Read our five-point guide to the best new sounds from the periphery.
The internet’s a busy place, right? Once again, we’ve saved you the hassle and dug through the latest emerging acts and selected you five artists you should be paying attention to. From experimental ambience evoking the mystery of nights in Japan, distorted post-club sounds, jazz-infused hip-hop perfect for dimly lit evenings and serene, dancefloor music.
Scroll down and discover five artists breaking through.
The hazy state between sleep and waking is said to be a fruitful gateway to creativity. Named hypnagogia, it’s a strange web of consciousness giving rise to dream-like visions. This space feels like a spiritual home for Cera Khin, who regularly turns out heavy-lidded mixes for NTS and Bristol-based Noods radio. Her new label LazyTapes has a similar sedative effect – its concept even came to her in a lucid dream. With forthcoming releases from Christoph De Babalon and Peder Mannerfelt, LazyTapes was brought to life with the Guided Meditation tape, featuring solo material from Cera Khin alongside a collaboration with Young Echo member Ossia. Including field recordings from Tunisia, where the Berlin-based artist was raised, it slips in and out of obscurity; elements appear before submerging into ambient murk, like an idea that slips through your fingers before its fully-formed. Forget your mindfulness app – this is music to put you in a trance.
Dedekind Cut / Mica Levi
Born in Chile and now based out of Rio de Janeiro, Valesuchi is a DJ and producer searching for “saudade” – a Portuguese term which refers to the feeling of love, melancholy and longing that remains after someone has gone. Having cut her teeth on indie dancefloors, she eventually found a home for herself at Matias Aguayo’s Cómeme stable, where her evocative productions and deep, precise mixing has bloomed. She recently delivered a mix for our online mix series and it perfectly captured her knack for creating moments that carry a serene beauty, but never lose focus of the dancefloor. Now immersed in Rio’s small but supportive party scene, she’s busy in the lab working on new music to unveil later this year. Fingers crossed we get something in time for summer.
Courtesy / Matias Aguayo
For those who are lovelorn, an elegant soundtrack is needed to complement those low-lit evenings spent alone. Southeast London artist Jacob Allen, aka Puma Blue, captures the vibe with a Jeff Buckley-inspired falsetto, delicate guitars, subtle hip-hop drum programming and the occasional saxophone lead which drifts along like smoke flowing from an ashtray. Following some Bandcamp bedroom recordings and last year’s Swum Baby EP, recent Puma Blue single Only Trying 2 Tell U is a silky tune about tentatively making that first move. Pour yourself a glass of red.
inc_no_world / King Krule
Sugai Ken is a familiar name to those who keenly follow a certain strand of Japanese ambience, having released his debut, ToKiShiNe, back in 2010. However, 2017 – the definitive year of ambient music’s resurgence – saw Ken shift away from releasing via Japanese imprints to being signed to Brooklyn label RVNG Intl. Based in Greater Tokyo’s Kanagawa, Ken’s latest release on the NY imprint, entitled UkabazUmorezU, sees him use field recordings from his home prefecture to recontextualise Japanese customs and folklore. Sewing strange abstractions into a sparse fabric of experimental shapes, Ken constructs the “subtle and profound ambience of night in Japan” via sounds of running water, ghostly vocals that stutter and gasp into a dense fog, ticking clocks, drone sounds and much more. Dark, solemn and rich with negative space, Ken’s deep explorations make for an intensely emotional listen.
Hiroshi Yoshimura / Midori Takada
We first encountered Evitceles on Opal Tapes’ recent The Harvest of A Quiet Eye, a compilation skewed towards the marginal and odd. But there was something about the Bulgarian producer’s chalky, distorted interpretation of post-club music that stood out: his Seagrave released album, Anuket, is steeped in the physicality of noise and dub, sure, but there’s also grainy samples, trance pads and synth runs that shimmer like MDMA eye wiggles, too. Unsurprisingly, Eviceles is part of Sofia’s Amek Collective, an enclave of producers and bookers nurturing the city’s nascent DIY scene and who seem insistent on crushing boundaries between ambient, noise and club music. Strange, and very compelling.
Huerco S / Andy Stott