouraged to hone her craft as a DJ, and now has a unique style that draws from such disparate genres as gabber and Jersey club. She’s also been prolific as a producer, releasing tracks on NON Worldwide, the unsettling electronics and R&B samples of the ‘Free Lutangu’ EP on Purple Tape Pedigree, and the laser-cut sound design and trap beats of ‘Mentor’ on Planet Mu. Original and forward facing, Bonaventure is going places.
For fans of: Aïsha Devi, Nkisi, Ziúr
On Board Music is the Berlin-based record label, party organisation, and booking agency celebrating its five-year landmark this year; the powerhouse behind it is French-born Laura BCR. As a DJ her skills are impeccable: she prefers to mix strictly vinyl, and displays a deep-rooted understanding of intricately produced techno as presented in her club sets and monthly Rinse FM France shows.
As a tastemaker — having managed the now-defunct Bass Cadet Records in Berlin for over three years — her knowledge spans further afield: the latest V/A, ‘Point B’, signed to her label features an ambient piece by Diane Barbé and atmospheric techno productions from Unamani and CORE. As she continues to build strong foundations as a DJ, promoter, label owner and agent, Laura remains a powerful force within the music industry.
For fans of: Mike Parker, Rrose, Erika
Eusebeia is an artist in high demand. Over the past five years he’s dropped over 10 EPs and singles everywhere from Loxy’s CX:Digital to Mindtrick, Literature Recordings, re:st and DJ Mag favourites Repertoire and Western Lore. And that’s before we even get to the six albums of material the South West UK artist has shared via his own Rebellion Electronics imprint. There is of course a reason behind this interest — Eusebeia’s productions are next level.
Often falling around a drum & bass pulse — though far from exclusively, as with his recent downtempo ‘Cardinal’ EP which made it into our January Killers section — his music is more easily defined by sound than speed. Eusebeia’s releases are tied together with a foundational musicality; thudding kicks and spidery percussion propel themselves through clouds of yawning pads, bass, and eerie choral harmonies. That’s not to say he doesn’t do savagery too; just takes the pummeling junglism of his new ‘Equal Rights + Justice’ EP. But even then, there’s a thread — something both primordial and cosmic — that taps into a very human need for rhythm and polyphony, and explains exactly why we can’t stop listening.
For fans of: Loxy, Ancestral Voices, Dan HabarNam
Combining her innate musical ability with the fundamentals of analogue and digital synthesis, American-born, Stockholm-based Kali Malone’s work portrays vast soundscapes and worlds of emotion, yet somehow still feels grounded. Experimenting with various forms, her critically acclaimed album ‘The Sacrificial Code’ — released on iDEAL last year — was recorded using three different organs, and is both haunting and beautiful in equal measure. 2019 also saw a collaboration with Acronym on Swedish label Stilla Ton veering into experimental ambient techno. Her last LP set the tone for her upcoming releases, with an organ and bass clarinet piece coming on Important Records as part of Duane Pitre’s ‘The Harmonic Series’, and another solo LP combining cello and double bass with electronics is in the works. Her live performances provide a snapshot into her instrumental methods.
For fans of: Tim Hecker, Maria w Horn, Caterina Barbieri
American producer Selective Response has only been releasing music since last year, and has already accumulated a loyal following for his jackhammer tunnel techno. Already a go-to artist for DJs such as Amelie Lens, Perc and Dax J, the Orange County, California creator has made noise with his label Crisis Of Man and tunes like ‘Sensory Deprivation’, a pure strobe-flickering thumpathon forged of little more than hefty kicks and hats, glowering low-end and industrial clanks. ‘Dark Dimension’, meanwhile, adds sulphuric torrents of acid to the mixture, a storm warning of raw techno fury.
Somewhat at odds with many perceptions of California as a sunny place that tends to generate laidback and positive sounds, Selective Response has described his music as “extremely aggressive and hard-hitting industrial and techno ranging from 132 to 146bpm”. If that’s your bag, then there’s plenty more to come this year.
For fans of: Dax J, Rebekah, Tommy Four Seven
He’s a promoter, a DJ, a producer, a youth-program director, and a noted freestyle dancer — in other words, the regally monikered Baronhawk Poitier is one of those intensely productive polymath types that can make everyone else feel like a slacker. A driving force behind the LGBTQI+ event series/DJ collective The NeedlExchange (TNX), Baronhawk’s been honing his studio chops in the years since scoring a grant to understudy with Baltimore house vet Karizma, and his new EP on the Honey Soundsystem label, ‘Temperado Tornado’, is the latest manifestation of his acquired knowledge. The release cycles through various house tropes — a little tech-stomp here, a touch of dubbed-out ambience there —but it’s the title track, an intense, percussion-heavy take on lush Salsoul-era disco, that’s won our hearts.
For fans of: Honey Soundsystem, Theo Parrish, Masters At Work
BRUX takes her message, her music, and her image very seriously. This Australian artist’s mysterious masked persona enables her to produce music and imagery connected by subtle dissonance as she takes a stance to address the social and material issues that plague our world in 2020. That doesn’t escape the specifics of dance music, where, on her debut EP ‘Fruit’ (released earlier this year), she flexes her talents as a producer, songwriter, and vocalist.
Creating an output with techno, house, and other electronic influences, BRUX’s lyrics are as complex as her productions, with tracks like ‘BWP (Bitches Want Pictures)’ delivering infectious club energy — and if you listen just close enough, a thought-provoking message too.
For fans of: Born Dirty, Tchami, Anna Lunoe
Cour T. hails from Brazil and represents the next generation of talented house music producers. At just 17 years old, he is the youngest member of the Dirtybird Records flock, but his age hasn’t hindered him from landing support from artists like FISHER, Claude VonStroke, Ardalan, and more. He was signed to the label last year with his track ‘Black Magic’, and was pronounced a Gen Z prodigy on the spot. A student of the Yellow DJ Academy, Cour T. has already made a name for himself in Brazil’s nightlife scene. His latest ‘Drum Machine’ EP has been ramping up plays since its release.
For fans of: Bruno Furlan, Steve Darko, Holt 88
After calling 16 cities home, Rossy finds a sense of belonging in music. For the last five years she’s been paying her dues, building a catalog of sweeping productions that mix trap and future bass with a sense of theatrical storytelling, that say it was time well-spent. Her latest collaborative release, ‘KOTA’, is an all-out floorfiller, which stands in stark contrast to many of her solo endeavors (‘Pain’ and ‘It Is You’ are standouts), that play back as deeply personal, semi-autobiographical accounts. Diverse and compelling, Rossy has a slew of singles set to release this year, so keep your eyes peeled.
For fans of: Alison Wonderland, San Holo, What So Not
Lubelski is riding high on the wave of soulful house music that has been flooding West Coast dancefloors in 2020. The Los Angeles-based producer is putting a unique spin on house and techno with his label Percomaniacs, a collaboration with fellow producer RYBO. Lubelski’s new album release ‘The Universal Groove’ on said label takes a deeper turn into house, and showcases his analog-driven style with nostalgic vocals an bouncing melodies. He first emerged on the scene through Desert Hearts Records, and has since then applied his musical background and knowledge of sound design to releases on imprints like Audiojack’s Gruuv, Dirtybird Records, and Observatory.
For fans of: Claude VonStroke, Lee Reynolds, RYBO
After topping the Beatport charts in 2019 with their hit singles ‘Snake’ and ‘Boom’, the UK-based producers also known as Charles Robinson and Aaron Taylor kicked off the new decade with their latest track ‘Remedy’ via Gorgon City’s REALM label. The deep house groove is another notch on their long list of successes to date. Since exploding onto the scene in 2015, PAX’s music has received support from Jamie Jones, The Martinez Brothers, and Hot Since 92, and their deep house beats have already filled a number of Europe’s most iconic venues and festivals including Hï Ibiza, Ibiza Rocks, Eastern Electrics, Abode in the Park and The Warehouse Project.
For fans of: Solardo, Jax Jones, Gorgon City