2016 was a solid year for new talent, but 2017 looks set to deliver even more gems if the artists we’re tipping all this week have anything to do with it. First up, our guide to the producers about to define the next 12 months in techno, club and house, from the Mixpak-approved Orlando Volcano to Dublin crew Wah Wah Wino.
Keep your distance from the over-priced festivals and #allmalelineups and you can still be rewarded with a spirit-lifting experience on the dancefloor, even in this corporate age of clubbing. In the last few years we’ve witnessed the growth of a global network of DJs and producers working to refresh our perceptions of the club, cross-pollinating sounds from around the world and pushing industry outsiders into the spotlight.
Our selection of dance producers to watch in 2017 spans house, techno and club variations, from menacing South African gqom to oddball techno from Tokyo, from nu-IDM ingenuity to the next generation of Jersey club.
New York City-based RBMA alumnus Orlando Volcano hit our radar last year with his phenomenal Celestial Trax collaborative EP Thru Our Eyes, Pt. 1.
His fusion of slithering Southern rap, dancehall and disparate club styles moved him into Mixpak’s sights and he made an appearance on their popular 2016 Holiday Bundle with a molasses-slow cover of Faithless’s ‘We Come 1’. Seriously. Expect big things in 2017. JT
After well-received 12”s for Born Free and ESP Institute and a split tape of original and unreleased material with Moodhut’s Cloudface for Wichelroede, Tokyo-based Moko Shibata seems destined for greatness in 2017.
Expect an appearance on The Trilogy Tapes alongside SamoDJ and Cos/Mes man 5ive at some point soon, whilst we hope the Powder material from that Wichelroede tape makes the transfer to vinyl too. Do not pass up the chance to see Moko DJ either – her penchant for endearing oddness in podcasts is surpassed by a talent to bang it out in the club. TP
8ULENTINA and foozool’s Club Chai became one of the Bay Area’s most vital club nights in 2016, with the hosts acclaimed for their wildly varied DJ sets and impressive curation highlighting POC, non-western and femme acts. 2017 could be the year the duo break out as solo artists, though.
Lara Sarkissian creates abstract, clattering productions under her birth name and more rhythmically-focused material as foozool, and the San Francisco-based artist has been on a purple patch of late, with recent tracks including a haunting remix on Superficie’s Hélices EP and the Armenian choir-sampling ‘Azat Ազատ’ from the debut Club Chai compilation, out next week. GM
There was no shortage of classic IDM artists releasing new records in 2016, but it was a young Glaswegian producer who used the sounds of the ‘90s in the most innovative way.
Lanark Artefax came to our attention with the brilliant Glasz EP on Lee Gamble’s UIQ label, a collection of abstract club tracks that the perfect mid-point between the soul food of Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works albums and the tricksy beats of Autechre’s Exai. While some of his tracks have a scattergun complexity that would prove difficult for all but the most adventurous DJs, his limited dubplate on Whities at the end of the year showed that he can do killer club tracks as well. SW
If you’ve been following the development of Durban’s gqom scene you’ll recognise Dominowe from last year’s essential genre compilation on Rome-based label Gqom Oh!, a highlight of which was the young producer’s bone-crunching ‘Africa’s Cry’.
On the tail of EPs from DJ Lag and Rudeboyz, Dominowe is next in line for some solo shine with his eight-track SiyaThakatha EP, coming on Gqom Oh! at the end of January, which places brawny, nerve-jangling belters in the related gqom and sgubhu styles alongside a fresh gqom-house mutation called ‘Club Killer’, already one of the bangingest tracks of the year. CR
Russian artist Inga Mauer has so far been known as one of techno’s rising selectors, playing EBM, industrial and other electronic oddities in her DJ sets and Bon Voyage show on Radio Cómeme. But she’s also got a burgeoning career as a producer: last year’s debut EP for John Talabot’s Hivern Discs demonstrated a knack for crafting sleek, powerful techno cuts that occupy a similar category as the music of kindred spirits Lena Willikens and Marie Davidson.
Philadelphia’s ATM collective, sadly now defunct, has become an important node in a network of interdisciplinary club nights that combine dancefloor-focused DJ sets, live performance and audio-visual experiments into vital events. February 2016’s Hivemind release on NON marked the official solo debut of Mhysa, while Marcelline showed a deep sense of rhythm and pacing on mixes for Discwoman, Halcyon Veil and NON, while DJ Haram, one of our artists to watch in 2016, turned in some of the most cutting club exercises of the year. Relatively speaking, lawd knows, the crew’s fourth member, had a relatively quiet year as a solo artist (SCRAAATCH — his collaborative project with Mhysa – played Boiler Room, GHE2OGH0TH1K, NON vs. NAAFI and more) but ‘kash myths’ and remixes for Endgame hinted at a talent for precise, energetic 100 BPM experiments. More of the same would be warmly received this year – but it’d be silly to expect any member of ATM to follow a predictable path. GM
The latest production talent to emerge from the West Country melting pot that is Bristol is Via Maris, the fourth resident of the ‘Cottage Of Dance’ alongside housemates Batu, Bruce and Ploy.
Via Maris’s debut deep into 2016 list season for Alex Digard’s Mechanical Reproductions label was slightly overlooked, but a lot more people will be paying attention in 2017 as he prepares his next release on Livity Sound’s reverse label. Fans of skeletal techno with that telltale Bristol swing, pay attention! TP
This Dublin crew of young producers (pictured here with NTS Radio’s Charlie Bones) is spearheaded by Omid Geadizadeh, Olmo Devin and Morgan Buckley – the latter two you may recognise from some superbly strange outings on Rush Hour’s No Label operation.
Wah Wah Wino first appeared as a label last year with three small-run singles toying with dub, house and screwball disco, but looks destined to break out with the imminent release of Absolutely Wino, a compilation that introduces several other grape apes. Check their regular Wah Wah Wadio show for Dublin Digital Radio for more insight into the collective’s bizarro world. TP
As part of the Fake Accent and KUNQ party collectives, Kala isn’t a new artist by any means. But after exploring everything from dancehall/footwork hybrids to more straightforward club collaborations last year, the New Jersey-based artist has the potential to become one of the East Coast’s most exciting producers in 2017.
Unexpected bootlegs and blends have always been in Kala’s repertoire, and tracks like ‘Keep On’ and ‘Power’ show his confidence in the studio is only growing. Expect some of the best new drum-heavy music to come from this direction. GM