words: Andy McColgan, Victor Gold, Believe, Philip Sealy
In the fickle world of electronic music, it can be nigh-on impossible to keep track of the movers and shakers, let alone the rising stars who'll be filling clubs in the future. Undeterred, we dusted down the EQ crystal ball to pick 25 names we reckon are going to have a massive 2009. Here they are, in no particular order…
The Diynamic imprint is on fire at the moment and this man, Martin Stimming, plays a massive part in that. The Hamburg-based producer has been busy creating some of the finest melodic tech house in recent years, and DJs all over the world are seemingly lapping it up. Radar, Stimming’s collaboration with HOSH makes an appearance on Joris Voorn’s forthcoming Balance album, Magdalena, Stimming’s collab with Einmusik pops up on Darren Emerson’s new album for Global Underground, and Una Pena, another release for Diynamic – which samples Chilean folk singer Violetta Parra – was a massive summer hit. The good news is that Stimming’s debut artist album, Reflections, is out at the beginning of March on Diynamic. But if you can’t wait till then, he’s playing live in Glasgow at Pressure on January 30.
Berlin’s Berghain has got to be one of the world’s top clubs at the moment, so it was only a matter of time before the residents started to make their presence felt on the global stage. Ben Klock looks set to do just that in 2009. He’s already had a string of quality releases out on Bpitch Control, its sub label Memo, MDR and his own label Klockworks, but his next release should be the real biggie. Out on February 23 on the club’s own imprint Ostgut Ton, One is Ben’s debut release for Berghain and its aready getting some massive support. If 2008 was the year of his regular production partner and fellow resident Marcel Dettmann, then 2009 is surely Ben’s year.
The Brighton Port Authority
Norman Cook’s always been one to hide behind aliases and from a cursory glance, the BPA appears to be just another one of those. Closer inspection reveals that this isn’t just another Fatboy Slim-style project – it is, in fact, a whole heap of collaborations taken from “thought-to-be-lost session tapes which were recently uncovered much to the surprise Norman and his long-standing studio partner Simon Thornton”. The tapes, so we’re told, had been sitting in a disused warehouse space and were discovered as the building was to be knocked down. Now the best of them are being released as an album, titled I Think We Gonna Need A Bigger Boat, due out on January 26. This is genre-bending selection of music features collaborations with Iggy Pop, David Byrne, Ashley Beedle, Jamie T, Martha Wainwright, Justin Robertson and Dizzee Rascal to name just a few. Yes, it’s all typically tongue-in-cheek, but from what we’ve heard, it’s Norman back on storming form. Visit the BPA website for some tasters and the full story of this “legendary” outfit…
Exercise One release their debut album In Cars We Rust on Anja Schneider’s Mobilee in May. But the duo, who have secured a reputation as one of the best live techno acts from Germany, kick off the year with a tour of South America followed by a showcase at the WMC in Miami, plus gigs all across Europe before a summer tour with plenty of festival highlights. Their sound is the most real and varied of all the Mobilee artists – they produce their music live choosing to edit it down later, something which fills their album with beautiful melodies, rolling techno beats and plenty of variety.
Marius is one half of Ytre Rymden Dansskola on Prins Thomas's Full Pupp imprint and he’s also behind the first release on the brand new Maxi Discs imprint set up by Pete Herbert and Dicky Trisco. Marius has a very original take on production, forsaking traditional approaches to musical arrangement to produce something special. Both deep and highly melodic, his music offers an antidote to minimal and electro while maintaining a highly European sound that is influenced by electronica, techno, Italo, house and disco.
Hot Coins aka Red Rack Em aka Danny Berman
Danny Berman is set to explode in 2009. With releases already in the can for Society, Untracked and Tirk, he’s currently working on his first LP for Tirk. Danny's music is drenched in deepness, texture and emotion (not all of it druggy, although quite a lot is). His arrangements are idiosyncratic, and while certain elements loop, others are never repeated. His influences range from jazz to Detroit techno to Chicago house to post punk disco dub. Theo Parrish, Moodymann and Carl Craig all come to mind. Giles Peterson is already a big fan and he’s hailed Danny as a massive up-and-coming talent. Look out for those Hot Coins.
NAPT are the N-funk masters, the genre-twisting dancefloor destroyers, and having been on the scene for a few years, the boys now seem more than likely to step up the pressure in 2009. Last year saw them drop a sonic array of singles and remixes stamping home that trademark N-funk sound. As the Plump DJs put it: “NAPT are taking over breaks.” Tomek and Ashley have already won the 2006 Best Breakthrough DJ at Breakspoll and it’s only a matter of time before they win best act, album, single or remix (look out for there mix of Deekline & Wizard’s Angels). These boys mean business in the studio, with a super-tight production that is second to none. So it’s time to jump on that NAPT runaway train – it’s going to be one hell of a ride.
The Tough Alliance
Hailing from Scandinavia, like a lot of the most interesting electronic acts of the minute, The Tough Alliance have already released two albums and a handful of brilliant EPs. Coming across like an indie Pet Shop Boys for the noughties, the duo of Henning Furst and Eric Berglund make catchy and captivating electro-pop of the highest order. For fans of unashamed pop hooks with dark and sometimes violent undertones, this could end up being your new favourite band. Check out last year’s A New Chance if you like the sound of good times/bad times electro. Just bear in mind that their live sets in native Sweden often result in riots and carnage.
Most people are familiar with Lindstrom through his recorded output with Prins Thomas, but one of the true highlights of 2008 was his debut solo album, Where You Go I Go Too, filled with tracks which encapsulated the epic and richly textured electronic prog of the 1970s with the exact level of contemporary cosmic disco required for an immensely enjoyable and engrossing psychedelic journey. He’s something of a hermit, but all those months locked in his bedroom/studio certainly paid off. Let’s hope he can exhibit those masterful production skills on a follow up record in the coming year.
St Alban’s Wax Stag has just released a debut album and it’s quite a treat. Those of you who bought Hot Chip’s DJ Kicks may be familiar with the wondrous track Short Road. Three-and-a-half minutes of synthy electronics and ethereal percussion, the tune is a real cracker. The album is similar to Nathan Fake’s Drowning In A Sea of Love, in that it has an understated and unique beauty to it. Some of the tracks are dancefloor bound, but much of the record is more suited to home listening or for the after club chilling session. Definitely one to watch, Wax Stag, aka Rob Lee, could very well have produced the soundtrack to next year’s summer. Keep it up Waxy.
Steve Mason, formerly of Beta Band notoriety, turned up in 2008 with a different guise than we would have anticipated. Black Affair’s Pleasure Pressure Point was a dark and moody electro-pop concept record that confounded expectations and then some. No lo-fi indie here but instead a lo-fi take on the early Human League and Yazoo mantle, complete with odd and at times unsettling lyrics. Singles Tak! Attack! and It’s Real display a genuine talent that Steve has for knocking out a dance number, and the album as a whole makes for a rewarding listen. More live appearances and another album please Mr Black Affair, thanks.
Arciteq aka Sam Annand
Another new Tirk signing to watch in 2009, Sam mixes up all sorts of influences from dub to electronica to disco and electro. He’s yet another sonic maverick who loves to create his own palette from scratch and has the makings of a new Aphex Twin or Alex Smoke. Watch out for his LP due out in early 2009.
EQ favourites, former big sellers on 2020 Vision and rock steady electrofunkateers, Boogie Corporation are back with a new imprint all of their own this year. Having just had a massive selling edits release on Disco Deviance, they’re making their own soundwaves and have been freed up to put out whatever they want. And their material is gaining praise from supreme music lovers such as Ashley Beedle, Greg Wilson, Optimo DJs, Gerd Janson and Mark E. BC proving that it's not only the young guns who have tricks up their sleeves.
The Revenge has been going a while now with his own label Five20East and his productions alongside Sub Club resident Harri on imprints such as Deep Freeze Recordings and Nordic. But recently his edits and slow-mo house productions through his Ooft blog have led to his star burning brighter than ever. His edits releases on Jiscomusic have produced two underground hits in Cadillac and Nightflight, and it looks like 2009 is going to be quite a year for this Scottish producer with releases scheduled on a number of top imprints and a gig schedule that features an early appearance at Lowlife and Rock Ness in the summer. A well deserved break for someone who puts everything into his music.
This new imprint’s been set up by Pete Herbert and Dicky Trisco to release “tropical house music and electronic discotheque”. Both founders have been heavily steeped in the nu disco and balearic scenes but are now looking to move more into housier territory with an eye firmly on the dancefloor. Check out their recent mixes via the Maxi Discs myspace site to get a feel of where they want to go with the music. First release is by Marius Vaareid with mixes by Pete and Dicky.
Fairly new imprint that has been hitting all the right notes with top releases by Chaz Jankel, Ilija Rudman, Free Disco and others. Nice.
Michael Weldon, aka Mr. Copy, is one of Glasgow’s freshest and most talented producers. At the tender age of 19, he was one of the winners in the Beatport remix competition for Slam’s We’re Not Here, but it wasn’t until he was contacted to tell him of the win that Soma realised his Glasgow roots. Heralding from the south-side of the river, Copy had been playing right under Soma’s nose the whole time. Steering away from the laptop route, he has blown the Soma team away with his raw and full-on productions, dropping a thoroughly jacking live set at the label’s monthly club night, Pressure. As for his sound, well it’s safe to say his tracks are peak-time destroyers that will get any floor moving. He’s featured on the new Somabeta compilation album, and the label’s hoping to get a single out on in the near future. He’s also got a release out on Sleaze, titled Jackmove, which is getting support from none other than Richie Hawtin.
Mannheim-based producer Johnny D is another German DJ making massive waves at the moment. He really started getting people’s attention with his massive tune Orbitalife, but he’s no one-trick pony. Everyone from Joris Voorn to Sven Vath and Secretsundaze are fans of Johnny’s sound, with Joris picking up Deja Vu for his Balance mix, Sven including Orbitalife on The Sound of The 9th Season, and James And Giles including his mix of Guy Gerber’s Disorientation on Secretsundaze vol 2. As the son of Eritrean refugees, Johnny has been into a wide array of music styles from an early age – from Tigrinya, the Eritrean music of his heritage, to hip hop, funk and soul. Now his musical versatility makes it difficult to define his style, but it sits somewhere between deep house, minimal, and techno. He’s taking a break from producing in February and March, but expect more goodies in the spring.
Studio are another recent act to come out of Sweden, making an impact with the handful of albums and EPs they already have to their name. Dreamy and relaxed in the main, with an added level of Happy Mondays-ish funk, they could be described as being the harbingers of the ‘baggyaric beat’. Dan Lissvik and Rasmus Hagg’s Yearbook 2 saw them take on tracks by Kylie Minogue and Williams, among others, and bend them into their own unique brand of evocative Scandinavian electronica. Their debut album in 2007, West Coast, was named as one of Rough Trade’s albums of that year and it deserved more recognition. There’s an awesome remix of their tune Life’s A Beach by Todd Terje out there too which would be well worth searching for too. What are they feeding them in Scandinavia?
Domino Record’s Max Tundra put out his first album way back in 2000, but it’s only in the last 12 months that his eccentric electronic charm has started to really shine. Parallex Error Beheads You, his most recent album, is simply fantastic. Allegedly six years in the making, there were warm reviews for the record in the indie press but mainstream attraction would seem unlikely due to the odd and downright strangeness of the songs. Like a toytown Prince, Tundra certainly knows how to get a party started, and he’s was really quite superb live this year supporting ardent fans Hot Chip on their tour dates. Probably a bit on the weird side to be everybody’s cup of tea, if you are a fan of Hot Chip’s unusual, slightly cerebral and humorous take on music you'll enjoy Max Tundra.
As far as individual records go, the tongue-in-chic, space-age moonstomp that was Interplanetary Music is one of 2008’s top releases. It takes a few listens to work out what age and indeed what planet this little beauty come from – there’s a cover of a Sun Ra number from 1959 for example. Released on Ed Banger, it’s a celebratory and joyous slice of disco which manages to sound completely like the 80s and the noughties simultaneously – in the best possible sense. Retro, fun and futuristic, hopefully Mickey, formerly Midnight Mike, can fire some more of this sort of nonsense at us sooner rather than later.
Milke is a band project between electro/dance producer Friendly (Andrew Kornweibel) and singer Ra Khahn (that’s his real name). They met over Google, and have been writing together consistently ever since, with the best part of an album under their belt, a killer debut single already on the shelves and a four-piece live band hitting the clubs soon. Friendly cut his teeth on the UK breaks scene when he moved to London from Australia in 2002, working closely with Fat! Records, as well as playing at the Chew the Fat nights in London, Manchester, Brighton, Budapest and Berlin. Ra comes from a very different background. Also originally from Australia, his musical education was through classical and jazz schools. He performed with Suzi Quatro, Transvision Vamp and Dionne Warrick in Australia, before moving to London. His latest guest appearance was on the Black Grass album. After working on a few tracks together, Ra and Andrew moved onto She Says, a track that got rave reviews off the back of a few white labels. Their new track, Love Get Out Of My Way is out on Gulp on March 8, with support from Ed Banger DJs, Joe and Will Ask, Moguai, Eddy Temple Morris, and Annie Mac. Find out more in our Gulp label profile coming soon.
Phillip Sollmann, aka Efdemin, has been working like crazy over the past couple of years, releasing his debut album on Dial in 2007, putting out remixes for Dessous, Aus, Bpitch Control, Morris Audio and Lan Muzic, and playing out his lush blend of deep and classic house, and modern Berlin and Detroit techno all over the world. And then came Acid Bells, a top tune of 2008 for many DJs, and Carry On, Pretend We’re Not In The Room, his debut album released on Curle in November. It was an auspicious end to the year for this rising star, and it’s really got us looking forward to his next batch of releases.
Born in 1974 in São Paulo Brazil, Gui Boratto – architect, musician, composer and producer – started his career in the advertising sector in 1993. The following year, he started performing for various labels, before deciding, in 2005, to dedicate himself to his own productions. Since then, he’s won over a massive global following, and with reason – his tracks on Kompakt, K2, Audiomatique, Harthouse, Plastic City have been stunning. We reckon 2009 is when he’ll really start to make waves though. His hotly anticipated new album, Take My Breath Away is released on Kompakt at the end of March with a single in February, and early rumours say it’s breathtaking. True charm from the South American super producer.
Anil Chawla & Dale Anderson
This year is already shaping up to be another big one for Global Underground, and it’s Anil & Dale who look set to become the standard bearers for the label. The duo have already won plaudits from the likes of Laurent Garnier, Nic Fancuilli, John Digweed and Adam Freeland, not to mention a Best Artist nomination in the Beatport Awards, and a nod as Best Breakthrough DJs by DJ magazine. Now the boys are preparing to release their debut album, Roadhouse on February 23, with the likes of Justin Robertson, a long-time supporter of the duo, and Angie Brown making guest appearances. Showcasing their takes on deep house, big room beats and techno, this LP should doing their rep no harm at all.
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