20 acts you should really get to know in 2016
#10 Jim-E Stack
30 seconds into a Jim-E Stack track, you know you’re in safe hands. The Brooklyn-based producer has a way with woozy vocal samples, warm house pads and crunchy drums that stretches right across his output so far. Originally hailing from San Francisco, Jim-E first caught the internet’s attention with his 2014 album Tell Me I Belong, featuring the standout tune Reassuring.
He’s only developed as a producer since then. This year, two Jim-E Stack productions, Deadstream and You Are Not Alone, have crept into the sets of DJs like Diplo, Baauer and Tourist. Both tracks walk a line between house, garage and bass music, with intoxicating results. Jim-E also recorded a brooding and propulsive version of Bjork’s Hyperballad with Jana Hunter stepping in on vocals. On the road, the producer switches between DJing and a live set, and it’s in the latter context that his deep production output really shines.
For fans of: Kastle, Maribou State, Tourist
#9 Fort Romeau
Once upon a time Mike Greene was the live keyboardist for La Roux. Now this mild-mannered Englishman produces slow-burning, blissful Chicago house-meets-disco-meets-electronica as Fort Romeau. However, playing alongside the pop star has clearly had an impact on Greene, as his tracks display a keen sense of musicality and love for melody, while still consistently moving a dancefloor.
The guy’s no slouch at DJing either. Hit up his SoundCloud and you’ll see what we mean, with killer sets logged for BBC Radio 1, Dekmantel, Groove Magazine, Phonica and more. The past 12 months have been particularly fertile for the South London producer, as he’s unleashed several original cuts, a sophomore LP flirting with space disco and kosmische, plus remixes for the likes of PBR Streetgang and Kate Simko & The London Electronic Orchestra (take a listen below). You never quite know what you’re going to get with a Fort Romeau release, but that’s what makes him so thrilling.
For fans of: Lauer, Gerd Janson, Ewan Pearson
#8 The Zenker Brothers
After already making names for themselves as solo artists amongst purists and crate diggers, Dario and Marco Zenker teamed up to form the label Ilian Tape in 2007. Since then the Munich-bred brothers have pushed their unique techno flavours all over the globe.
Combining elements of the soulful, deep and melodic Detroit roots of house and techno, the chunky rhythms of 90s breakbeat, and the hazy, heady atmospheres of classic dub, the Zenker Brothers have created a sound that’s both intelligent and danceable. Their back-to-back sets have rocked dancefloors all over Europe (and more recently North America), and their original productions are regularly played by the likes of Jeff Mills, Marcel Dettmann and Ben Sims.
For fans of: Jeff Mills, Basic Channel, Djrum
#7 Christopher Port
Producing UK garage in 2016 isn’t exactly a radical concept, but there’s something about Christopher Port’s cuts that makes the Melbourne newcomer stand out from the pack. Perhaps it’s because while most budding producers are content with mimicry, Port is doing his own thing; taking cues from two-step and pushing them in his own creative directions.
Port made a standout impression last month with his debut EP Vetement, which features five tracks that play all around the bass spectrum. For an idea of the artists he admires (and in some ways resembles), hit play on his recent Ripe guest mix, featuring tracks by Mark Pritchard, Burial, Boards of Canada and more. With a start this strong, Port is gearing up for his next phase as a touring live act. The producer will head out on his first headline tour later this month, making stops in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. We can’t wait to hear the likes of Heavens and Even played through a big sound system.
For fans of: Pre-Settle Disclosure, Rustie, Hubert Clark Jr.
#6 Bob Moses
Despite what it sounds like, Bob Moses isn’t one dude. Rather it’s the band name shared by two Canadians, Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance, who have been delivering some of the most compelling indie-meets-dance in recent memory. Howie and Vallance went to the same high school in Vancouver, but they properly connected over music in New York five years ago, and things have accelerated from there.
The duo’s moody beats and smoky guitar licks first surfaced on the Brooklyn-based imprint Scissor & Thread back in 2012, which put them in the company of Francis Harris and Anthony Collins, who run the label and produce as Frank & Tony. After a couple of well-received EPs for Scissor & Thread, Bob Moses was picked up by Domino Records, where they now rub shoulders with the likes of Hot Chip, Junior Boys and Animal Collective. It was the duo’s album for Domino, Days Gone By, that really showcased what they can do. Further cementing their cred, Aussie trio RÜFÜS asked Bob Moses to support them on their national tour earlier this year.
For fans of: Darkside, RÜFÜS, Junior Boys