Returning for our seventh year, we have one of their biggest line-ups to date with The Black Madonna, Avalon Amerson, Ben UFO, Luke Slater, DJ Stingray, Umfang, Anastasia Kristensen, Eris Drew, Or:la, Teki Latex, Peach + many more, joining residents Ben Sims, Ryan Elliott, Shanti Celeste, Nick Höppner, Mark Archer, Elena Colombi, Brackles, iona, Local Group & DJ Hectick.
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We haven’t done the poll yet, but we can categorically state that The Black Madonna is now (probably) bigger than Madonna, and deservedly so. A figurehead for the true spirit of Chicago, the artist known as Marea Stamper has stamped her mark on the world’s consciousness. With an encyclopedic knowledge of dance music garnered from years at the club coalface, and a career that stretches from selling rave mixtapes across the Midwest, to programming Smart Bar, to touring the world with her We Still Believe party, her sets move fluently from EBM to disco, breakbeat to acid.
Off the dancefloor she’s tirelessly shone a light on house music’s roots amongst queer and POC communities and used her position to support those marginalised by the scene’s commercialisation, drawing particular attention to the extreme obstacles that women face.
This year is her third time at Field Maneuvers, and her 2015 debut was a-had-to-be-there moment. On the cusp of fame, an early evening set on the main stage worked through Wham!, The Rah Band and classic funk, culminating in a crescendo of jacking house. Spending the rest of the night on the dance floor just underlined the fact that Marea never just talks the talk.
Ben UFO is no longer as unidentifiable as his name suggest, although still flying - this time around the world to headline the largest clubs and festivals around.
Founder of Hessle Audio alongside Pangaea and Pearson Sound, he’s responsible for releasing cuts from Joy O, Objekt, Beatrice Dillon and Batu, while his DJ sets and Rinse FM appearances have introduced a whole generation to their all time favourite records. With an ever-expanding record collection that means he’s as skilful playing house and techno as he is garage and grime instrumentals or more experimental fare, his talent for unearthing vintage obscurities should have gifted him an honorary archaeology PhD.
It hasn’t, yet, but he’s still the go to guy for boundary-pushing mixes, like when Ninja Tune relaunched their Solid Steel series. Fun fact: Ben is happy that Jeff Mills likes Steely Dan. Fun-ish fact: there’s a Steely Dan cover band called Nearly Dan he may also like.
Avalon Emerson sounds like someone you’d spend a night with at Glastonbury’s stone circle hearing how the tor is full of chalk because it’s a man-made lightning conductor, or a Brummie prog rock band consigned to obscurity because they didn’t have the foresight to write a Christmas hit. At FM she’s a tech-savvy DJ and producer who started her ascent in San Francisco, which, given the area’s connections to psychedelics and cyberspace, is also exactly what she sounds like.
Originally from Arizona but now living in the techno utopia of Berlin, Avalon has become renowned for high intensity extended sets which reflect the history-happening-at-once rush of our internet age, bright, trancey techno sitting next to Hi-NRG disco, 90s Midwest rave rubbing shoulders with forward-thinking UK bass. Her own productions, meanwhile, for the labels such as Whities and Spectral Sound, combine deep, dreamy moods with techno directness.
With a background as a programmer, an RA doc revealed the extent to which she’s embraced the possibilities of digital technology to almost algorithmically enhance the flow of her sets, chucking in a couple of analogue pedals to embrace all angles. If that wasn’t enough she also founded Buy Music Club, the site where DJs can chart their favourite music available on Bandcamp. You can take the programmer out of Silicon Valley…
Where do you start with Luke Slater? Probably Discogs if you’re a modern-day record digger. A product of the heady and expressive experimentalism of ‘90s, a glance over his multi-monikered discography gives a sense of his restless creativity, clocking up releases for respected labels from Djax Up Beats to Ostgut ton.
It’s as the evocative Planetary Assault Systems that he’s best known, probably. A mainstay of classic UK label Peacefrog, it was here Slater pioneered a techno sound that was often as brutal, menacing and fearsomely awesome as the name suggests, the spirit of Underground Resistance filtered through the gritty imagination of 2000 AD.
Like his Detroit counterparts though, he also has an ability to sonically conjure vast emotional vistas. His recently reissued work as The Seventh Plane, the focus for this more ambient side, opens the portal to a world where machine elves rotate amongst hazy gossamer melodies, nagging arpeggios radiate synesthetic rainbows and your body melts away to leave pure consciousness (though it depends what you’ve been smoking).
Producing more recently as L.B. Dub Corp, and playing as part of the triple-headed LSD with David Sumner and Steve Bicknell, Slater’s prolific drive is undimmed and with hard techno coming to the fore once again, his undisputed influence is there for all to see.
At a decent six foot something and donned in his trademark black balaclava DJ Stingray cuts a towering figure, and his legacy within electro is no different. As a child of ‘80s Detroit DJ Stingray listened to Kraftwerk as a kid on the famed local radio show of the Electrifying Mojo. Later, Moodymann taught him how to DJ (as you do) and he quickly grabbed the attentions of famed-Detroit icons Drexciya with his frenetic mixing and innate ability to electrify a crowd with tectonic rhythms at 130BPM.
Over the past several years he’s helped spearhead an electro rebirth alongside names like Objekt and Helena Hauff but he’s been working away behind the scenes for decades, releasing on Carl Craig’s Planet E and Aphex Twin's Rephlex label. Now, he makes his Field Maneuvers debut for 2019’s edition, and few places are more suited to the otherworldly, extra-terrestrial sound of DJ Stingray than our Sputnik spaceship. It’s going to be a ride.
We’re pretty sure that when we were going to Ben Sims’ Retrovert party in the early 2000s - hearing the likes of Blake Baxter and A Guy Called Gerald for the first time - its tagline was, ‘It’s not where’ve you’ve been, it’s where you’re at’. It’s this attitude that has kept Sims rising through the techno ranks, making him one of today’s most recognised DJs and producers.
A Field Maneuvers mainstay, check his Run It Red show on NTS for his stock-in-trade sound, proper techno that’s not afraid to venture into more broken territory (flexitechnoism anyone?), but maintains a kind groove that hypnotises dancefloors whether he’s playing alongside Blawan or Kirk Degiorgio, the latter with whom he runs the Machine party and label. Last year Machine released Tribology, a 50 track mix and compilation that showcased Sim’s fast-paced mixing style.
In the past though, FM has also had the privilege of Sims showcasing his love of dub, as immortalised on his ‘Versions Galore’ and ‘Dub Revolutions’ podcasts, which are filled with rare 7”s and dubplates. You can seek out more of this via the podcasts he’s recorded under his Essex Rascals alias, which also dip into breakbeat and hardcore, 80s soul and boogie, and more. Luckily for us, Ben will be bringing both a bag full of techno and a bag full of dub.
Ryan Elliott’s online bio says: ‘Kick Drum. Bassline. High-Hat.’ Having spent the past decade taking his selections to all corners of the globe, it’s a winning formula - albeit one he’s spiced up with the occasional clap, vocal, melody and probably one of those white noises everyone slagged off in the minimal era but stills stick their hands in the air if they hear now.
Born in Michigan, birthplace of Detroit techno, and now living in Berlin, he’s never been far from the beating pulse of electronic music, making an ideal resident for Field Maneuvers. A member of the Ostgut Ton family, he’s a regular at Panorama Bar and known for a fluid style that encompsses the many twists and turns of house and techno. For further info check ‘fabric 88’, his installment in the London club’s iconic series, or seek out ‘Panorama Bar 06’, a sprawling digital only mix that makes detours into UK funky and garage.
If Ryan’s Instagram is anything to go by, he also favours loafers with no socks, looks good in a turtleneck and once played a gig in Brazil where his turntables were balanced on slices of white bread.
“Hi, my name is Nick Höppner and you may know me as a resident of infamous Berlin hot spot Panorama Bar,” is how your mental construct of Nick Höppner, the resident of Berlin’s infamous hot spot Panorama Bar, might introduce himself in your mind’s eye. But the map is not the territory, and the real Nick Höppner - Panorama Bar resident, Berlin - is a 3D, flesh and blood, living and breathing entity who renews every cell in his body every seven years. Is he even the same Nick Höppner who was playing Panorama Bar in 2012? Take a deep look in his eyes (imagined or real) as you ponder.
Nick Höppner is also an FM fav. A former music journalist turned DJ, he previously managed the Ostgut label and has released music for Kompakt, Playhouse, Aus and more, both under his own name and as half of MyMy alongside Lee Jones. Last year he turned the same curatorial ear that marks his roving set, which span house, techno, electro, UK bass and more, to start his own label: A Touch From A Distance. And lucky for us, he’s bringing Desert Sound Colony, Opal Sunn, Brother Nebula, Cameo Blush and iona to FM for a label takeover.
With an FM podcast last year revealing a love of UKG, a sound he was playing before house, we’re excited to have him doing a full garage set this year. While it’s likely to be full of UK flavours, if you’re wondering what German 2-step might sound like check Gush, a Dortmund label putting out OG bangers in ‘99.
Reading Wikipedia entries on DJs is like listening to your mum talk about ‘dee-jaying’. Take FM returnee Shanti Celeste, the Chilean-born DJ who cut her teeth working behind the counter of Bristol’s Idle Hands and has taken their open-minded ethos onto the airways of NTS, traversing a path that goes anywhere from Colundi tuned IDM to speed garage. Translate that into Wiki’s stumbling tones and you get: ‘Her music style is associated with House, Electronic, and Techno.’ Cheers. Still, it has got one gem of clumsily worded knowledge: ‘She had her first contact to electronic music on rave parties in the Lake District at the age of 15.’
Shanti’s productions display a similarly shifting style, wicked beginning of the year Hodge collab ‘Soba Dance’ marrying funky’s strut with South American influenced percussion and deep, soulful pads and melodies. Co-founder of label Brstl she also runs her own Peach imprint, between these introducing the likes of Ciel and Jay L to the world, alongside more established producers including October & Borai and Outboxx. Her Housework party and collective, meanwhile, is making waves across Europe and is performing at FM, see separate entry for details.
More FM fam, Auntie Flo has played every year so far, closing out the first ever festival in a back to back with fellow Highlifer and Huntleys & Palmers’ boss Andrew Thompson.
Already in the ascendancy back then, he’s since taken his blend of electronic music and world influences to new heights. Of Goan-Kenyan heritage, a third album, ‘Radio Highlife’, for Brownswood Recordings last year, heard him team up with Laurie Pitt of Golden Teacher (who are also from Glasgow, the city he lived in before moving to London), Senegalese multi-instrumentalist Mame N'Diack, UK producer and singer Andrew Ashong and Cuban percussionist Yissy Garcia. Filled with languid rhythms and distinctive melodies, he is unsurprisingly a favourite of Gilles Peterson, who runs Brownswood, and has a radio show on Worldwide FM that unearths less-known sounds everywhere from Kampala to Catania.
Kicking 2019 off with yet another Boiler Room appearance, this time in Miami for Points Festival, labels such as Kompakt, Permanent Vacation, Mule Musiq, Comeme, Autonomous Africa and Enchufada have all hosted his more explicitly dancefloor orientated cuts, which you can hear at his own Highlife parties.
In case you’re sniggering: it’s not a euphemism, he is named after his Auntie Flo.
Born in Derry, but now living in Liverpool, Or:la, aka 26-year-old Orlagh Dooley, established her reputation via Meine Nacht, a party which used unconventional locations and a BYO vibe to place music and atmosphere above the financial imperative driving more commercial venues. It was the perfect incubator for a sound that’s come to incorporate the UK history of bass music - jungle, garage and breaks - with the four four of techno and house. It also brought her to the attention of The Warehouse Project, who installed her as a resident.
Her productions for Scuba’s Hotflush have added a dreamy, emotional edge, like on 2016’s Erykah Badu sampling ‘UK Lonely’, and she’s since started her own label, Deep Sea Frequency, releasing brooding, granulated house, techno and electro from DJ Seinfeld, Carlton Doom, Pépe, as well as her own 2018 ‘Kyoto Dance’.
“It’s just Umfang that go me trippin, it’s just Umfang my soul may be feeling,” sang Amerie on her 2005 classic ‘1 Thing’. Despite commercial success in the face of record company doubts, Amerie was unable to repeat this success and retired from public view. Her prophecy, however, has came to pass.
UMFANG, to write it correctly, has the kind of name that gives sub-editors headaches. But the New York artist, also known as Emma Olson, has pinned it on upturning convention and forging new ways in techno and it’s myriad of rivulets. A co-founder of Discwoman, the collective that arguably led the the charge in asserting the voices of female and non-binary artists, she’s since gone on to host Technofeminism, a monthly party at Brooklyn’s Bosa Civic club.
With a taste for minimalism, she’s released three albums for 1080p, Videogamemusic and Technicolour, ambient moods and dark soundscapes carried by skeletal techno. Starting buying and playing records after her laptop, which she’s learned to DJ on, was stolen, she’s also developed a rep for her on-point selections, mainly spinning epic, urbane techno, but equally versed in classic house or future-facing club sounds.
The idea of clubs as secular churches in which to experience transcendence, is so old as to be be a cliche. It's also a spirit that’s been perverted until all that’s left is the sole idea that DJs deserve god-like status. Appearing out of Chicago in the last few years, literal force of nature Eris Drew has been countering this, returning ecstatic communal ritual to the mix while harnessing the transformational energy of her transness and the mythological non-religious religious power of Discordianism.
Her fascinating history is told extensively elsewhere, from her roots falling in love with dance music in the Midwest’s house and rave scene to her part in co-running Hugo Ball at Chicago’s famed Smartbar, but it’s on the dancefloor, and via and series of acclaimed mixes, that’s she’s been taken on her global stature.
With a purity of intention behind each record, Eris sometimes taking to social media to explain why a particular track means so much to her, she plays with an intensity that’s matched by her sound - a soul-stirring blend of helium-voiced rave, underground Chicago classics, West Coast breaks, forward-thinking bass and time-tested anthems. ‘Hold Me’, her debut release for Violet’s Naive imprint, channelled this energy into one of the biggest tracks of 2018.
When it comes to clubbing, Amsterdam has it sorted. It took a huge public campaign to stop Fabric getting closed, the council only allowing it to stay open on the condition that it has the same door search as Belmarsh High Security Prison, but in the Dam they do things differently.
Sandrien rose to fame as the resident of Trouw, a club whose headquarters in an old paper printing factory made it feel like a free party that had got its shit together, with fine dining during the day and afterparties in strange side rooms, like a giant bathroom where workers would clean off newspaper print. Granted a 24 hour licence, here she developed a reputation for deep house and techno, mastering the art of opening and closing until she entered into headliner territory herself. With Trouw shutting in 2015, she’s now a regular at its successor De School, regularly touted as one of the best clubs in Europe, as well as the city’s leading gay party Is Burning. You can also catch her touring the world, often with the city’s famous Rush Hour crew.
Amsterdam’s not all laid back though: Sandrien was once in a group called Amsterdam Assholes and her last foray into production in 2013 was called ‘Haters’, despite being a perfect piece of broken, swirling early morning ambience.
From chiptune to Boiler Room, the rise of Russian-born, Denmark-based Anastasia Kristensen has been one of the biggest success stories of the last few years.
Learning to DJ while studying abroad in Canada, she cut her teeth as a resident at Copenhagen’s Culture Box and in recent years has taken her sound across the globe, from Fabric to Berghain. You could call her a techno DJ, but her high energy sets are likely to test this corralling, incorporating rare synth pop, UK bass, jungle and more, depending on the occasion.
With a debut EP out on Warp-offshoot Arcola near the start of the year, she’s shown her undoubted ear for the dancefloor translates to the studio too.
Teki Latex was recently described by Fact as ‘One of the greatest DJs on planet Earth’, high praise given that the last global census showed 87% of the population now self-identify as ‘DJ’.
A distinct and imposing presence, he’s cast a suitably impressive shadow since first coming to prominence in the late ‘90s via French hip-hop group TTC. Co-founder and A&R of noughties labels Institubes and Sound Pellegrino, he helped usher in a new wave of French artists inspired by Chicago house, and has continued to channel that energy as it’s morphed into new forms, in particular iterations of house and techno spliced with the DNA of UK bass and US club music.
With a regular show on Rinse FM Paris, today’s he’s head of Paris’ Boiler Room, curates the homegrown streaming show Overdrive Infinity, and is DJ for Paris’s branch of the Legendary House of Ninja. His acclaimed sets meanwhile make use of three CDJs, blending the sound of South Africa’s townships with 90s Eurodance, UK funky with classic French touch.
If you’d didn’t know about Peach before her Boiler Room last year, playing for Homoelectric in Manchester, you did afterwards. Starting on San Francisco Hi-NRG classic ‘Castro Boy’ and ending with the soulful house of Hardsoul’s ‘Back Together’ it was perfectly pitched, seamlessly moving between styles while nodding to queer icons like DJ Sprinkles and Rupaul.
Hailing from Toronto, the now London-based Peach had already been bubbling under for sometime and is certainly boiling over everywhere now, her impressively deep knowledge transmitted monthly via her NTS show, and a touch for the dancefloor delivering DJ sets everywhere from Printworks to Dimensions Festival.
She’s proved she’s got a similarly smooth touch in the studio: ‘Faxing Jupiter’, featured on Leon Vynehall’s DJ-Kicks mix, delivers joyful arpeggiated techno, while on Intergraded ‘Silky’ channels moments of undiluted bliss.
Italian-born and now Brussels-based (beating the inevitable exodus to leave London, where she was previously), Elena Colombi had been DJing long before joining NTS, but her rise to becoming a global fixture is intrinsically tied to the unassuming shack on Gillett Square, East London, which houses the station.
Her shows highlight a taste for the otherworldly, atmospheric and eccentric, spanning everything from musique concrète and dark ambient to cold wave, EBM-infused techno and obscure analogue sounds less adventurous DJs don’t have the knowledge or daring to deploy. It’s kept her on the road, playing the world’s most prestigious and forwarding-thinking festivals - including an unforgettable Boiler Room at Dekmantel last year. Wherever she, or you, are in the world though, you can still always catch her monthly Monday show on NTS.
It’s been a monumental last year for Desert Sound Colony, boss of Holding Hands record. At the forefront of a new wave of tech-house and breaks coming from London’s underground, in 2018 he also became a firm Weatherall favourite with ‘Losing My Rhythm’ - a mid-tempo, post-punk flavoured belter that featured his own vocals.
Two EPs on his label, ‘Aunt Wendy's Wedding In Wales’ and ‘Tickle Me Pink’ displayed his talent for lithe, wonky grooves, unexpected turns and intricate sound design. But it was his EP for Nick Höppner’s Touch From A Distance which helped nudge him into the box of ‘Those who have played Panorama Bar’.
With Holding Hands pushing a whole host of fresh artists going forwards, a new reissue label, Holding Hands Again, will be circumnavigating Cogs sharks to bring sought after tracks to the kids (and old people who were listening to funky house first time around) - starting with Timmy S & JB’s ‘A Long Weight’ EP, previously released on Wiggle.
Swans are renowned for being vicious and owned by the Queen (we haven’t fact checked this), so imagine a giant one.
Professional noise makers who have at least FM’s level of knowledge of ornithology, Giant Swan are the Bristol duo channeling the spirit of this moody but as yet imaginary r-avian. Emerging from a background of shoegaze, dubstep, drone and industrial techno, their live performances have all the flailing, taps-aff energy of a pair who were previously in a band together, but combine this fuzzy-edged, scuzzy energy with a distorted techno pump for maximum effect.
With no two of their improvised appearances the same, check out their releases for labels such as Howling Owl, Timedance or Mannequin for a few exquisite frozen moments in time, or catch footage of their incendiary show at London’s Southbank Centre.
Chicago pioneer Fast Eddie (aka Edwin Smith) was one of house music’s earliest producers and DJs, working with Kenny ‘Jammin’ Jason on 1987’s iconic ‘Can U Dance’ while around the same time spinning on the city’s WGCI and WBMX radio stations. Later tracks like ‘Acid Thunder’ remain equally influential, part of house music’s early cannon whose influence continues to this day.
His most well known legacy, however, is his contribution to founding the sound of hip-house, which lead to three albums on Chicago’s D.J. International Records and is handily laid out in the biographical lyrics to 1988’s ‘Yo Yo Get Funky’:
“Hip-house is the new style that I created, All around the world, it devastated. By the ‘hip’ which is short for hip-hop And by the ‘house’ which is risin’ to the top.”
One of them is a rave legend who has been to every Field Maneuvers. The other is Mark Archer. (We’re joking. They’re both rave legends.)
If you’re of a certain age, the masked Mark Archer was possibly your first introduction to hardcore as part of Altern-8, classic early tracks like ‘Activ-8’ and ‘E-Vapor-8’ coming with videos that captured the anarchic energy of parties you were too young to go to. They also featured the duo buying a tank then driving it around the countryside, cool at any age. He’s continued to fly the flag for the spirit of this era, producing under his own name and a variety of monikers including Trackman and Xen Mantra, while still touring - and is one of the few DJs to have played every FM, an essential part of the festival in every way.
DJ Hectick was FM fam before FM even existed. An avid collector of jungle and hardcore, his sets show an encyclopedic knowledge and collection of old school sounds, alongside the ability to rock a crowd - even when he picks up the wrong record bag, as happened last year... Rumour has it that he’s been sorting, cleaning and cataloguing his jungle records since the idea of the b2b was touted so expect fire.
Formed during the amorphous emerging of electronic dance music in the late ‘80s, Renegade Soundwave were one of the UK’s earliest pioneering groups, mixing dub, industrial and a healthy dose of DIY punk spirit to hammer into shape new sounds and scenes.
Signed to the influential Rhythm King Records and Mute, the latter home to the bands including Depeche Mode and Yazoo, RSW’s early vocal-fronted tracks placed them in the same vein as formative bands like Meat Beat Manifesto and Cabaret Voltaire. It was 1989’s ‘The Phantom’, however, with its gritty bassline and tribal chants that provided a huge influence on the rave scene, getting re-released backed with the equally iconic ‘Ozone Breakdown.’
With their sound and spirit, already influential on huge household names from Weatherall to The Chemical Brothers, being re-discovered by a new wave producers and DJs looking back to the primordial forms of pre-acid house, this is a chance to catch them live after a break from releasing music of almost 25 years.
Hannah Holland & Dan Beaumont are two linchpins of East London nightlife, laying the foundations that turned it into a magnet for the whole of the UK.
Finding her bass-driven sound in the noughties as a resident of weekly party Trailer Trash on Kingsland Road, Hannah’s own Batty Bass party was one of those that turned the East End into a queer-friendly playground. Around the same time Dan was part of Disco Bloodbath, throwing packed parties everywhere from former post offices to the basement of a Jamaican restaurant.
Dalston Superstore, which Dan co-opened in 2008, provided a new focus for the area’s gay nightlife, and was followed in 2012 by club Dance Tunnel. Although closing in 2016, Dance Tunnel was a huge inspiration for Field Maneuvers, employing various members of the now FM crew and operating a forward-thinking music policy. Today Dan runs and DJs at Chapter 10, an East London gay dance party with a turn for big name surprise guest, while Hannah is a resident for Adonis, another hugely successful gay party which has opened the door to the new territory of Tottenham.
With a combined DJ experience crossing continents and including both playing at Berlin’s Panorama Bar, their back to back sets have been a traditional take-off point on the main stage on Saturday nights.
Tasha started out playing D&B, fuelling her collection by working behind the counter of Soho’s iconic (and now sadly closed) Black Market Records. It was switching to the sound of techno, however, which birthed her Neighbourhood party, now celebrating its ninth year, and an associated label that’s hosted friends and regular guests like Randomer and Forest Drive West. Also one of RInse FM’s newest residents, her monthly Friday slot showcases her versatile sound, four four tunnel tech mixed in with a continued taste for intricate broken beats and b-b-b-b-basslines
Can he mix it? Yes he can, but this is ambient so sometimes a subtle fade is fine. Master of backroom maneuvers since before the birth of acid house, Morris’ first ever radio show, the Mongolian Hip Hop Show, give an idea of his laidback and leftfield tastes.
With a career that includes touring with The Shamen and releasing music via greats such as Rising High and Ninja Tune, he’s probably done more than anyone to popularise the sound of ambient, or chill out as its alternately known, holding residencies at such iconic clubs as Return to the Source and Megatripolis.
Still touring extensively across the world, from Glastonbury to Japan, both under his own name and his production alias of The Irresistible Force, fingers crossed he’ll be sporting one of the famous holographic suits that have also seen him grace the pages of Vogue.
An acolyte of Dance Tunnel where she worked alongside various other FM crew, Iona’s initial short-lived DJ career as DJ Leisurewear (one gig) has evolved into an infinitely more promising prospect under her own name.
Her set at the closing of Dance Tunnel was, in our humble opinion, hands down the standout, moving from Bollywood beats to dubby New Order-inspired disco and beyond. It started a reputation for a DJ with an ear for far out dancefloor gems that has continued to grow with each subsequent gig.
Taking a strict quality over quantity approach, she’s been making her way across the UK and Europe, racking up shows on Red Light Radio and NTS, and recording mixes for the likes of Crack and Ransom Note.
Now a resident at Field Maneuvers, she’s as well versed in icy 80s electronics and synthy pop classics as she is dreamy breaks or driving house, her sets a joyfully unpredictable mix that seamlessly traverse space and time.
Jaye Ward’s backstory is another case for a tell-all book that would stretch from pre acid house parties like Club Dog through to her current position as the premier purveyor of cosmic waywardness - underlined when old friend DJ Harvey asked that she support him when he played London’s giant Printworks. Her weekly Magical Real Netil radio show ends each weekend with a sonic sanctuary that envelopes with a soundtrack stretching from the synthy to the psychedelic, the sublime to the sinister. Last year’s performance materialised what was described as a ‘trans cuddle puddle’ - expect similarly primal, metamorphic energies this year.
If you buy the rights to the film of Miro’s life, one day you’ll become rich. Born in Slovakia, he experienced the fall of communism and a ground zero for electronic music that welcomed a frontier spirit in the 2000s like the one that had happened in the UK in the late 80s. There were just five pairs of technics in the country, and Miro knew the owner of one of them.
You can read the stories of this brave new world, and the successes and excesses that came with it, in Miro’s autobiography. Suffice to say, on the edge of burnout and surrounded by corruption Miro moved to England, and Slovakia’s loss was our gain.
Making his name (Miro Sundaymusiq, in full) playing all-day Sunday sessions when he first arrived, he’s continued this tradition with his Morning Transition show every Sunday on Netil Radio which he also helped found. While big plans lie ahead for Netil’s expansion, Miro is currently busy pushing his love for downtempo, experimental and ambient sounds through parties like Endless Plenty, and mixes and interviews for Red Bull and RA.
Last year’s six hour set in the Ambient Tent showcased a man with a deep record collection and a cast iron bladder.
Quentin Crisp didn’t do housework because he said, “After the first four years the dirt doesn't get any worse.” His apartment was a state. If you live in a shared house at some point you’ve been roped into a rota, meaning every so often you get shouted at for not taking the bins out.
What’s that got to do with Housework, the Bristol party who are playing at Field Maneuvers? Well, they’ve kind of got a rota with four residents: Alex Golesworthy, Daisy Moons, Gramercy and Shanti Celeste. Unfortunately they haven’t left a laminated, colour-coded chart on our fridge so at the time of writing, we’re not sure who’s will be getting their hands dirty.
Celebrating it’s 11th birthday this year, Make Me has grown from its passive aggressively named beginnings (yeah, we will then) in a Bethnal Green basement to become one of London’s most enduring parties thanks to an on-point booking policy that has favoured quality and originality over any particular sound or style. Residents Rubin, Rupes, Nic Baird and Kit Seymour are the linchpins holding this together, working their magic to fills the gaps between acts as diverse as Regis, Vladimir Ivkovic and DJ Sprinkles.
Not local (one lives in South London, the other East) but technically a group, Local Group are named after the family of galaxies that the Milky Way is part of - an unassuming name for an unimaginably vast and energetic swathe of spacetime. Read into it what you will.
Residents in Sputnik, where ravey sets stretch from breakbeat and garage to electro, hardcore, jungle and beyond, last summer they released their ‘Laser Dome’ EP - a confusing ode to FM named after a tent that’s no longer part of the festival. Critics were wowed nonetheless, especially by the correct spelling of laser with an S, not a Z, because it’s an acronym - Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
Following a track on the fourth edition of the sought after ‘Secret Rave’ series, more releases are in the pipeline.
South London twosome Souvenir, aka Elle and Claire, make their FM debut with a heap of expectation around their irresistible, hard to pin down, sound. Regulars on Balamii and NTS, Claire is also one of the faces behind the counter of Peckham institution Rye Wax, a centre of excellence in every way.
Taking in post-punk, dub, Afro, rhythmic techno, jungle and much more, their deep-digging sets subtly shift through tempo and rhythm, exploring distant shores of sound, and can be heard everywhere from the backrooms of South London boozers to warming up for Joy Orbison under the Trilogy Tapes banner.
What can be said about Brother Nebula that hasn’t been said already? Not much, because he/she/they is/are letting the music do the talking, something you should never actually say out loud to a journalist as you sound like a plonker, but in our social media saturated age is a perfectly understandable response that doesn’t need justification.
So here some some facts: two EPs out on Legwork, one EP on Nick Höppner’s Touch From A Distance. An opinion: sublime spacey electro, house and breakbeat goodness. Another fact: the collective name for nebula is nebulae, which is sometimes also called a ‘star nursery’.
Opal Sunn are Berlin-based duo Al Kassian and Hiroaki OBA. Recently signed to Nick Höppner’s Touch From A Distance label, they also run their own Planet Sundae label. With a live show that features a variety of machines, their productions reflect this free-wheeling approach, heavily layered and instinctual in their arrangement while riffing on the sounds of house and techno.
Appearing to be named after a shade of makeup (which “looks especially lovely on medium to fair skin” btw), Cameo Blush’s SoundCloud doesn’t give much away, with just three productions stretching back a year and no social media links. But that’s all it takes. Combining haunting IDM-esque melodies, plaintive vocals, post-garage swung beats and breaks, they’re the work of someone very, very good.
Aalice and Lucy Ironmonger co-run Manchester’s Meat Free (alongside Blasha & Allatt), a queer-leaning party that had been championing techno, fun and the mingling of open-minded people since 2013, winning all manner of fans along the way including RA who featured them as part of its Alternate Cuts film series.
Avoiding the occasional techno trap of all black outfits and serious faces by handing out glitter and inflatables at their early events to remind everyone IT'S A PARTY GUYS, they’ve played host to the likes of DJ Bone, Ben Sims and Eris Drew. Aalice also runs Under One Roof, a party for adults with physical and learning disabilities, and Lucy works at Manchester’s School of Electronic Music.
Nick Cobby’s Zleep party launched in 2010 and enjoyed stints in both Nottingham and London, first at Stealth and then at Dalston’s Dance Tunnel until the club’s closure in 2016. Here he developed an eclectic style of DJing that currently delves into disco, deep house, Afro and far-flung Balearic sound. You can hear these spun on his Field Trips show on Balamii radio. Nick is also a sick graphic designer, as proven by this year’s Field Maneuvers logo.
Founder of party Peoples (where he played vinyls), Joel Kane is another Field Maneuvers regular who can be heard on the airwaves of stations such as Balamii and Threads. His eclectic sound, which covers the spectrum of underground house and techno through to bassier sounds, can be heard at parties like World Unknown - with Joel playing a back to back set with WU founder Andy Blake on FM’s outdoor stage last year.
So good they named her twice, and straight out of the hot bed of bass that is Bristol, Sofa Sofa is a fresh garage talent. She’s also a graduate of Mix Nights, a series of events run by Em Williams (Simple), Daisy Moon (Housework) and Danielle (Phonica) that provided a safe, encouraging environment for women to learn to mix on both vinyl and CDJs.
Local Oxford reggae legends bringing nothing but niceness. ‘Nuff said.
Tales from late night TV onanists meet a collision of soothing sounds and a vague sense of existential dream. Or something. Beamed from the corrupted mind of Rye Wax’s Rachael Williams.
The man who never sleeps from the shop slash club that rarely closes, Rye Wax boss Tom Unlikely is a permanent DJ fixture across South London and beyond, playing an expansive collection that extends from dark EBM to bassline and dubstep.
Bosses Muran B and Ivor E celebrated ten years of Ears Have Eyes this year in their spiritual home of Rye Wax featuring label crew Contours, FYI Chris, The Soft and Snapped Ankles, the latter of whom’s debut single launched the label. A vital and founding part of South London’s Galapagos like ecosystem, if Darwin had gone to Peckham instead of the Pacific he’d probably have started an independent record label too. Then we’d never have got the theory of evolution and you’d still have people believing the earth was six thousands years old and a book called the Bible was meant to be read literally. Imagine. Would an intelligent creator put eyes on ears? Come find out.
& MANY MORE TBA