No Bounds Festival 2018: Preview

No Bounds Festival's radical programming is a welcome addition to the UK's festival circuit. We identify five acts to keep tabs on ahead of the sophomore edition this weekend

Preview by Michael Lawson | 08 Oct 2018

The city that brought us everything from The Human League and Cabaret Voltaire to Warp Records and bassline, Sheffield’s contribution to the story of electronic music needs no introduction. The Steel City’s latest oblation to the clubbing gods comes in the form of No Bounds: an ambitious, genre-traversing weekender taking in live performance, DJ sets, workshops and more.

Combining local institutions and artists from dance music’s bleeding edge with the experimental and the avant-garde, No Bounds’ bold programming and resistance to pretention has helped it carve a unique space within the UK’s festival calendar. Looking ahead to next week’s event, we do our best to whittle down five acts to watch out for from its all-encompassing line-up.


Omar McCutcheon aka Batu is one of the foremost purveyors of Bristol’s bass-oriented techno sound, with his Timedance imprint instrumental in shaping this forward-facing, genre-blurring style. He’s equally adept behind the decks, as anyone who attended this summer’s edition of Dekmantel Selectors will confirm. Sworn in as a last-minute substitution for the crocked Donato Dozzy, he delivered a percussion-heavy set that many argued was the best of the festival. Expect a more jungle-focused approach this time around, as McCutcheon shares a booth with amen break royalty in the form of Dillinja and DJ Storm on the festival’s opening night. 12 Oct, Hope Works – more info here

CPU Records showcase

Drawing inspiration from the bleep scene two decades earlier, Sheffield’s own Central Processing Unit has emerged as one of the most influential electro imprints of recent years. Championing a retro-futurist brand of machine funk, label-head CP Smith is joined in the booth by Australian electro revivalist Jensen Interceptor, multidisciplinary performer Afrodeutsche and Manchester favourites Blasha & Allatt. 13 Oct, Hope Works – more info here

Nyege Nyege showcase

East Africa’s electronic scene has been enjoying international recognition of late, culminating in Boiler Room hosting a stage at Uganda’s Nyege Nyege festival last month. The wide-spanning collective of the same name can boast an impressive roster of artists operating at the intersection of vibrant local music and western electronics. Coined as “the DJ that makes Kampala dance”, DJ Kampire melds everything from pan-African bass to traditional Congolese soukous into her genre-subverting sets. Meanwhile Sounds of Sisso, from the townships of Dar Es Salaam in neighbouring Tanzania, are taking the city’s infectious singeli scene to the world. 13 Oct, Trafalgar Warehouse – more info here

Sarah Davachi

Canadian minimalist composer Sarah Davachi personifies No Bounds’ radical programming. An artist dealing in solitude, meditation and ambient dronescapes, her mid-afternoon electroacoustic performance couldn’t be further removed from the sweaty hedonism that will emerge just a few hours later. Now based in Los Angeles, Davachi has just released Gave In Rest, her fifth album in 18 months. As the title suggests, it’s a record that imbues a sense of calm and serenity from the offset. 13 Oct, Trafalgar Warehouse – more info here


Since its formation in 2014, the ever-unapologetic Discwoman crew has worked tirelessly to address a lack of representation for women, POC and LGBTQ+ artists in electronic music, and the ripple effect has been felt on a global scale. One of its breakout stars is Sao Paulo-born Ariana Paoletti, aka Volvox. A resident at Brooklyn’s famed Bossa Nova Civic Club, Paoletti’s hard-hitting techno has led to her becoming one of the most sought after DJs on the circuit. 13 Oct, Hope Works – more info here

No Bounds Festival: Multiple venues across Sheffield, 12-14 Oct, £30-40