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Hyperspecific: Dance Music For June Reviewed By Jaša Bužinel
Jaša Bužinel , June 30th, 2021 08:11

Our electronic music columnist Jaša Bužinel is back with a list of 25 certified summer bangers and eight additional reviews, including new music by Blawan, Perlia, Felinto and Morwell

Perila by Marissa Patrice Leitman

With summer having arrived, the situation for the electronic music industry still doesn't look any more promising than it did in mid-Spring. After Boris Johnson announced the delay of "Freedom Day" in the UK for four weeks due to the increase of Delta variant cases, people have started to worry whether that day's really going to come before the peak of the season.

This has resulted in more cancellations and postponements. According to a new study by The Association of Independent Festivals, 51 percent of 5,000+-capacity events planned for the coming months have already been cancelled, and another 22 percent of organisers are unsure if their events will actually take place.

The current terminus date, July 19, thus symbolises the new freedom day, and I can't really imagine the disappointment on part of organisers, musicians and audiences if this too is deferred. People are slowly running out of patience. Last weekend, throngs of protest ravers occupied Central London as part of the 'Freedom To Dance' initiative, transforming the busy streets into an open-air party that some described as an alternative to the canceled Notting Hill Carnival, to mixed responses.

Elsewhere, the UK government recently published the first Events Research Programme report, which has concluded that big indoor events with large crowds and insufficient ventilation increase the risk of transmission. In a study that included nine events with 58,000 guests, 28 cases of COVID-19 were recorded, of which 11 were identified as potentially infectious at one event. The next ERP report has already been completed, and now we're waiting for the third one, which features Latitude Festival, but so far it remains uncertain if the government plans to wait until the programme is completed before taking any action. Let's just hope it won't be too late.

In the meantime, I've decided to compile a list of certified summer bangers which were destined, at one point, to change people's lives at this year's music festivals – and maybe still will. I've been thinking about all the potential hits from 2020 that didn't really get a chance to become huge, and I'm really hopeful that the tracks below won't have to suffer a similar fate.

My idea when arranging the list was very simple — which are the tracks released in 2021 that I'd really love to hear during a peak-time set at a festival this summer. Ranging from soulful house, disco edits and euphoric neo-trance to pounding techno, syncopated UK bass and sun-soaked breakbeat, the following 25 tracks all have in common that 'love is in the air' vibe we all like to get lost in.

LOFT – 'Wish It Would Rain (Massive Vibe Moment)'

A simply massive tune that I’ve been rinsing pretty much every day since its release.

India Jordan – 'And Groove'
(Ninja Tune)

With a groove this infectious, it’s just a matter of seconds before you start fist-pumping.

Logic100 – 'I Won’t Forget'
(Because Music)

A perfect breakbeat tool for instant catharsis.

Overmono – 'So U Kno'
(Poly Kicks)

I can already visualise lasses and lads losing it to this one.

Dance System & Hudson Mohawke – 'Hands In The Air'
(System Records)

A hyperenergetic festival dancefloor smasher.

Elvin T – 'Get Close'

After three years worth of teasing from Midland, the sound of summer 2021 is finally out.

Bliss Inc – 'Pangaea'
(Radiant Love)

A throwback to 90s trance euphoria for the next generation.

Adam Pits – 'Solar Wave'

I could’ve picked pretty much any recent track by Pits, but this one’s really a gem.

Cinthie – 'City Lights' (Gerd Janson Remix)
(Aus Music)

File under ‘perfect summer anthem’.

Guy Contact – 'Cool Blue Liquid' (Maximus Mix)
(Coymix Ltd)

Nostalgia-inducing neotrance for the festival dancefloor.

Kareem Ali – 'Godson Of House' (feat. Byron The Aquarius)

The young American producer rightfully proving his self-proclaimed title with this melodic deep cut.

Nathan Melja & Flørist – 'Wonderland' (Nathan Melja Version)

I bet you’ll be hearing this one a lot.

Karima F – 'Crab Ride'
(Schloss Records)

A bumpy and playful percussive ride.

Tapestry Of Sound – 'Maypole Theme' (Surrealist Piano Roll Mix)
(Step Ball Chain)

One of the most euphoric tracks of 2021 so far by my longtime favourites Roza Terenzi and D. Tiffany.


Longing baile trance from the one and only Badsista—a proper “hit de verão”.

Unknown Artist – 'Space Cadet'

Meditative peak time anthem.

OSSX – 'Split Wig'
(Allergy Season)

Uplifting breakbeat beaut that demands a rewind.

Two Shell – 'Soft Core'
(Livity Sound)

One of the most sublime examples of UK techno in recent times.

VTSS – 'Goin Nuts' feat. LSDXOXO

A dirty techno banger that moves the masses.

LSDXOXO – 'Sick Bitch'
(XL Recordings)

This one’s even dirtier...

Eomac – 'What Does Your Heart Tell You?'
(Planet Mu)

One of the techno highlights of 2021.

Wata Igarashi – 'Balance'

“Wata pls never stop making wiggly arpeggios I fuckin live for it.” YouTube comment.

Voiski & Hadone – 'On The Edge Of Adhesion'
(Voltage Imprint)

Big room trance techno bomb.

Peder Mannerfelt – 'Year Of The Rats'

I can’t decide if this is my favourite techno track of 2021 so far, or perhaps the next one.

Blawan – 'Fizz City'

I still can’t decide, but it’s probably this one.

And now for this month's albums, 12"s, tracks and EPs in review...

Felinto – ‘Futuro Antigo Perpétuo’
(Bokeh Versions)

Dedicated to the leftfield digidub and dancehall creativity from around the globe, the Bristolian institution has been championing the new weird and delivering old rarities since late 2015, such as the “psychodubilly” act Leather Rats and industro-dub collective Reducer. Via their catalogue, I’ve fallen in love with musicians like Seekersinternational, Jay Glass Dubs, Sea Urchin and other protagonists of the New Church of Echo, Delay & Reverb; people who ushered hordes of new aficionados through the gates of dub. The latest addition to their roster is an all-star Brazilian group with a musical all-rounder and political activist Felinto, a driving force of São Paulo’s underground scene, at the helm, including members of genre-defying bands like Deafkids and Ratka. Translated as Perpetual Ancient Future, their debut is an immersive sonic tapestry woven from traditional percussion like tambour bèlè, congas and timbal; Felinto’s haunting synthscapes; trumpet ornaments; spectral vocals; piano echoes; and Augustus Pablo-inspired melodica lines. It takes you on a hallucinogenic trip through liminal mental states with plenty of mysterious, otherworldly visions that could only be described as hypnagogic. Dub is key here, but there’s also plenty of samba-infused riddims and experimental dub sonics à la General Strike that make it a remarkably individual record and the album’s cavernous production creates a vibe worthy of psychedelic toad venom. If quality new school dub is what you’re looking for, look no further. Besides, all funds from the sales are to be donated to the initiative Mulheres Possíveis in support of women incarcerated at Carandiru Penitentiary.

Morwell – ‘Souls’

Since his breakthrough EP Eyes On Me (2019), the anonymous hardcore/ jungle producer has been gaining momentum and discretely representing the Croatian diaspora in the UK. If you haven’t yet, you should check out his Bandcamp profile where you’ll find a series of imaginative remixes/ bootlegs, including music by Ariana Grande, Solange and DJ Screw, not to mention a (probably unofficial) junglist remix EP of tunes from The Lion King. Morwell self-releases most of his music, but his tracks also land on compilations by labels like Juke Bounce Werk and District160. Interestingly enough, his rise to prominence coincides with the rise of the talented UK producer Loraine James with whom he’s collaborated on her EP New Year's Substitution 2. In a sea of hardcore audio explorers, scientifically dissecting past and inventing future formulas, it’s Morwell’s knowledgeable approach to tradition from the circa 1990-1996 era mixed with an HD sound design approach and world-building aspirations that make him stand out. As an outsider, who recently switched London for North East England, his relationship with UK rave practice and soundsystem culture stems from different affinities to those of British colleagues. His debut album is a homage to the lineage of avant-garde, high-energy, bass-infused and horizon-expanding UK dance music seen from this perspective. Morwell’s pop sensibility is concealed in the cyborgian chants, a source of synthetic euphoria that may stem from his apparent love of (hyper)pop diva vocals. As a true popular modernist, his aim is no less than to rewire your neural pathways via his soundsystem therapy, opening up new perspectives. A refreshing and well-rounded example of hybrid rave futurism with bright hues!

Naphta – ‘Dom strawiło’

Too often in recent years, the Polish electronic music scene has only been featured in Western media in the context of governmental attacks on the country's LGBTQI+ community, which includes many members of the music scene. Along with prominent DJs/producers like VTSS and Avtomat, the vibrant domestic scene consists of a nexus of small labels and collectives among which we find the young label Tańce, established last November as a platform for global club sounds and autochthonous folk traditions — in short, game-changing outernational club music with a local touch. The label showcased its vision on two successful releases by Avtomat and Semprey, and their third instalment comes from the prolific Wrocław native Paweł Klimczak aka Naphta, known as half of the Japanese-culture worshiping duo Gaijin Blues. His EP Dom strawiło is a straightforwardly functional, though also politically charged, collection of club music (the title translates as “the house that burned down" referring to climate emergency). Employing modern hard drum-adjacent percussive workouts popularised by the likes of DJ Plead and blending them with Polish folk ingredients, Naphta delivers four distinct tracks. The opener ‘Czorta pląsy’ is marked by shiver-inducing female wails and tense folk violin stabs, while the title track bets on bouncy syncopations and a repetitive hook announcing “Dom strawiło”. We also get a portion of Slavic breakbeat science in ‘Rejwach na kurhanach’ and war cry tension in the closer ‘Pokrzyk’ — a kind of Polish take on London grime. A more than welcome Slavic contribution to the ever-developing global ghettotech circuit!

Perila – ‘How Much Time It Is Between You And Me?’
(Smalltown Supersound)

2020 was a very productive year for Berlin-based musician Sasha Zakharenko, a maven of field recordings and electroacoustic ambient composition, who also runs the Weird Erotic Tension podcast series, bringing together her love for transcendental sonics and erotic poetry. She collaborated with fellow ambient mainstay Ulla, delivered a cassette for Paralaxe Editions and two self-released EPs. After a long period of ambient seances in the privacy of our quarantines, most of us are probably fed up with isolated listening sessions, but bear with me – take some time off for the new Perila record, even if you’ll be spending the days somewhere under the scorching Adriatic sun – it won’t leave you cold. ‘How Much Time It Is Between You And Me?’ is like a placenta that encircles listeners and returns them to the foetal stage of pure receptiveness. It could be used as a case study for Pauline Oliveros’ practice of radical attentiveness known as deep listening. Once you step into Perila’s realm, you’re immediately embraced by veils of soft organic textures, traces of human voices, spectral concrète sounds, blurred drum patterns and uncanny atmospherics. Floating around your head like dust particles, minute flourishes, atonal frequencies and barely perceptible sonic mirages function as metaphors for fractures in your inner timespace. The album evokes the image of an intergalactic womb in which posthumans are conceived and nurtured with field recordings from the old mother-goddess and cosmic noise until they’re born and catapulted into space in order to endlessly roam our Earth-free universe. The vision of a human lost in space brings to mind Eduard Artemiev’s monumental soundtrack for Solaris (1972), not necessarily style-wise but more in the sense of its transcendental poetics.

V/A – ‘Ansia005’

Established in 2016 by the Italian experimental bass/ techno producer Piezo, after a string of his releases and a V/A EP, the Milan-based label returns with a package of abnormally powerful club tools for the heads. The EP compiled by its head honcho includes four of the most auteurial new gen sound designers in the sphere of modernist techno who’ve managed to crystallise their own high-definition aesthetic with signature elements in just a few years. Up-and-coming Mancunian producer BFTT brings heat with his warped broken-techno syncopations, popping Sophie-esque bubbles, jet noise and massive wobbles in the track ‘XCUSEME’. First heard during Batu’s performance at Smithfield Market, Metrist’s ‘LB Steaua’ is one of the most fun and cartoonish leftfield techno bangers of the year and probably his most accessible track to date. Perhaps a nod to the legendary ‘Space Warrior’, it’s a guarantee for those ‘Excuse me?!’ moments at future festivals. Following the success of his debut LP Perdu, the flexible sound wizard Piezo contributed a techno earworm with a monstrous groove, plenty of compositional micro events and unlikely excerpts from Italian TV that make it even more beautifully weird. The EP closes with Siete Catorce’s singeli-infused nu-hardkor bomb ‘Serrano’ in the mould of the Hakuna Kulala crew. Bringing together four artists with similar aesthetic sensibilities to a great effect, Ansia005 belongs to the top of contemporary unorthodox techno expressiveness, which can and should be both amusing and brainy.

Renslink – ‘Curiosity Is A Type Of Youth by Renslink’
(Impossible City Records)

Among the many newly established labels born out of quarantine indolence is also the Parisian Impossible City Records under the artistic and musical direction of the acclaimed French DJ/producer Teki Latex. It was conceived as a platform for opening new doors that lead to uncharted sonic territories, and their debut release by Renslink definitely lives up to the expectations ignited by its mission statement. The elusive Loiner, previously known as Ren, has been steadily developing his sound palette on his mutant post-club releases for Infinite Machine and Permahigh. On Curiosity Is A Type Of Youth, perhaps a reference to his own openness to novel sonic strategies, he takes his aesthetic even further. Think of it as a mixture of Barker’s beatless techno, Lorenzo Senni’s trance deconstructions and Cocktail Party Effect’s hyperbass. This is some explicitly dramatic electronic music in its fullest sense, transitioning between subtle moments of elation and fear-inducing sonic time warps with an ASMR impact, such as we find in the track ‘Thoughts Leak From Me’. The track ‘!8’ transforms the listener into Tesla’s huge magnifying transmitter through which bolts of sound waves travel. Productions like ‘Just Like That’ mimic the experience of balloons sticking to your body due to static electricity. The idea of your body being a transmitter for particles of electricity hoovering in the air is omnipresent on this magnificent EP, which leaves no room for nostalgia. It’s exactly this kind of curiosity for the shape of things to come that moves things towards a more promising future.


Judging by his Instagram account and string of superb EPs, the time spent working on an animal farm during the pandemic had an immensely positive effect on Blawan’s studio output as he’s managed to push forward and further evolve his idiosyncratic strain of techno to unprecedented levels. The trippy bangers of the Immulsion EP and the hyperkinetic marriage of musique concrète and modular synthesis found on the Make A Goose EP were a tad more predictable due to their big room tendencies, but still sufficiently exploratory for his most demanding fans. On his latest double EP, a masterpiece of visionary nu skool modular techno, he fully leaves behind the safe space of the 130-140 BPM zone to explore the horizons lying ahead. With Blawan’s music, we break away from the old techno imaginary that’s still being uncritically reproduced in the modern discourse. Listening to tracks like ‘The Sithe’, it feels more like being in the heart of a storm than in a post-apocalyptic city governed by robot overlords. It’s a demanding listen with plenty of production layers coexisting as separate entities next to one another. We could talk about fluid dynamics and vortical techno here, since traditionally rigid methods of sequencing, especially in the tempo-defying closer ‘Micro 8’s’, feel outdated. Blawan stretches, twists and interacts with his library of synthesized magic in ways that feel like we’re hearing five producers showcasing their ideas at once, but without ever sounding too jam-packed. Every line dividing the buzzing of insects, the electromagnetic waves emitted from quasars and the fizzing of Blawan’s synth circuits is blurred. Despite the predominantly occult atmosphere, ‘Fizz City’, one of the undisputed techno anthems of 2021 which sounds like an army of happy hornets rushing into battle, and celestial roller ‘Fourth Dimensional’ opt for more serene and uplifting melodicism. Yet, the overall vibe is that of the weird and the eerie in the best possible sense, leaving you dumbfounded and intoxicated by the unknown.

Unknown Artist – ‘Mantissa 001’

In our day and age when you can immediately get all the info you want on most releases, it’s quite refreshing to discover new music that excites you, without even knowing the name of the producer—it’s probably the closest you can get to the experience of discovering a white label back in the day. The new London label and mix series, conceptualised as a place for “forward thinking dance music”, kicks off with an anonymous EP produced by a close buddy of the Mantissa lot. I think I heard ‘Space Cadet’ for the first time in one of Ben UFO’s shows or mixes, and it immediately caught my attention with its silky bass line, ethereal pads and dramatic synth lines. It’s one of those soft, spacey, melancholy bangers that builds momentum and can function as a turning point in a DJ set. With its reverberated dub chords, squelchy synths and mesmerising vocal hook, ‘Frozen Bounce’ carries the torch of progressive UK tech house—minimalist in structure, but rich in texture. “You don’t wanna wake up, do you,” asks a soothing female voice in the closing deep house cut ‘U19A’, one of those touching jams that evokes tears of joy at an afterparty which you don’t ever want to end. The emotional impact of all these tracks is admirable, making it hard not to let it all out when you hear them. ‘Mantissa 001’ is a collection of three no nonsense club heaters for peak time and afterhours that will make the rounds this summer, plus an original dubby rework by the brilliant Canadian producer Ciel.