Eastern Bloc's Ones to Watch for 2017

Eastern Bloc Records name some of their tips for the year ahead, from hardware duo Space Afrika to ascendant star Willow, and Manchester-via-Berlin's Setaoc Mass

Feature | 06 Jan 2017

If you're interested in the mind-expanding side of electronic music, chances are you're a regular at Eastern Bloc, Manchester's specialists in techno, drum and bass, house and more on vinyl since 1985. Based in Stevenson Square, they throw their doors open late every Friday and Saturday to host free in-stores from invited selectors, cementing the shop's reputation as a meeting place for the open minded. We asked them to pick some of the most interesting emerging DJs and producers locally, who you should keep an eye on in 2017. 

Space Afrika

What Eastern Bloc say: "DJs and live performers on a dub techno tip, deep and meaningful techno excursions well executed on full hardware set-up."

What we say: The two Joshuas – Joshua Reid and Joshua Inyang – have been bringing dark dancefloors to their knees around Manchester with sensual and sinister hypnoses, turned out of an impressive live artillery. Theirs is a smoggy, haunted sound that aligns perfectly with a walk through the city in the post-club gloaming. 

Listen to: The Sudden Walk from the Primrose Avenue EP [Where To Now?] 

Annabel Fraser

"Eclectic taste, excellent DJ."

Annabel Fraser's no-rules motto – she's a 'lover of music not genres' – has allowed her to become one of the most trusted DJs in Manchester, always opening your ears to something new. Catch her playing regular Eastern Bloc in-stores, on various excellent bills at Hidden club (including supporting DJ Sprinkles on 21 Jan), and monthly on NTS Radio Manchester.

Listen to: Her NTS archive – check it out here.

Raw Data

"Raw analogue sounds; live set very coherent and fluid."

Fast and furious techno from two Signal club residents on an all-hardware live set-up – take a deep breath before diving in.

Listen to: RD1. 


"Killing it at the moment with a debut EP on Workshop in 2016. She's got her own sound nailed production wise; excellent DJ." 

Employing the stopped vocals and cut-up vowels you find in many house productions but with a decidedly tricksier, twisting approach, Willow's slippery sound is well-suited to the tripped electronics of the Workshop label (Evan Tuell, Kassem Mosse, Lowtec). Catch her with Dusky at Sheffield Hope Works on 3 Feb

Listen to: B1, from the Workshop 23 EP [Workshop] 

Setaoc Mass

"Berlin-based Manchester local with a string of solid releases and highly credible own imprint SK Eleven. Excellent DJ."

Listen to: Structured Deceit, from the Cycles EP [SK Eleven]


"Techno-leaning geek, skilled selector!"

Very much emerging – there's little recorded output online so you'll have to seek out Drazen in a club for the experience. Recent supports include Headless Horseman so you can be sure of an intense ride.

Works Unit; Cleric / Reflec

"Individually talented and skilled, together a great combination."

Works Unit is the project of producers Cleric and Reflec, combining a heartstopping BPM with elevating spectral flourishes that take you up, up, up. Released in September, the first EP is the debut in what's planned as a series of four, all with evolving, ghostly artwork designed by Cleric.

Listen to: Foundation One from Foundation EP [Works Unit] 

Keep an eye on theskinny.co.uk/clubs where we'll be asking other knowledgeable bods on the scene for their tips for 2017