As you scroll, you might notice that we've done things a little differently in 2015, doubling the number of acts from 20 to 40. We basically thought it was time to open up the field, shining a light on more of your favourites. It means that you've now got UK rave icons next to an Icelandic techno duo; a seasoned composer rubbing shoulders with a karate-chopping house-head; a hooded industrialist up against an acid maestro. As for the top 20, there are seven new entries, plenty of old faces and a brand new number one.
Strahil Velchev loves it, doesn't he? Just look at him go. He can barely suppress a grin as he plays his basslines and furiously taps rhythms. When he drops the kick drum, his upper body seems to thrust involuntarily. He has the air of someone who's been practicing in his bedroom for years, and is itching to show you what he's got. Even when he's not out on the road performing, he's back at home performing: Velchev regularly tapes himself improvising on different setups and uploads the footage to YouTube. And check the image on his RA artist page—it's as if he can't get close enough to his machines. Velchev is very clearly a man who's infatuated with his craft.
Why has he hit #1 in 2015? Well, it feels like word has finally reached everyone. Although he's appeared on this list four times, with three consecutive top-five finishes, Velchev just isn't what you'd call a stage-managed artist. He hops from label to label, and he's never been associated with a fashionable scene or sound. In the excellent "Cloud Generator" he had a hit track this year, but then that's the case most years for Velchev. The explanation is therefore quite simple: he's extremely talented, and in 2015 more people than ever took notice.