The 24-year-old Toronto native got his ID in order to start going to clubs a scant five years ago. A couple of years before that, friends at university introduced him to drum & bass and dubstep. Otherwise, the closest he ever got was Radiohead, Björk, and the instrumental, hip-hop-esque beats he’d been making in his bedroom since he was 12. While none of this equates to outsider status, it does give him a viewpoint that’s not tethered to a particular movement within electronic music.
His productions, which sit comfortably in the currently popular grey area between discerning bass music and shuffling techno, display both the foggy vocal refrains and polyrhythms of artists like Burial or Four Tet and, more recently at least, the leftfield dancefloor stomp of labels like Hessle Audio and Hotflush. They began popping up on specialty imprints like Naked Lunch and Idle Hands in early 2011 and have been met by near-unanimous positivity, with journalists throwing around terms like “highly intricate and intimate,” “truly stunning,” and “mesmerizing” to describe McPhee’s music.