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 dig deep for big anthems and stuff that might have flown under the radar. Hopefully you’ll discover something new in each roundup.
This month we’ve got Minor Science’s return to Whities, a scuzzy floor filler on Distant Hawaii, and giddy footwork from Jlin.
1. Wallwork & Tsvi feat. Nico Lindsay – ‘Facts’ (Black Acre)
Nervous Horizon is one of the most exciting club collectives to have emerged in recent years. Label owners Wallwork and Tsvi are no slouches in the production department either, and this one (from a new EP on Bristol bass powerhouse Black Acre) sees them teaming up with promising new MC Nico Lindsay, who’s already demonstrated his aptitude over left-of-centre beats as well as more traditional grime fare. On ‘Facts’, his loose, abstract flows are a perfect counterpoint to the taut, martial drumbeat, presented on its own without adornment. On this evidence, everyone involved here is constantly finding new and exciting ways to raise their game. Nothing but facts.
2. Minor Science – ‘Naturally Spineless’
Minor Science makes a return to Nic Tasker’s Whites imprint with Whities 008. Originally debuting on Trilogy Tapes with the Noble Gas EP in 2014, the producer/journalist has found himself best when exploring the more rugged palette within house and techno, as seen with the anxious restraint of ‘Closing Acts’ on Whities 004.
His latest effort, ‘Naturally Spineless’, finds him again employing his knack for captivating sound design. Sparse bleeps and distorted harmonics hover around a crushing bassline that echoes the rattle of early DMZ, whilst subtle percussion carefully develops and continues to push forward. The best is saved till last however, with a breakdown that ignites dread, as components hinge on the surface of chaos and menacing low end hits the redline ready for sonic warfare.
3. Ross From Friends – ‘Gettin It Done’
Having gained an extensive following from a prolific internet presence in 2016, lo-fi up and comer Ross From Friends has returned this month with ‘Gettin It Done’, from his long-anticipated sophomore release, You’ll Understand.
Landing via Lobster Theremin offshoot Distant Hawaii, and influenced by Burial, How To Dress Well and Miami Vice, the track is an infectious slab of dusty drum work – an effortless showcase of Ross From Friends’ melancholic mastery. Scuzzy sound design allows the weight of the artist’s compositional skill to breathe, building up and down across the breadth of the track’s runtime.
4. Floating Points – ‘For Marmish Part II’
Featuring on the follow-up EP to Floating Point’s acclaimed album Elaeania, ‘For Marmish pt. II’ is almost three times the length of the original, but don’t let its 14-minute duration deter you. Sam Shepherd’s mastery of cerebral electronic music is most apparent in his 10-minute + tracks.
Taking cues from Steve Reich’s minimalistic compositions, ‘pt. II’ begins with simple keyboard ostinato and steadily builds dense layers of hypnotic counter-melodies, live vocals and a warming “lub-dub” heartbeat. A single high-pitched synth and intermittent clapping from the performers punctures the sense of tranquillity that often pervades FloPo’s tracks, and prevents ‘pt. II’ sounding too much like a lullaby. Calming? Yes. Boring? Not a chance. Though lacking the momentum and infectious b-lines of his earlier releases, Shepherd’s recent offerings are just as immersive and beautiful.
5. Hieroglyphic Being - ‘The Disco’s Of Imhotep’
The title track from former gigolo turned producer Jamal Moss’ solo electronic album, and a track that epitomises his self-proclaimed ‘Cosmic BeBop’ genre. “Inspiringly quirky” is a suitable phrase to describe a track named after the equally intriguing ancient Egyptian physician and architect, Imhotep. Layered synths entangled between a characteristically irregular rhythm make for an upbeat number, Moss somehow finding a way to effortlessly harmonise the unconventional with the cathartic, in what is undoubtedly his best work yet. Don’t be surprised to hear its freakish synths around the dancefloors of all the late summer festivals.
6. Jlin – ‘Downtown’
A blistering footwork-heavy number from an artist that’s become increasingly hard to pigeonhole, emerging as one of the most enticing tracks in this summer’s Adult Swing singles series (no mean feat, when you find the list is dotted with the likes of Elysia Crampton, Clark and DΔWN). If ‘Downtown’ is anything to go by, then Jlin’s next release is an incredibly exciting prospect.
7. Samo DJ – ‘Downer’
The tinkerings, the faintest synth riffs and harmonics that flicker – only just managing to emerge from a slumbering bass – are what make this one special. Sit back and be content with your head swathed in its fuzzy warmth – such a shame it’s so short.
Featured image (far left + far right): Jlin (Ryan Lowry), Hieroglyphic Being (Matthew Avignone)