Mirroring the pirate radio boom of the ‘80s and ‘90s, independent online radio is currently experiencing a golden age, along with a new form of expression: the podcast. And the people spearheading this, pushing the limits of audio culture, are now being celebrated.
The inaugural Shure24 list - curated by the likes of critically acclaimed electronic artist Holly Herndon, UK trip-hop and beats pioneer James Lavelle, and genre-blurring mixtape innovator Santigold - shines a spotlight on the people at the forefront of sound production, sound design, live recording, audio journalism and more.
Some innovative artists are a part of the first Shure24, too. Take Shy One for example, who started DJing and producing as a grime-obsessed teenager in London. She’s now a vital figure in the city’s radio, with a focus on a collective and collaborative approach through her work with the likes of Touching Bass and BBZ. As well as radio shows on innovative stations like NTS, Worldwide FM and Balamii, Shy’s released exciting projects like last year’s ‘Spoons’ EP with grime MC Kwam - exploring London living and society at large, over a diverse selection of her trademark rough and ready productions.
Tracks like ‘Let Us’ and ‘The Raid’ are a striking expression of the frustrations of being on the receiving end of prejudice from the powers that be – Kwam’s stark refrain “No justice, no peace” ringing out over ‘Let Us’, while ‘The Raid’ features a sample from a police raid at a ‘90s Soul II Soul rave.
Skinny Pelembe is another artist to make the inaugural list. Releasing his debut album ‘Dreaming Is Dead Now’ via Brownsood Records – one of the UK's most vital labels – listening to the singer, rapper, producer and musician is like peeling back different layers of musical heritage. From UK drum 'n' bass and contemporary jazz, to classic US hip-hop and surf guitar bands, his collage-like approach speaks to an absolute love of music, and disregard of genre.
Doncaster-raised, London-based Skinny has also collaborated with the likes of new UK jazz stars Yazmin Lacey and Emma-Jean Thackray, further proving his progressive musical chops. Innovators from the other side of the Atlantic are also represented on the Shure24 list.
Channel Tres is a singer, producer, DJ and dancer from California, his Compton roots shining through his beats. Signed to GODMODE, the label that introduced Yaeji and Sheldon, he melds the sounds of his upbringing in Southern Los Angeles – where he absorbed everything from gospel at his grandparents’ church to the gangster rap of his mum’s neighbourhood - with house and techno from Chicago and Detroit. Together this all makes for an uptempo, low-slung party sound, genre-bending in the way only true trailblazers can.
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You can view the full list of Shure24 nominees here.
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