Dancing Astronaut’s Top Tracks of January 2016
Dancing Astronaut's Top 10 Tracks of January 2016
January was far from a quiet month for releases. From OWSLA unleashing an entire compilation series, to Flume unveiling new album singles, the dance scene experienced an explosive start to the new year. If January was any barometer for the coming months, we’ve got some incredible new releases headed our way.
Looking back on the month, we’ve selected our Top 10 tracks, measured by critical acclaim, perceived impact, and overall quality (as well as a hint of editorial bias).
10. Dark Sky - Em Cry
Genre-bending London trio Dark Sky have been relatively dormant on their release schedule since their 2014 LP, Imagin, but are starting 2016 with a hypnotic new release, “Em Cy.” The track began with a sample from the record “Agua De Beber” by the ’60s Brazilian group Quarteto Em Cy, which inspired the title.
The eight and a half minute track is almost entirely based around the vocal loop. It’s rearranged, processed, layered and pitched in incremental variations over intricate percussion for an entirely mesmerizing result.
9. Hilight Tribe - Free Tibet (Vini Vici Remix)
Over summer, several DJs began playing an attractive progressive psy piece from Vini Vici. Much like “The Tribe,” this new remix plays upon the carnal parts of the human psyche with indigenous-inspired vocal samples and a chunky running bassline pierced by celestial accents in the background. Having already infiltrated nearly every set by reputable underground acts in the trance scene, the clip was only revealed recently as yet another production by the Israeli maestro. “Free Tibet (Vini Vici Remix)” is already primed to be one of the most influential releases in trance this year, cementing Vini Vici’s status as one of the most recognized psy names in the industry.
8. Get Real - Mind Yo Bizness
Get Real, the creative pairing of Claude VonStroke and Green Velvet, is a collaboration that simply makes sense. The house and techno legends have been turning heads with countless performances over the past few months, from Exchange LA to San Francisco’s Outside Lands. One element has been missing from their new project however: original music.
Now, however, Get Real have unveiled their first release with a new EP on Dirtybird. Containing two tracks, “Mind Yo Bizness” and “Snuffaluffagus,” it’s easily some of the funkiest material from either producer. With plenty of swerving basslines, wonky melodies, and warped vocal samples, it’s the kind of perplexing tech house weirdness you’d expect to hear at 2:00am on the dancefloor.
7. Nero - Into the Night (Nero 1988 Remix)
6. RUFUS - Like An Animal (Yotto Remix)
Yotto has returned in grand fashion with a new remix that has already been hailed by Pete Tong as his Essential New Tune. Following his last release on Anjunadeep, which was also named an Essential New Tune, Yotto’s first production of the year takes on Australian act RUFUS. Infusing “Like An Animal” with a minimalist approach, Yotto aims his latest rendition strictly at large rooms. With his new track already touted by one of the genre’s most famous tastemakers, Yotto is starting 2016 off on the right foot.
5. Underworld - I Exhale
Seminal ’90s dance act Underworld are preparing for a huge revival in 2016. Having previously announced their new album, Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future – their first since 2010′s Barking – the duo have unveiled new single, “I Exhale.” Serving as the opening song on their impending ninth studio album, it’s classic Underworld through and through. Karl Hyde’s alluring nonchalance dances sweetly over a smooth bassline and some spattering percussion. Distorted synths float in and out, while backing vocals give the song a stadium-sized stereo field. It’s a worthy new offering, and an exciting harbinger of what’s to come on the group’s new album.
4. Miike Snow - Genghis Khan (Hook N Sling Remix)
Hook N Sling is no stranger to the Miike Snow canon, having released a widely-circulated remix of “Gold Dust” from Christian Karlsson’s Galantis side-project last April. “Genghis Khan,” however, marks Hook N Swing’s first partnership with the full outfit since his 2009 remix of “Silvia.”
For his “Genghis Khan” remix, Hook N Sling adheres largely to the original composition. Leaving Wyatt’s vocals largely intact, Maniscalco enlivens the original chord progressions upon a drum-heavy canvas of 128 beats-per-minute. From this baseline, the remix progresses into a whirring electro house frenzy that is equal parts simplistic and frenetic. Hook N Sling’s bass-laden ensemble is accompanied by the understated presence of funk guitar licks and warm piano chords, which are unexpected, but certainly not unwelcome.
3. Eric Prydz feat. Rob Swire - Breathe
In a clashing of two dance titans, Eric Prydz has enlisted Rob Swire of Pendulum and Knife Party fame to create “Breathe.” The new vocal track features Swire’s anthemic vocals over Prydz’s signature, melody-driven production. With that said, it’s a bit of a departure from Prydz’s standard house and techno styling, featuring a slower midtempo beat.
“Breathe” serves as a new single from Prydz’s forthcoming artist album, Opus. Aside from marking a bit of new territory for Prydz, it serves as a rare vocal feature from Rob Swire outside of his work with Pendulum. The song harkens to Swire’s iconic collaboration with Deadmau5 on 2008′s “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff,” and has all the makings of another global Prydz smash.
2. Skrillex & Team EZY - Pretty Bye Bye
Sonny Moore’s latest arrives as a special surprise on his new OWSLA Worldwide Broadcast compilation, which boasts 16 tracks from his burgeoning imprint. Moore has teamed up with fellow LA-based producer TEAM EZY and vocalist NJOMZA to create the emotional 4-minute collaboration, “Pretty Bye Bye.” It’s a bit of a departure from his recent style, swapping aggressive sound design and bass growls for a refined 2-step garage approach.
The track recalls his 2013 EP, Leaving, which first showcased his penchant for Burial-like garage rhythms. At the end of the day, it’s easily one of our favorite tracks we’ve heard from Skrillex in the past year.
1. Flume - Never Be Like You
The new single from Flume’s album is “Never Be Like You,” which was premiered on BBC Radio 1 as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record In the World. Featuring Toronto singer Kai, it’s a beautiful vocal-driven piece with plenty of Flume’s orchestral hallmarks and quirky drum programming.
Compared to past material from the Australian phenom, the emphasis has been shifted to a bit to methodical songwriting over jaw-dropping sound design. Regardless, “Never Be Like You” has all the makings of a blockbuster 2016 single, serving as the perfect taste of Flume’s impending new album.