Our 6 Breakthrough Acts of 2018 So Far

Words by: Kristan Caryl
Posted: 3/7/18 12:13

Risa Taniguchi

We’re nearing the end of June, which means the first half of 2018 is all but over. That makes it the perfect time to have a quick look back over the best new artists to have emerged in the last six months. Our picks include house and techno producers from home shores, as well as unknown Americans and fast rising Japanese talents. If you’ve missed out on these so far, well now you know…



Bruxas is a Portuguese duo who’ll take you round the world and back again with their every tune. They make global holiday music that leans on psychedelia, balearic, tropical, cumbria and afro for inspiration, with loose, jumbled grooves and organic percussion colouring everything they do. It’s come exclusively on Dekmantel so far, with one EP last June and a second this month. Importantly, it feels authentic and well informed rather than obvious and hackneyed, and has been getting plays by DJs across a broad musical spectrum. 


Risa Taniguchi

There is a thriving deep techno scene right now, and Tokyo’s Rica Taniguchi is right at the heart of it. She makes hypnotising mind music that takes you down an endless psychedelic rabbit hole on labels like Clash Lion, who put out her recent Ambush EP. It pairs futuristic factory floor automation with wild 808 drum programming, flashes of acid and paranoid vocal stabs in accomplished fashion. Already established in her homeland thanks to regal radio shows and Dommune appearances, she’s right on the cusp of breaking Europe.



After a widely celebrated debut EP on Shanti Celeste’s Peach Discs last year, Leeds producer Chekov has followed up with plenty more unusual techno heat. He’s yet to put out another solo EP, but has contributed to VA releases on Cong Burn (twice) and Timedance, as well as providing Lena Willikens with one of the best tunes on her Selectors compilation for Dekmantel. He has a metallic sound palette and tends to operate at low tempos, and colours in the spaces with bendy synths and alien details that are experimental yet strangely accessible. With an already singular style, his development is going to be fascinating for sure.


Cliff Tee

If you read our weekly new music round-up, you will already be hip to unknown American Cliff Tee. He’s put out an EP and LP already this year, and both lean heavily on traditional house sounds from Detroit. Mixing up the instrumental sound of Glenn Underground with his own jazzy keys and a knack for mysterious deep house grooves, he manages to find plenty of new life in the old dance form and seems certain to become the next big thing from the States.  


Saint Paul

Another one we’ve already tipped you to but who deserves a place in your watchlist is Saint Paul. The Moonrise Hill Material co-founder is a Frenchman with Ivorian roots and a love of African music. Across just two EPs so far, he’s managed to distill that into his own dusty, immediately aged house grooves. They brim with trumpet laced joy and OG disco vocals that were made for sunny terrace parties. There might not be that much new to hear in his work, but he cooks up such a joyous, heart swelling vibe that you’d be remiss not to cop his 12”s asap. 



OK, you probably already know Aussie born, London based spinner HAAi from her resident sets at Phonox and numerous festival appearances. But after a steady couple of singles on her own Coconut Beats, she’s about to step up with her first proper EP. It’s called Motorik Voodoo Bush Doof Musik, which gives you an insight into its inspirations. Lead track ‘Growing Up With Muscle Cars’ might surprise you: far from a functional and club ready house track, it’s a ten minute opus of fizzing electronics, sombre synth chords and raw, edgy drum breaks that so dark and cavernous they send you in on yourself. Bold indeed. 

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