Who's Innovating?


I don’t have the time, money or headspace to keep up to speed with everything that’s happening music-wise, so this is a request for advice from those with their finger on the pulse, but I suppose it’s also a bit of a general moan.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been disappointed on hearing something that’s getting hyped. Reviewers talking about something being ‘astonishing’ or ‘incredible’, and I hear it and I just don’t get it. It might be thin, like there’s nothing much actually happening, or it might sound just like loads of other stuff that’s already out there - same sound palette, sound dynamics. Or whatever.

Part of this is me getting old, of course, but I find it frustrating that with so much innovative technology available (incredibly powerful and flexible software, incredibly powerful and flexible hardware - both analogue and digital), so much of what’s released seems lazy and formulaic, with a lot of artists just content to operate within safe genre boundaries, some of which are pretty old. I mean, how many modular enthusiasts are happily putting out stuff that wouldn’t sound out of place on a late 70s/early 80s Tangerine Dream LP? How much of today’s techno could easily be unreleased Surgeon tracks from the late 90s? I heard Holly Herndon & Jlin’s Godmother yesterday and it made me feel sad, old and tired.

I’m not saying that this is all necessarily bad - I mean, a lot of my favourite music is formulaic, and not particularly innovative. A lot of it fundamentally sounds good. But sometimes, depending on my mood, I can get annoyed with something I enjoy listening to, because it’s like fast food - sure, it tastes good, because it’s full of salt, sugar and fat, but it’s not nourishing. Most of the time I love listening to Lone, for instance, but I could so easily switch to hating it because of how obvious the references are.

So, the question here is not who’s good?, but who’s innovating? Who’s doing things that are different, that you just couldn’t imagine existing 10 years ago?

Autechre are still growing and changing and exploring.
Lee Gamble?
Eartheater’s IRISIRI is great.
I enjoyed rkss’s DJ Tools from last year as well.
Who else?


-puts salesman hat on-

from my ears perspective the artists guiding us ahead with a lantern would have to be these:

Laurel Halo – everything she does is incredible, her voice, her sound, her look. but i really recommend having a listen to her LP Chance of Rain again, it’s a vision of techno that’s really out of this world. love the way she plays with resonant frequencies bouncing over the grooves. every sound feels hand picked; tailored in a way to make an impact when looking for something a little experimental and weird but with the thump of a kick drum.
Lee Gamble – especially his Koch LP, that thing is a prime example of cutting through the noise. it’s futuristic swampy outsider techno yet retains a thumping heart beat under the surface. it’s masterful
Actress – guy keeps the 4x4 pulse in the most interesting ways, with or without a kick drum. the staying power of an Actress production is testament to how amazingly confident and singular his sound palette is – from interviews he’s mentioned it’s all a haze when producing, it’s a soup of experimentation and noodling yet the end product always ends up sounding focused and compelling.
Moiré – brutalist, rigid yet humane futurist house and techno. love the way guys plays with frequencies. possibly my favourite artist next to L Halo.
Teengirl Fantasy
Mica Levi --the album she entirely produced with Tirzah and those Under the Skin and Jackie soundtracks. total visionary
Roza Roza – i haven’t heard house music like this elsewhere, groovy and always interesting
Rezzett - their LP from last year is sublime, heavy tape hiss and distortion but everything within it is genuinely beautiful, melodic, different and amazing


Jlin, Triad God, Arca Amnesia Scanner, Dis Fig, and Giant Claw are all artists I see as innovative.

I think its also important to realize that innovation means different things to different people. I love me some complex production with crazy ass drum beats as well, but that can be overdone at times, becoming as stale as a hair metal guitarist tapping into oblivion. Innovation can mean complex production techniques, but it can also be conceptual, how it pairs different art movements together (high brow vs low brow), and so on. At the end of the day, I find its the music that matters, and thinking this way has made my experience of listening to new artists even more fulfilling rather than focusing solely on the “has it been done before” aspect.


I’ll just drop a few tracks from people I think have a very distinct voice of their own, and doesn’t necessarily follow a formula. Maybe not partciularly innovative, but listening to these guys are usually a nice and fresh experience.

Haha, at this point I guess I’m just namedropping my favorite electronic musicians. :stuck_out_tongue:



Enjoying these replies so far, thanks all.


Gabor Lazar and Rian Treanor for me are doing bits, check out their albums