On Our Radar: February 2021
On Our Radar: February 2021February 19, 2021
Welcome back to On Our Radar, Beatportal’s monthly roundup of the DJs and producers we can’t get enough of. For Black History Month, we highlight six emerging Black artists from around the world that are blazing new trails in dance music.
Chicago artist Jana Rush was practically born to be a DJ. By the age of 10, she started spinning, and by 15 released her debut on Dance Mania. Her early works, including a collaboration with the legendary DJ Deeon, were rooted in ghetto house and techno, taking cues from the likes of Robert Armani, Lester Fitzpatrick, Cajmere, and DJ Milton, as well as learning through friendships with the late DJ Rashad and Paul Johnson. Rush took a break from dance music between 2000 and 2013, but her love for DJing and producing never went away. She came back strong with a new sound based in the mathematically complex rhythms of juke, releasing her excellent, debut album Pariah in 2017. Check out her frantic and experimental contribution to Planet Mu’s 25-year anniversary compilation below.
Brandon Terral (AKA Escaflowne) emerged in 2020 with a track on Haus Of Altr’s mammoth compilation, and his debut EP on New York’s Sorry Records. On The Stimulus Pack, he got ravey with four cuts of breaky, acid-laced house music for the peak hours. There’s no-nonsense club heat for the vocals and piano stabs crew, alongside the more subdued, sample-heavy “BeyBah.” Since, the Bay Area-born, Brooklyn-based artist has proved there is plenty more where that came from, unleashing a diverse series of releases he calls Looseys. They take in anything from jungle, footwork, and club to techno and house, then apply that signature Escaflowne touch.
The self-proclaimed Queen Of Hell and New World Dysorder-founder Jasmine Infiniti made a bold statement in 2020, dropping one of the year’s best albums — also her debut LP — with BXTCH SLÄP. She was previously known for DJing the queer ballroom scenes of New York and California, but signing to the Dark Entries imprint and her arsenal of self-released apocalyptic spread word of her skills throughout clubland. While it’s a techno album, BXTCH SLÄP runs wild in so many directions that it’s hard to keep up. It’s an explosive battle cry and a commentary on what life is like as a Black trans woman. In Jasmine’s own words, “It’s about embracing that hell vibe.”
London-based DJ, producer, singer, and songwriter Eliza Rose has distilled a decade of working in a record store into a modern style of soul, funk, disco, house, and UKG — the kind you can’t help but love. Her first release, Moonshine, came out in 2015, and since then Rose has gone on to work with the likes of Angel D’Lite, Cody Currie, and Peaky Beats (with whom she made her upcoming record). She is equally in-demand as a DJ, forming part of the Rhythm Sister collective, regularly playing at some of London’s finest parties (including Secretsundaze, The Jazz Cafe, and GALA Festival), as well as holding down a radio show on Balamii. Expect music from every corner of the globe, delivered with the same infectious vibe that seeps through her own productions.
Dante Sanders (AKA DJ Taye) is a Chicago juke and footwork artist, and forms an integral part of the Teklife/Hyperdub connection. He joined the pioneering Teklife crew in 2010, having started out making hip hop beats and rapping, and went on to become one of its core members. Sanders dropped his debut album on Kode9’s Hyperdub in 2018, Still Trippin’, and since then has self-released a number of mixtapes that live up to that LP’s broad and powerful scope. DJ Taye’s sets are as incendiary as his music. You might catch him coming to the front of the stage to dance mid-set, before returning to drop another high-octane, breakneck rhythm. Taye has just been announced as one of the new NTS Radio residents, so tune into him there until clubs are back open to hear the real thing.
Detroit artist Kamau began his journey as Darling Farah in 2008 with a series of strong EPs before signing his stunning, debut album, Body, to the innovative London label, Civil Music. It was about as impressive a debut LP as you’re likely to hear in the electronic music world, segueing from dubwise ambient to house and techno with unpredictable guile. He shortened the name to Farah for a quirky house 12-inch on Don’t Be Afraid, before switching again to current alias, and his birth name, Kamau. He is now running his own label, Aehti Recordings, and contributed to Don’t Be Afraid’s 10-year compilation last year, with each release offering something different to the last.