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The Mid Year Report launched in 2016 with the intent of spotlighting 10 artists within the realm of music who share and represent the adventurous, independent spirit of NEST HQ. Similar to our end-of-year superlatives, the Mid Year Report recognizes those musicians who are outpacing their contemporaries due to fearless creativity and deliberate integrity, and this week, we’ll be discussing 10 artists who we believe are pushing their genre forward in 2018.

Read below for our Mid Year Report on Chuurch.

These days in electronic music, there is no longer room for carbon copy mechanics or sample pack producers: it’s saturated like the dead sea, and those without the strength of originality are left lifelessly floating through it. People think that means that the space is dying, but if anything I think it means the opposite. Electronic music is the future — almost every single genre in the world is now being produced through electronic means. Dance music is alive — it’s matured and grown in the US and it’s finally ready to take bold musicians seriously, and atop that list stands Chuurch.

When we first signed their four-track Uunion EP four months ago, it was because we felt that Chuurch was one of the groups in dance music that was taking the furthest risks. That risk is dangerous, of course, and often polarizes listeners. They didn’t shy away from the familiar, but rather chiseled it into something new. For bands like them, the initial reactions are often love or hate; but this is what makes art exciting. Art should breed discussion, it should procure earnest reactions.

Through experimentation, and a full-on dedication to refinement, Chuurch took a rough, wonky definition of a genre and turned it into a universe. Their drum work and vocal sampling are reminiscent of the MPC2000 days, sequenced over basslines that feel like they should have been banged out in a late ’90s basement. Tonally and compositionally, their choices are bold and eclectic, much in the vein of Boys Noize, Mr. Oizo, or even some of the darker sides of Justice. Still, the music is refreshing and relevant; I think it goes to show that when you reach a point where you’re making music that only you can make, everything else becomes irrelevant. And this makes them indispensable.

This year was jam-packed with touring for the Canadian duo, playing major venues across the country while rolling with the Deadbeats crew. They’ve spread their production through remixes for huge artists like Zeds Dead, Illenium, and Fool’s Gold co-founder Nick Catchdubs, earning nods from most of the biggest players in dance along the way while still being relatively unknown. We wholeheartedly feel that they are on the path to outpacing the pack.

Each track on the Uunion EP shows a different side of the duo’s sound, from the rambling acid lines of “Rough It” to the G-funk stylings of “Erase the Pain” featuring Las Vegas rappers Blak Trash, but what unites the entire effort is its minimalist tendencies; as one of the YouTube comments for “One Mind” succinctly puts it, “less is more.” The rest of 2018 portends good things for Chuurch, we hope, and we’re excited to see how they grow.

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Words: Dani Noguera