If you’re looking for the best under-the-radar talents, you’ve come to the right place. As always Focus Five highlights five of our team’s favourite finds. This month we’ve got some dark 140, garage, grime, bass, introspective burners, wave, and more. Dive in below.
Continuing to show support for the resurgence of the deep dub/140 sound, it would be criminal to not mention Ontario’s very own, Distinct Motive. The name might ring some bells if you’ve been following Deep, Dark, & Dangerous over the last half-decade, but that’s just scratching the surface of this project. His recent two-track EP on Bandcamp, Number 5, captures everything we love about 140 and Distinct Motive. From tasteful sampling, crisp sound design, and inventive songwriting, this recent release is a guaranteed welcomed addition to anyone’s library.
Beyond recent releases, Distinct Motive is someone you do NOT want to miss if he’s rolling through your corner of the world. Usually always accompanied by an equally talented lineup, Distinct Motive has recently been part of Deep, Dark, & Dangerous’s Atlanta takeover with names like Truth and Pushloop. It seems like only the beginning for the man in question, but in truth, the Distinct Motive project’s current position is a product of 10 years of sticking to your guns and pushing sounds that are important to you. Eventually, people will listen.
Tracing information about DJ Jackum was not exactly a friendly task, but in the end, it was time well spent. Given the total lack of links on his SoundCloud and Spotify profiles, I feel obliged to thank The 3000 Network’s team for putting me on the right track with this article. Based in West Yorkshire, DJ Jackum is a self-described “party garage” producer (a tag I love) whom I discovered in late 2022 through his eponymous EP Party Garage, released by the prolific GS Dubs imprint. The festive and dancing soul of the EP, a quirk it has in common with pretty much all his releases, quickly turned it into one of my favorite UKG projects in a while. Bootleg or originals makes no difference, so far there has been no room for slow dances in Jackum’s discography. Every track is a showcase of pure funk goodness, a heap of bumpy basslines, pushing grooves, and clever samples. ‘Party Garage Disco Anthem’ and ‘Proper Knees Up’ are my recommendations to get familiar with Dj Jackum, but if you’re looking to pimp your blowout playlists or DJ USBs, there’s much more to discover. Also, be sure to stop by his Instagram profile where he’s all but elusive and enigmatic.
Kinoteki first landed on my radar at the start of the year when I randomly stumbled upon his incredible Dawn of the Final Hour album, released via Tabula Rasa Records. Spanning eleven tracks and almost 55 minutes, the album was one of the most captivating start-to-finish listening experiences that I had experienced in a long time. Take ‘Third Strike’ for example, which itself runs well over six minutes, building slowly and weaving through complex soundscapes in a way that hooks your attention for its entirety. I have since explored much of Kinoteki’s discography (highly recommend Silence Kills with Kelbin) and have never been disappointed. The New York-based artist has a mere 850 followers on SoundCloud at the time of writing, but don’t let these numbers fool you – he’s the real deal. Kinoteki doesn’t only make long, introspective burners, either. You can tell the artist is having fun with his art through light-hearted bootlegs of tracks such as ‘Rumble’ and more recently, ‘U Just R.’ Kinoteki is one to watch. Don’t sleep.
With UK sounds taking over in North America (see 140 and garage) it’s only right that we highlight one of the UK’s nastiest bass producers out: RWB. The multi-genre producer embodies an array of sounds that have become synonymous with the UK ranging from grime to garage, 140, drum & bass, and beyond. His SoundCloud is a goldmine of masterful dark bass music released in just over a year. A number of killer grime flips caught my original attention with ‘Donny Don Flip,’ ‘Ice Rink,’ and ‘Man I Wear’ all ringing off. In the mood for some moody DnB? ‘Lost Intamacy’ is a sultry and shadowy romp that will have you thirsting for more. Bending Drill and 140 together his most recent release ‘Frozen Time’ is a pensive and ice-cold banger. If you want that raw, gritty UK shit, RWB is the plug.
With the wave scene continuing to grow every day, artists such as SAGE are pushing the environment forward in the best direction. Putting in major work each day to bring listeners unexplainable journeys to the future. His discography of work contains some of the most powerful and eclectic wave pieces to date. From gorgeous hardwave compositions to some wild phonk with a ton of attitude throughout, he’s truly showcasing his versatile production skills through each release.
One of his most recent singles, ‘Arcane’ is a massive collaboration with Aekae. Bringing in what makes this style truly remarkable and enticing. Time-shattering drums, euphoric melodies throughout, and a vision for the future, this is easily one of his best releases to date. Both styles intertwining with one another is simply astounding and jaw-dropping. The atmosphere will just take your breath away.
His newest release, ‘Delirious’ contains a dark and sinister force within. Perfect for those late-night drives no matter what environment you’re in. The vocal he uses works perfectly with his production. Carrying your attention every second with its chill and vibrant personality. Completely immersing the listener! And not to mention a complete switch-up in rhythm at the end. Creating a whole new emotion to add a whole other layer to the overall piece. So make sure to keep an eye on him. We’re excited to hear more from him!
Written by Alessio, Colin, John, Steph & Victor.