It’s a new month and that means a new installment of Focus Five. Volume 61 showcases a Chicago-based trap meets future beats mastermind, a UK DnB standout, Minneapolis’ next wave standout, a criminally underrated bass artist, and a stellar find from San Fran. Do not miss these future stars.
I’m not sure how Alasen has alluded a proper feature on our site for this long. The Chicago-based producer posseses an impressive discography of trap meets future beats that spans back years. While the gifted producer has been popping up in FUXWITHFRIDAYS, and his 2023 release ‘Theme’ served as the opener to our Guest Mix for Deadbeats, it’s more than overdue that we formally introduce Alasen to our audience. With recent releases on Quality Goods Records and Lucid Monday, it’s fair to say 2023 is the year everyone stops sleeping on this immense talent. Bringing amplitudes of knock and pairing them with a synthesized sense of emotion gives Alasen a sound that’s evocative yet banging. Off-kilter, addictive and vibey, every track is another step into the creator’s stunning sonic world. Alasen’s entire SoundCloud is worthy of a deep dive but if you want a sample of what expect ‘supercompute,’ ‘Theme,’ and ‘spiral’ are sure to make you a fan.
UK-based Nautika wandered onto my radar a few months back when I was blown away by the Lil Yachty remix he dropped alongside Formula. Let me start by saying, “blown away by the Lil Yachty remix” are words I never thought I’d find myself writing but it’s really that fucking good. The track landed in our first installment of Bootleg Business and has been on repeat ever since. The way they utilize Yachty’s vocals is uplifting to a point of spiritual ascension. It’s absurdly fun, addictive, and it hits. If you’re a serious DnB head who’s not convinced by SoundCloud rap flips, don’t worry, Nautika’s impressive catalog runs deep. ‘Convert Operation’ with Formula mixes a spy-tinged undertone with some darker layers and a brooding bounce. If that’s not enough, enter a ‘R.E.M State’ for a sinister and filthy trip into your mind’s subconscious darkness.
This month we’re stopping in Minneapolis to get familiar with haydys. Those of you who are deep into the wave scene might also know him as hades, his alias before the recent rebranding. Co-founder of Cybercollective and producer himself, haydys characterizes his storytelling-driven sound with the motto “nostalgia of a time long gone.” It’s no surprise then that the influences we can recall the most in his music come from genres that have powerful melodies at their own essence, like downtempo and trance. Especially the latter is quite present within his discography but often contextualized in ways that preserve the original trance flavor without turning into a predictable hardwave sound. After all, he lists among his main influences names such as juche, skeler and heimanu who are masterminds in this field. haydys is fresh from a superb release on Liquid Ritual, titled ‘Tear In The Sky,’ which was preceded by a very special release on his own imprint, ‘carousel’, the first track from the incoming Cybercollective’ Chronicles: Prologue compilation. Listen to both songs below and be sure to dive into haydys’ entire discography. My personal suggestion is to start from his and Sage’s NEXT GENERATION collaborative EP.
With less than 600 SoundCloud followers, Sorza is criminally underrated. Landing his first official release on the coveted Alpha Pup and making a statement with the enthralling nine-track I IDENTIFY LP, the Dutch producer already impresses with the breadth of his discography, but only recently landed on my radar with his mind-melting official remix for Noisia and Former’s ‘Pleasure Mantra.’ Remixing these legends is no easy task, but Sorza executed at a top tier level. With his debut LP, the artist sways between various styles of bass music, telling a cohesive story despite the lack of lyrics. Reminiscent of Alon Mor in some ways (‘Catharsis’ is a great example), Sorza masterfully blends bass and musicality throughout his works.
It’s only at the time of writing this article that I discovered that Sorza is the side project of one of the members from The Outsiders, which explains the top-tier production behind this relatively new alias. Nonetheless, Sorza is one to watch.
Hailing from the Golden Gate City, Strobez is quickly becoming an all-time favorite within the electronic spectrum. His swift and mind-blowing techniques behind his works are simply jaw-dropping. Developing high-tier ideas with executions that slice through the competition. Making a truly unique world for himself. Crisp bass structures combined with high-energy vocals are only a couple of characteristics that make his works memorable.
His most recent remix for Greentea Peng packs a major punch. Making your soul soar into the sky and beyond. Its attitude shines on a whole new level thanks to Strobez’s whimsical skills and techniques. The way he uses her vocals to compliment his overall personality through the sonic spectrum elevates your spirits and makes you become purely hypnotized. The main lead combined with those groovy drums can make any listener happy with glee. The perfect amount of movement from beginning to end. Never a dull moment!
His newest original, ‘Drama,’ is easily an instant classic for his project. There’s so much going on but it all works together in a colorful fashion. From a euphoric introduction with an angelic atmosphere to the chorus sections comprised of a distorted bass lead and powerful vocal following along, this piece is full of ear candy and gets better and better with each listen. An absolute monster of a track that will take over any stage around the world. So make sure to keep an eye on this artist throughout 2023. We’re stoked to hear more from him!
Words by Alessio, Colin, John & Steph