10 house and techno producers to watch in 2014

2014 is upon us, and this week we’ll be rounding up some of the acts we’re most excited about for the year ahead.

We’ve already rounded up our 10 rappers to watch and 10 grime producers to watch, now it’s house and techno’s time. House and techno, of course, is an even looser description than grime, and so the range here’s pretty impressive: from Gang Fatale’s drum throwdowns to Jay Daniel’s wide-eyed sample symphonies, there should be something for everybody here who gets their kicks around the 130bpm zone. Update: People have commented on the absence of Galcher Lustwerk and MGUN – we repped both artists pretty hard last year in our albums of 2013 list and individual features, which is why we didn’t include them here.

Thanks to Angus Finlayson, Steve Shaw and Maya Kalev for their aid and suggestions.

Also check:
10 grime producers to watch in 2014

10 rappers to watch in 2014
10 hip-hop producers to watch in 2014
20 albums coming out in 2014 that we actually give a shit about

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Gang Fatale

A collective specialising in rugged club tracks, Gang Fatale’s leading light is Neana – a producer soon to be brought into the Night Slugs camp, who seems to mostly draw inspiration from ballroom’s titanic crashes and Slugs’ own Club Constructions series. Don’t sleep on the others though: Georgia Girls’ edit of Jam City’s ‘500 Years’ is a colossus, while Trap Door‘s floatier work is full of potential.

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Jay Daniel

We were first turned onto Jay Daniel when his first Pervasions mix dropped back in 2012, and since then the Detroit up-and-comer has made some serious waves: with mentor-of-sorts Kyle Hall pushing him hard, he released his first EP, Scorpio Rising, on hometown hero Theo Parrish’s Sound Signature label late last year. He’ll be everywhere in 2014.

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Patricia

A Brooklynite producer with moody packaging, a gunmetal aesthetic and a dash of stylised gender-play? Wait, come back! The Opal Tapes graduate proved the old ‘sum-of-one’s-parts’ dictate with last year’s excellent Body Issues mini-album – a gorgeous set of groggy, tousled dub techno, primed to scoop up the Actress/Huerco S dollar, and so good the label released it twice.

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DJ Niggafox

Rogério Brandão, aka DJ Nigga Fox, is a young producer from the burgeoning Lisbon scene, where Angolan kuduro, kizomba and batida rhythms are spliced with house and techno to create a foamy-mouthed mongrel of frenzied abandon. It’s banging stuff, and Nigga Fox is at the forefront, with his debut EP O Meu Estilo appearing on the local Principe Discos label last year. “The tension between tonality and atonality is ridiculous, as is his notion of polyrhythmic balance,” label boss Pedro Gomes recently told Thump. “It really does blow our minds.”

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Miss Modular

We’re not gonna lie: Miss Modular made this list solely on the basis of ‘Reflector Pack’, a show-stopping single that dropped at the tail-end (like, Christmas Eve tail-end) of last year. Part of the team behind the promising Her Records, if the rest of Miss Modular’s Soundcloud is anything to go by then we’re in for a treat this year.

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Alan Johnson

Of all the new acts named after quondam British Home Secretaries, Alan Johnson are our favourites. This team-up between Mindset’s Stickman and Gareth Kirby resulted in the excellent ‘Goron Sound’ single – a characterful house-cum-dubstep jam that lightens and tightens the vintage Digital Mystikz aesthetic. With Livity Sound’s brittle, dubwise sound riding high, this pair could well be making the right tunes at the right time.

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Breaker 1 2

Released on Montreal’s young Forbidden Planet imprint about six months back, Breakin’ – the debut release from Florida’s Breaker 1 2 – caused small but vigorous flurries of anorak excitement. Rulebooks remain steadfastly intact – the title track is very much in the cracked L.I.E.S mould, whereas flip ‘2’ captures the emotional literacy of Apollo-era ambient techno – but Breakin’ was carried off with enough flair to lift it well above the competition, a tall poppy amidst acres of chaff. Highly promising.

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Palms Trax

Berlin resident Palms Trax came out of the starting blocks with a bang last year, dropping his impressive Equation EP on newly launched vinyl-only label Lobster Theremin. Drinking from the ever-fortifying fountain of early Detroit and Chicago sounds, the UK producer spins hypnotic curlicues of sensual house and techno from a palette of reedy synths, gloopy 303s and rough-edged handclaps and cymbals. It’s familiar material, sure, but highly crafted – and his eclectic DJ picks (you’ll find Hieroglyphic Being, Frak and Dalglish in his Electronic Beats mix) betray a well-tuned ear for the outer limits of the dancefloor.

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Blacknecks

Stream: ‘Death Before Eastenders’

Billed as the side project of two former UK garage producers, Blacknecks deliver belting noise-techno with a healthy dose of gurning pranksterism, taking the recent mode for industrial grit to absurdist lengths with their Blawan-meets-brain-damage descent into chaos. A pair of singles and an EP have yielded nine tracks in total, and the titles say it all, really: ‘Death Before Eastenders’, ‘Theme From Blacknecks’ and the wonderful ‘Four Cunts & A Badge’.

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Shape Worship

Stream: ‘Concentration’

On last year’s Observances EP (a rare dancefloor excursion for the Exotic Pylon label), UK producer Ed Gillett darted from skittish, 2-step influenced Four Tet-isms to bone-shaking dronescapes with a studied ease, honing his dreamy beat music into an emotive and extravagantly textured psychic journey. Bits of Burial and Actress creep in here and there to add a ghostly pallor, but even those ultra-obvious reference points don’t seem to matter with the right amount of grit and gristle thrown in. Expect Gillett’s first full-length for Exotic Pylon in 2014.

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