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7 Artists to See at CRSSD Festival

The veteran beatmakers, up-and-comers and dark horse favorites playing at Waterfront Park on Sept. 24 & 25
Felicia Garcia for CRSSD
CRSSD 2022

CRSSD 2022

Felicia Garcia for CRSSD

Few of us likely associate an EDM fest with a picturesque waterfront venue boasting Instagrammable sunset views, but that’s what sets CRSSD Festival apart. After launching in 2015, the semi-annual (in non-pandemic years) fest has brought a who’s-who in electronic, pop, alternative and R&B to San Diego, with a consistently strong lineup of acts to hear.This year’s fest—taking place September 24 and 25 at Waterfront Park—is no exception, with heavy hitters such as techno pioneers Orbital, UK bass beatmaker Jamie xx and a DJ set from plunderphonic princes The Avalanches. To prepare you for the weekend of beats and seaside views, here are seven acts to see at CRSSD this year.


Canadian songwriter, producer and shape-shifter Dan Snaith has taken Caribou into a number of unpredictable directions over the years, since beginning his career under the name Manitoba. From hypnotic psychedelia to the warmer electronic pop of his last album, Surrender, Snaith rarely does the same thing twice—though he often reserves his most club-friendly material for his Daphni side project. That said, his 2014 album Our Love incorporated more overt elements of house music. So basically: Expect a broad spectrum of electronic and pop music—pulsing BPMs, shimmering atmosphere and everything in between.

Elder Island

Elder Island hails from Bristol, the birthplace of trip-hop. But the group’s sound is more of a direct, hook-driven synth-pop approach that’s aligned with the likes of Chvrches and Hot Chip. Their two albums, The Omnitone Collection and Swimming Static, are filled with bright and magnetic pop gems that don’t stick strictly to synths and programmed beats. While that’s the backbone of their sound, they build up a more lush and kaleidoscopic sound from there, which should make for a climactic moment to the weekend.


I’ll confess that I didn’t actually know much, if anything, about Tibasko before seeing them on the CRSSD lineup, but it turns out I had no idea what I was missing. The up-and-coming British duo has only issued a handful of singles since first arriving in 2019, but their innovative take on house and techno, merging creative samples with hypnotic beats, makes for an experience that’s tailored for both headphones and dance floors alike.


German trio Moderat have had a consistently strong output since their self-titled debut in 2009, though they’ve often left fairly lengthy gaps between releases. Their latest, MORE D4TA (an anagram for MODERAT 4), comes after a six-year wait. But then again, the progressive, intricate electronic soundscapes they craft take time to perfect, so why rush it? Though beats and rhythm drive their music, it’s not always the primary element, so prepare yourself for something more immersive.


Two out of three members of The xx are performing at CRSSD this year, with beatmaker/producer Jamie xx making a repeat appearance after hitting up CRSSD in support of his debut album In Colour. Romy Madley-Croft, one of the group’s two vocalists, will be playing a set of her own following a series of solo singles in anticipation of her long-anticipated debut. With synth pop bangers like “Lifetime,” expect an animated and joyous set of sleek pop. And with festivals like CRSSD, who knows, the two of them might have something special in the works for festival goers.


Polish producer Martyna Maja, a.k.a. VTSS, leans more toward the goth end of the electronic music spectrum, with an industrial techno sound that balances pop accessibility with some darker and colder productions. Her music is a haunting counterpoint to some of the brighter, purely hedonistic stereotypes that follow electronic music festivals, and a great way to usher in the spooky season.

Richie Hawtin

Richie Hawtin is a legend of techno. He’s released a lot of music over the past three decades and change, under many different names, most famously Plastikman, as well as F.U.S.E., Circuit Breaker and Concept 1. His unique take on techno often melds minimalist progressions with unconventional sonic treatments and darkly compelling textures. But then again that only tells part of the story, which has as many variations as Hawtin has aliases.

By Jeff Terich

Jeff Terich is the music critic behind the blog The Setlist. His writing has been published in Stereogum, Bandcamp Daily, American Songwriter, Fodor's and Vinyl Me Please.

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