The release of Luke Abbott's Wysing Forest second album in 2014 was a coming of age moment for the Norfolk-based electronic producer, composer and live performer, kicking off a prolific new phase in his musical career. An early series of idiosyncratic 12”s for the outsider electronics labels Output and Border Community had earned him a loyal following on the world's more offkilter dancefloors before the joyous arpeggios and rolling primal rhythms of his “game-changing electronic opus” (Drowned in Sound) debut Holkham Drones thrust him into the critics' 2010 bestof lists, deftly positioning himself somewhere between the twin poles of Krautrock and techno.
But the Wysing Forest follow-up – a gentle, nuanced and often ambient recording of the intimate improvised live performances made during his time as musician-in-residence at the Wysing Arts Centre in the Cambridgeshire countryside – marked a return to Abbott's more leftfield roots, first forged during his art school and university studies towards a degree in Electroacoustic Composition at the UEA in his hometown of Norwich.
Brolin is the nom de plume of the UK-based musician and producer, who has emerged as an exciting creative force to watch out for. Brolin arrived in music listener's consciousness 18 months ago when he premiered the gently elegiac electronic ballad ‘NYC’ online and quickly found it a popular entity, garnering a notable number of radio plays across Radio 1, 6Music and XFM, as well as accumulating a hundred thousand YouTube and Soundcloud views, largely through word of mouth and internet sharing, with very little by way of promotion, thusly ensuring the now-inevitable nod towards ‘tipped for next year’ status for the artist.
The remainder of 2013 saw him releasing his first full EP - the stark and atmospheric ‘Cundo’ EP via Double Denim that spring, plus his first run of headline UK and European shows. The track ‘Portland’ followed in the summer, and Brolin began to start putting together his debut album. Breaking to tour with fellow electronic producer Gold Panda, as well as releasing the ‘Flags’ mixtape early this year, the artist continued to build audience and critical reception for his music, collecting festival appearances and nods from peers like Raffertie and FTSE with whom he collaborated on releases.
Brolin's otherworldly debut album 'The Delta' was released in October 2015, a cycle that began with the release of the euphoric ‘Swim Deep’ track in September 2014. Having collaborated with Ninja Tune’s Raffertie on production, the album features a cohesive array of electronic-led gems, borrowing notes from dance, pop and soul.
Hailing from Chelmsford in Essex, Gold Panda started writing beats and collaborating a few years ago, beginning the journey that ultimately saw him nominated in the BBC’s Sound Poll list and a Guardian newspaper’s prestigious First Album Award for his debut album Lucky Shiner. Since then, the artist has released a follow-up album, Half Of Where You Live and toured the world to considerable acclaim.
Having spent downtime behind the counters of various establishments of ill-repute, Gold Panda began life by consolidated the rest of his hours creating archives of electronic music. He poked his head into the world by way of a collection of instantaneously raved-about remixes, that quickly attracted the interest of various labels, blogs and taste makers, leading to requests for him to re-edit the likes of Telepathe, Bloc Party, Simian Mobile Disco, Health and The Field.
In October 2010 Gold Panda released his debut album Lucky Shiner. A culmination of years of work spent refining his sui generis sound, the record was released to huge critical acclaim, culminating in the Guardian First Album award the following year.
The next few years were spent touring the world, as well as releasing a DJ Kicks compilation in November 2011, and a handful of additional singles, 2012’s ltd run Mountain / Financial District 7” and the 2013 Trust EP.
In June 2013 Gold Panda released his eagerly-awaited follow-up album ‘Half Of Where We Live’, further developing his take on emotionally infused, warm electronic music. Again the release was hailed by critics and the record-buying public alike, as he embarked on a huge North American tour to complement runs through Europe and two summers-worth of festival appearances.
2014 saw the artist back in the studio, recording further material, as well as completing a photographic project with a collaborator in Japan. Both entities are set to see the light of day in 2015.
Frankie & The Heartstrings are a five-piece from Sunderland, Great Britain, a town noted for its down-at-heel introspection that more than occasionally veers into self-loathing. In a way it’s not surprising that it pushes up bands who, musically, seem the very opposite of that.
Comprised of Frankie Francis (vocals), Michael McKnight (guitar), Ross Millard (guitars and keys), Mike Matthews (bass) and Dave Harper (drums), Frankie & The Heartstrings are a heart-racing, foot-stomping traditionally brilliant British guitar band. Described by one noted music journalist as ‘a Hannah Barbera animation of Marty McFly made flesh, fronting a C86 tribute band to The Supremes’, the quintet have spent the past six years stirring up excitement across the country. They take a modern approach to traditional songwriting, hewing infectious songs out of deceptively simply melodies and arrangements. These are then brought to vivid life by front man Frankie who seems to find the stage a more natural surrounding than anywhere else.
Outside of writing and performing, the band have been pushing the boundaries of what a traditional band could or should do, opening their own record shop, Pop Recs Ltd, in their hometown in May 2013, and well as producing their own fanzine, releasing other artists on their own label Pop Recs Ltd. They may be a product of their environment, but they are also shaping it positively for those around them.
The quintet have spent 2015 touring the UK with their own vivacious headline shows before joining the Charlatans for a round of huge end-of-year dates in December.
Open Mike Eagle has just announced a new collaboration between himself and Serengeti under the name Cavanaugh. The first track was produced by Mike and the duo will tour together in late 2015 and 2016.
His Adventure Time themed podcast, Conversation Parade, recently topped the iTunes podcast chart and his music-centred interview podcast, Secret Skin, has continually growing listener figures and has recently featured Sam from Future Islands, Aesop Rock and the legendary MC Ras Kass amongst others.
An alumni of Norwich Arts School, visual artist Dan Tombs has spent the last ten years creating both his own standalone pieces and collaborating with a vast and eclectic array of musicians.
Known initially for his amorphous, ever-evolving glitch and 8-bit inspired sets, having starting his artistic path by hacking a Sega Master System console, Dan’s work has become ever broader and sophisticated. Recently inspired by the bright colour palettes of the very last Technicolor films made in the 1970s and the twisted worldview of David Cronenberg, the past 12 months have seen his work installed in places like Liverpool Psychefest and present in the live shows of East India Youth, Jon Hopkins and Blanck Mass.
A mainstay of the electronic scene, as well as the aforementioned artists, he’s created live visuals for the likes of Factory Floor,, Gold Panda, and Luke Abbott, as well as collaborating with the Border Community label. Recently he’s been working with The Charlatans live, as well as creating music videos for Tim Burgess and a slew of others, in addition to label and sleeve design work.
Currently working on his own debut audio-visual release, due 2016, he’s also set to curate arts activities at the lauded Norwich Arts Centre as well as working on new pieces set for display in London, LA and Berlin.
The phenomenally talented Ryley Walker is the latest artist to join the Wichita Management roster.
The Chicago singer-songwriter released his second album ‘Primrose Green’ on Dead Oceans back in March and earned acclaim across broadsheets and blogs alike.
Uncut awarded the album 9/10 and said: “Primrose Green is disorientating, casting new light on modes you thought you knew well.”
Since its release he has been touring extensively taking in shows with Jessica Pratt, Amen Dunes and Jose Gonzalez, appearances at End Of The Road, Austin Psych Fest and Pitchfork Music Festival as well as his own headline shows.