It seems to be commonly accepted that summertime is a bit of a dead period for dance music releases – but not this year. Although most of the world’s DJ’s have spent the last month playing to half naked crowds in sunkissed locales around the globe, that hasn’t halted the flow of quality music being put out one jot. We’ve been treated to free download Grime, deadly Acid heavy 12″s and polarizing hybrids to name but a few in what has been a jam packed August. Check out our writers’ favourites below…
Objekt – ‘Ganzfeld’ (Leisure System)
Objekt returns with this brain imploding Electro cut for Leisure System, opposite the legendary Gerald Donald of Dopplereffekt/Drexciya. ‘Ganzfeld’ showcases a towering, hollow synth line driven along with breakneck snares and sinister acid textures. Objekt’s versatility and detail oriented sound make him one of the most dynamic artists out there, and this track is a perfect precursor to his massively anticipated debut LP, due out on PAN in October.
Ñaka Ñaka – ‘def def’ (Black Opal)
Serious business from NYC via Mexico City artist Ñaka Ñaka (aka Jeronimo Jimenez), the latest contributor to Black Opal, following immense albums from Cloudface and Patricia. The ‘Mundo Harsh’ LP is a natural progression for the series, with six mostly percussion driven pieces of hypnotic dance music. ‘def def’ is especially memorable, with its mind massaging drum programming and lush, buried synth lines. Opal Tapes are upping their game considerably with these vinyl releases!
SOPHIE – ‘Hard'(Numbers)
I actually missed the whole SOPHIE thing last year so I went into ‘Hard’ pretty fresh seeing it pop up on a stream on my Soundcloud app. I can completely understand the hate for this track but without the context of the ‘Bubble Gum destroying Grime’ brigade I can really dig this. It’s not exactly subtle but the Trancy synths and squeaky high vocals juxtaposed with the skittering beats seems really fresh and engaging even if it isn’t particularly ‘hard’…
DJ Vague – ‘Hard Workin’ Trax’ (Unknown To The Unknown)
High tempo, high energy Techno. These trax seem to care little about atmosphere or complex soundscapes that bog down a lot of contemporary Techno, there’s simply a joyous quality to the tracks build and there’s some stunning and intense crescendos on display here. Highly recommended to even Techno sceptics.
Joker & Ginz – ‘Purple City’ (Swindle Remix) (Kapsize)
There have been few producers who fell shorter of their initial promise than Bristol’s former ‘Purple’ wunderkind Joker. That his once seemingly unstoppable level of momentum tailed off in tandem with that of the subgenre as a whole probably makes his slide a little more forgivable, but I can’t help but sigh and think what might of been when his name comes up nowadays. News of this month’s ‘Reimagined Pt.1’ remix compilation was met with guarded optimism, and on the whole its a bit of a mixed bag – although this re-rub from frequent collaborator Swindle is well worth a look in. The South Londoner applies his uniquely Jazzy touch to this floor slaying anthem, adding a bit of a noodly coda to the timelessly crunchy G-Funk indebted synths. Nostalgic and fresh all at once.
Mono/Poly – ‘Ra Rise’ (Brainfeeder)
The gift that keeps on giving, L.A’s Beat scene has blessed us with another gem in the form of Mono/Poly’s debut for Brainfeeder. As you can ascertain from his production name, Charles Dickerson’s project is very much based in mono and polyphonic syntheiszers – and the emotion and drama that can be wrought out of these unique but limited instruments. Album highlight ‘Ra-Rise’ finds Dickerson in the same kind of glitchy territory popularized by his label mates Fly-Lo and Samiyam, although with greater depth and resonance. Video game synths, wistful vocal yelps and carefully placed drums are the order of the day, as this one glides along with eerie beauty.
Various Artists – ‘Panorama Bar 06 / Part II’ (Ostgut Ton)
The prospect of Nick Höppner, Deadbeat, The Oliverwho Factory, Dettmann and Makam all on one 12″ had me sold well before I heard this record, especially given the tracks were picked by the don that is Ryan Elliott. ‘Take It Slow’ and ‘Track For Eb’ are particularly good.
Jitterbug – ‘Workers’ EP (Uzuri)
Raw drum machine jams with just enough Funk. The ‘Workers’ EP is not revolutionary nor much of a masterpiece outside the club, but certainly well-suited to fit its purpose. A six-track 12″ is a rare treat too.
Snacks – ‘Purdie’ (Magic Jams)
Snacks’ debut on the new Magic Jams label is definitely one to check out. Described as imagining Bernard ‘Pretty’ Purdie, Dizzy Gillespie and Blaze in the studio together – the result is unsurprisingly groovy, catchy and funky. Check out Panorama Bar regular Prosumer’s remix too, for a percussion heavy rhythm drum track.
EshOne – Ups & Downs VIP (Elk Beats)
Screwface Dubstep from EshOne, ‘Ups & Downs’ VIP has been doing damage as a dubplate for about a year now. After heavy rotation from DJs like Joe Nice and Kahn, it’s great to see this finally get a release on the new label Elk Beats. Easily one of the best Dubstep tracks of the year, pre-orders started shipping last week and you can still order from the label website.
DarkO – ‘Mako March’ (Gobstopper)
My favourite cut from his new EP ‘Fate’ on Gobstopper and sent everyone absolutely bananas at the recent Boxed All Stars Boiler Room session. Melodies takes a side step and make way for colossal impact instead - the opening chimes set a heartrendering tone for a track that plays out like the gulliest of funeral marches. Brilliant to mix too.
Murlo and Novelist – ‘Flavour’ (Free Download)
Released for free as part of Monki’s latest Monki & Friends EP and it’s as you’d expect superb. Novelist’s raw, colloquial London swagger and energy seems to work best over imaginative, leftfield productions (see Mumdance’s ‘Take Time’) and Murlo provides the perfect foil here. Listen out for Novelist’s ‘move your wifey with a Nokia brick’ bar too – icing on the cake.
Gingy featuring Starving Yet Full – ‘RAPT’ (Royal Oak)
This one has been doing the rounds between choice underground selectors for some time now. Canadian Gingy made this in collaboration with Azari & III vocalist Starving Yet Full back in April. A slab of jacking vocal House it’s a dedicated shout of appraisal to the output of Detroit’s Happy Traxx Records in the 90’s. Finally scheduled for release in September this is a nice following up to Leon Vynehall’s Butterflies. Clone’s Royal Oak subsidiary is on a roll.
R-Zone – ‘R-Zone 13’ – (R Zone)
Three dark & interesting cuts from the anonymous R-Zone collective casting a cold eye on the golden days of rave for inspiration. Raw, unadulterated 90’s synth-lines of a Drexciyan heritage.