Looking to dive deeper into the belly of experimental electronics? Looking to lose yourself on the dancefloor or brood over endless, droning synths? Or just looking for a new favorite artist that combines a banging discography with unabashed political stances? This list of up-and-coming or relatively unknown women kicking ass and taking names across the many subgenres of electronica is perfect for you. Steering clear of top acts like Grimes or FKA Twigs, here are five acts that you might not have heard of, but you desperately need to know.
Over the last decade, Laurel Halo has quietly been putting together an incredible discography of cerebral and left-field electronics. 2017 saw her release a near-perfect record in Dust, meshing bass-boosting, dancefloor-ready jams with hair-raising vocal layerings and space synths. The Berlin-based producer, with her propensity of quick releases, gave us Raw Silk Uncut Wood shortly after, a collection of instrumental and ambient-leaning works that shift from drone-fueled soundscapes to free-jazz in a moment’s notice. More recent works include a wonderful mix for the popular DJ-Kicks series and a HOMESHAKE remix, both must-listens.
Songs to Start: “Moontalk”, “Quietude”, “Anothing Thing (LH Remix)”
An environmental toxicologist, Jayda Guy creates disco and funk-inspired dance with an ecological twist. Inspired by the natural beauty of her British Columbia hometown, Jayda breathes these same lush landscapes into her music, simultaneously tackling environmental issues and enticing the shyest and stuffiest to the dance floor. Following a string of excellent EPs and singles, her debut full-length from earlier this year Significant Changes (“significant changes” was the most common phrase in her master’s thesis on the endangered orca’s response to toxic chemicals in the Pacific) and a banging Radio 1 Essential Mix perfectly exemplify this dual-purpose.
Songs to Start: “Missy Knows What’s Up”, “Leave Room 2 Breathe”
Philadelphia-based Camae Ayewa mixes beautifully-visceral spoken word and the harshest of noise electronics under the moniker Moor Mother, where she raps/speaks/screams/preaches about the horrid injustices done to the African-American community. Among a torrent of collaborations (including an incredible performance with the London Contemporary Orchestra) and other works found on her Bandcamp, the digitally-released Fetish Bones from 2016 provides a perfect, albeit hard to initially stomach, introduction. Her official sophomore LP Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes arrives in early November off Don Giovanni Records, complete with a banging and gristly lead single in “After Images.”
Songs to Start: “After Images”, “Kbgk”, “Because I’m Me (Moor Mother Remix)”
Another Berlin-based artist, the Russian-born producer Machine Woman creates and records her magic at a blistering pace. She boasts being able to finish tracks within minutes, creating about one thousand of them every six months. The select few that we’re given the privilege to hear range across the entire spectrum of left-field dance. Always irreverent and never pandering, her string of EPs and singles vary from eight-minute-long industrial epics to short bursts of not-so-controlled chaos, equally fitting for the club scenes in 120 Beats Per Minute and long drives into the abyss.
Songs to Start: “Have You Been to Salford Shopping Centre, Have You Seen Argos?”, “Displacement of Mr. Sherman”
A self-trained violinist, Sudan Archives arranges and orchestrates strings in incredibly unique fashions. She simultaneously honors Sudanese strings and fiddles while layering in hip-hop beats and contemporary topics (fitting right in at her Stones Throw label). With tracks ranging from playful to gravely serious, from cooking morning oatmeal to discussing land grabbing and colonization, there has been a little bit of everything in her self-titled and Sink EPs. Heads up for her newly-announced full-length debut Athena coming on the first of November, complete with perhaps her best track to date in the lead-single “Confessions.”
Songs to Start: “Confessions”, “Nont for Sale”, “Oatmeal”