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Hyperspecific: Dance Music For July Reviewed By Jaša Bužinel
Jaša Bužinel , July 20th, 2021 08:08

Jaša Bužinel delivers a list of his recent favourite DJ mixes that will add some flavour to your evening dog walks and reviews eight impressive releases by Koreless, MOIN, DJ Manny, DJ Pitch, Bambounou & Bruce and more

DJ Manny

I can’t believe how my hunger for fresh DJ mixes has grown since the beginning of summer. For the major part of quarantine, newly released mixes (as well as the various live streams) mostly made me depressed, since I knew I wouldn't be able to experience anything like it on a dancefloor in the foreseeable future.

I preferred to go back to familiar mixes instead, especially those that have already left a mark in my life in some way or another, so I could re-experience all the highs. I’ve heard about similar strategies from various friends who regularly attended club nights prior to lockdown. In a few severe cases of club nostalgia, some of my acquaintances even went so far as to fully cancel all electronic dance music from their quarantined lives in order to protect themselves from bad temper.

With the reopening of clubs and festival dancefloors, the urge for fresh dance music has reemerged. It may be because there’s more time for long evening walks and extended car rides, or maybe it’s just because dance music sounds so much better when you can hype yourself up for upcoming raves.

An awful lot of great mixes have come out in the past few months, so I’ve decided to compile a list of some of my recent favourites.

Borka & Rex – Gil Scott-Heron Tribute

Slovenian veterans Borka and Rex deliver a brilliant mix that comprises classics, lesser-known tunes and interview snippets. A lovely tribute to one of the greatest of all time and a perfect early morning companion.

Facta & K-LONE – Azure Ultra

The 5th edition of the Mixtape Club series, “a free dance music mixtape series where DJs get paid”, comes from the Wisdom Teeth head honchos. Azure Ultra harkens back to a time when you used to listen to your cousin or uncle’s Café del Mar compilations. But instead of retracing the same old paths, the duo expands on the tradition of sun-soaked chill out mixes with their distinctively Bristolian ingredients to great effect.

Dekmantel Podcast 340 – TSVI

Following the release of his massive EP Sogno on his label Nervous Horizon, the London-based Italian producer has cemented his position as one of the most forward-thinking representatives of hallucinatory dancehall/ techno/ bass/ d&b eclecticism with this exhilarating 90 minute mix that strikes a perfect balance between cerebral and body music. His mind-bending rhythmic interplays, murky sonics and overall unearthly atmosphere will surely take you somewhere else.

Ben UFO At Friendly Potential, Wellington, May 2021

Three hours of state of the art DJ wizardry from the one and only. Ben describes it a kind of tribute to the legendary Sunday night sessions at FWD>> with lots of of fresh bombs as well as classics from the worlds of garage, dubstep, grime, hardcore, jungle and techno. You know, one of those mixes that brings a smile to your face almost with every next blend.

Truancy Volume 280 – Mor Elian

Starting leisurely and building momentum until reaching the apex at 155 BPM, the Berlin-based producer and Fever AM co-head provides 75 minutes of heady broken techno and unorthodox electro filled with unexpected turns and jaw-dropping moments.

India Jordan – BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix

India Jordan’s Essential Mix debut perfectly sums up their jovial approach to dance music. It also successfully conjures up the ecstatic and hedonistic vibe that our generation, born in the early 90s and later, associates with that period — two hours of fist-pumping feel-good house, UKG, trance, UK hardcore and techno tunes that will make your day and night.

Overmono – Fabric Presents Overmono

Brothers Tom & Ed Russell (also known as Truss and Tessela), two of the most prolific UK producers of this generation, who’ve written some of the most memorable techno tracks of the past half decade, add another exciting release to their already praiseworthy legacy. “A nod to music scenes past and present”, their contribution to the Fabric series is exactly what dance music aficionados need right now — pummelling breakbeat and garage cuts, headlong techno bangers, Overmono hits, dancefloor anthems and euphoric transitions. If you ever asked yourself how a peak time UK techno set would sound like after more than a year of absence from clubs, here lies the answer.


If you haven’t had the chance to discover the super-talented Brazilian producer Badsista yet, I kindly suggest you go down the rabbit hole of her Bandcamp. Her approach to contemporary club music is simply exceptional, and her mix for the Paris-based Trax Magazine is hard proof. I’ve been vibin’ to it for the past few months and I still can’t get tired of it.

This Month's Releases

Bambounou x Bruce – ‘Final Conference’

Fanboy disclaimer: I can’t really write about these two producers objectively as their music has been feeding my love for contemporary electronic music since I first heard tracks like ’Not Stochastic’ and ’Mass’. Besides, I’ve never imagined I’d get to hear a collaboration by people I consider a power couple of imaginative, horizon-expanding new gen techno. Cheers to Bambounou, who recently established the label Bambe (this is their 2nd release), for making it happen. Both Bruce and Bambonou are charismatic (those who’ve seen them play live know what I’m talking about) and it really shows in their immediately recognisable productions, which possess a unique flair. The same can be said here, bringing forth an exquisite synthesis of their distinct approaches to shiver-inducing syncopations, immersive sound design and dramatic arrangements. ‘Crash’ and ‘Final Conference’, one dark and tense, and the other hauntingly hallucinogenic, are two masterpieces of synthetic psychedelia. They both instantly grab you by the throat with their swirling polyrhythms, bursts of static noise and glitches, wailing synths and quasi-ultrasonic frequencies. It’s the track ‘Rai’, though, that comes as a big surprise here. A soft mover with a captivating bass motif, scintillating melodies and tingling sonic abstractions, it’s unlike anything released by the two so far — a true 2021 treasure. Props to this Anglo-French alliance for providing a strong contender for one of the most inspired techno EPs of the year.

Max Winter – ‘One Thousand Lonely Places’
(Where To Now?)

A relatively new face on the music scene, the young classically trained composer, producer and vocalist is a name worth remembering. Back in 2020, part of his score for a contemporary dance landed on the EP Aporia for Cherche Encore. It was an exercise in style, which he now further developed and expanded on his debut full-length for the Brighton via London label Where To Now? Listening to ‘One Thousand Lonely Places’, the first association that comes to mind is Andy Stott. Though there’s no direct relation between the two, Winter’s freewheeling compositional approach, pensive tone and fragile voice accompanied by IMOGEN’s transfixing vocals transport the listener into similarly liminal otherworlds. Their hauntingly beautiful timbres intertwine like those of Romy and Oliver from The xx, floating on strings flourishes, gently weeping guitars, driving broken beats and subdued synthworks. Winter’s music is simultaneously familiar and alien, restrained and complex, uplifting and bittersweet — a kind of free-form jazz-influenced pop, also informed by folk, contemporary classical and electronic dance music, best encapsulated in the song ‘Two Fold Silence’. There’s a cinematic aspect to it also, almost as if it had been written with a particular movie scene in mind. Perhaps the two more propulsive tracks ‘How I Got Rid Of Me’ and ‘P.O.S.’ stick out a bit energy-wise, but they point to Winter’s flexibility and don’t take away from the whole experience. The closing couplet ‘Shade’ and ‘A Piece To Leave With’ includes some of my favourite moments on this record — simply mesmerising ambient passages that absorb the listener.

Holy Tongue – ‘II’
(Amidah Records)

I strongly believe that the interzone between dub, post punk, psychedelia and electronic music, a melting pot that came to define avant garde movements in the early 80s through the music of Dennis Bovell, African Head Charge, General Strike, the On-U-Sound label, is still one of the most promising uncharted territories in popular music. The second Holy Tongue EP by dubby dance music maestro Al Wootton, whose productions have been regularly appearing in the sets of in-the-know DJs in the UK and beyond, and acclaimed London-based percussionist, drummer and composer Valentina Magaletti, known for her collaborations with Nicolas Jaar, Raime and Thurston Moore among others, occupies exactly these sonic spheres. Following last year’s debut, which was the result of an improv session, II marks a step forward both in terms of production and composition. It’s a slow-burning dubtronica affair that stands out with its intricate percussive ornaments, multilayered use of echo and reverb technology and spacious ambience in the vein of the aforementioned pioneers. There’s nothing groundbreaking in their approach; it’s the way the two have taken known formats and old ideas to refine and expand them into new dimensions that’s refreshing. The inclusion of acclaimed saxophonist Ben Vince (known for his solo outings as well as various collaborations) adds to the timbral quality of the record.

MOIN – ‘Moot!’

Interestingly enough, the sophisticated percussionist Valentina Magaletti also left her mark on another great record that came out in July. This one doesn’t belong strictly to the world of electronic music, still I wanted to include it here as a special treat. Along with Joe Andrews and Tom Halstead (Raime/Blackest Ever Black), the long-time collaborator Magaletti is a new member of MOIN, a project born out of a “serendipitous conversation”. Inspired by the heritage of instinctive post punk experimentalism, mixing live musicianship and studio techniques, the then duo released some material under this moniker back in 2012 and 2013, but their new LP pushes even further into the realms of distorted melancholy. With the addition of live drums to the recipe of unrefined guitar riffs, vocal samples and synthetic textures, the impression this album leaves on the listener is that of unearthing a remastered cassette of a long-lost gem from the early 90s. The band doesn’t just indulge in nostalgia for a time when bands like Slint, The Jesus Lizard and Fugazi reigned supreme on the indie scene, though. As they’ve put it themselves, it’s “an experiment, not a spectacle”, and it’s exactly this simple maxim that’s almost been forgotten somewhere along the way, and only recently rediscovered through the music of exciting young bands, such as Black Midi and BC,NR. Moot! is an energising listening session from a trio that knows exactly where it wants to take you and an all killer, no filler record that demands a live performance ASAP.

Various Artists – INTL.PDCOMP00
(Pressure Dome)

I’m totally biased when it comes to the Bristol sound as to me this scene still represents one of the most exciting multicultural hubs in the world of electronic music. This is why it’s very rewarding to observe how it keeps on developing unrelentingly. It’s passionate protagonists like Jen Hartley aka Yushh, one of the younger representatives of local techno & bass creativity, who’s been running Pressure Dome since 2019, that keep moving the scene forward by discovering and showcasing new talent. On the label’s fifth V/A compilation and first in its INTL.Pressure series (I suggest you check out all the others here, if you haven’t yet), we find ten up-and-coming producers from around the world that operate at the junction where mutant dancehall, massive downtempo, breaky bass, dubby jungle, cyber-rave, percussive techno workouts and other fusion microgenres meet to form something new. The selection is as eclectic as it gets, though we can perceive a recurring ritualistic vibe that permeates most of the productions. Some of the highlights include rising Dublin producer Sputnik One (who’s been repped regularly by the likes of Joy Orbison and Ben UFO and recently announced a new EP on Wisdom Teeth) with the slow roller ‘Overtime’, Lyon-based electronic artist C. Coiffure with ‘Drain’ (a perfect piece for a Vladimir Ivkovic set), Australian producer LOIF with his warped acid track ‘Vecta’, New York via Berlin duo Ma Sha Ru with the breakneck belter ‘Null Azimuth’, and Austrian talent DJ Durbin with the crystalline breakbeats of ‘Dreams’. Shout out to Yushh for another brilliant contribution to contemporary leftfield dance music.

Koreless – ‘Agor’

Reading the comments under Koreless' 2013 track ’Sun’, you get the idea how novel his approach to pure synthetic euphoria was, and how transformative an experience it was for people who heard it in the sets of James Holden, Jackmaster, Thom Yorke and others. As a young kiddo, I remember being similarly affected by his track ’Last Remnants’ after hearing it in a Four Tet mix. In a way, the Welsh trailblazer, who in 2019 co-produced FKA Twigs’ chef d'oeuvre MAGDALENE, was at the helm of a new wave of producers who discarded acoustic authenticity and boldly championed fully synthetic genreless electronic music… only to leave us waiting for more (his last Koreless record came out in 2013!) After five years of trial and error with meticulous attention to every detail, he’s back with a simply breathtaking debut album that was absolutely worth the wait. If there’s one adjective worth applying here, it’s hyper-polished (in the best possible sense), meaning this is some formidably palpable electronic music with an almost holographic quality, so much so it kinda locks you in and paralyses all your senses from the first to the last glassy tone. Everything’s so well-thought out on Agor — the tracklisting is immaculate, the sonic drama triangle is used to its full potential, and its production quality is almost without equal (although, Igloghost and the new Abadir record come to mind here). Despite being so supernaturally artificial, made of something I could only describe as digital ice, this is some of the most emotional music I’ve heard all year — cyber-bliss guaranteed.

DJ Manny – ‘Signals In My Head’
(Planet Mu)

DJ Manny’s been a household name of the American footwork scene since his debut EP Kush On Deck (2010), attending parties as a kid, later organising events himself, collaborating with Rashad and Spinn and keeping the spirit of the Chicago scene alive even after he’d moved to Brooklyn. Perhaps due to his decision to remain low key until he fully bloomed, his music never got the full consideration it deserved. 11 years later, we’re here with his new album Signals In My Head, bigger in scope and more varied in its content than all his previous releases, with a potential to address various global audiences, even those unfamiliar with footwork and its origins. Described as a pioneering effort in footwork and a kind of love letter to the world, the record sees DJ Manny take a road less traveled by other contemporaries, blending the long tradition of R&B love songs and syncopated footwork, juke, house, techno and d&b breaks. Without ever getting overly sentimental, he brings forth some of the most lustful lovers’ anthems in the genre, such as ‘Never Was Ah Hoe’, ‘U Want IT’ and ‘Signals In My Head’. But there’s also plenty of dancefloor smashers like ‘All I Need’, ‘Wants My Body (ft. DJ Chap)’ and ‘Havin' Fun (ft. DJ Phil)’, radiant footwork beauts, for example ‘Smoke 'n' Fade Away’ and ‘At First Site’, dreamy house jams (‘You All I Need’) and other earworms. The album builds on the lineage of producers, such as Frankie Knuckles and Jamie Principle, who knew exactly how to translate that longing into tender dance music. There aren’t many genuinely romantic electronic records coming out these days – it’s hard not being cheesy or cringeful – but as a wholesome expression of love both for music and the people that make our lives worth living, Signals In My Head delivers 100%.

DJ Pitch – ‘It's Not What You Said It's Because You Spoke’
(Edited Arts)

Apart from putting out some conspicuous edits, a split single with Architect and two EPs as DJ P, the London producer Robert Venning’s been busy running his labels All Centre and TT (fka Tobago Tracks) and championing experimental/leftfield club creativity from around the globe. It seems he’s always preferred to stay in the background, focusing on music instead of self-promotion. Unsurprisingly, his debut album for Edited Arts came out at the beginning of July without any big press releases, almost slipping under our radar. But believe me when I say this one’s a real treat. It's Not What You Said It's Because You Spoke comes with an accompanying poem with the final verses, “A quiet breath/ We are resigned/ We remain hopeful”, which epitomises the overall atmosphere of the record. The songs unfold almost like stanzas of a long poem, transitioning seamlessly into one another. His musical language is built from scraps of bass, dancehall, electronica, grime, downtempo and different strains of emo music, resulting in a singular aesthetic that masterfully blends 90s IDM sentimentality, high-def sound design, blurry vaporwave sonics and post-club abstractions. I love the silky synths and downpitched vocals of the slow burner ‘It’s Because You Spoke’ as much as I love the steel drum clang, lovely synthworks and hypnotic bleeps of opener ‘I Used To’. Though it’s hard to choose a favourite – the album really works as a unit – I’d probably pick ‘I’m Not The Person’, featuring a pitched sample of David Bryne, as part of my morning routine tracklist. The whole album functions like a tranquilizer “for a world that is ending”, and if that’s what’s been keeping you up late at night in the past months, it’ll definitely resonate with you. A lovely example of modern-day electronic fusionism—don’t miss out on this one.