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EMA’s top Irish releases of 2021

EMA’s top Irish releases of 2021

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EMA is a Dublin-based DJ and selector, who runs the Woozy label and club night, and is also the co-founder of Dublin based collective Skin&Blister, a platform curated to
nurture and encourage female, trans and non-binary creatives in the realm of music and the
arts.


Okay, it was a tough list to narrow down to 10 but, here it is. In no particular order,  music from Irish artists and Irish labels this year.


1.

M4A4 – Undercover Castle


I was slow to the discovery of M4A4 also known as DJ Jubilee. When I heard this garage/house informed release I was hooked. The lead warpy melody in the track ‘New City’ is one of those hooks that you get a bit lost in and the track ‘She’ delivers pure quality 2-step with some crafty vocal-work. I love this release!

2.

V/A – P.U.P. Volume 1 (P.U.P.)

Irish Garage bubblers, say no more. This one’s for the Dublin crew, big ups Jio and all the rather obvious anonymous artists on it too. The release comes with an insert of the PUP Covid unemployment form which is filled in with the track-listing, lovely lil feature.

3.

Rua Sound – FOXY7

One of the most notable Jungle and dnb labels out of Ireland released the 7th instalment of their Foxy Jungle series with Law & Wheeler and Mister Shifter. Double A side on wax with the sleeve designed by infamous Dublin graff artist CISTO. Hypnotising Jungle for all times of the day.

4.

Negro Impacto – EP

I was lucky enough to meet Laurence aka StrangeLove, one half of the duo via Martyn’s 3024 mentorship online classes over lockdown. This link up led me to listen to his collab with Chi Chi as Negro Impacto. Their debut R&B EP is scarily impressive.Their interlude-type track ‘Obi’s Track’ brings a big smile to your face with vocals of a young child speaking about the importance of going to school. Rilwan’s Outro for me sums how playful the duo are working together. Their music abilities and range really sets them apart from a lot of releases I’ve heard this year and I can’t wait to see what they bring in 2022.

5.

Rory Sweeney – I Like You

Rory is a genius producer, master of sampling and king of collabs in my eyes. This release shows how diverse his productions can be, from Grime to punky/darkwave beats. He works with four vocalists on this release and from start to end he takes you on a trip. Get your dayycent headphones on for this one.

6.

Fio Fa – U Drink U Pay

Crème de la crème of tech-house bubblers from Fio Fa on his and Jio’s Dublin imprint, Pear. This record soundtracked a lot of our house-parties over the last year. Another killer release from Fio!

7.

Frog Of Earth – Where the Time Goes

Nearly a year has passed since this release but it gets a solid place on my list. The experimental electronic producer, Frog Of Earth released this self-titled LP on Ireland’s best DIY label, Where The Time Goes. His ability to create such immersive, atmospheric soundscapeswith a deep listening storyline is really special. Coupled with his own artwork on the sleeve and the best bio I’ve ever read (below) the release is just perfect.

“The humble Frog of Earth ponders nothing as it watches its world unfold. Surprised with a sprinkling of rain the Frog quickly becomes overwhelmed and we hear the bubbling of its brain. As the shower passes, the Frog settles into a stupefied calmness and we can hear the swirling water rushing by and the clarity of the air. As panicking birds swoop and flutter around, the Frog is overcome by a fascination and an acceptance of its world. However, as a screeching train approaches and roars by, the Frog is taken from its acceptance and inverted into a world of denial and confusion where faint questions of how and why have seemingly no answer. But as the sun beams out from behind the clouds, the quiet drone of a bee goes by and the Frog, seeing its own glistening reflection, deftly lets go of its questions, and the need of any answers.”

8.

Glimmerman – Step Mode

I was lucky enough to have a track from Glimmerman on the WZY001 comp but now, he’s onto much bigger things! This is the debut release on Dublin based First Second Label ++ a remix from the on-form Sputnik One – this record is all killah no fillah. Step Mode is forever stuck in my head on repeat.

9.

Coe – Radial

The first wax release on my label Woozy is a debut EP release from Coe (this is not a bias choice I swear). 3 dubstep-informed club weapons with a percussive rework from Or:la on the flip. The ‘hungry wobble fest’ that Say (KL Tribute) cooks up is my favorite track on the release. The artwork was designed by  Blixa Aguerreberry which really made the release stand out even more. All involved have ended up becoming great mates which is another important part of running a label for me!

10.

Plus One – Silver

Last but not least, Plus One aka Matt Finnegan. Big things to come from him next year, his tracks already championed by BUFO on numerous occasions. He is a top class producer who always surprises. This release is just one of his many on Bandcamp and I rate each and every one of them. CHECK IT OUT!


Best of 2021 coverage.