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White Noise: Dance and Electronic Roundup

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Dance and Electronic Roundup

Here I've collected the tracks I've been sessioning this week, brand new dance and electro from great albums and singles or from artists who are about to release a new LP. Just thought it might be nice to share some thoughts on what I'm listening to at the moment.

Silo Pass – Bok Bok

A track from the new Southside EP by one half of juggernaut label Night Slugs, Bok Bok. Throughout the EP he showcases weird sounds and full-throttle dance production, but here is where he connects most with the grime flavour that threatens to emerge throughout the EP. Opening with a spare buildup consisting of far-off voices, an enthralling beat and creeping synths, at the one-minute mark the track breaks down magnificently into a filthy grime bass that is dancefloor catnip. Despite the unusually long runtime for a dance track this cut never gets boring, with the bass receding and coming back each time bigger and more intoxicating than ever.

Streetz Tonight - Araabmuzik

Part ambient, part trance, the new album from gangsta-rap producer Araabmuzik was a big surprise to everyone. In this prime cut he incorporates classic 90s euphoria vocals in the form of a sped-up version of those from Kaskade's 4am, clipping the sample and never quite letting it reach its peak before it is battered back down by his snares and beats. The result is a completely hypnotising cross-breed of genres which is a prime example of the old adage that however uncool the genre you're reviving, a masterful control of tension and release can make any track a banger. You're now listening to Araabmuzik.

Unglued – Objekt

Harking back in some ways to older dubstep, the mysterious Objekt's (Berlin-based TJ Hertz) latest single was undoubtedly fantastic, but it was this B-side that kept me coming back for more. The track is stripped to a level of pure aggression, moving through several distinct movements before settling into a propulsive beat with acid and jazz tinges cheekily laced throughout. Added to this, after a minute or so of cut-throat beats and violent 2-step snares is one of the most explosive and messed up drops I've heard this year. Suffice to say there's a reason everyone's getting so excited about Objekt, and I expect this track to continue ripping up dancefloors for the next few months.

Open Your Eyes – XXXY

XXXY's particular brand of future garage has been attracting a lot of attention this year, and his latest release looks set not just to continue the brilliance of cuts like Ordinary Things but also to change things up and better them. Adopting a more jungle aesthetic, the drums on this track are exploding hardcore-style 808 beats that are absolutely ferocious especially after the huge drop, and an emotive element is woven into the mix with the sampled refrain “Let's go somewhere”. It's clear from the off that this Manchester-based producer is moving somewhere special, and with tunes like this I'm more than happy to go with him.

Laurel Halo – Aquifer

This is the opener from Laurel Halo's new EP Hour Logic, and it's a gorgeous techno-trance mindbender. Opening with fizzing liquid synths, the track builds slowly and carefully with subtle vocal snatches before the slow-drive bass kicks in to ground the crazy pace of those synths. Laurel Halo has shown a consistently cerebral output and this track is no different, showcasing her compositional skill beyond her astounding voice. It's busy but always lucid, and the distorted pipe-synth kicking in midway through the second minute lends an epic oriental grandeur to the sound introducing a steady beat. The layers are brief but expertly interlaced, declaring proudly that Arbor is one to watch.

Oh, Why – Balam Acab

The first full track from Alec Koone's album due out late August entitled Wander / Wonder. Balam Acab is one of my very favourite artists around at the moment and this taster shows that he's likely to deliver on his Triangle debut. Opening with his trademark treated vocals which sound otherworldly and unlike anything else, the track showcases a luxuriantly slow build that reveals gorgeous depth on repeated listens. The ethereal vocals are backed by a perfectly pitched loop of lazy synths and record hiss, introducing a bassline of masterful subtlety halfway in. Then the dubby bass kicks in accompanied by a soaring male vocal line, building quietly into a beautiful release of eery synths and straining vocals with instantly recognisable bubbly arpeggios breaking through the noise. Dark and beautiful, this promises great things for his debut LP. Another fantastic track from the upcoming album, Apart, can be found here.

Shell of Light (Shlohmo Remix) – Burial

I've saved my favourite until last, this track has been on daily repeat on my iTunes since I first heard it. Remixing Burial is a daring move, but Shlohmo's take on the gorgeous and all-too-brief end of Shell of Light is pitched perfectly, treating its source material with respect and turning it into something completely different. Opening with the untreated sample, the single vocal line is achingly emotive and only enhanced by the masterly bass and broken beats. Just before the 2-minute mark the track drops off and a sampled falsetto is laced expertly with the sample, creating a ghostly and beautiful song which is utterly hypnotic, demanding repeated listens in its thrilling interplay of lost voices, subtly insistent percussion and entrancing synths. An exciting sign of the quality of Shlohmo's debut album Bad Vibes which drops next month, from which a track can be found here.

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