1. NICOLAS JAAR
Nicolas Jaar made his debut on NY label Wolf + Lamb when he was only 17 years old. Now 21, he's released countless remixes, eight EPs, and one magnificent LP (Space Is Only Noise). Oh, he's also studying comparative literature at Brown and started his own record label and art house, Clown and Sunset. A couple months back he performed in a geodesic dome at MoMA PS1. Jaar describes his strain of minimalist house as "blue-wave." Though often too spacious for dancing, his beats are infectious and his hooks are mesmerizing. Jaar's jazz-flecked creations are emotional but not sappy, wry but not ironic, charming but not precious. Arguably, he's producing the most sophisticated works in his genre. Stream Space Is Only Noise now and get ready for his next release!
2. RICARDO VILLALOBOS
Nicolas Jaar sites German-Chilean techno legend Ricardo Villalobos as one of his major influences. Villalobos is twenty years Jaar's senior and probably should have been listed first, but their order mirrors reality... Jaar has superceded Villalobos. Regardless, Villalobos pioneered minimalist house and microhouse (which is basically glitchy minimalist house). Listening to the incredible subtlety with which his tracks build, it's surprising how much the rave scene has changed. Villalobos predates the instant gratification of dub-step and grime, but his sound is every bit as sticky and intoxicating. For more of this vibe, check out Loco Dice.
3. JACQUES GREENE
Though not quite as radical as Jaar or Villalobos, Jacques Greene has perfected one of the swankiest aesthetics in the post-dubstep world. Armed with space, reservation, and trendy R&B samples, Greene polishes minimalist house until it gleams. "Arrow" is delicate and sleek, the melody glassy and uplifting.
Last years delightful Pencil Pimp, out via UK label Hotflush, put Sepalcure on the map. Falling on the post-dubstep side of the spectrum, the duo's sound is in the same vein as Jacques Greene's, but has more depth and texture. Space? Check. Fragmented R&B? Check. Mesmerizing interplay between melody and backbeat? Check. The lovely "Fleur" effortlessly seesaws back and forth, gracefully beckoning the listener.
5. MOUNT KIMBIE
Also on the Hotflush label is Mount Kimbie (Dominic Maker and Kai Campos). Mount Kimbie's excellent use of white noise at once stays vogue by referencing malfunctioning technology and carves out a surprisingly cavernous space. This fuzz is interupted by all sorts of innovative sounds, ranging from bleeps to carbonation to weird echoes. Melodically Mount Kimbie is more idiosyncratic than Greene or Sepalcure, but the execution is every bit as refined. Stream last year's highly acclaimed Crooks & Lovers below.