As a crossroad to the widespread boundaries of European culture, Slovenia has come a long way since the days of the iron curtain. Mike Vale, the nation’s latest club-oriented export, has served dutifully in extending its eminence with his own studio delicacies. Surrounded by music from an early age and quickly established as a devout aural messenger for house music courtesy of early collaborative duties alongside national peer Umek for 1605 and Great Stuff, Vale’s leaps and bounds remain all the more convincing given the undeniable passion that he exhibits. Thrown forward by his debut chart-topping take on Prok & Fitch’s “Symphony,” Vale’s subsequent remixes for Deadmau5, Pleasurekraft, and Alex Kenji have established him as a resolute house advocate willing to push the limits. Beatport News caught the fast-rising DJ/producer fresh off the decks at London’s Ministry of Sound to trace his musical development and the road ahead for 2013.
Duke Dumont (aka the UK’s Adam Dyment) hit the ground running last year, providing one of the quintessential house-head anthems of 2012 when he released “The Giver,” which DJs the world over rinsed it for eager hordes. Not only did “The Giver”‘s original usher in the Duke’s success, but Turbo Recordings label boss Tiga lent his rare remixing chops to the track, creating a bone-chilling version that involuntarily induced shimmies and whirls. The nascent days of 2013 have already been treating Duke Dumont kindly. He provided his skills for a BBC1 Essential Mix, when Annie Mac named him her pick for this year’s Future Stars series. Not too shabby for a guy who has spent a lot of quiet time producing in the countryside with a view of livestock. Look for him to continue producing a carefully curated catalog of house gems in the months to come.
2012 was undeniably the year of Ryan Hemsworth. The Canadian producer of the moment, who earned early acclaim for his work with Chicago duo Supreme Cuts and Oakland rap group Main Attrakionz, rose to fame quickly as the release of his hip-hop-fueled debut solo EP, Last Words, proved to be one of the year’s highlights. Finishing off 2012 by dropping a fun, synth-driven, electro-influenced number, “BasedWorld”—a nod to rapper Lil B—on New Year’s Eve, and following that with the release of the video for “Colour & Movement,” an emotive, minimalist edit of German indie project The Notwist’s “Consequence,” there seems to be no stopping this young producer.
Although he was previously known for his productions as Grahmzilla in outfits Bassanova and Thunderheist, as Nautiluss, Toronto’s Graham Bertie has become a quick favorite of the bass-music underground. Last year he released a string of tracks on Tiga’s Turbo Recordings, including the widely hailed Habitat EP, a slab of four gritty and raw techno tunes. Needless to say, we’re excited to see where his new solo turn takes him in the year to come.
DJ Q is certainly no newcomer to the world of club music—the UK producer born Shollen Quarshie was a leading figure during the heyday of bassline (a particularly R&B-infused vein of UK garage) and has forged his own style in the years since. Still, it seems DJ Q’s second coming is upon us, as his recent records for London’s Local Action and the ace Unknown to the Unknown imprint have proved invaluable resources for jocks looking to inject some skip into their bass-loaded sets. Fortunately, Q shows no signs of letting up, and his continued dedication to a prolific—yet still very high-quality—output assures us even more silky, soul-touched steppers in the year to come.
With three EPs’ worth of dreamy, hardware-driven house and techno spread across both the legendary Rush Hour label and new leader of the outsider house movement, L.I.E.S., Netherlands-based producer Xosar (aka Sheela Rahman) is clearly on the rise. With her productions tending to explore the more cosmic ends of dance music, Xosar piles together wavy synths, thick pads, and rounded basslines on top of sturdy, drum machine-born kicks and snares—a formula that has led to some distinctly spiritual dancefloor tracks in the past year, particularly the pleasantly aimless “Rainy Days Juno Jam” and the cave-dwelling “Nite Jam.” After having such a solid debut year, Rahman has a good deal to live up to in 2013; fortunately, all signs indicate that she’s more than up to the task.
Kreature (aka Ashley Burgoyne) had a solid 2012, dropping tracks and remixes on Kumasi, Bits and Pieces, and Nurvous while his 2011 rework of Cubiq and Real Nice’s “Had Enough” was still setting flames to main rooms from LA to Ibiza. With much in the pipeline for the Leeds-based deep-house producer—including a remix on Chase & Status’ MTA Records, a new album, and his brand-new remix of 16 Bit Lolitas’ “Fat Fly”—we’re excited to see his continued evolution of the deep-house sound, and what 2013 holds.
Late last year, Detroit producer and DJ Monty Luke did his fair share of collaborating, guesting on Catz ‘N Dogz’s “They Frontin’”—a catchy deep-house tune that hits on all the right cylinders—and teaming up with Mike Simonetti as Billions & Billions. But beyond those partnerships, he’s also the label manager for Carl Craig’s Planet E and the CEO of Black Catalogue, the latter of which he’s used as a platform for his own records and those of others. With 2013 finding his Bomb on Bomb EP for Full Flavor Music getting the remix treatment from H Foundation and Gerd, expect lots more from Luke and the Black Catalogue camp this year.
One would never guess that Popeska started his musical life as a dorm-room producer at Georgia Institute of Technology, purely based upon the sheer complexity and depth of his tracks. In 2012, he released his first EP, Karmameter on Wolfgang Gartner’s newly relaunched Kindergarten Recordings, and joined Gartner on his Love & War tour across North America. It’s clear that Popeska has a knack and a sincere appreciation for production, which lets his myriad music influences—including classical, jazz, and folk—shine through. If you had the impression that the American South primarily bred quality music in the form of country and hip-hop, Atlanta-reared Popeska will certainly change your perspective.
Bristol producer Kowton (real name: Joe Cowton) steadily rose up from the underground in 2012, appearing on respected labels like Keysound and hometown imprint Idle Hands while also delivering quality remixes for Untold, Teeth, and more over the course of the year. 2013 promises to be a similarly prolific period for the burgeoning Bristolian, beginning with a release crafted alongside UK veteran Peverelist for the forward-thinking Hessle Audio. Expect to hear plenty more of Kowton’s powerful take on shuffling house as the UK bass explosion continues apace.