Conscious Electronic’s Artists to Watch in 2022
Many industry tastemakers and critics have posited that bass music is the new “big room,” and they aren’t far off the mark. While progressive and electro house once rose to prominence during the “post-EDM” boom of 2012, the genre has plateaued as it became absorbed into the commercial mainstream. No one hears the term “big room house” anymore. That’s because it’s peaked, leveled off, and died down with the masses. While every sound system culture prefers to stay in the underground, that’s just not how commercial trends work. From the rise of festivals like Wakaan and Lost Lands to the emergence of independent music labels sprouting up all over the country, the generic trend in recent years has increasingly steered towards bass music. Now it’s all about that “big room” bass sound.
Given how bass music is still very much on the uphill climb, the genre isn’t even close to topping out. Just look to any festival main stage and fans will most likely find themselves watching all bass music artists in primetime. Nine times out of ten, it’s bass music of some sort—from melodic dubstep to poppy future bass, to deep mid-tempo, left-field psybass, and heavy dubstep/riddim, or glitched-out trip-hop/breakbeat to the tribal-influenced world, and the list goes on. Keeping this in mind and close to heart, here are Conscious Electronic’s Top Ten Artists to Watch for 2021.
While it’s important to have any top “whatever” list be general, all-encompassing, and well representative of the larger dance music landscape, we posit that the reason bass music artists dominate both ours and others’ lists from year to year is that the bass music genre is dominating within the US. CE’s Artists to Watch list underwent the subjective process of our entire staff nominating artists, then democratically voting on them, and now spotlighting the talent that should be on every dance music fan’s watch list.
TOP 10 BREAKOUT ACTS OF 2021
6) Josh Teed
5) Benji Robot
4) A Hundred Drums
3) NIK P
Top 2021 Albums (Playlist)
Denver’s Chris Comisar may not be a name known too widely amongst the more broadly tasted “EDM” community, but for fans of tribal bass, his is certainly a name that rings a bell. First coming onto into notoriety after officially remixing CloZee’s “Secret Place” three years ago, the genre-defying, portal-hopping rising star has remained under her wing ever since. The Ohio native turned mountain man has remained in the hearts of tribal bass fans ever since CloZee first put his name on the map.
Upon his independently released 2020 EP, Make Believe, is when the multi-talented producer caught our attention. Keeping his ear low to the ground in 2021, Comisar’s musical output continually impressed many fans and critics in the bass music scene. His catalog grew immensely in terms of range and technique with his Becoming EP in summer, which included the highly palatable “Astral Chatter” that CE had the honor of premiering. The EP also earned him a spot in our Rising Bass Spotlight for June 2021, which houses the industry’s freshest up-and-coming talent.
He also produced notable official remixes for Kill Paris and Homemade Spaceship on the year, along with a collaboration with another CE favorite, FullyMaxxed. More recently, Comisar took to the esteemed underground imprint, Wormhole Music Group, to put out a year-ending EP that forced us all towards Looking Inward. The short player expands Comisar’s sound future as he glides into 2022 as an Artist To Watch. Without a doubt, Comisar has situated himself as someone to look out for on festivals and tours throughout the United States.
Comisar – Discography
Coming into the ninth spot on our annual list is DETØX, who CE has had an eye on since his Quasar 2019 appearance. For California bass music producer James Dietrichson, the goal around his DETØX project has always been to help people understand both sides of life and who they are within it. Intentional and grounded, yet fluid and adaptable, DETØX’s growing catalog continually impresses.
Releasing his March 2021 Don’t Be Afraid EP on Producer Dojo, DETØX then turned to Cross Faded Records to release his next EP project, Breaking Thru, of which CE was honored to premiere the project’s lead single by the same name.
Dietrichson spoke exclusively on the EP, saying:
“Breaking Through is the next step into the world of DETØX Music. Finishing this EP took a lot of mental preparation. I tend to stay open and let the world shape me and teach me. I don’t force things I don’t go seeking to know everything. I try to take my time step by step and I believe that as an artist, what we allow to influence us ultimately shapes our music and how we express it.” – DETØX
With even more remixes and extended mixes on the year, DETØX is becoming more than a name or an image… “It’s a movement of Light, Love and Bass Music.” Be sure to check out his full discography below.
DETØX – Discography
As the musical alias of North Carolina’s Andy Underwood, BroMosapien is a burgeoning name in the Charlotte underground bass scene. It’s a place that is as underrated as it is stewing with talent. Yet, Underwood stands out among the pack. Playing with pulsating production techniques, daring creative choices, and what can only be described as “alien-esque” energies, BroMosapien leads listeners through a universe of eclectic post-dubstep sounds that breathe new energy into the genre.
In 2021, Underwood enjoyed strong support from Mersiv and his indie imprint, MorFlo Records, and released his long-awaited Fallen Kingdom EP, which also garnered support from Liquid Stranger and the Wakaan camp. Following suit with his pattern of breaking limits and setting examples of a great work ethic, BroMosapien then turned to Wubaholics this past spring for a four-track EP, titled All Around. We even had the chance to premiere what is considered our favorite track on the EP, “Beyond Zones.”
Underwood told CE of the track,
With a focus on the fascination with the overlapping concepts between serpent energy (Kundalini) and aspects of the central nervous system and psychology, Emily Thaler lives in the nominal space. As the eclectic mind behind her Sylph project, the rising bass artist is one to put on your radar for 2022.
While still in its infancy, the Northern California-based creator’s catalog is already impressive. Dating back three years ago with her Alien Speak EP on The Rust Music, Thaler is choosey with releases. From her Liminal State EP via Merkaba Music to her 2021 EP release, Snakeskin, via Shanti Planti, the direction Sylph sees her sound going is clear in its vision and direction.
On Snakeskin is where Sylph really caught our attention. Saturated with sonic delight and synthesized from the complexities of human psychology, the EP will surely stand the test of time within conscious bass music communities across the globe. Following premieres from our friends at The Untz and Headbang Society, Sylph turned to CE to premiere her fourth track on the EP, “Labrynth.”
Sylph told us of the EP and track,
“I went through a lot of life changes during the writing process for this EP and each track was propelled by going deeper into my body, my nervous system, and staying with the sensations. I knew I wanted this music to find a home at Shanti Planti, so I immediately sent Antoine the EP for consideration.”– Emiy Thaler, aka Sylph
Fusing ethereal soundscapes and layered aural metaphors, Sylph brings a beacon of light to the ever-growing darkness that can be harbored within. For those who haven’t heard the name yet, it’s time to put Sylph on your radar for 2022.
Sylph – Discography
Churning himself into our Number 6 spot, Josh Teed has had one of the biggest breakout years of anyone we know. He first caught CE‘s eye when he performed at the inaugural edition of Quasar Festival in 2019, then the following year upon founding his Tagia Collective, and he has been on the swift rise ever since.
For his live sets, Teed plays violin, Didgeridoo, and an analogue synthesizer over a diverse blend of heavy, melodic bass. Teed throws this live instrumentation together to create a decisively EDM-centric sound across all his productions.
Teed has actually been playing violin since the age of four under the direction of his mother, who was violin teacher herself. He reflects on how she taught him discipline and gave him 2-3 lessons a week from different instructors. The world bass producer is now 23-years-old and has been seriously committed to music-making for 19 of those years. Suffice it to say, the leap from classical to electronic was a gradual process that developed over his life.
In 2021, Teed turned to Gravitas Recordings for what he called his “biggest project to date” in The Journey East, which is a project brimming with eastern sound technologies.
“This project is a celebration of collaboration in music, and was an absolutely amazing experience to put together over the last year. The album features tracks with some of my biggest musical inspirations, and some of my favorite artists! Beyond lucky to call these talented individuals homies, and honored to have them all In on this project.”
– JOSH TEED
Josh Teed aims to push the envelope and break the seams between bass music and live instrumentation, blending the two effortlessly to take listeners on a tangible, palpable journey through an eclectic variety of soundscapes and grooves. With a fitting home on Gravitas, Teed’s tribal-led EP is an intricate look into his experimental collaborations between a multitude of other promising producers like himself.
Releasing over 17 tracks on the year, along with a plethora of mixes, collaborations, and compilation contributions, the New Hampshire-based artist slides easily into CE‘s Top Artists to Watch in 2022. Be on the lookout for this immensely talented rising star.
Josh Teed – Discography
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Benjamin Roman is the force behind the Benji Robot project. As a producer, composer, DJ, and audio engineer, Benji Robot has been titillating our eardrums since he touched down in New Orleans for Tipper & Friends in 2019. Since beginning his career in 2017, he’s gained a quick reputation for his quality abstract sound design and one-of-a-kind musical arrangement. Specializing in glitch hop, left-field, IDM, and downtempo, Benji Robot’s music is powerful, emotional, and psychedelic.
Benji Robot is part of a growing cohort of underground experimentalists under the Mean Mug Music umbrella, a talent agency, record label, and artist collective that has situated itself as a tastemaker in the underground bass community. Upon ending 2020 with his Sedona LP, Benji Robot just missed our Top Breakout Artists shortlist last year, so our excitement at seeing the artist make this year’s cut is a pleasure.
Educated in audio engineering in Los Angeles and based in Detroit, Benji presents eclectic Ableton Live performances, paired with turntablist routines to create an improvisational, freestyle experience. His live experiences are the perfect mix of heavy and peaceful while paying tribute to the old and the new pioneers of electronic music.
Check out Benji Robot’s catalog below.
Benji Robot – Discography
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Among Denver’s top rising star in a city brimming with leading underground bass music talent, LA-native A Hundred Drums is the musical moniker of Gabrielle Watson. Thunderous low end and pulsating rhythm embody the powerful music of Watson.
Stomping the stage in a tangle of hair and a blur of motion, her high-octane live show is the result of years of searching for that perfect primal pulse that connects humans on the dance floor. Since she was a teenager, Gabrielle Watson has been cultivating a sound that encapsulates experimental hip-hop, psychedelic bass, and indigenous hand drums. After a decade of crafting her sonic signature in cutting-edge spaces, A Hundred Drums has emerged onto the main stage to bring the sounds of the underground to the masses.
In early Summer 2021, A Hundred Drums released a politically potent EP on Zeds Dead’s Deadbeats label. Enough Is Enough outlines the struggles of being Black in America, set against the backdrop of police violence, systemic racism, and the protest movement still pervasive in a world one year removed from the death of George Floyd.
Unlike anything the powerhouse bass label has ever released, a mini-documentary companion piece gave fans an inside look at the making of the record. Through it, Watson tells the story of her own mistreatment at the hands of the police and the genesis of the music and message she so desperately needed to convey. In an industry saturated with vapid party anthems, A Hundred Drums chose to use her platform to deliver substance alongside sound.
Watson cut her teeth in dark and sweaty basements showcasing icons of the UK dubstep and drum & bass scenes and has traveled to far flung psytrance festivals to hone her mixing skills. ‘AHD’ now gets to share lineups with some of the biggest acts in all of electronic music and collaborate with some of the most sought-after producers and vocalists across a multitude of genres. She kicks off 2022 as a handpicked support act for REZZ’s blockbuster North American tour. Major festival dates loom large on the calendar. A series of singles, collaborations, and mixes stack up in the pipeline. A Hundred Drums has arrived and with her comes the promise of a new generation of bass producers in ascendance.
A Hundred Drums – Discography
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Rounding out our top three breakout artists of the year is Dallas-based producer NIK P. The man behind the beats is Nik Purohit, who has been making waves in the electronic bass scene as a producer and DJ. Known for his fresh but heavy sets, NIK P brings a fine level of curation towards bass music on the side of halftime, neuro, drum & bass, and beyond. He is also known as one of the primary tastemakers behind rising experimental electronic labels, VALE and PRIME. NIK P’s sets are guaranteed to properly showcase the future of bass music.
Taking influences from his surroundings and given his unique position at the epicenter of most major forward-thinking outlets, he is able to create a complex mix of genres & styles in his own music that has its own visual aspect of abstract art rooted in minimalism and sci-fi futurism. His main goal is to push forward-thinking music to the masses, inspired by the music that he wraps himself in from the likes of Alix Perez, Eprom, Shades, Chee, Ivy Lab, and Tsuruda; all artists who are pushing the fringes of electronic music forward.
NIK P’s sound has the potential to push the current trends of bass music, as he carefully blends hip-hop with neuro into “halftime”, drum & bass, and beyond, all while staying true to his hip-hop roots. His unrelenting urge to experiment with different styles and fresh sounds keeps everyone on their toes on what to expect from the young producer. Even then, his style doesn’t stop there, as his audiovisual approach with music takes each release to another level, similar to audiovisual pioneers like G Jones, Amon Tobin, Eric Prydz.
NIK P will close out the year at Lights All Night in his stomping grounds of Dallas. Be sure to listen to put this rising star on your radar for 2022 and check out his full catalog below.
NIK P – Discography
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A force both on the stage and in-studio, Chmura climbs into the Number 2 spot for his absolutely stellar breakout year. Layering lush harmonies and cinematic melodies over deep wubs, crunchy sound design, and tribal rhythms, Chmura has proven time and again through his technical intellect and creative precision that music can transport us to worlds beyond the material here-and-now. It’s this space in our imaginations that Chmura seeks to navigate as he guides his listeners into the blissful, meditative kind of state that becomes a one-way ticket to the spiritual realm.
Yet, the Vermont native / Denver transplant isn’t forceful about it. Through his own authentic music-making experience, Chmura guides his listeners in a way that is relatable, digestible, and transformative. For Chmura, it’s just about Being. Authentically. Present. A true sonic explorer, otherworldly traveler, and space-time jumper, Chmura carves his own sound out of the abyss and gives us a beautiful take on bass music that is all his own.
Chmura – Discography
Sliding into our number one spot, Denver’s NotLö comes as an easy top breakout star for many. The sky is no limit for Alex Mantekas, who also landed as CE‘s Top Female Underground Producer during this past year’s Women’s Pride Month.
Between her standout EP releases on Deep Dark & Dangerous, Wakaan, and another joint project with VEIL, NotLö truly began shaping her style and influence within the underground bass music scene over 2021. Taken with her phenomenal “Desolation Peak” remix for Minnesota, a contribution on CloZee’s Gravitas compilation Emergence, which earned our Top Compilation of 2021, and a slew of one-off hit singles, it’s no wonder this Colorado rising star tops our list. That’s just NotLö’s release front as well.
A force in the studio and on the stage, the year also saw Mantekas take to the stages at Sound Haven, CloZee’s VOYAGE, Big Dub, Firelights Festival, and many more. In 2021, she’s already slated to play Infrasound’s tenth anniversary and the coveted Electric Forest, where fans can see her continue to purport her heavy, low-end sound.
We’re so excited to see the places that NotLö goes in 2022, so be sure to catch her live as well as by listening to her full catalog below!
NotLö – Discography
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