On Our Radar: January 2021
On Our Radar: January 2021January 14, 2021
KAREEM EL MORR
Over the last decade, Munich has become the hotbed of breakbeat techno, driven by the tireless innovation of the Zenker Brothers and their Ilian Tape label. Kareem El Morr is one of the many artists to come through the Ilian Tape camp. He first appeared on the Munich edition of the label’s Bias Jams V/A and then on another local label, RFR. In December of 2020, El Morr debuted on Molten Moods with Wasteland Breaks, a laidback mix of electro, electronica, trance, and IDM. It’s his first solo release and showcases his gift for floating melodies and precision-cut breaks. Expect big things to come from an artist whose distinctive, refined sound stands out in a city full of talent.
Shubostar is carving out her own path in the realm of dark, cosmic disco and synth-heavy techno. Her journey started in South Korea before she moved to Mexico and began to hone her craft behind the decks and in the studio. Her music combines a well-worn, almost nostalgic sound palette with a boldly futuristic outlook. She has featured on labels including Nein, Controller and Wonder Stories, as well as her own imprint, uju Records. Her most recent Lynch EP features two slo-mo, outer-space transmissions, and remixes from Curses and Darlyn Vlys & Damon. Next up is an EP on homebase uju, including two more high-profile remixes, and she has two forthcoming tracks on labels Eskimo and Permanent Vacation.
Manchester-born, Copenhagen-based Main Phase is the co-founder of the recently-launched ATW Records and a rising producer of distinctly UK sounds. His records evoke the heyday of UKG, with some junglist, speed garage, and bassline flavour to keep things from getting too sweet. He has featured on Warehouse Rave, Shall Not Fade‘s sublabel Time Is Now, Dansu Discs, 3 Feet Deep, and collaborated on the first release of his own ATW. Main Phase’s latest for Time Is Now, Never Let Go, captures everything there is to love about his music. It finds innovative combinations of Ragga samples, sub-low basslines, and pitched vocals. If these tracks don’t get people moving, you’re at the wrong party. Keep an eye out for more Main Phase on Time Is Now this year!
As the daughter of a Northern Soul DJ, Amy Dabbs’ musical upbringing was informed by the soulful sounds of Motown, soul, funk, and early house. Dabbs spent years cutting her teeth as a DJ in London before moving to the Far East and playing at many of Singapore’s best parties during a four-year spell there. Now based in Berlin, she is concentrating on her productions, channeling her rich pool of influences into a feel-good sound, which references house music legends like Larry Heard. In 2020, a breakthrough year for Dabbs, Paul Woolford picked up one of her tracks for a compilation and then came her most complete statement yet, Girl Like Me. Released on a sub-label of the prolific Lobster Theremin, Girl Like Me is an infectious and timeless record from an artist with all the know-how to go far.
Blackloud has been breathing his signature, organic melodies, and entrancing rhythms into EPs for Norweigian outlet WOLD, amongst others, since 2015. He starts 2021 with the release of his Synesthesia EP, which houses three tracks written in quarantine last year. It continues his fascination with hardware, synthesis, and musical theory, translating these ideas, as well as modern classical inspirations, into deep, forward-thinking club music. Add to that some of the dance floor power which defines his NONDO alias, and you have a powerful, propulsive, and well-rounded EP that will stand the test of time until clubs re-open.
Until December of 2020, Tom McAlister was releasing music as Cop Envy, but he is starting the New Year afresh as Big Ever. Exactly what that means for his musical direction is yet to be seen, but if it’s anything like the Cop Envy releases, keep him on your radar. As Cop Envy, McAlister dropped a deadly collaboration with DJ Plead, as well as standout solo efforts for Hypercolour and Templar Sound. His experiments in breakbeat house and techno always find unusual rhythms and sonics, gradually locking into light-footed grooves and riding on seismic waves of bass.