Image courtesy of the excellent Electra Sinclair.

In our continuing endeavour to discover the tip-toppest, darn-tootinest' musical brilliance this side of Dodge, we're looking to primary sources. Instead of plucking at the ether in vain hope that we'll strike gold, we're taking the hunt to the artists themselves; what better way to find fresh noise than to ask acts who they're listening to, who inspires them, and who we should be listening to?

Some weeks, we'll be looking to household titans, but other times we'll be mounting reconnaissance missions to musicians we're currently besotted with.

This week, we're looking at Randa and her Soundcloud. With 8-bit hip-hop synths, a stumbling-over-her-feet flow á la (FKA) Kitty Pryde x Danny Brown, and an omniscient knowledge of '90s pop culture, the New Zealand twenty-something has flattened us. Her latest track, 'Ranger', is especially gnarly.


When snooping through Randa's following list, we chanced upon fellow Auckalandite WATERCOLOURS, a dreampop geyser who also goes by the alias 'Chelsea Jade Metcalf'. Produced by Boycrush, 'Soft Teeth' is a particularly magical offering, glistening with the pixie-like twinkle of Neverland synths, fluffy lullaby vox and the faintest of fey folk follies. It's chilled-out blisstronica with aesthetic gumpf scattered liberally like vinegar on chips.



Closely linked to Metcalf/WATERCOLOURS is producer and remixer JYEAH. A fellow Auckland native, Benny Lawson (an engineer in the city's Red Bull Studios) has tackled one of Metcalf's tracks – 'Kyoto Train'. Originally a skittering hydra of trap beats and pop hooks, Lawson's transformed it into a lucid fantasy. Everything's been wonderfully tainted my a silencer; the former snare muzzle flash dissipating in muffled bursts. It actually now sounds like sitting in a tube station at 2am in a narcotic delirium, listening to the trains zoom past. Lawson is demonstrating exciting skills, and hopefully more arrives post-haste.



Scouting back through who Randa follows on Soundcloud, we glimpsed the splendour of KATANA (what's with the capitals everywhere nowadays?), a producer from the same city with a passion for brilliant hip-hop. He's tackled Tinashe/Schoolboy Q's '2 On', turning it into a dreamy, frothy blipfest. With toxicated beats that slink and lurk at random, and a cascade of pulsing motifs, and the screwed-up assault on Tinashe's fluid flow, it's less R&Beyoncé, more intergalactic opium den.



Perhaps unsurprisingly, we've also come across another stunning Kiwi knob-twiddler, this time going by the name of POLO (seriously, has someone sellotaped the caps lock key down?). Considerably more mysterious than the aforementioned talents, POLO (or PXLX as it's stylised), the burgeoning enigma transforms Kanye West's 'Love Lockdown' into a miasmic rainforest of octave-shifted (both ways) yearning. Earthquake bass rumbles and cracks beneath the dew-soaked thicket, darkness trapped by a verdant canopy of pads, superslow drums and a general aura of mystique. The original's a Kanye Klassic, but this is a worthy contender to the throne. [insert Watch The Throne pun here].



Dunedin produce Gasp, who spins a brand of slick, luscious IDM, mixing ambient elements, hulking club influences, '90s trance/rave glitter and a dash of de rigueur glitch-hop. One such cut is 'Lagoons'. It's simultaneously discotheque poised and afterparty aimed; it's the Swiss Army Knife of dance music. Gasp – AKA Eden Burns – also has a penchant for dressing up as a cartoon ghost for photoshoots.