Electronic music has come a long way from its beep-boop origins. Today the genre is rich with versatility, an endless room for artists to play. It’s also advancing so quickly, it would be just as difficult to predict how the beats will sound in 2019 as how they will in 2050. All we can really do is have an ear out for the unfamiliar. Experimentation by itself isn’t enough to turn the page of an artform. You can record yourself throwing horseshoes at potatoes all day, maybe add a little reverb; that’s definitely an experiment, but no one will listen to it for you. The best producers today combine a sense of playwith a knack for knowing what makes the ear happy. Here’s a few of them:
5. Four Tet
The ‘Four’ in Four Tet indicates how many years into the future his music is. He combines organic instrumentation with warped synthesis, throwing raw atmospheric sounds into the mix atwhim. It’shard to understand how such extra-dimensional contentcan be found in songs with pots and pans forming the percussive line, but Four Tet somehow pulls it off.
Caribou found his way onto the fringe early in his career, occupying a solid spot in the emerging IDM scene of the late 90’s/early 00’s as Manitoba with his debut album Start Breaking My Heart. Always pushing the envelope of what music can convey, Caribou has strung together a discography of work tied to noexisting context except for the man himself. His last LP Our Love saw him move further from syncopated rhythm into a clubby aesthetic, while still maintaining his signature air of wonder and unfiltered emotion.
If you haven’t heard Bonobo’s 2013 albumThe North Borders,then… we’re very jealous thatyou’ll be experiencing it for the first time. Seriously, go listen to that right now and get backhere. Feel that soft warmth right around your frontal lobe? That’s now called the Bonobo lobe.The North Bordersis 58 minutes and 43 seconds of the sound two galaxies make when they singto each other. Bonobois an alien monkey from the future here to give us all Bonobo lobes.
While Bonobo went to the colourful parts of space to get his sounds, Actress ventured way off-map, going into the outer reaches of the Universe to find the dark matter essential to his brew.His 2014 albumGhettovilleis a painting of a place no one wants to live in, but is sure fun to lookat from a distance. There’s really no album like it, and there’sno producer like Actress.
1. Jamie xx
No one knows what a Jamie xx song will sound like until they hear it; even then, they’re notquite clear on what they’re hearing. The man has no boundaries when it comes to the sounds heuses and how he layers them into a boom track. Through his solo career, or his work in the bandThe xx, Jamie always has something new to say about electronic music.