(Liv).e — pronounced “Liv” — has an otherworldly sound. The vocalist and producer hails from Dallas, Texas, and combines gospel spirituality with blurry synth-work to create immersive, outlier musical environments that are bluesy and beguiling. Her deconstructed productions range from live sounding jazz skits to deconstructed R&B, with romantic and lo-fi instrumentals and smeared vocals, loosely tumbling drums and a late-night sense of woozy soul all drawing you into her imagined and hallucinogenic world.
She has emerged from the constantly evolving collective Dolfin Records and released a number of mixtapes and EPs that are as gritty as they are gorgeous. We’re told a new album is on the way in 2019 and it could well make her one of the breakout stars of the year. Much like the brilliantly weird and wonderful Erykah Badu, also from Texas, (Liv).e is utterly unique.
FOR FANS OF: Erykah Badu, Klein, Greentea Peng
2018 was a landmark year for Lina Jonsson, aka SPFDJ. The Swedish- born, Berlin-based DJ launched her very own Intrepid Skin imprint, brought techno to the forefront on Rinse FM with her monthly residency, and has become one of Herrensauna Berlin’s most integral new residents. Her label’s first release, ‘Self Will’, came from VTSS, a friend she met at a Brutaż party that they played together in Poland over two years ago.
“Coming up next on Intrepid Skin are releases by two other women I really admire, but the label is in no way a ‘women-only’ initiative, I just happen to have come across their music at the right time,” says Lina. “The first few releases all feature music by relatively new producers — it’s exciting when you find music that you feel strongly enough about to release on vinyl, without relying on the promotional value of a bigger name. Saying that, there will hopefully be some appearances by higher profile artists in future too though.”
Rest assured you’ll be hearing plenty more from SPFDJ in 2019.
FOR FANS OF: Héctor Oaks, Mama Snake, CEM
A loyal resident of Oslo’s Jaeger nightclub, Øyvind Morken has over the years become one of Norway’s most treasured selectors. His weekly Untzdag residency has seen him play alongside the likes of Young Marco, Prins Thomas and Hunee, and Jaeger’s open-minded crowd have fallen in love with Øyvind’s sets. Whether it be in the outdoor yard in summer or cosy basement in winter, Øyvind has a 12” record for every occasion, across a world of genres.
He’s mastered the art of surprising the crowd while keeping them enthralled; don’t be surprised if you hear a hip-hop record alongside some dub techno, before diving into some jazz. His productions, however, hold a similarly eclectic vibe — take his EP on Mysticisms as an example of his quirky machine-led deep house and electro. His current EP on Moonlighting is just as its name suggests: a ‘Magical Carpet Ride’ through drum machines and glimmering synth- lines. Last month he ventured out of Oslo to play with Todd Terje at Phonox and will be making a debut appearance at Kala Festival in Albania this summer.
FOR FANS OF: DJ Harvey, Strangefruit, Brian Not Brian
Over the last year, Imogen’s astonishing trajectory within the UK’s electronic circuit has earned her true breakthrough status. The London-based DJ/producer wields a sound that’s impossible to box off into one category. Dimensions and Printworks were on 2018’s agenda for the 19-year-old, and looking ahead stints at Junction 2, Fuse and festival’s YTA and 8bahn are all marked on her 2019 calendar. Considering she’s earned a wealth of support from true masters of the craft including Nina Kraviz, Sunil Sharpe and Mumdance, it’s quite possible Imogen is one of the most enthralling artists in today’s younger generation of producers.
A glance at her discography includes two vinyl releases as part of VA comps on Earwiggle and Shared Meanings, showcasing tones which bounce between squelchy acid, fuzzy electro and punishing techno. Chin-stroking is not an option here.
FOR FANS OF: Perc, Bjarki, AQXDM (Aquarian x Deapmash)
The worlds of hip-hop and house, once seen as so separate, are increasingly compatible — look at artists such as Kaytranada or Andres, and their effortless mix of the two. Snips is another name to add to that illustrious list, a former Londoner and now New Yorker who helped start the UK’s long-running Livin’ Proof club-night.
As a DJ, Snips is renowned for playing a mixture of soul-infused styles, drawing from his crate-digging background, while his productions for his own Barbershop Records nod as much to his taste for boom bap beats as they do his appreciation for soulful cats like Masters At Work or Brooklyn labels like Henry St.
For a taste of his NYC-infused style, check the album ‘The Barbershop’ for Houseology, which skips nimbly from the sample- laden house of ‘Love Jockey’ to the moody piano cut-ups and dusty breakbeats of ‘Spirit Of June’. Even better is his ‘Edits Vol 1’ EP, featuring a particularly strong garage lick that fuses Jill Scott vocals and Fela Kuti samples. Snips is a cut above the rest.
FOR FANS OF: Kenny Dope, Kaytranada, DJ Spinna
Sweetpea’s talent for DJing has given her access to platforms like the iconic Rude FM, but now she’s firmly rooted in production because she feels “it was needed to progress my music journey”. A self-confessed “big lover of a rolling bassline”, her previous appearances on Dispatch Recordings, Addictive Behaviour and Terabyte show that her style is rooted in the murkier side of the scene. Producing excites because “you never know what you’re going to make, sometimes you go in the studio with an idea of what you want, but come out with something completely different,” she says.
This attitude lends itself to versatility, something likely to be evident on her forthcoming re-appearances on Addictive Behaviour. But the most important thing? “Always be part of the scene because you love it. Music isn’t and shouldn’t be a chore. When you stop loving it, you need to have a word with yourself.”
FOR FANS OF: Philth, Skeptical, Bredren