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Ones To Watch: 18 For 2018

Program your radars. Get out your tabs. Tune your sights. It鈥檚 a convenient time of year to highlight a selection of exciting emerging talents across the bass spectrum and give them a cheeky boost for the months ahead.

Of course we have no idea how successful they鈥檒l actually be this year. We can鈥檛 guarantee that they鈥檒l smash it to pieces and slay us with consistent fire. But we do know that, right now, based on what we鈥檝e heard so far and how they鈥檙e doing it, they deserve to have both a cracking 2018 and your attention.

18 in total, but we could have picked many more; there鈥檚 a current groundswell of next-gen energy across drum & bass, dubstep and bass house/bassline, and these guys are in the thick if it. Get to know, add them to your radars, keep both tabs and sights on them. Most importantly, listen to their music.

 

 

Bou

The last time Manchester murker Bou was mentioned on this site was last month by Current Value as a key source of inspiration for his latest album Deadly Toys. Less than a month has passed since that an interview and they鈥檝e already jumped on some collaborations!

Bou鈥檚 acceleration up the ranks has been just as quick. Rooted in the jumpier side of the game, armed with a loose groove feel and latent sense of funk, his canny knack of riff-craft has ensured him a place in selections across the board. Comparable to the likes of Serum, T>I, Benny L or Voltage, Bou鈥檚 really natural classic drum & bass sound is spreading further by the month. Look out for future material on the likes of Low Down Deep, Souped Up, Liondub International and his own imprint Diamond Audio. Bou selector!聽 (Dave Jenkins)

 

Boxplot

Boxplot (real name Ian Sheldon) is America始s newest emerging liquid drum and bass artist who has recently etched his name into the walls of the Liquicity camp with his debut EP. With his most recent release entitled Tramontane, he始s found a way to intricately encapsulate the true nature of his euphoric sound into a three-track EP. The title track is exceptional in its unique feel with its dense array of strummed textures hitting with a Star Guitar-style energy.

He may be an unfamiliar name to you right now, but this young aspiring producer has captured the attention of thousands of listeners with his signature sampling of impassioned vocal phrasing illustrating a plane where music meets true human connectivity. After the success of his recent release, he始s gathered the support of producers near and far, including Liquicity始s Maduk selecting his productions on his annual Liquicity Yearmix. Next up: a new carefully-crafted and a remix on Indivision始s remix album. Following the likes of Flite and Ownglow, Boxplot is helping America write its own chapter in the book of liquid drum & bass. Let鈥檚 hope he doesn鈥檛 run out of ink any time soon. (Shane Armijo)

 

Distinkt

Shredding up the UK bass ranks like nobody鈥檚 business, Distinkt has already been causing quite a stir with heavyweight 4×4 blasters and well-crafted intoxicating riffs on the likes of Crucast, Southpoint and his own shady source of dubplate bootlegs. He was cited by both Chris Lorenzo and Holy Goof as a new artist who really made themselves known in 2017 and 2018 is set to be an even busier year as he kicks off with a full UK headline tour. Release-wise look out for Assassins on the Lorenzo鈥檚 next Bass Mentality EP and a whole stack more as the year progresses. (Dave Jenkins)

 

Edlan

Ignoring the connotations of in-car air fresheners, Edlan鈥檚 Lone Pine stands out as one of the finest of last year鈥檚 many liquid cuts. If not for its simple and perfectly executed melodic structure, but because of its creators age, too; he鈥檚 not even 20 and he鈥檚 already startled us with three remarkable EPs on Fokuz Recordings alone. With early support from Nymfo, serial support from Noisia on their radio show, a strong connection with Liquicity and a deep signature sound that plays cleverly with shades and contrast, Edlan has everything set in place for an even more prolific and exciting 2018. (Ben Hunter)

 

Ekko & Sidetrack

Perth鈥檚 Hansen brothers have been steadily gaining momentum over the past few years via a consistent flow of appearances on Viper that have picked up major league DJ support ranging from A.M.C to Pendulum鈥檚 El Hornet and everyone in between. It鈥檚 not hard to hear why; there鈥檚 a refreshing versatility in their productions that resonates across the board and each track packs a completely different flavour from soulful melodies such as Let The Light In (featuring vocalist Reija Lee) to gritty face-screwers like One Time. As we roll through 2018 we can expect a lot more of this variety on both Viper鈥 And beyond, as they hint at a release coming on another European label that they鈥檙e not at liberty to confirm. Rest assured there鈥檒l also be plenty more comedy video output from the Aussie brothers, too. If you鈥檙e not already up to speed on their adventures, check them out now. (Jake Hirst)

 

Freddie Martin

If you want an idea of how Freddie Martin is going to attack 2018, take a sip of Carnage. His first tune of the year, out next week, it鈥檚 an absolute beast of banger with Dread MC that surges with breakbeat badness and bassline drama, setting the tone for a big year ahead. Prior to this he鈥檚 been bubbling away on Southpoint / Southpoint Introducing, Deeprot and Gassed with a string of crucial hurters that all teeter and twitch between stately 4/4s and broken bass. Shucks he鈥檚 even managed to gully the dickens out of Daniel Beddingfield with authenticity. Looking ahead, he鈥檚 got loads locked and primed to fire鈥 Following Carnage he鈥檒l be dropping two major EPs by the summertime on Broken Syndicate and Southpoint, the latter featuring a hench collab with Bushbaby and Zero! Watch out. (Dave Jenkins)

 

Gydra

Gydra were busy last year. Very busy. The Russian duo kicked off 2017 with the huge Killparty EP on Eatbrain Records which contained Ikra, a tune that enjoyed a lengthy spell in the top 10 of the Beatport charts. They used that as a platform for the rest of the year, putting out banger after banger on the likes of Cause 4 Concern and Total Advance. It appears they鈥檙e going to carry on this year in the same vein with a weighty release on Trendkill before a collab with Rene LaVice on RAM as well as further releases on Audioporn and a other key labels. With strong sonic comparisons to Bad Company, their hard-hitting furious funk brand of drum & bass has been cited us by Mampi Swift and The Prototypes in the last few weeks alone. Comparisons don鈥檛 get any higher. (Robin Murray)

 

Ill Truth

They haven鈥檛 got many releases to their name 鈥 yet! – but Bristol duo Ill Truth are starting to pick up serious ears, largely thanks to their collaboration with Satl and Charlie Brix,聽 including In Your Soul, one of 2017鈥檚 most majestic releases. Thankfully they鈥檝e got plenty more lined up this year including two tracks on a compilation album coming on Lockdown, an E.P on C.I.A Records as well as a few other bits on Lifestyle Music, Intrigue and Flexout. Their aim for 2018 is to work with more producers and vocalists, so we can only hope there are more collabs of similar quality to the aforementioned belter on the way. (Robin Murray)

 

Koherent

If you haven鈥檛 heard of Koherent, the Leeds and Nottingham based fusion of Subdivision and Precision, then you shouldn鈥檛 feel too bad. They鈥檝e only released a handful of tracks so far, but you鈥檇 be wise to tune in as they鈥檙e warming up at an impressive speed. The standout for me so far has been Infatuate, as heard last year on Shogun Audio鈥檚 Point Of Origin Vol. 2 album. A subtly powerful run of rolling drums and subby sines all packaged up with distinct slickness, it sets the tone for what we can expect this year. With an appearance already locked on the new Soulvent album, I don鈥檛 think these boys are going to disappoint this year. (Ben Hunter)

 

Kompany

We鈥檝e already told you how Kompany went from studying at LA production school Icon to becoming head of sound design at Cymatics in the space of months, how he鈥檚 honed a precision-gnarled balance of design and groove on his tracks and that his recent Never Say Die EP Revolt is his most accomplished release to date.聽 And he鈥檚 already told us that it鈥檚 the start of a new chapter and 鈥渆verything from here is straight fire鈥. Read last week鈥檚 feature and keep him under close scrutiny throughout 18. (Dave Jenkins)

 

Kumarachi

This Nottingham-based producer has been beasting us with junglised slammers for quite some time now. Largely spotted on DJ Hybrid鈥檚 ever-on-point labels Deep In The Jungle and Audio Addict (but with past appearances on the likes of Hocus Pocus and Ghetto Dub) his barbed-wire blend of rave motifs, turbo-tuned breaks and toxic basslines really came into their own on his still-crucial debut album Flashback in late 2016 and have become impossible to avoid ever since. Recently spotted on Critical with his sickeningly sharp Binary EP and three tracks on Deep In The Jungle Anthems Volume 4, he promises us plenty more throughout the year. Pay attention. (Dave Jenkins)

 

Lao Wai

While some of the artists on this list are quite established, this young Manchester producer is much more of an unknown entity鈥 And while his history goes back several years with cameos on both Horizons and DCI4, it wasn鈥檛 until last year that he slipped onto our radars with his Nekkid EP. Three tracks of brooding excellence on Italian label Avantgard, it hits hard with strong feels of Dispatch or Critical and followed previous on Nurtured Beatz and Vienna label Blu Saphir. With a tempestuous signature where arrangements growl into action and tense highly sprung drums firing off in all directions, we suspect you鈥檒l be hearing him on even bigger labels very soon. Dark D&B abounds at the moment, and a lot of it is sounding somewhat samey. For a new artist to catch attentions in this way with a style of production that鈥檚 admittedly been done a lot, he鈥檚 definitely a worthy candidate for this list and your radar. (Ben Hunter)

 

Monrroe聽

When Monrroe released his stunning Dawning track featuring the vocals of Emily Jones in 2015, many heads in the industry began to take note of his emerging talent. None more so than Liquicity, who have now featured Monrroe鈥檚 tracks on three different compilation albums. It has taken a few years for Elijah Symons to form the foundations of a very promising musical career, but as we move into 2018 his productions are starting to convey the character and organic liquid sound he has been searching for. There鈥檚 a particularly beautiful rawness in his tracks and a maturity in the way he connects with his music for someone who is still studying for a degree is music production. With his latest Falling Apart EP freshly released last month and a new two-sided single planned for release early this year followed by more under-wraps material to follow, it seems Monrroe is a name we will be hearing a lot more of throughout the year. (Jake Hirst)

 

Mystic State

Not many relative newcomers can boast launching their own label, releasing an immense debut LP, as well as releases across the likes of Dispatch, Flexout, Deep Heads and more on their CV so early in their career, but Mystic State are an anomaly; exhibiting depth and a musical maturity well beyond their years, the duo have excelled in showcasing their versatility as producers, already building a seriously impressive repertoire across varying tempos and palettes.

Regularly exploring deep, atmospheric textures, ambient liquid numbers, as well militant productions that deserve their own disclaimers, they鈥檝e carved an identity of their own, drawing inspiration from their dubstep roots, allowing them to weave a rich sonic tapestry that becomes more detailed with every release.

Having just unleashed the menacing stepper that is 鈥楩ollow鈥 on Demand鈥檚 Requisite series, with a fresh EP due in early March on their Chikara Project imprint, as well as another potential LP on the label towards the end of the year, the only way is up for the Bristol-based lads. Get to know. (Maja Cicic)

Revaux

If you like your D&B punchy and rolling with a growling twist, Revaux have got you covered. The Leeds-based duo are perking ears for all the right reasons, carving a recognisable sound in serious style. Last year saw them grace the likes of Soulvent Records, Skankandbass and Addictive Behaviour to name a few, and they鈥檙e showing no signs of slowing down.

Having kicked the year off with a rolling release on Lifestyle Music, with a forthcoming EP on Flexout Audio in the not to distant future, along with a remix for Terra Firma, and their Leeds event Vision State celebrating a second birthday on 23rd of February (with Halogenix and Biome headlining), 2018 looks to be their biggest year to date. We鈥檙e all ears鈥 (Maja Cicic)

 

Skue-K

Skue-K has been steadily supplying the UK bass big boys with weapons for some time鈥 Now they鈥檙e leaking out into the ether. His forthcoming remix of Sigma鈥檚 Forever has been a humungous reloader for key DJs lately, and last year鈥檚 tracks such as the sweet and sassy Out My Life (with Bassboy) the riotous Criminals and his rather cheeky E-Talking remix have all been heavily rotated by many selectors flexing around the 130 axis. With a fresh track The Beginning coming on Holy Goof鈥檚 Fabriclive 97 album and key support dates with My Nu Leng and Skepsis kicking off the year, Skue-K shows all the signs of levelling up in 2018. (Dave Jenkins)

 

Vorso

Last spotted on this site in November 2017 (wearing an awesome pink hat), Vorso鈥檚 work on Flexout and Inspected has already attracted a fair amount of attention鈥 Including the ears of Aphex Twin who鈥檚 supported his breakthrough track Needle in his sets. His recent Spectre EP is a vibrant and toxic snapshot of his skittish broken glitches. Ranging from breaks to two-step to halftime, all underpinned with a trippy, sludgy bass, it鈥檚 a calling card for the deranged damagement he鈥檚 about deliver this year. Expect an EP on Inspected, including a track with Eckle, an EP鈥檚 worth of tunes with Vellum and a stack of Clockvice collabos. In the meantime just stick you head inside Mass and prepare for a total circuit rewire. Hello Vorso. (Dave Jenkins)

 

Wooli

2017 was mammoth for dubstep firebrand Wooli (not sorry): his widescreen heaviness was spotted across four of the most important labels in the genre – Never Say Die, Circus, Firepower and Rottun. He also collab鈥檇 with Krimer, YookiE and AKF, toured with both Terravita and Bear Grillz and wrapped up the year with serious feels courtesy of his beautiful take on Wicked Game. Kicking off 2018 supporting Datsik on his Ninja Nation tour, things are set to get even bigger for the hairy bass beast. Expect collaborations with Datsik and Funtcase, a release on Circus, shows at several major US festivals in the summer and, we suspect, a trunk load more (sorry) (Dave Jenkins)