When it comes to electronic music, our minds are often tempted to head straight toward house and electronic dance music (EDM) — those genres whose head-banging, bass-thumping songs pervade the dancefloors of parties, raves and music festivals. But what if you’re looking for a more low-key sound?
For the days that you’re not tearing it up in the club, we’ve got five new electronic artists to add to your Spotify playlists. Taking their cue from all kinds of genres — from classic pop to soulful R&B — these artists have succeeded in producing electronic music with a more human touch.
Sounds like:Jack Garratt,Chet Faker
Monthly Spotify listeners:339,994
They’ve only released two songs so far — the second having dropped this week — but Opia has been making some big splashes in the electronic music scene. Their debut single “Falling,” which came out earlier this year, peaked at #2 on Spotify’s Global Viral 50 chart and has since been picked up by the likes of DJ Wheathin and Kygo. Opia masterfully uses electronic production to accentuate their funk- and blues-inspired melodies, creating a sensual blend of electro-R&B they aptly deem as “tunes to make out to.”
Sounds like:HONNE, Olivver the Kid
Monthly Spotify listeners:718,304
The name Astronomyy may not sound familiar to you (or just look like an obnoxious spelling error), but you might know his behind-the-scenes work — last year, the British musician teamed up with MNEK and Zara Larsson to produce their 2015 hit, “Never Forget You.” With the exception of the more trap-influenced “U Make Me Feel Good,” Astronomyy’s own music is a bit more laid back, but just as impeccably produced. His soft-spoken vocals, melodic guitar riffs and ambient instrumentals make for some pretty damn dreamy music.
Sounds like:The Postal Service, Owl City
Monthly Spotify listeners:602,741
Out of this list, Handsome Ghost is probably the closest we get to traditional pop music. Their 2015 album “Steps” is filled with breezy love songs that use classic instruments — acoustic guitar and piano — alongside synths and layered vocals for a sound similar to their indie-pop predecessors, The Postal Service and Owl City. More recently, it seems that Handsome Ghost is dipping their toes into the tropical house pool (think Kygo and Matoma) with songs like “Eyes Wide.” Through a combination of steel drums, snaps, claps and upbeat lyrics, their latest song makes for the perfect summer road trip anthem.
Sounds like:Mura Masa, The 1975
Monthly Spotify listeners:679,865
If Handsome Ghost is an ideal representative of upbeat pop, then Lostboycrow reveals the genre’s darker underbelly. Lostboycrow is a versatile blend of electronic, pop and R&B music. His airy vocals are often contrasted with a thumping percussion and heavier synths (particularly in songs like “Love Won’t Sleep”), producing a sultry and trance-like backdrop for all the times you’re studying or relaxing.
Sounds like:AlunaGeorge, Gallant
Monthly Spotify listeners:663,034
Easily the most influenced by R&B among this list, NAO’s soulful tunes combine the British singer-songwriter’s crooning vocals with dreamy synths and offbeat percussion, giving her electronic music unique and impressive warmth. Just as Kendrick Lamar does in his raps, NAO fits long and complex phrases into every musical line (for an example of this, just take a listen to the first two verses of “Girlfriend”), making her songs equally poetic as they are catchy.
Follow Chloe Tsang on Twitter @itschloet