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12 emerging artists you need to hear this October

The latest and greatest DJs and producers rising to the top this month. From found sound turntablism, techno and two-step to experimental soul and glossy deep house, here's October 2021’s list of upcoming talent you should be keeping track of

SORAYA.

Albeit fresh to the DJing world — having been behind the decks for just over a year — SORAYA is making an impact within the techno scene in and around London. Her percussive, hypnotic track selections have landed her a monthly show on Reprezent radio, which consists of plenty of rolling techno and interviews with producers — in particular, women, non-binary people and artists from other marginalised communities. On this, she states that her main aim with DJing has “always been to connect the UK Black community with techno, so having a show on the biggest Black community radio station in the UK brings the biggest joy”. 

SORAYA continues this work through her residency and marketing lead role at Sisu — an inclusive community, providing an educational and inspirational platform for women and non-binary DJs and producers, which has recently celebrated its fourth birthday. Having cemented her presence virtually, and with the prospect of more real-life gigs on the way, the only way is up for the techno whizz. Niamh Ingram

For fans of: RIVA, Marron, DVS1 

Nicolas Duque

Nicolas Duque first burst onto the scene with a track on the 2020 ‘Breaks ‘N’ Pieces Vol. 2’ compilation, followed by his stunning debut EP ‘Breaks ‘N’ Pieces Vol. 6’. The Bogotá native’s musical tastes were shaped by time spent in NYC, the Netherlands and the UK; ‘Breaks ‘N’ Pieces Vol. 6’ is packed full of nods to the UK sound, with 2-step rhythms and breaks abounding. Standout track ‘2You’ is a masterclass in the art of the feel-good UKG R&B flip.

2021 has seen Duque feature on Dansu Discs’ ‘Dansu for Mental Health Vol.2’ and remix Oli-J and Benny Bridges’ ‘Stay With Me’. He’s also got more full EPs on the way later this year, and a track on Nuances de Nuit. Already playing gigs in Europe post-lockdown, keep your eye out for Nicolas Duque both on wax and in the dance. Dan Brashaw

For fans of: Bailey Ibbs, Denham Audio, MJ Cole

FAFF

Music has become a full-time gig for FAFF’s Elliott Clemenson and Orny Bosco. The DJ duo, who met whilst working behind the bar at Dalston Superstore, co- run East London vinyl cutting plant Cutsy, are Threads community radio regulars, and most recently released their debut EP ‘The Last Piglette’. The four-tracker is a roving experiment in breakbeat, acid, jungle and trance, pulling in a range of influences the pair have become well-known for. 

Despite their four-year stint playing b2b, FAFF was only born in early 2021, ushering in a new phase of collaboration: production. Clemenson and Bosco, who hail from Edinburgh and Marseilles respectively, are also preparing to add live sets to their evolving list of talents, but in the meantime fans can catch them at London’s Body Movements festival and another Big Dyke Energy edition this month — which Clemenson also happens to run. So much for faffing around. Ria Hylton

For fans of: Jaye Ward, LSDXOXO, Thugwidow

NikNak

Leeds-based Nicole Raymond, aka NikNak, is a multidimensional artist. Passionate about DJing, turntablism and music production, the sounds that she spins and those that she creates transcend genres, from hip-hop mixtapes to ambient explorations and beyond. Her self-released album ‘Bashi’ is a collection of found sounds that she recorded during a trip to Turkey, and re-recorded while cutting and chopping them live to create unique and diverse atmospheres. 

In 2020, she became the first turntablist to win The New BBC Radiophonic Workshop and PRS Foundation-backed Oram Award, she’s presented a TEDx Talk, teaches workshops in Leeds to inspire up-and-coming DJs, has shared her wisdom on various industry panels, and runs a podcast called The Narrative that features Black female identifying, trans and non-binary creatives in art, music, photography and more. Her passion for giving back to the community is strong, and right now there’s an abundance of gigs coming; fresh from performing at Shambino Festival this August with the 10-piece collective TC & The Groove Family, this September you can see her gracing the decks at Cafe Oto in London, Freight Island in Manchester, Chow Down in Leeds, and AME Festival in Huddersfield. Anna Wall

For fans of: DJ Shadow, Klein, Ceylan Göksel
Photo credit: Sophie Jouvenaar

Saadaan

Coventry-based producer and DJ Saadaan has fast made a name for himself through his self-released ‘Karachi Knights’ EPs — a series of dance music explorations that were inspired by multiple trips back to his native Pakistan back in 2019. Now into the third release, Saadaan’s EPs glide through genres, combining South Asian musical influences with UK-rooted sounds such as garage and 2-step, dubstep and more — just check out the heavy- hitting kick-drums of ‘Korangi Iron Works’ and the warping speed garage basslines of ‘Bittersweet’. 

His music has had an array of support over the last two years, from the likes of Nabihah Iqbal, Chippy Nonstop, Yung Singh, and across the airwaves on BBC Asian Network. The next release to come in his anticipated series will be ‘Karachi Knights: Indus Edition’, a compilation featuring remixes  of his previously released tracks by some of his favourite underground producers. Having produced, mixed and mastered each release, Saadaan is a true master of his trade. Anna Wall

For fans of: Yung Singh, Conducta, Sharda

Kilig

Since his debut release in 2019, Kilig’s atmospheric take on electronic music has received support from 6 Music, Radio 1 and Ben UFO. His tunes — released on the likes of Shall Not Fade, Scuffed Recordings and Origins — range from gorgeous, ambient slow burners to low-end- focused dancefloor workouts, showcasing an exciting artistic range.

‘Canvas’, his latest project, is entirely self-released, and has allowed the UK producer to gain a greater sense of creative control over his sound. That said, Kilig’s creativity extends beyond his music; the four tracks — ’Halfcab Heelflip’, ‘The Path’, ‘Go Back’ and ‘Honey’ — are each complemented by a unique piece of artwork painted by Kilig himself. Catch Kilig in the flesh in November at The Glove That Fits, and at Mall Grab’s night at Motion, where he’s curated the second room, selecting Mixtress and Yushh to join him on the decks. Dan Brashaw

For fans of: Ross From Friends, Cameo Blush, Nikki Nair

:3LON

Avant-soul? Way-alt-R&B? Something beamed in from the outer reaches of our reality? However you’d like to describe it, Baltimore’s Elon Battle has been perfecting this sound since 2014 when, out of seemingly nowhere, they debuted with ‘Portraits’. With their hugely expressive, supple vocals as the centerpiece, surrounded by swirling synths and stuttering effects, it set the template for their adventurous style. 

:3LON has been slowly widening their circle of acolytes since then, via a patient drip of equally emotive releases. That circle’s circumference undoubtedly has grown considerably with the recent release of ‘Flex’, a collaboration with Scratchclart (the producer otherwise known as Scratcha DVA) off the recent ‘Afrotek’ EP, released on Kode9’s Hyperdub label. With Battle’s confidently flowing voice gliding over the tune’s gqom-inspired rhythms, it’s the kind of track that defies easy labels, something you could say about most of :3LON’s music. Bruce Tantum

For fans of: Jasper Tygner, Jessy Lanza, Lee Gamble
Photo credit: Jacob Marley 

Colloboh

It’s not every day that a single track from a new artist can turn you into an instant fan, but ‘RPM+,’ released this past August on LA’s Leaving Records, is that kind of song. The work of Collins Oboh, producing under the Colloboh moniker, the tune consists of an interlocking array of polyrhythms and a tumbling melody played on what sounds like a synth-kalimba — and it’s absolutely mesmerizing. The track is a followup to his June debut, the self-released breakbeat stunner ‘Zero Day,’ and serves as a warmup for his forthcoming ‘Entity Relation’ EP on Leaving, a five-track collection of tunes that showcases the producer’s experimental inclinations with warmth and humanity. 

There’s not much biographical info on Oboh as of yet, other than the fact that he was born in Nigeria, lives in Baltimore, is 26 and likes to work with modular synths — but based on what we’ve heard so far, we’ll be learning a lot more about him soon. Bruce Tantum

For fans of: Suboken, Four Tet, Luke Vibert

Anyasa

Soon after launching his career in 2008 at the age of 18, Anish Sood began shaping India’s dance music landscape, touring alongside acts like Dixon and Kygo and performing at Electric Daisy Carnival along the way. But recently, while experimenting during lockdown, the Indian artist found himself dabbling in unfamiliar sounds. Eventually, these quarantine-bound sessions led to an unexpected phase of artistic transformation that culminated in the new alias, Anyasa (which means “spontaneous” and “effortless” in Sanskrit), and his stunning ‘Gaya’ EP. 

The four-track collection combines classical Indian vocals (performed by Isheeta Chakravarty, Bawari Basanti, Avneet Khurmi, and Amira Gill) with fast-moving house and techno beats, and offers listeners a unique, world-influenced take on these genres. With the late summer release of ‘Gaya,’ Anyasa also became the very first Indian artist signed to the London-based Anjunadeep label, adding more depth and diversity to their ever-evolving roster. Megan Venzin

For fans of: Damian Lazarus, Dixon, Yotto
Photo credit: Riva Ruiz 

TROPO

Listen to TROPO’s hypnotic, lyric-laced compositions and gain appreciation for the world’s many wonders. This is the very sentiment the Californian producer born Tyson Leonard wants to convey with his ‘Siente Tu Corazon’ LP, which dropped via Gravitas Recordings last month, and was inspired by his travels around Mexico, Turkey, Russia, and Austria. Featuring a slew of organic house and bass productions, ‘Siente Tu Corazon’ offers a dark bit of contrast to his third album, ‘Mira,’ (released via The Polish Ambassador’s Jumpsuit Records) which flits between meditative, introspective cuts to tribal deep house grooves. 

TROPO is well known in the live electronic scene for working alongside names like Ayla Nereo and The Diplomatic Scandal, but this zestful release, and his high energy shows during which he plays violin, ensures he’ll continue to stand out from the pack. Megan Venzin

For fans of: CloZee, Dreamers Delight, VOLO
Photo credit: Nathan D'Silva 

Desire Marea

South Africa’s FAKA collective was founded in 2015 to help give the country’s queer culture a voice via the arts, most predominantly through music — and it did so in gloriously high style, supplying its skittering rhythms to high-end runway shows and creating some rather indelible videos for tracks like ‘Queenie’ and ‘Uyang’khumbula’.

Last year, FAKA cofounder Desire Marea branched out with a solo album, ‘Desire’, digitally self-released on their own Izimakade Records. It’s a fantastic collection of tunes, merging dizzying eddies of sound, Marea’s haunting vocals, and an epic production style, which combine to give the album a hypnotic, near- ritualistic feel. The mighty Mute label took notice, recently releasing ‘Desire’ on vinyl and CD — if you haven’t given it a listen yet, we’d advise you to do so ASAP. Bruce Tantum

For fans of: Fatima Al Qadiri, MHYSA, late-period Scott Walker
Photo credit: Jamal Nxedlana 

Paraleven

At age 21, Atlanta-based producer Josh Taylor underwent a psychedelic ego-death experience that would forever change the way he perceived the power of music. He emerged on the other side of his journey with a newfound respect for the healing nature of fluid soundscapes, and a rich desire to share this discovery with others as Paraleven. For the past decade, he’s been pumping out therapeutic, progressive house cuts that have more recently garnered attention from popular names like Lane 8, who he toured alongside in 2019 shortly after locking releases on the This Never Happened label.

Last month, he released his debut album ‘Apollo’ on RÜFÜS DU SOL’s Rose Ave imprint, and it truly cuts to the spiritual core of what his project is all about. The single, ‘Lucid,’ featuring the soft tones of vocalist Nathan Ball, is an especially pleasant listen thanks to its warm synths, light percussion, and abundant arpeggios. Even if an end-of-the- year vacation is off the table, consider Paraleven a reliable destination for a serene, auditory escape.

For fans of: Cassian, Lane 8, Qrion