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5 Reasons We're Excited for Canadian Electronic Music in 2016

Here's some of the artists, producers, and cities that we think will make headlines.
December 21, 2015, 9:34pm

Last week on THUMP Canada, we looked back on 2015 in electronic music, sharing the stories that made a difference, picking rising artists-to-watch, and getting tastemakers to tell us what's happening in their respective cities.

Now it's time for us to look forward at the year ahead and make some predictions of our own. While some of these headlines might be wishful thinking, others are founded on looking at past trends and movements that are only beginning to crest, with a healthy dose of internet sleuthing.

1. Alice Glass Will Release a Killer Solo Album

Photo courtesy of Alice Glass' Facebook.

Toronto duo Crystal Castles split up in 2014, but they made headlines in April, when Ethan Kath had some less-than-complimentary words for his bandmate Alice Glass (which he later retracted). Kath's since recruited a new vocalist and they've shared new music (presumably from a forthcoming album), but we're more excited for whatever's next for Glass.

In the summer, she released her first solo single "Stillbirth" (co-written and produced by Jupiter Keyes of L.A. noise rockers HEALTH), accompanied by an equally powerful statement documenting a previous abusive relationship she experienced ("Abuse isn't always obvious and it doesn't have to involve black eyes, blood and broken bones" it reads).

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It's anybody's guess as to when we can expect a full-length, but her description of its sound in a February interview with i-D—"like a kitten eating their hoarding owners after they die"—is enough for us to keep an eye on her Twitter for more updates.

2. Everyone's Going to be Talking About Calgary, Hamilton, and Winnipeg

Photo courtesy of Caribou's Facebook.

Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver all have rich electronic music communities that have been well-documented, but all too often, Canadian and international media don't pay other cities the attention they deserve. There's a variety of reasons that impact the coverage, including the sheer quantity of artists coming out of the aforementioned metropolises), but it's time for less-heralded regions of the country to get some love.

We've written about Calgary's scene before, but with Beatport recently naming it one of "The Next 13 Cities Ready To Rule Dance Music" and a growing community of talented artists, its reputation should keep growing. Hamilton, ON (home to the trifecta of Caribou, Jessy Lanza, and Junior Boys) and Winnipeg, MB are two other cities where a low cost of rent and living should be a boon for artists in 2016.

3. Drake Will Continue to Cherry-Pick Talented New Producers

There's been plenty written about the power of a Drake co-sign—for better and for worse—but they've largely looked at how the rapper has focussed his attention on other emcees and singers. That said, a quick scan of the credits of If You're Reading This It's Too Late reveals over a dozen production credits, including rising Canadian talent Frank Dukes, singer PartyNextDoor, and WondaGurl.

So who might we see contributing beats to his highly-anticipated Views From The 6? After the success of "Back To Back," 20-year-old Toronto producer Daxz should be a lock. Parisian producer Stwo has worked with Drake's right hand man Noah "40" Shebib and recently contributed a guest mix to OVO Sound Radio. Now that he's aligned himself with Skepta and the Boy Better Know crew, it'd be interesting to hear him rap over grime-influenced production.

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Other Canadian names we'd like to see work with the 6 God: BADBADNOTGOOD, Jacques Greene (whose "Know Yourself" edit is worth searching out), and Kaytranada.

4. Grimes' Art Angels Will (Hopefully) Be Nominated for a Grammy

We've already told you why we love this album (see here, here, and here), and if there's any justice, it'll earn Claire Boucher her first Grammy Award nomination (joining fellow Montrealers Arcade Fire).

5. Artist-Run Collectives Will Take the Power Back

Photo courtesy of Grimes' Facebook.

Speaking of Grimes, this year she announced the launch of Eerie Organization, her artist co-operative that's definitely not a label. She's not the only Canadian act using their platform and resources to spotlight new artists—Babe Rainbow's Slow Release and Ryan Hemsworth's Secret Songs are two other great examples of nontraditional music distribution that eschews premiere-driven culture.