2018 was a good year in music and gear. In this years playlist we’ve summed up what you should have listened to during the past year and what gear you should have acquired. Some artists stood out more than others and we will guide you to the ones you will need to keep an eye on also for 2019.
We’ve seen fresh faces drop groundbreaking debuts and returning heroes deliver their best ever works. Artists have surprised us with unexpected directions, and others have acutely met expectations by channelling their formula into LPs of unrelenting quality. Collaborators have worked together and synthesised their styles to achieve next-level sounds, and international scenes have gained new attention thanks to breakout records from emerging stars.
The playlist contains everything from heavy techno tracks, industrial flavoured tracks, as well as more electro orientated songs. And surely the year had its anthems: Krystal Klear’s ‘Neutron Dance’, Eris Drew’s transcendental ‘Hold Me (T4T Embrace Mix)’, Marie Davidson’s techno track ‘Work It’, Ploy’s percussive floorfiller ‘Ramos’ and Peggy Gou’s ‘It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)’, one of the few underground house tracks of the past several years to cross over into the mainstream.
ARTISTS TO KEEP AN EXTRA EYE ON
As host of the weekly Plaza 2 Plaza show on LA’s Dublab radio station, Tel Aviv native Mor Elian has been drawing connections between house and techno for several years. Her debut record for Prime Numbers was released back in 2015, but in 2017 she increased her profile with a wave of strong releases. The weighty ‘Break Memories’, released on Delft, is jungle-influenced techno reduced down to its bare components.
Spanish producer JASSS started out editing field recordings and scoring experimental films, experience that’s clearly audible in her cinematic techno, which also pulls from dub, punk, hardcore and the rhythms of Africa and South America. Last year’s Weightless album for iDEAL was one of the year’s under-the-radar techno and experimental gems, taking EBM and industrial sounds in new directions.
Leeds-via-Leipzig producer Chekov’s tracks had already been in the hands of Lena Willikens and Ben UFO for some time before his debut record landed on Shanti Celeste’s Peach Discs label last year. Dark, mechanical and enjoyably weird in all the right ways, Chekov’s music experiments with mood and tempo in a way that connects the oddball club music of the UK with the more playful end of German techno.
Charlotte de Witte
We’ll admit that Ghent’s top techno export is breaking through on a different scale than most of the others on this list. Charlotte de Witte’s slate of releases on labels like Sleaze, NovaMute and Mary Go Wild Black as well as her residencies at Brussel’s biggest club Fuse and Belgian radio station Studio Brussel have propelled her to festival main stages. With a bag full of no-nonsense techno, there’s no doubt she’s ready for those contexts.
In some senses, Inga Mauer already broken through. She’s already filed high-profile mixes, played throughout Europe and at festivals like Dekmantel, held down a radio show for Cómeme and put out records on taste-making labels like Shtum. But judging from her potential, we suspect Mauer’s still got a long way to go.
Amelie Lens plays just once a year in her home town, Antwerp, and like every other gig she’s played in the past 18 months, this one is sold out. In a plain black T-shirt dress and Doc Marten boots, Lens stands before the adoring throng at Ampere club, dancing and smiling behind the decks. It’s a typical weekend’s work for Lens, who in the past two years has gone from relative unknown to techno’s hottest property. The 28-year-old has played massive stages at festivals including Awakenings and Drumcode, released multiple EPs, including three on Pan-Pot’s Second State, and started her own imprint, Lenske. She has hundreds of thousands of fans on Instagram and Facebook who follow her every move