- United Kingdom
- South Africa
- Puerto Rico
- North America
- United States
- Latin America
Yangze is a fairly new name on the electronic scene, however the man behind the project, Copenhagen-based producer Jakob Littauer, has been an influential figure within the Danish scene in various different roles prior. A part of Copenhagen’s Escho collective which has released music from artists like Smerz and Iceage, he has also performed live with the likes of Liss & Soleima. As Yangze, Littauer draws on his electronic roots, incorporating pitched up vocals and melodic synths, giving his music an avant-garde feel that keeps the optimal balance between challenging the listener whilst still maintaining a very listenable strand of electro-pop.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Valiant Vermin is a rising star with her own signature, experimental sound. Her recent album, ‘Singles’, radiates its own feminine energy through a distinctive bedroom pop sound infused with electronic synths. Real name Bettina Campomanes, she describes her persona as a “bedroom project by some college chick”; she is now based in New York and currently attends university at Bard College while simultaneously making her mark in the music industry.
Follow Valiant Vermin
CRWN is an electronic/hip-hop project by Filipino producer King Puentespina. Since first starting out his music career back in 2013, Puentespina has worked with various talented artists from his country’s local scene, including BP Valenzuela and Curtismith and even released a joint EP with burgeoning international star Jess Connelly; outside of his producing career as CRWN, he also serves as the drummer for successful Filipino rock band She’s Only Sixteen. On CRWN’s latest album ‘Orchid’, he deftly fuses classic soul sounds with contemporary electronic influences to create beats reminiscent of mellow days at the beach.
Producer OKZharp and vocalist, artist and dancer Manthe Ribane work closely with photographer and film maker Chris Saunders to create a unique collaborative audio-visual project. Though all three originally hail from South Africa, OKZharp cut his teeth in London as a member of LV, one of the first acts to sign to pioneering label Hyperdub. When OKZharp left LV, he spoke to Saunders about an idea for a film, and was introduced to Manthe, who was then a dancer and choreographer for Die Antwoord. They hit it off, and upon hearing Manthe singing to herself, they started collaborating musically, releasing two well received EP’s on Hyperdub, recorded in Johannesburg and London respectively. The recording of ‘Closer Apart’ reflects the song’s title – started on tour, with most of the music borne out of “headphone moments” in hotel rooms, planes and airports in the brief periods of time that the trio spent together in Paris and later Vienna. Okzharp describes Manthe as a co-producer; “she selected instrumental sketches and we developed them together, sometimes just keeping the bare bones or a melody or rhythm, or trying different elements or sounds.” In tandem Pearson worked with Manthe to develop an umbilical visual identity, feeding back into the music, for the live show but also for the audio-visual elements of their work. Even thought the album was built long distance, the short periods they spent together were the basis for creativity; Okzharp recalls one particular moment in Milan last year; “we had a whole free day before our flight so we visited the Salone di Mobile design show. We were so inspired by an installation there just walking around, listening to the amazing soundtrack. That evening our flight was delayed, so we sat on the floor of the airport terminal putting musical ideas down for ‘Time Machine’ on the laptop speakers and writing the lyrics: ‘Tic Toc time, we’ll be fine / Airport queues, cerulean blues / Viper trails cross the skies / Lights reflect in your eyes…'” The album has a softness and openness that contrasts the tougher sound of the preceding EPs; Manthe explains that “the new music is a 360 turn. It an expression of my ‘Lady’ side – I grew up listening to jazz, classic and gospel, I am a very soft spoken person, and it resonates with being confident with that. It’s been crazy finding balance and finding a smart way to strengthen my weaknesses, I had to trust the process. I hope everyone feels motivated and inspired to be more after listening to the album.”
Nights of Rizal (also known as Migi de Belen) is a singer-songwriter dedicated to his chilled out electronic sound. The solo artist has released one full-length album to date, entitled ‘summer/salt’, a project reminiscent of days in the beach and life in eternal vacation. Migi explains the album as having “moody lyrics contemplating on the nature of forgetting & remembering.” The album name refers to an 2012 incident where an injury from a failed somersault forced the artist to re-learn how to walk and eventually, run.
Follow Nights of Rizal
The daughter of a renowned exponent of Argentinian tango, Juana Rosario Molina was raised with classic record collections and guitar lessons. In the mid-70’s, due to military disputes, the Molina family fled the country to go into exile in Paris, where teenage Juana’s musical scope expanded vastly. Nonetheless, when Juana was able to return to her native Argentina, she followed her actor mothers steps by beginning a television career. Her popularity rose exponentially and within three years she already had had her own successful comedy show, airing across Latin America and making her one of the most popular comedians in Argentina. Suddenly, at the peak of her fame, Juana took the hard decision to leave her successful work as an actor in order to pursue a career in music. After multiple releases, in 2017 she delivered her seventh and most solid LP ‘Halo’, which derives its name from one of the most famous folklore myths of Argentina and Uruguay; a halo of “evil light” that floats above the ground where bones were buried. The record evokes the occult in its music as much as in its lyrics. As in previous deliveries, her sound oscillates harmoniously between nature, folklore, humanism and fearless electronic experimentation.
Follow Juana Molina
Leon Vynehall made his name crafting deep, elegant contemporary house, becoming one of dance music’s most talked-about names in the process. However, his latest full-length effort ‘Nothing is Still’ sees the British electronic producer move away from club-oriented music into broader, progressive conceptual territory; it is perhaps notable that despite the success of previous projects ‘Music for the Uninvited’ and ‘Rojus’, he describes this release as his first proper debut album. Following the narrative of his grandparents’ emigration from London to New York in the 1960s, Vynehall vividly scores their journey through rich, instrumental compositions, expertly harnessing his gift for percussion with a gorgeous musicality alongside soaring synths to create a fluid, cinematic piece that has as much in common with classical symphony and ambient electronica as it does with booming house or techno. One of the year’s most adventurous, forward-thinking albums, this is one to be savoured.
Follow Leon Vynehall
With a sound that falls somewhere between contemporary hip-hop and French chanson, Strasbourg’s Arthur ELY enters the fray with a refreshing debut single. On ‘Le Dernier Homme’ the multi-instrumentalist introduces himself with a skillful performance, as his confident vocals ride silky electronic production. One to watch.
Follow Arthur ELY
RMBO began his career as founding member and drummer of the critically acclaimed South African rock band BLK JKS. Born Tshepang Ramoba, his second EP ‘Zone 3’ is a six-track electronic afro-house journey with catchy kwaito choruses and an exquisite selection of vocalists from the southern African region, including musicians from Malawi and Lesotho as well as his native South Africa. Opening track Bona Bona features Radio 123’s Scarface Manolo and Lesotho’s shepherd musician, Morena Leraba, who also features on ‘Mzabalazo’, a kwaito-driven track with skittering drums and buzzing synths. RMBO explains that “‘Mzabalazo’ (or ‘mosabalaso’ in a Sesotho tone) is a borrowed word from the South African liberation struggle and it’s synonymous with rebellion/revolt or rather, a word coined originally in South Africa, toyi-toyi.”
Mx Blouse doesn’t hold back on their latest release. Embodied in the title, the Zulu word for ‘idiot’, Blouse laments people whose idiotic behaviour serves to hinder the freedom of those who are trying to live their lives and have a good time. As always, the Johannesburg artist endeavours to keep their content socially critical and relevant, while ensuring that the music is a party starter too.
Follow Mx Blouse
South African artist Muzi has spent the last few years honing his unique sound. Though refreshingly forward-thinking, his hard-hitting sonic approach remains deeply inspired by his upbringing, a tale of striving through adversity in the semi-rural township of Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal.
From euphoric electronica to classic zulu sounds, he delicately balances traditional African music with contemporary western influences; his latest release, his second album ‘Afrovision’ is a bold, fluid fusion of elements of kwaito, afrobeat, RnB and pop. Woven through each track is a clear purpose to redefine how modern dance music can sound, embodied in lead single ‘Chocolate Dreams’ featuring fellow South African vocalist Una Rams and Nigerian singer Saint Seaba.
Jack Grace’s unique compositions have been making waves on the Australian underground scene for a couple of years now, and the electronic singer/producer has consolidated on this momentum with the release of his latest EP ‘IF I TREMBLE’. Fusing classic piano soul with elements of UK bass and footwork production, the distinctive sound of brooding, melancholy tracks like ‘us’ and ‘waiting’ showcases Grace’s ability to create forward-thinking, multi-layered music with a chilling emotional touch.
Follow Jack Grace
Never one to stand still, the French singer Jeanne Added has been on a constant path of growth and development, and on ‘Mutate’ she is once again reinventing herself. The first single from her forthcoming sophomore album finds her looking for freedom, serenely weaving her magnetic voice over delightful electronic production.
Follow Jeanne Added
With only a handful of singles released, Still Woozy a.k.a. Sven Gamsky is already garnering acclaim as an all-round artist with a gift for skillfully blending contrasting elements in his music. Gamsky’s production on songs such as 2017’s ‘Vacation’ finds solid balances between space and intimacy, electronic and acoustic, melancholy and optimism.
Follow Still Woozy
One of the UK’s most elusive and intriguing talents, electro-soul artist Ben Khan returns with his brand new single ‘2000 Angels’. Progressing within the soundscapes that speak toward his previous 1992 and 1000 EPs, the song is a crisp yet dark offering that weaves together his signature distorted vocals and dynamic guitar-driven basslines.
Follow Ben Khan
Electro-pop and R&B duo WESLEE share their daring new single ‘Sweat Dreams’. The effort combines infectious synths and danceable vibes, hinting at what’s to come from their debut EP due out this year.