Electronic music has boomed in Australia over the last few years and seen the rise of some very special artists. There’re the Golden Features and Slumberjacks of the world making thunderous bangers and there are your Chet Fakers and The Kite String Tangle delivering pretty voiced radio hits... but here and now, we’re going to look at a few artists that are doing something a little different. This is the A-Z of Australian electronic artists who are crafting things from a little left of the center. We’re not necessarily looking for the weird but we’re looking for the innovative, the new, the pioneering and the experimental. So hold your breath and here we go...
A - Anatole [Sydney]
If you’re thinking that orchestral instrumentation and meticulous electronic production are unlikely bedfellows then you’re right. That hasn’t stopped Sydney’s Anatole however, whose Surrounds EP and inch perfect remixes have been a talking point of 2015/16.
B - Banoffee [Melbourne]
The reigning queen of Melbourne, Banoffee has stamped her inimitable sonic and visual style on the city like few others. Her immediately identifiable vocal and cleverly chopped beats come together for something unique.
C - Christopher Port [Melbourne]
UK garage is making a comeback in Australia at the moment (largely coming out of Melbourne) and one of its rising proponents is the classy Christopher Port. A recent addition to the Pieater family, his Vetement EP is full of staggered beats, stuttered rythms and artfully reconstructed vocal samples. Expect him to be a player in this scene in the years to come.
D - Dro Carey [Sydney]
Dro Carey has cut his teeth on sounds pulled from more traditional techno and house institutions but his newer work is delivering with some stronger pop sensibilities than we’ve heard from him in the past. He’s had a few label homes in the past, including Berlin’s much-loved Greco-Roman but he finds himself now working with the team at Melbourne’s Soothsayer.
E - Edward Vanzet [Melbourne]
Edward Vanzet is the younger brother of Jack Vanzet (aka Thrupence) but is clearly not content to simply replicate his sibling’s sonic choices. Edward’s most recent Everyday EP is drenched in reverb and feels to me like a French take on chillwave and the vocal melody on the EP’s lead single is something to behold.
F - Friendships [Melbourne]
The only way to fully understand this Melbourne duo is by seeing their live performance, such is the intensity of their sound and their combined personalities. It’s one part theatre art project, one part intense techno experience and both parts underscored by the pairs’ vibrant relationship. Friendships are potentially the darkest, most aggressive electronic act in the country right now and are at the height of their craft to boot.
G - GXNXVS [Gold Coast]
GXNXVS differs from most of the other artists on this list in that he also produces a lot of beats for vocalists and seems content to keep his own name largely on the DL. He works across R&B, hip-hop and soul making beats that are never overly busy, simply well produced.
H - Harvey Sutherland [Melbourne]
A master of the analogue synth, Harvey Sutherland has been at it for a few years now making his name off a highly danceable, a very live, live set and some incredible remixes. You’ll find many Melbournites proclaiming him as the most talented member of Australia’s electronic community.
I - IljusWifmo [Sydney]
The debut EP from this Sydney duo came out through Romanian label and so didn’t have anyone working the release domestically so we’ll forgive you if you haven’t heard the name. They’re stunning producers who masterfully manipulate bass sounds and make very spatial soundscapes.
J - Jack Grace [Sydney]
Formerly known as Zebra Zap, Jack Grace works behind the scenes producing for artists like BUOY and Ngaiire and has released just one song under his own moniker so far. It’s the first from his forthcoming EP which is full of unexpected production choices and some tear-jerking songwriting. Expect to see this name in lights shortly.
K - Kllo [ Melbourne]
Simon Lam and Chloe Kaul are cousins who have come together under the moniker Kllo. Signed to local label Good Manners and international electronic heavyweights Ghostly, the duo have released one EP and are on the cusp of their second. They’ll likely be one of our big overseas exports over the next few years.
L - Lucy Cliché [Sydney]
A staple of the Sydney electronic scene, Lucy Cliché makes confronting and visceral records drawing on hard hitting techno and industrial alike. She’s recently released her new Drain Down EP via Noise In My Head.
M - Marcus Whale [Sydney]
It’s nigh on impossible to go to an electronic music event in Sydney and not run into Marcus Whale. He’s made the scene his own while a member of Collarbones, BV and now this, the project under his own name. He released a critically pauded LP this year called Inland Sea that featured some fairly difficult listens as well as some gutsy concepts.
N - Nearly Oratorio [Melbourne]
The moniker of Melbourne’s Simon Lam (yes that’s the same Simon Lam as from Kllo), Nearly Oratorio is heartfelt, minimalist songwriting with some very challenging production elements. Building on his work as one third of Melbourne act I'lls, Lam’s most recent extended EP saw his recognisable vocal buried under creatively curated sounds.
O - Oisima [Adelaide]
Glitchy, richly textured hip-hop beats is Oisima’s usual fare. It’s simply a starting point however, for an artist that peppers his songs with elements of blues, bass music, jazz and Middle Eastern sounds. His debut album was nominated for the Australian Music Prize and we’re very excited to see what’s next in store for the Adelaide native.
P - Planete [Melbourne]
An interesting fact about Planete is that he has never released a song that was less than five minutes in length. Real name Dion Tartaglione, his songs are long, slow burning explorations through percussive rythms and progressive electronica.
Q - Qalms [ Melbourne]
Melbourne newcomer Qalms produces trap-fueled tracks that are a surefire route to the dancefloor. His output consists of mostly edits upto this point but he’s demonstrated a knack for producing around a vocal that can’t be denied.
R - Rainbow Chain [Sydney]
In addition to her songwriting and left-of-centre sound construction, Rainbow Chan has a secret arsenal of music making devices such as traditional instruments like saxophone, piano, glockenspiel to the sounds of vintage toys and music boxes. She merges the electronic and the organic in wonderful and imaginative ways and is this year release a brand new album.
S - Stephane 1993 [Newcastle]
A fairly hard-hitting young gun out of Newcastle, Stephane 1993 makes the European techno feeling rippers that pulse to life, slowly building across their length. Last year he inked a little something something with Boysnoize so his star is almost certainly on the rise.
T - Tracy Chen [Adelaide]
Adelaide's Tracy Chen is a quiet achiever, releasing single songs onto aoundcloud without fanfare or pomp. The songs themselves are as understated as her release strategy, often featuring delicately dissected vocals and gorgeous reconstructions of acoustic sounds.
U - UV Boi [Brisbane]
UV Boi came to the public attention in 2014 with a single called Thank u and has since released the hotly touted ep. His records draw sounds from popular culture whether they're instant messaging or iPhone stock sounds. He's made fans in high place and has the potential to be a breakout success if he keeps honing his craft.
V - Vallis Alps [Canberra]
We’re still waiting for Vallis Alps to follow up on their debut EP from the start of 2015 but there are rumours of big records in the works. The duo consist of Parissa (vocals and David (production) and the both of them articulately fulfil their respective roles. David’s production is never overblown, cradling Parissa’s vocal just so that her strong vocal melodies are front and center.
W - Weston, Sam [Sydney]
Ok we’re cheating a little with this one. One half of Sydney duo Alba, Weston has struck out on his own and the results have been immediate. Faberge Egg Shaker has cut through with some decent sized radio support, one of the songs from his Shiraz Voyager EP.
X - Fresh Hex [Sydney]
This one is REALLY cheating but damned if we could find a domestic electronic artist starting with X. Fresh Hex obviously worships at the altar of PC Music but does it with enough creativity so as to still maintain interest. It’s weird, it’s energetic, it’s pretty perfect.
Y - Yon Yonson [Sydney]
Yon Yonson just released the first single from their fourth record. You heard right, four albums deep. In electronic music, that effectively puts you in an aged care facility. That’s the beauty of Yon Yonson however, a band that deliver incredible whole albums everytime. They’re a Sydney based three piece who have a knack for clever lyricsm and smart samples. Viva Yon Yon.
Z - No Zu [Melbourne]
What even are No Zu? Nine members, live horns, hand drums, chants and a mishmash of genre that’s impossible to put a finger on. There’s some punk and dub and disco and who knows what else but it’s the live act that really carries this outfit.
-Sound Doc's Tommy Faith for Cool Accidents