A new month, a new Focus Five feature. This month marks our 60th installment, representing 300 unique artists showcased in this column alone. As always we’ve got a wide array of sounds ranging from a Brooklyn Beatmaker to an Italian electronic standout, an LA-based artist fusing Bollywood with a mix of club genres, a Romanian creator pushing XDM, and an ex-metalhead with a diverse electronic offering. Get familiar with all 5 below.
Taking over the underground with blazing fire, BROKN has proven to be a dangerous entity. Pushing the XDM movement into brand new territories and heights. His clean and crisp pieces can shatter the largest dance floors around the world. Hypnotizing listeners’ souls and hearts with mind-bending sound design and eye-opening rhythmic structures. From angelic mixdowns to monumental arrangements, this artist knows no boundaries within the sonic field. Always pushing some of the hardest electronic trap music through his own pieces, mixes, and more.
His remix of ‘Fallout’ for Deadcrow has truly placed him on the map of ones to look out for. Even RL Grime supported it through his performances. His most recent take on Kx5’s, ‘Escape’ highlights what makes his name truly memorable. Taking the atmosphere of the original and elevating it times 10 highlights some of his true power behind the spectrum. Making your aura sing with joy from beginning to end. Leaving a huge smile on your face while it guides you through a tunnel of curiosity.
His most recent single, ‘DARKSIDE,’ is an absolute weapon of mass destruction. First debuted in Montell2099’s guest mix for HARD Records, fans have been waiting on this record for a minute. From a gorgeous cinematic environment to all-out warfare within the chorus sections, BROKN wasted no time or energy within this piece. Tackling his greatest strengths and combining them all into one massive hit. This artist is no doubt one of the best yet to enter the underground, so don’t sleep. We’re stoked to hear more from him in the future.
I saw Chenoa Tarin do a live set at an open mic I hosted last weekend and she deadass blew me away. The Brooklyn-based beatmaker released 7-track A Collection Of Thoughts last year and her dreamy melodies are captivating and evocative. Every song summarizes a feeling or experience and Tarin elaborates on each of them so eloquently, you can imply the project is deeply personal. With beats the punch the guttural and resonate with everyone who listens, it’s hard not to root for her.
I’m happy to take you to Italy again this month to meet another fellow compatriot. While in January I spotlighted SYNTHYA, in this anomalously warm February (at least, here in northern Italy) I introduce you to FRESH STUFF. Having several friends in common, Simone (FRESH STUFF’s real name) has been on my radar for quite a long time, but a series of conjunctions made me realize that the time was right for an official presentation. First and foremost, he recently released his first EP, Swords And Flowers. Secondly, out of nowhere, Colin himself has shown appreciation for the EP. What better occasion then? Once a dedicated dubstep-head, a little over a year ago FRESH STUFF freshened up his sound, turning to an interesting personal style that I’d place somewhere between bass house and electro. Sometimes his releases are thornier with more complextro and dubstep touches, as in the case of ‘Light Sword‘, other times they are more bouncy and groovy as in the case of his remixes of camoufly’s ‘Kaleidoscope‘ or PinkPantheress’ ‘Where You Are‘. Better than my words, Swords And Flowers will give you a complete and exhaustive overview of everything you need to know about FRESH STUFF. Enjoy!
Los Angeles-based producer Omar ؏ has been making waves with a fresh take on some of dance music’s hottest genres. The producer has been jumping from Jersey club to Drill, Bailie Funk, UKG, Afrobeats, and beyond while sampling a wide array of East Asian sounds that span from Bollywood to Egyptian pop. The unique approach has resulted in an infectious signature sound that’s fresh yet instantly familiar. ‘Drillsila’ is a fittingly titled drill heater that samples ‘Silsila Ye Chahat Ka.’ Omar expertly chops the vocals to haunting perfection, while the backing is dark, gritty, and bumping. If you’re looking for more energetic cuts, ‘Chaka’ is a bouncy Bollywood-inspired UKG heater while ‘KU KU’ infuses Omar’s love for Bollywood with a Jersey Club meets Baile Funk twist. With a packed back catalog and tons of new music dropping regularly, Omar is an artist you need to be following if you’re looking for something fresh in your repertoire.
Zaiaku has been hovering on my radar for a few months now, but more recently caught my attention with his emphatic, aptly named All Encompassing EP on VALE. Spanning five tracks and a handful of bass genres, the talented artist really impressed with his ability to flawlessly weave sinister tones and uplifting melodies. While ‘Ypiresia’ shines a light on Zaiaku’s drum and bass mastery, ‘Encompassing’ highlights his intricate manipulation of sound within the umbrella of house music. Coming from (and leaving behind) a metal background, Zaiaku uses unique influences and ideas to drive his tracks in mesmerizing directions. Be sure to keep an eye out.
Words by Alessio, Arielle, Colin, John & Steph