On Our Radar: December 2020
On Our Radar: December 2020December 18, 2020
Sibling duo Lastlings are taking inspiration from their Australian and Japanese heritage, as well as visions of a dystopian future, and turning it into irresistible dance music. Their debut album First Contact, recently released on both RÜFÜS DU SOL’s label Rose Avenue and Astralwerks, is a stirring mix of dark pop vocals and electronic production. Written about the emotions felt when experiencing something for the first time, First Contact ranges from euphoric, festival-ready vocal tracks to shadowy and introspective moments. It has a cross-genre appeal, similar to the likes of Bob Moses or Maribou State, and hints at big things to come from this duo.
Toh Imago, born Thomas Hennebicque, emerged fully-formed in 2019 with a concept album for the ever-eclectic Infiné Records. The French producer borrowed from techno, dub, ambient, jungle, bass music, and industrial, weaving a bold and unusual sound of his own. His Infiné follow up, Opalis FM, was produced in isolation earlier this year, an EP notably brimming with positivity, emotion, and nostalgia for a simpler time. It’s the work of a techno nonconformist, covering some serious ground over its five tracks and never shying away from provocative sound design or samples. Check out one of his DJ sets and you’ll see the love for multi-genre journey runs deep.
Louis Greenwood and Lawrence Hayes make up the London-based duo Wayward. They have been around since 2013, recording for leading labels like Black Butter, Beats Of No Nation, Fort Romeau’s Cin Cin Records, and Silver Bear Recordings (where they also work as A&Rs). On top, they have polished their production chops by co-producing for a wide range of high-profile artists. From their studio setup of synthesizers and drum machines, Louis and Lawrence channel the UK dance music continuum, from house, techno, and acid through to jungle. Their latest, “Back To The Old Days,” is something special. Its ravey escapism is captured by the Joy Orbison-esque sampling and the track’s stunning video.
If you’re missing the sunshine this winter, a dose of EKKAH’s disco-funk vibes should keep you going until brighter days. The London duo, born Rebekah Pennington and Rebecca Wilson, are one of the hottest up-and-coming live acts around. They’re both multi-instrumentalists, playing bass, saxophone, keys, and singing, as well as adding electronic touches on top. They have already collaborated with Dam-Funk, and played high-profile shows including Glastonbury, Bestival, and Secret Garden party, as well as headline dates in London. Their latest release, “Wendy’s Yard,” is a disco earworm of the highest order. The leisurely beat, infectious vocals, and instrumental lines blend into something worthy of the New York, disco heyday.
The boiish duo was born from Amanda and Kristin working together for Ultra Music Festival in their home Miami, where they had desks close to each other and would spend days swapping their latest musical finds. Soon later, they were mixing back-to-back and jamming their first productions, which led to remixes for singers Kesha and Kaleena Zanders. Fast forward 18 months, and they’ve linked with the beacon of inclusivity that is HE.SHE.THEY. for their latest single, “Do Too Much.” Produced in collaboration with Mike Antix, the track showcases the duo’s rich talents as singers, songwriters, and producers. It hybridizes electro, house, and indie dance into a techy, ultra-modern floor-filler. A surefire hit when dancing resumes.
Check out boiish’s set from the HE.SHE.THEY’s collective livestream takeover via Beatport’s YouTube here.
Tennessee-born, Atlanta-based artist Nikki Nair has been on fire in 2020, dropping a string of stand-out releases on Barely Legal’s Pretty Weird label, Claude VonStroke’s Dirtybird, Gobstopper, Gutterfunk, and Banoffee Pies. Across the releases, he has shown himself to be a master of chopping breaks and a keen ear for a soulful sample. He re-interprets his source material into new contexts, bringing artefacts of dance music’s various strains up to the cutting edge. Nikki Nair is ending the year with another stellar EP for his long-time home, Scuffed Recordings. The Trying To EP is full-throttle percussive dance music, taking cues from electro, techno, breaks, and Baltimore Club, then cranking the tempos up high.