Probably more than in most genres, it's new recruits—the freshman class of studio whizzes, musicians and all-around creative types that hits the scene every year—who make the electronic- and club-music worlds go round. After all, if it wasn't for them, we'd all still be dancing to, say, Giorgio Moroder and Yellow Magic Orchestra. Actually, some of us still are—but we'll save that for another time, for today we're paying tribute to some of the best new artists to make waves in 2015.
August 21 saw Klunks' debut release, Elastic Forest, on Seattle's Hush Hush Recordings. With its unique and floating assortment of downtempo electronics, the release served as a fine representation of the Norwegian electronic composer's studio wizardry, transporting listeners through a beautiful maze of sound. Whispered vocal samples converse with organic-tinged synthesis and faint, airy field recordings, all driven along by jazz-like percussion. Judging by this release alone, exciting things are to come in 2016.
Maryland-based producer Lance Neptune's rise began when he approached Lone on one of his tours through the U.S., and instantly impressed with his demos—in turn, he received the opportunity to remix the Magicwire head's "Mirror Suns." Then came the release of his Animal Eclipse EP on Magicwire, the first EP to come out on the label in the past three years. Laced with ethereal synths and intricate percussion work, the eight-tracker was the finest representation of Neptune's work to date, and went far in establishing him as an artist to watch.
Art Crime keeps his identity somewhat mysterious—but when your production skills are as fully-formed as his are, letting your music do the talking isn't such a bad career move. The Russian producer first came to our attention via 2014's Never Look Back (released on on Willie Burns's W.T. Records), four wondrous cuts that managed to merge joyful abandon to pensive contemplation. But it was a pair of 2015 EPs that really made us fall for Art Crime: Renessense, which came out on Crème Organization, was a quartet of rave-tinged, highly textured and emotionally rich thumpers, while the Phonica imprint's Obsession evoked the feeling of the last song of a beautiful countryside festival, with your friends at your side and your gaze towards the sky.
Originally anonymous, the Man Power moniker was initially linked with a string of high-profile producers—John Talabot, Michael Mayer and Andrew Weatherall, just to name a few. But it was this year, following the release of his blissful self-titled debut LP on Correspondant, that the enigmatic DJ-producer was finally identified as U.K.-born, Mexico-based Geoff Kirkwood. In an interview with XLR8R back in May when the question of his identity was still at large, Kirkwood said "[My anonymity] wasn't intended as a gimmick, but I'd be full of shit if I pretended it hadn't ended up helping me get noticed." Whatever the case, Man Power's genre-blending work over the past twelve months has spoken for itself, gaining him fans the world over.
Volte-Face is the production alias of Casper Clark, an established London-based promoter and the man behind BleeD, one of the city's leading experimental electronic music club nights. He's been DJing for the best part of a decade—but it was only this year that he finally tried his hand at production. His debut EP, Charlatan, dropped in May this year, followed soon thereafter with his All Grown Up EP in November. He's also been working with Daniel Avery under the Rote moniker, with the duo's the debut EP released in October; "Rote 2," the second track from this EP, was included in XLR8R's best tracks of the year, and his "The Power of Christ Compels You" production was played out in Rødhåd's latest Boiler Room set. In short, it's been a good year—and the streak looks to continue, with a DJ Spider remix, a track on the next Semantica Nonnative compilation, and more solo material for his BleeD imprint all in the works.
Hailing from Frankfurt's Rhein-Main region, INIT is the pairing of Nadia D’Alò and Benedikt Frey, both of whom were featured on the title track of Massimiliano Pagliara’s 2014 LP on Live At Robert Johnson. While Frey is known for his house-focused productions on an array of labels, July saw the release of this collaboration's debut LP, Two Pole Resonance, through John Talabot's Hivern Discs imprint—it's a record that sees the pair deliver a captivating, dark, and brooding vocal-heavy take on synth-wave.
Inner8 is the solo project of Daniele Antezza, the Berlin-based, Italian-born producer who is best recognized for his work alongside Giovanni Conti. The pair run the Artefacts Mastering studio together, and also produce their own brand of dub techno under the Dadub moniker, a key component of Lucy’s Stroboscopic Artefacts imprint. 2015, however, saw Antezza's premiere release as Inner8, barring a couple of tracks around the project’s origination in 2007. The 12-tracker, made available via his own Undogmatisch imprint, is a beautiful piece of work that exposes Antezza's more experimental tendencies. More Inner8 material is expected in 2016, and we can't wait.
Part of an ever-expanding community of young and talented musicians centered around Berlin hub Club der Visionaere, Italian Luca Cara (better known as Spacetravel) stood out this year for his production skills. Picked up by Binh for his label Time Passages, his Galactic was top-shelf quality from start to finish, easing between trippy minimal and subtle electro sounds with a maturity that didn’t fit with that newcomer status. He's also become a regular fixture behind the decks, cutting his teeth in the Berlin scene and, more recently, traveling further afield to boîtes like Concrete in Paris.
Gardens of God's first EP hit the shelves early 2014 via Maceo Plex' Ellum Audio imprint—but 2015 has seen his profile grow considerably, via a growing touring schedule and two more acclaimed EPs. The man born Mindaugas Lapinskis hasn't exactly reinvented the wheel along the way, but his brand of sizzling, teched-up house has an appeal that's hard to deny. There's discussion of an album in 2016, with more exciting things to come.
Though the country's long been acknowledged as a breeding ground for production talent, this was the year that Romania came into its own as one of the most admired scenes in clubland. And while that scene’s established artists, people like Petre Inspirescu, Rhadoo and Raresh, get a lot of the credit, Cristi “Melodie” Tudorache deserves a huge share of the spotlight as well. With only a handful of releases—including one of our tracks of the year, "Acid Sunday"—he’s established a brilliant sound that fuses the patient minimalism of much of his country’s four-to-the-floor output with the ancient ways of good ol' acid house.