In this age of endless uploads and releases, trying to keep up with the flow can be pretty overwhelming.
That’s why every month we’re going to be highlighting some of our favourite tracks from the past four weeks. Our writers have chosen a potent mix of big anthems and stuff that might have flown under the radar. Hopefully you’ll discover something new in the roundup.
This month we’ve got hard-hitting batida on Príncipe Discos, Bruce’s return to Hessle Audio, furious techno on Numbers, and plenty more. Have a listen below…
1. Adesse Versions – ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ (Numbers)
“Getting out of bed in the morning is like slow suicide, because he knows just what’s going down.” An intense, high drama techno stomper, Adesse Versions’ follow-up to ‘Pride’ – one of last year’s biggest dancefloor killers – is perhaps even more devastating. From the Raymond Pettibon-esque artwork to the menacing bass and mournful 4AM synths, everything about ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ is dark as all hell. It’s the chilling, dispassionate monologue that truly steals the show and should be unforgettable after just one listen. Let this one course through your blood, tie your guts in knots, map itself to the contours of your soul.
2. Lapo & Ago [Numa Crew] – ‘Dreadlock Blues’ (Killa Sound)
Fresh from the success of his first release on Kursk’s revered Innamind label, Italian producer Ago returns with a weighty collaboration with fellow Numa Crew member Lapo. Fans of reggae, dub, dubstep and even dancehall will find something to love about this tune. From the melodic sample choice to the hungry, animalistic bassline, ‘Dreadlock Blues’ takes somewhat obvious cues from Jamaican-influenced genres, yet the ebb and flow of the lower frequencies helps to deliver something unexpectedly brilliant. It’s easy to see why the 10” vinyl has already sold out online – here’s hoping it gets plenty of airtime this year.
3. DJ Marfox – ‘2685’ (Príncipe Discos)
Rewind a few years and ‘2685’ could have been described as “dizzying” or “frantic”, but with the batida sound firmly etched in our ears it sounds familiar and absorbing. Príncipe Discos have quickly risen to prominence, and it’s comforting to hear that their 14th release shows no intention of changing pace. Marlon Silva’s sound here is buoyantly self-assured and the percussive shuffle that propels the track is intuitively layered, upstaged only by a seething collection of flute turns. ‘2685’ has all the ingredients of a Príncipe anthem, proving the Lisbon collective hasn’t lost any momentum in recent months.
4. Djrum – ‘Untitled 9’ (Ilian Tape)
Fantastic new Iliian Tape white label release from the London-based Djrum, a surprising departure from his usual home on 2nd Drop Records. The searing, beautifully paced hybrid ‘Untitled 9′ hits all the right places before drifting away into textured atmospherics. This track comprises the A-side from the 12″ with newcomer Struction, fitting nicely into the catalogue of the Zenker Brothers’ always consistent imprint.
5. Bruce – ‘Relevant Again’ (Hessle Audio)
Bruce walks us into the battlefield for the B-side of the excellent Steals EP. ‘Relevant Again’ begins with military drums filtered through grit, before unravelling into paranoid turmoil as a blurred vocal and distorted noise circuit emerge. The dread-inducing trip-hop tone wouldn’t sound too out of place on the Dust brothers’ score to David Fincher’s Fight Club, and it’s only as the lifeline bleeps and heart-beat kicks remain do you know that you’ve survived the trip. Killer record and not for the faint hearted!
6. James K – ‘Jellisy’ (She Rocks!/Dial/1080p)
New York vocalist/producer/visual artist Jamie Krasner introduces her gripping debut album with two-and-a-half minutes of sublime, gauzy pop. Swooping, amorphous samples and a plasticky drum loop underpin Krasner’s soaring melisma to conjure an atmosphere that’s strikingly familiar, yet almost impossible to grasp. An arresting entrance into what is shaping up to be one of 2016’s most imposing full-lengths in PET, which lands next Friday as a collab between Krasner’s new She Rocks! imprint and Dial Records… as well as a limited edition cassette from Vancouver’s 1080p.
7. Last Japan – ‘Ascend’ ft. AJ Tracey (Coyote Records)
Coyote Records get the nod from me this month with Last Japan’s ‘Ascend’, featuring AJ Tracey. AJ putting the west London grime scene on his back lately, but it’s not a local thing, as he’s holding his own in the broader “grime revival”. AJ doesn’t regurgitate bars – the lyrics here are customised to shell down the tune, “Your mandem weren’t prepared for the war, rise, watch when I send man to the sky”, with Last Japan lending a signature synth-heavy grime hybrid production. Both artists focusing on what they’re great at. And that last drop is a bit emotional.
Featured image (L-R): DJ Marfox (Diogo Simoes), James K, Bruce (G.K. Stephens), Last Japan, AJ Tracey (Blaow)