As we enter the last week of March, Horizon Festival is as its name suggests - just on the horizon - with proceedings set to get underway on Sunday 26th March. The Andorra-based festival will welcome a multitude of fine artists to the stage for a week of the finest underground music going, with big name artists like Floating Points, Ben UFO, Romare, KiNK, Motor City Drum Ensemble and more topping the bill.
Not just worthwhile for the regular festival standouts, however, Horizon also boasts a good number of lower-profile artists who appear less frequently on the festival circuit, and so we thought we’d pick five for your essential pre-Horizon listening. They may not get quite as much attention as the MCDEs or AJ Traceys of this world, but we reckon they definitely deserve yours if you’re heading to Andorra next week.
Heads have been turning at every step of Avalon Emerson’s musical career, with each new release attracting the attention that her superb productions deserve. Adept at weaving mesmeric journeys through soft-padded landscapes and jagged rhythms, her dancefloor focus has never restricted the creativity that can be heard in her melodic approach to writing, and it is perhaps this that has made her DJ sets equally well received. Elements of disco, house, techno and more are drawn together with ease, making her a top tip for anyone wanting something a bit more transcendent at Horizon this year.
Anyone looking for an introduction to Cooly G need look no further than this London boiler room, where the local producer and DJ throws in a bit of everything she’s about: jazz, house, garage, hip-hop - it’s all in there. Not many artists manage to go as deep as Cooly G and still work in earworm vocals and bouncing UKG bass lines, but then not many DJs take a live drummer and MC to Boiler Room either. Cooly G does her own thing, and she does it really well.
Grime instrumentals aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but with producers like Mumdance around there will always be some that get their dues. The London-based producer takes his own love of confusing, often discordant sounds and packages them up into powerful, albeit unconventional, dancefloor trouble-makers. Expect his sets to throw you about, calm you down and then repeat the process.
Scatterings of double-time percussion slice through the light jazz instrumentation of “Strings of Light”, making it quite clear how Yussef Dayes and Kamaal Williams came to find their collaborative project on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings. Vintage sounds meet pristine production and touches of the urban sounds that the pair were surrounded by during London’s pirate radio heydey, and the results are well worth checking out.
Few producers are able to combine the power that Om Unit brings in most of his productions with the melodic ambience of his more sedate moments, which is why he is revered as one of the most talented drum and bass producers going. Just as “Timelines” manages to locate brutal, jungle-inspired drum patterns within synth-made atmospheres, Om Unit’s DJ sets juxtapose crushing blows with soft, restrained breakdowns, heightening the impact that both have on anyone willing to follow the highly contoured set.
Horizon Festival gets underway on Sunday 26th March at its beautiful snowy home in Arinsal, Andorra.
Photo courtesy of Horizon Festival