The 7 Artists You Should Be Watching Out For This Year
Posted by Ben on 6th July 2016
We’ve just passed the end of June which means we’re heading into the second half of a year that’s taken Prince and David Bowie in return for an ever growing sense that everything is falling apart. But an area that I think we can all agree on, aside from politics and everything else that’s going on right now, is music; specifically that 2016 has been fantastic for it. The output from the Drum & Bass community this year has been wicked, and from labels and artists both big and small, 2016 has been undeniably sonically superb.
So, to help you keep on top of things and to try and point you in the right direction, here are 7 producers that over the last year or three have proven that they’ve got what it takes to make you smile and release tunes that rank up there with the best of them. The one I want to start with fits into this category perfectly, he’s released off of several labels including Fokuz Recordings and his music never fails to improve my day…
Hailing from Poland, Silence Groove is an absolute must listen for anyone who likes their Drum & Bass smooth and soulful. He’s been releasing music since 2010 and actually started off making trance, but he began his foray into the deeper side of DnB a year or so later and the results have been fantastic. The Silence Groove sound combines funky samples, warm pads and excellent instrumentation to create a gorgeous juxtaposition of melancholic euphoria that lends itself outstandingly well to liquid Drum & Bass. The track below exemplifies this perfectly, the vocal sample creates a wake for the other elements to follow in, leading the way and constructing a lovely vibe that is only improved upon by the subtle lower end and dusky drum break.
The Polish producer has had an impressive 2016 already, and I can’t see him putting a foot wrong production wise.
I would imagine you’ve probably seen these two names pop up now and then over the past couple of years, and there’s a good reason for this. On the music side of things, the London based duo have been killing it for a little while now with a string of releases on their own label, but they’re also responsible for a brand new EP on Spearhead Records along with featured productions on Hospital Records’ Brixton Bass EP and Liquicity’s Escapism 3. But it’s not just creating music that these two do well, because their very own Soulvent Records has been releasing remarkable tracks and building a solid reputation for a little over 2 years now. It’s great to see young producers successfully combining musical talent with business flair, so check out the track below if you aren’t already familiar with Pola & Bryson’s liquid excellence:
These two are without a doubt worthy of your attention this year, so go shower them with it on their Soundcloud and Twitter.
For this next artist we’re going somewhere different in both senses of the word. This is because Signal, or Jonathan, is the man behind music that is exactly that; different. He’s from The Netherlands, AKA the birthplace of Noisia, and this is an influence that shines through in his dark, deep and moody sound. He’s been on the scene for a year or so, and at 17 years of age is definitely among the youngest producers around , but this only serves to make his productions more impressive because it highlights just how mature his music really is. Not many people can say that they’ve released via Critical Music, Dispatch Recordings and Invisible Recordings before the age of 20, and big names such as Emperor and of course Noisia have both vocalised their support and admiration. Whilst Signal may not be everyone’s cup of tea, his impeccable sound design and ongoing creativity make him an easy choice for this list.
I love this tune because it has so much subtle depth, the back end goes on forever and swallows up most of the range but it isn’t shoutey about it, and lets the listener figure it all out for themselves. Wicked tune.
Sticking with the new kids on the block theme, 1991 has burst onto the scene and hit 2016 harder than England fans want to hit Harry Kane. With a double sided single and an absolutely bonkers remix for fellow MTA Records producers My Nu leng under his belt already this year, it’s pretty obvious why this up and coming 24 year old from East Sussex is on this list. His style seems all encompassing and dynamic, Sprites went down an absolute treat and received a considerable amount of air time on Friction’s BBC Radio 1 show, and with another single dropping very soon 1991 clearly has a lot more to offer us. Check out his remix of Soul Shake by My Nu Leng and Flava D below:
A true talent and a man we’ve featured several times in the past on Ninja Ninja, is Champion. Not to be confused with the London based bassline producer, the German born artist is a purveyor of gorgeously melodic, resonant music that is simply packed full of vibes. There’s no forced edginess or over the top sound design to be found here, just Drum & Bass that makes you curl your toes and spill your drink. Within his back catalogue can be found releases from Viper Recordings, Nemesis Recordings and most recently Soulvent Records, which was the vessel for his immaculate single Stay Here. At 25 he’s already had a successful career, but I think his music is so well made and is so appealing to all corners of the DnB community that I can’t see it going anywhere but up from here on out.
This Austrian duo probably has the most recognisable sound out of anyone on this list, and I’m not gonna lie I’ve been slightly obsessed for a little while now. Funkiness is the name of the game with these two, their trademark skippy, choppy music bounces along changing and morphing effortlessly with an almost Danny Byrd-esque quality to it. The pair released their wicked debut EP Beatfunk on Mainframe Recordings, but they’ve since signed with Viper and dropped an incredible double sided single that hits seriously hard. I’ve had the instrumental version of Only Way on repeat for weeks now, so listen below:
7) Bert H
Finally, we come to Bert H. Based out of Moscow, I wasn’t originally going to put him in because his sound isn’t dissimilar to Silence Groove, but I’ve been so impressed by his music that I decided to anyway. One of a few Russian and Eastern European liquid producers doing big things at the moment, regular collaborator High N Sick being another, Bert H’s music effortlessly slips its way across a whole range of frequencies. Fokuz Recordings and sister label Celsius are where most of his work as seen the light of day, which is reflected in the sultry melodies and gentle but forceful drum sections his music contains.
This tune is the one that caught my attention. It’s such a laid back, chilled out track that combines gorgeous vocal samples with a jazzy trumpet and a bassline that shivers all the way down the lower end. Still going strong in my rotation, this song, and the rest of Bert H’s music is well worth a listen.