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.
San Francisco-based composer and Stanford University PhD candidate Holly Herndon made some major waves in the electronic music community late last year with her stunning debut album, Movement, a record that explored the depths of experimental electronics, vocal processing, and rich ambient textures with the occasional excursion taken into the darker corners of the dancefloor. Appearing on RVNG Intl, Herndon’s seven-track effort proved to be one of the most unique and unexpected debuts of recent memory, a fact that has many of us waiting with bated breath to see where 2013 takes this fearless sonic adventurer.
Far from your everyday overnight success, college drop-out turned hard-hitting producer/DJ Jordy Dazz has taken a first-in-class approach to the ranks of Dutch house of late. With his early years spent balancing his job serving Fedde Le Grand and Marco V their vinyl records and catering for the eclectic crowds of his native Holland, the past two years have seen a subtle name change and some concentrated energy transform his global appeal significantly.
Hailed by Tiesto, Knife Party, and Funkagenda alike for his versatile mixing and productions, Dazz recently climbed Beatport’s Top 10 with “Claymore,” showing the fast-rising Dutch artist in top form en route to 2013 and suggesting that old-school DJ ethics and new-age energy remain winning bedfellows in his ascent of global club land.
Although his first EP only dropped four months ago, it is easy to guess why Ben Pearce landed on this year’s Artists to Watch list. Within its beautifully simplistic production, the single “What I Might Do” shot way up the Beatport charts within days, and remains in the Top 100 to this day. Heavily supported by industry legends like Pete Tong, Seth Troxler, John Digweed, Jamie Jones, and Annie Mac, the release—a clever take on Anthony Hamilton’s “Cornbread, Fish, and Collard Greens”—can easily be a contender for one of the biggest tunes of 2012. With new original and remixed material on the way, a continued role as creative director of Purp & Soul, and an increasingly lengthy touring schedule, 2013 looks promising for this Manchester native.
Laura Clock—better known by her stage name, Butterclock—gained early notoriety last year with her hypnotic vocals layered over San Franciscan producer oOoOO’s productions, like 2012′s “NoWayBack” and “Springs.” Since then, she’s built on that momentum with the release of her own dreamy, downtempo productions that blend mesmerizing, self-written vocals with slow-jam rave beats. Her first mark on 2013′s calendar was the video for “Don’t,” an aptly haunting video that follows Butterclock through a series of blurry memory-like visions, perfectly attuned to the track’s lo-fi allure and hazy overtones. First Prom, Butterclock’s highly anticipated debut solo EP with production contributions from oOoOO, is set for release in 2013, which, at this rate, is sure to be a big year for the Berlin-based singer.
Senegal-born, Kuwait raised, and now Brooklyn-based multimedia artist and writer Fatima Al Qadiri (aka Ayshay) is best known for her genre-blurring style that blends juke, hip-hop, dubstep, electro-tropicalia, ’90s trance, and plenty of other elements—most evident on her 2011 EP Genre-Specific Xperience. Her latest equally compelling EP, Desert Strike, which appeared late last year on Kingdom’s Fade to Mind label, was inspired by the videogame of the same name, and is an homage to the game’s “militaristic futurism” and Al Qadiri’s own real-life experience with war. We can’t wait to see what 2013 will bring.