As the 2010s come to a close and a brand new decade is born, we’ve had what feels like an eternity (thanks to COVID-19) to immerse ourselves in new music. This begs the question that even the most in-demand producers must find themselves marooned in their studios with nothing to do but fire up their toys and begin work on new music.
While the weight of the world’s problems can feel overwhelming at times, the silver lining of being trapped indoors seems to have already surfaced. There has been some phenomenal new releases and albums this year from the likes of Clams Casino, Joyryde, Yaeji, Nicolas Jaar, Caribou and Lorenzo Senni just to highlight the tip of the iceberg.
Even though we’ve been spoiled for choice this year, our time of reflection has allowed us to manifest some musicians we miss who’ve been sleeping on us. In this list, we would like to shed some light on the artists who we feel need a comeback in 2020.
Hailing from Glasgow in the late 2000s, Rustie emerged from a scene of producers hell-bent on creating club music both deeply infectious and mind bafflingly experimental.
Rustie shot onto the global dance music scene with a sound both as futuristic as it is nostalgic. Combining the bass-centric grit of hip hop and grime with fluorescent melodies reminiscent of happy hardcore and glossy 80s pop production alike,
So far, the prolific producer boasts three full-length albums, three EPs and a myriad of remixes ranging from the likes of Jack Ü & Justin Bieber to Bloc Party.
His last full-length effort, ‘EVENIFUDONTBELIEVE’ was a caffeinated rollercoaster ride of euphoric, high-octane rave bliss. Complete with his signature brand of devastating bass paired in stark contrast to walls of major key supersaws, this album is the aural equivalent to drinking 3 energy drinks, a coffee with 4 sugars, then using whatever energy you have left to climb a mountain.
Over the past 5 years, Rustie has stayed very much low-key since having to cancel all shows from 2015 citing mental health and addiction. He has only recently awoken from a period of rest and recovery to tease what could only mean new music ahead.
Louisahhh has been a name on everyone’s lips in the realm of techno over the past decade. With an arsenal of flawlessly crafted club releases behind her dating back to 2011, this enigmatic New York-born, Paris based producer has blessed techno lineups globally with her contagious brand of brooding, intricate techno topped with cryptic vocals.
Louisahhh is a master of using the voice as an instrument, featuring schizophrenically chopped up and repetitious phrases that could almost stand in the place of a hi-hat or percussion.
With just enough nods to the booming analogue sounds of decades past, the Bromance signee’s sound remains sleek and refreshingly modern, showcasing an abundance of both extroverted crescendos and subdued refrains. Rather than rely on the all-too-cheesy buildup-drop dynamic, Louisahhh is insistent on slowly building tension in her tracks, keeping the groove going for its entirety.
‘Shadow Work’, Arguably her most ambitious release yet, was released back in 2015 on Bromance records much to the acclaim of the greater dance music community and beyond. One of its standout tracks ‘Change’ proved to be one of her most popular tracks yet, with it’s stomping rhythm and undeniably catchy vocal phrases.
Despite seeing little activity from Louisahhh from the past 5 years, the wait is looking to be worth it, with a number of what looks to be promo singles and remixes being released in preparation for something bigger. If that wasn’t enough evidence as it is, there is also talk of a debut album currently in the works, speaking of which we are very much ready for. In the meantime, we’ll just be jamming this one on repeat.
Young Florida producer Marcel Everett, known to us under the just about pronounceable pseudonym XXYYXX is still on our radar, and with good reason. His 2012 self-titled debut album swept both electronic and pop heads off their feet, garnering attention from the likes of Chance The Rapper and SZA, as well as spawning a legendary MTV interview with Antony Fantano‘s long time buddy Cal Chuchester.
Aged just 16 years old at the time of the album’s release, Everett’s effortlessly produced brand of low-slung electronica nabbed influence from all over the world, utilising sounds from R&B, garage, dubstep and choppy MPC-style sampling. The sound of this album, gelling Burial-esque cathedral scale melodies with warm, slightly clipped beat production, was arguably one of the records that influenced the sun-kissed electronica of today.
It’s unclear what Everett has been up to over the past 8 years, other than releasing a series of low-key singles on occasion and playing the odd tour. Some suspect that he’s planning to continue recording under his own name, while others suspect the media hype surrounding his debut album was a tad overwhelming at such a young age.
We weren’t exactly left high and dry, with several singles to show for. 2015’s ferocious trap tinged number ‘Red’ seemed like a darker take on some of his previous work, while his most recent offering ‘You Are Why I Am Invisible Pt.2′, showcases a completely different side of the producer’s personality. XXYYXX offers pleasantly optimistic melodies over a bumpy ensemble of dusty low-frequency goodness.
4. Daft Punk
This one should be an exception, agreed, since the majority of french house duos seem to get away with releasing an album every 6 to 10 years and still remain as prolific and influential as they once were with their magnum opus, but as I said, it doesn’t stop us being spoiled and restless to hear more.
Since releasing their groundbreaking 1997 debut album ‘Homework’, the semi-anonymous disco-house stars have cemented their place in history as one of the most prolific and popular music duos on the planet, both within the dance music world and beyond, from producing house hits such as ‘Around the World’ and ‘One More Time’, to scoring the 2010 reboot of Tron and earning production credits for the likes of Kanye West and The Weeknd, in addition to collaborating with more stars on their own material such as Giorgio Moroder, Pharrell Williams and Chic‘s Nile Rodgers.
Daft Punk are notorious for keeping fans on their toes, playing very few shows and leaving generous gaps between releases. Their last greatly anticipated full-length LP ‘Random Access Memories’ saw the duo lean in a more organic, disco and funk inspired approach whilst still clinging to the shiny, platinum-coated production that set them apart back in the day. The Pharrell-featuring ‘Get Lucky’ was a full-blown top 40 hit, amassing rotational radio play globally, whilst other cuts on the album still appealed to the die-hard music connoisseur, such as the arpeggio heavy ‘Contact’ and the 9 minute autobiographical gargantuan ‘Giorgio By Moroder’.
It’s always difficult to gauge what the two are about to do next, but we can at least find solace in the possibility of a new record… this decade, at least.
5. Jai Paul
After winning the hearts of music geeks and industry heads alike with just 2 demos ‘BTSTU’ and ‘Jasmine’, London musician Jai Paul recently broke his silence with a remastered, re-edited version of what everyone referred to as his “debut album” that leaked back in 2013. However, it was later revealed to be a compilation of demos and unfinished tracks that were reportedly ripped from his stolen laptop and distributed Bandcamp.
Sooner or later these tracks were given names and began cropping up all over the internet in all their cryptic pirate-radio sounding glory. Frankly, these tracks were nothing like anyone had ever heard before, even after already raising the bar with his past two singles on XL Recordings. Stylistic cues ranged from sleazy D’Angelo era R&B and the whizz-bang pop flares of 80s Prince to the more native low-register sounds of the UK underground, all topped off with just enough psychedelia to make Brian Wilson proud.
Between 2013 and 2019, Jai Paul kept it very quiet, leaving many wondering if they would ever hear new material from him ever again, until it was revealed in 2017 that he had been steadily producing new songs with his brother Anup, better known as A. K. Paul. These songs sounded as if the low-bitrate Paul demos of 2007-2013 were thrusted into high definition and set to pristine, soulful vocals from previously unknown vocalists recruited his label, The Paul Institute.
Grappled by mystery and undeniable genius, Jai Paul is a producer we’ve got our eagle eye on for 2020.
6. Pearson Sound
A major staple of the UK underground since the late 2000s, Hessle Audio co-founder Pearson Sound (David Kennedy) along with his alter-ego Ramadanman has been responsible for some of the most forward thinking bass music to emerge from the UK over the past decade.
With an extensive catalogue of dance floor friendly 12 inches and a critically acclaimed debut album, Kennedy orchestrates club tracks as explosive as they are delicate and brittle. His ability to merge ice-cold melodies with hyperkinetic rhythms makes for tracks that are appropriate both for club use and casual listening, finding a middle ground somewhere between detroit techno and the cinematic soundscapes of Vangelis or Tangerine Dream.
To be fair to him, he’s been plugging away intermittently at the occasional 12″ and remix, but after such an ambitious debut effort 5 years ago and a string of stellar releases from the Hessle Audio imprint, we can’t help but feel like we need some more of this crystalline club music in our lives.
2018’s trio of industrial heaters ‘Rubble’ offers a glimpse of what he’s been up to as of late, 3 tunes of rock-hard beats and bass with a sonic palette consisting of all the most delicious parts of a good techno track and some trap drums sprinkled into the mix.
With at least the thought that Pearson Sound is still turning out quality heat, we’ll just have to wait and see what’s under his sleeve for the ’20s.
This illustrious trio of English trance/trip-hop masterminds have been out of sight for far too long. Consisting of frontman and guitarist Maxi Jazz, keyboardist and producer Sister Bliss and long-time Dido producer Rollo Armstrong, this pack of three merged their individual musical backgrounds to create a sound which showcased everything exciting about British underground music.
Rising to prominence 24 years ago with their critically acclaimed debut album ‘Reverance’, Faithless’ sound would never have a dull moment, with songs ranging from ethereal air-punching trance classics (Insomnia, Salva Mea) to reflective ballads (Don’t Leave) and catchy trip-hop leaning numbers such as ‘Baseball Cap’ and ‘If Lovin’ You is Wrong’.
Their last record ‘The Dance’ in 2010, was a majestic collection of house, trance and a dash of reggae with an impressive guest lineup featuring Blancmange, The Temper Trap‘s Dougy Mandagi and of course, Dido. This album was the epitome of what makes Faithless a classic band not to be forgotten, with a varied musical palette inspired by all the sounds that have passed through the UK and dispersed into thousands of different directions, wrapped up into the one package along with Faithless’ signature stream-of-consciousness weirdness.
As for new music, beyond a 20th anniversary remix album and the solo ventures of each of it’s respective members, there isn’t much to grab onto as far as evidence of a Faithless comeback, however that doesn’t prevent us from having faith in seeing some new material in the decade to come.
8. Jamie xx
I don’t think we could ever get through one of these lists without mentioning Jamie xx, especially after the carrots he’s been dangling in our faces over the past few weeks, namely a new club-fuelled single and a subsequent 120 minute BBC essential mix.
Entering the public consciousness back in 2009 as the producing member of The xx, performing on stage with MPCs and sequencers alongside bandmates Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim, Jamie xx has since led a successful solo career in his own right, having started the project as a name to use for remixes of xx songs.
2011 saw him release the inspired and incredibly ambitious ‘We’re New Here’, a reworking of Gil Scott Heron‘s similarly titled album ‘I’m New Here’ released a year prior. Full of effortlessly sleek soul-inspired club music and jazzy interludes, this album marked a significant breakthrough for Jamie as a solo act.
His debut full-length album ‘In Colour’, released 5 years ago, was widely acclaimed and has since proved to be a landmark electronic album of the 2010s. The album is an ode to club culture and everything it represents, from Romy’s melancholic lyrics on ‘Loud Places’ set to a thumping Idris Muhhamad sampling house beat, to the almost surreal juxtaposition between Young Thug & Popcaan‘s yelping autotuned vocals with a melody top lining The Persuasions‘ 1972 number ‘Good Times’.
Even though we can kind of give Jamie a free pass for keeping himself occupied with The xx, we’re still getting ourselves hyped up for some new music, with promising signs ahead, having recently collaborated with grime crew Headie One on their track ‘Smoke’ as well as the aforementioned single ‘Idontknow’.
Well there you have it, an in-depth list of the artists we’re keen to see make an appearance in the decade to come. But with our restlessness set aside, it looks as though we’ve gotten of to a pretty good start for dance music this year so far, regardless of whether it’s due to the sheer boredom experienced by producers under quarantine or not. Either way, we’re looking forward for what the rest of the 2020s have to offer. Who would you like to see make a comeback soon? Be sure to let us know in the comments.
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