Who’s your favourite producer been this year? There’s been a lot of awesome producers to choose from this year. As the likes of Break and Serum have noted in our end of year interviews, some artists have made their very best music this year. They’re mighty strong words. But we’ve all got our favourites, and these are 10 our editorial team have picked. Any of your favourites on the list?
If you’ve been to any events this year and experienced your face distorting due to a twisted and downright disgusting bassline, chances are you’ve been blessed by a Benny L production. 2017’s D&B golden boy, Benny’s been turning heads for all the right reasons, perfecting a sound that’s instantly recognisable as his own and subsequently gaining support and mentorship from the likes of Shimon, Goldie, Randall and loads more across the scene.
With the highly-anticipated Low Blow doing the rounds all festival season, it was clear why Metalheadz jumped at the chance to lock in an EP from the South-East Londoner, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Flaunting his versatility as an artist, Benny proved he had a proper depth to his sound, and he’s continued to go from strength to strength. Whether he’s rolling out original productions or remixing the likes of Hybrid Minds, Pola & Bryson, or most recently Shimon & Andy C, Benny’s staying true to his sound, and it’s a sound that’s doing some serious damage across dancefloors the world over. (Maja Cicic)
Any artist who can rattle your bones with haunted bass designs like I Swear one minute, jack your body with swinging bassline funk like Forget It the next AND quietly unleash an evocative, densely textured ambient piece called Homage To The Lady In The Radiator on the side should command both your respect and your ears. And these are just three examples of where Bushbaby is at this year. One of the most successful artists to emerge from the on-point Southpoint unit, Bushbaby is digging deep foundations for a long-game future as he finds sweet spots between the beats and boundaries and doesn’t align himself to any genre yet looks well comfortable in whichever context you find him; whether that’s bashing out the gung-ho 4×4 jams like Know About Dat or making you swivel on his chiselled breaks like Mitsuko or anything in between. In the words of the man like Bru-C… Hold tight Bushbaby every time. (DJ)
By many critics’, fans’ and fellow producers’ standards, 2017 in drum and bass belonged to Camo & Krooked. Obviously their long awaited fourth album Mosaik was at the centre of this, which we’ve also highlighted as an album of the year, but beyond the LP narrative lie many other accomplishments… Their remix of Noisia’s The Entangled, their completely new live show, their curation of Nu Forms festival. Is it any wonder why they dominated the recent Drum&BassArena Awards? Best Album, Best Producer and Best Track for Ember all in the bag. They also came second in the Best DJ award. If I was Andy C I’d actually be worried right now. (Layla Marino)
When it comes to the foundation UKG sound no one has delivered quite like London’s Conducta. Whether it’s the sweeter, dreamier two-step flavours of his remix of J Hus’s Did You See, the warm bass swing and classic strings on his remix of Skrillex & Poo Bear’s Would You Ever or the subtle badisms on the infectious 4×4 strutter Hurt Me (with Deadbeat), he represents garage at the widest scope and knows how to hit the spot with every style… As anyone who’s been following him for the last few years on labels such as Show Them, Artifice and Project Allout will tell you. Other key reasons he’s in this list include the gully-assed authentic broken beat version of Come & Go, his bumping 99-style remix of Craig David’s Heartline, his vibe-heavy Radar Radio shows and the fact his first major label release Wanna Go bumps with uncompromised class and musicality. And he came across as a good human being on Blind Dates. Salute. (DJ)
For years FD has been seen as a bit of an unsung hero in drum & bass, serving up some lovely slices of music without enjoying much of the limelight. But this year he was more prolific than ever with three big releases which all enjoyed their fair share of acclaim. He kicked off with the sublime Serious EP, featuring a remix from none other than Calibre, before following it up with the stonking Bridges EP on C.I.A, and later came his finest work of the year. The Alone With Everybody EP is chock-full of gems including Ice Cream, Always Something and This Is Now. Let’s hope there’s more of the same next year. (Robin Murray)
Our appreciation of Coffi, 50 Carrot and Soloman’s work is pretty well established now. They’ve been on UKF with four originals, two remixes and two mixes throughout 2017 and that’s just scratching the surface of the music they’ve been prolifically pushing this year. Sitting in that sweet spot between riddim, dancefloor and classic, they’ve developed an exciting reputation for the art of surprise. When a Gentlemens Club dispatch drops, it could go in a number of directions; it could be all-out stabby daggers like Lost The Plot. It could have warped musicality and a classic old school bouncy drop like Hydra. It could be emotional and restrained and leftfield like 6000. In the case of their totally unique High Octane, it could be two minutes of soulful trap that wildly flips into mind-melting metallic bass shreds without any warning whatsoever. With a broad, dynamic range, respect for the roots and an ability to maintain an energetic party vibe no matter how many thousand-deep the crowd is, Gentlemens Club have smashed 2017 just like they smash every dance. (DJ)
Monty’s been around for a minute, but the sonic craftsman from Toulouse has had an exceptional year that’s seen his deep and wonky basslines grace the likes of Alix Perez’s 1985 Music imprint, along with outings on Vandal Records, Flexout Audio and more. His ability to strike a perfect balance between dreamy soundscapes, rugged rollers, and intriguing half-time riddims is a testament to his skills in the studio, and is exactly what’s grabbed the attention of heads all over, including mine. If you’ve heard any of his unreleased dubs you’ll know that the Frenchman is definitely one to watch in 2018 and beyond. (Maja Cicic)
The simplest way to describe Moody Good’s music is with the name he’s given his mix series of all original content: Music To Go Fuck Yourself To. This year, there’s been very little in terms of music surfacing from this relatively secretive producer. The few bits that have surfaced – such as his remix of Noisia’s Get Deaded, his collaboration with Teddy Killerz and the standalone version of Super Lager – all stay true to his ‘go fuck yourself’ ethos with their ridiculous sound design and incredibly weighty basslines. With a supposed EP on the horizon for 2018, we can happily say (for possibly the only time ever) that we’re looking forward to going and fucking ourselves even more next year. (Sampo Kaskia)
These two are spearheading the new wave of liquid, and you’ve only got to listen to the disarming subtlety of Moment’s Notice or the vocal force of Find Your Way to hear how good these two are at constructing a melody. Their productions just effortlessly translate what they’re trying to say and what they feel, they impart so much meaning and emotion. Pola & Bryson also co-run Soulvent Records, my favourite small-ish label for music on the lighter side that’s released tunes from GLXY and Changing Faces amongst other, demonstrating their deep involvement in the scene and commitment to dishing out dreamy tunes. They’ve even signed onto Shogun this year, and I’d be willing to wager they played some role in getting GLXY onboard Friction’s imprint as well. All in all, these London boys have just smashed it in every sense of the word, and the prospect of many more years of Pola & Bryson is a very exciting one. (Ben Hunter)
What a year it has been for this man. Not only is he a member of one of the most exciting drum and bass projects in recent years – Kings of The Rollers, he’s also added the likes of Heist, Voltage and Dynamite MC to the list of producers he has collaborated with on tracks. 2017 has seen Serum release an unrelenting amount of music and with every production his unique style of music gets even slicker. Without doubt he has been producing some of the most questionable sounding but brilliant soundscapes to grace drum and bass of late. Ingenuity and creativity ooze from his productions and perfectly resemble what makes this diverse genre so brilliant. From quirky artwork and track titles, to niche samples and unmistakable wavy basslines, Serum is a name that has been rumbling in the background for a while, but this year he has rocketed into the spotlight and quite rightly earnt a place on the Drum&BassArena Awards Best Producer shortlist. Watch this space in 2018… (Jake Hirst)