It’s no secret that Hopscotch, a festival hailed as “wildly diverse” by The New York Times, offers fans an abundance of experiences. The four day event brings together artists who create almost every type of music, in a variety of hues. The Hopscotch Handbooks are one way of dividing the 2017 lineup to help make your scheduling choices more fun and manageable. Each chapter is essentially a small festival in itself, and many Hopscotch performers fall under more than one. Whether you’re discovering an act for the first time, or reconfirming them as one of your favorites already, we look forward to hosting you this Sept. 7-10 in downtown Raleigh.
Chapter 2: Electronic
Kaytranada — The Basement, Friday, September 8
Born in Haiti and raised in the city of Montreal, Canadian artist Kaytranada has experienced an explosive rise in the past couple of years with his irresistible production and live sets, but the hard work and success did not happen overnight. Before touring the globe and amassing millions of hits online with his series of beloved tracks and mixes, the young man came up as a true disciple, absorbing hip hop and RnB culture since his childhood and finding ways to make the music his own.
Machinedrum — The Basement, Saturday, September 9
North Carolina-born artist Travis Stewart, known as Machinedrum, occupies a perhaps unique place in US electronic music. A pioneer and a populariser, a restless and relentless seeker, Stewart brings together coasts and continents in projects which are both conceptual and heartfelt, clever and banging. He has produced and composed over a dozen albums under various aliases since his first independent release in 1999. Covering an astonishing variety of styles with ease, through solo Machinedrum work and with collaborative projects Sepalcure, JETS, Dream Continuum, or other mutations, Stewart has established himself as electronic music’s true Renaissance man.
Blanck Mass — Kings, Thursday, September 7
Blanck Mass is the solo project of Benjamin John Power. The Fuck Buttons musician has been making music under the moniker since 2010 and has released two albums on Sacred Bones, 2015’s Dumb Flesh and 2017’s World Eater. Power’s self-titled debut was released on Mogwai’s Rock Action in 2011. In 2012, “Sundowner” — the second track from the album — soundtracked the London Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Lunice — CAM, Saturday, September 9
Born and raised in the city of Montreal, Canadian producer and DJ Lunice has always been a disciple of hip hop. Coming up on breakbeats and having taken a stab at nearly all elements, from graffiti to beatboxing, he cut his teeth as a breakdancer and perfected his sense of rhythm and ear for music before hitting the decks and making his own beats. Now, Lunice is an international sensation — overthrowing dance floors everywhere he goes with his unique style: a perfect fusion of traditional and new outlook trap production.
Branchez — CAM, Saturday, September 9
Branchez is a modern producer — versatile, driven and open-minded. The New York City native has been making waves in both the electronic music & hip-hop communities with his soulful brand of club music. After breaking onto the scene with his self-released tracks “Treat You Right,” and “Shake” (featured in the Skrillex BBC Essential mix), Branchez received international acclaim for his bootleg of Rihanna’s “Stay.” Supported on Diplo’s Endless Summer Playlist in NY Magazine, as well as by Carson Daly on 97.1FM in Los Angeles, the viral bootleg is a sign of Branchez’ pop sensibility.
Jlin — The Basement, Saturday, September 9
Jlin is one of the most prominent female producers of the current generation. She grew up in Gary, Indiana, just 20 miles from downtown Chicago. On her latest release, May’s Black Origami, she expands on her early work with a percussion-led tour de force. It’s a creation that seals her reputation as a unique producer with an exceptional ability to make riveting rhythmic music.
Yves Tumor — Kings, Friday, September 8
Knoxville-born, Berlin-based experimental artist Yves Tumor exploded onto the scene last year with the ethereal and jarring Serpent Music, which Pitchfork compared to James Ferraro and Dean Blunt. Earlier this year, NPR said “Limerence,” a track off of German label PAN’s Mono No Aware compilation, “transforms death from a negative experience into a universal bond of empathy.”
Marie Davidson — Kings, Friday, September 8
From the prolific cultural epicenter of Montreal, Marie Davidson has emerged as one of the foremost electronic artists working in contemporary pop today. Davidson’s intimate solo work is embodied through a host of synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines which coalesce in synchronized harmony, punctuated by vocals, half sung, half spoken in both French and English. She masterfully shapes the overall mood, themes, emotion, expression and intensity of her work, which gives the final result a distinctive, cinematic quality.
Madame Gandhi — Nash Hall, Friday, September 8
Kiran, known by her stage name Madame Gandhi, is an artist and activist based in Los Angeles. Having gained recognition as the former drummer for M.I.A. and as the iconic free-bleeding runner combatting menstrual stigma at the 2015 London Marathon, Madame Gandhi now writes her own electronic music that elevates and celebrates the female voice. Kiran holds an MBA from Harvard and a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, political science and women’s studies from Georgetown University. Her recent solo EP Voices received critical acclaim when her song “The Future is Female” climbed to #8 on the Spotify Top 50 US Viral Charts in the weeks following the Women’s March on January 21st, 2017.
Boy Harsher — Kings, Thursday, September 7
The dark electronic duo produces gritty dance beats infused with ethereal vocals, creating a sound that is eerie, intense and incredibly danceable. Augustus Muller develops the underbelly of sound with minimal beats and grinding synths, where Jae Matthews whispers, screams and chants on top. Together, the music created is somewhere between industrial, drone and confessional storytelling.
Blacksage — CAM, Saturday, September 9
Since their debut EP, Sixtape, in 2014, Baltimore-based duo Blacksage has been possessing listeners with the devastating coo of folk singer Josephine Olivia and the bass heavy beats of producer Drew Scott. Melting gothic-tinged elements of modern R&B and 90s trip-hop with old-fashioned Pop, their 2015 full-length, Basement Vows, expanded on this dynamic. “It’s a bleak setting, but there’s inherent beauty in it,” wrote Brandon Weigel of Baltimore City Paper. Their songs tread on the darker side of love and lust while remaining aware of the experimental and danceable nature of the music scene brewing in Baltimore. Friends Records released their second full-length, Shivers in Fall of 2016.
Blursome — The Basement, Saturday, September 9
Uncluttered, propulsive, and generally dark compositions convey a skillful and patient approach from producer Lara Wehbie. The tension created by the pairing of unmetered spacial sound and stripped-down pulse makes for an intense listening experience that is simultaneously unsettling and satisfying.
BODYKIT — CAM, Friday, September 8
BODYKIT’s decidedly minimal online presence, bypasses an attempt to contain and document the experience of their live shows, in favor of a tag/logo that serves a great descriptor of their best work. Angular, aggressively minimal austerity, held together by masking tape. Over the last two years BODYKIT have cemented their place in the hometown hero ranks by perfecting a formula of buoyant post-punk melodies over a thick web of modular beats. Their sets are masterfully patient, yet full throttle. If you haven’t lost all track of time towards the end, you’ll find you have no idea how it could possibly end, and couldn’t care less if it never stops.
Sand Pact — CAM, Friday, September 8
Sand Pact is a North Carolina-based experimental DJ duo. Its members No Smoking and Gudiya explore universal rhythms and reconstructed dance beats through a unique and improvisational dynamic. Their music has been called ‘a dark, holy lullaby’ as well as ‘a beautiful monsoon of mixed messages.
Iggy Cosky — Kings, Friday, September 8
Raleigh’s Iggy Cosky has been a figure on the local scene in numerous forms — from free-form experimental jazz sets to sugary lo-fi pop — but lately Cosky has focused on his own expansive version of southern footwork. While keeping his inherent pop sensibilities, Cosky’s new sound is that of a producer just starting to break through his influences into a bigger world.