Dancing Astronaut’s Top 10 Tracks of June
Dancing Astronaut's Top 10 Tracks of June 2016
If May was noteworthy for its array of praise-worthy albums — everything from Flume’s Skin to James Blake’s The Colour In Anything — then June shined in its ability to proffer irresistible tracks from upcoming artists and niche figures in the scene.
From under-appreciated talent like Boys Noize Records’ Djedjotronic and Mau5trap’s Matt Lange, to bona fide newcomers like Ninth Parallel and EDEN, June was chock-full of fresh contributions from some of dance music’s most promising purveyors. Out of this beautifully eclectic assemblage, we’ve spotlighted our Top 10 from the past month.
Don’t forget to check out our Top 10 Tracks of May if you missed it.
10. Drezo - Malice
The burgeoning label of “bass house” has come to describe the muscular bass lines and pounding kicks that pervades the music of talents like Jauz and Joyryde. On the other end of the genre’s spectrum lies Drezo, an up-and-coming talent who is carving his niche out of the bass house wave with raw underground appeal. A Los Angeles-based producer and close associate to DJ Hanzel, Drezo straddles the intersection of bass music, hip-hop, electro and tech house. With his latest production, “Malice,” Drezo continues to hold that ground firmly.
Known for his sinister stylings, Drezo delivers once again with another chilling piece, “Malice.” Stitched together with pitched down hip-hop vocals and keen sample splicing, the “Guap” producer builds upon his ominous repertoire with another merciless warehouse-primed original selection.
9. Bassnectar - Zogdilla
Bassnectar’s newest album, Unlimited, is his twelfth to date. Considering Bassnectar’s inhumanly high level of output, it’s inevitable that some of his albums will be less astounding than others, and such is the case with his latest. Standing at a formidable length of fifteen tracks, Unlimited has some exceptional moments. That Bassnectar’s twelfth album is one of his less enthralling works is less of a criticism of the album itself, and more of a testament to how awe-inspiring the entirety of Bassnectar’s expansive catalogue and extensive touring history is.
For the most part, the album is its best when Bassnectar opts to compose on his own. The half of Unlimited where Bassnectar flies solo yields some of its strongest selections. The perfect example of this is his trap-infused anthem “Zodgilla,” for which fans have been clamoring for some time.
8. Djedjotronic - Strapon
Overall, American audiences aren’t incredibly familiar with the name Djedjotronic. However, the French producer is a longtime Boysnoize Records staple. When we asked Boys Noize which artists best represent the core philosophies of his label in an interview last year, Djedjotronic’s name was the first on his list. In Alex Ridha’s own words, “He’s one of the most exciting producers I think that does like new electro-electro.” His recent track “Strapon,” taken from his new EP of the same name, exemplifies his refreshing appeal. With a tight-knit 909 kit backed by an aggressive low-end lead, it’s a menacing concoction destined to destroy any dancefloor upon impact.
7. Ninth Parallel - Infinitum
A seven-minute masterpiece of a track, “Infinitum” paints a vivid picture of Ninth Parallel’s perspective of the world and, like a great piece of art should be, is a window into the depths of his mind. Blending classical and modern electronic elements, everything from the musical themes to the production choices help the piece tell a story in a similar way to Madeon, from whom Ninth Parallel undoubtedly draws inspiration.
Chord progressions drive uplifting feelings that eventually coalesce into an intense, melodic drop that combines some of the best elements of electro and progressive house. After switching up the rhythm for the second half of the main section, the heaviness gives way to piano and strings wrought with emotion that aim to resolve the hectic energy of the previous few minutes.
6. ATTLAS - Ryat
ATTLAS has released a few singles since his last major release, including “Aspen” and “Bad at Titles” with Deadmau5, but it’s his most recent offering, “Ryat,” that’s the most interesting.
With “Ryat,” ATTLAS makes a slight departure from his typically dark, brooding sound, offering instead a smooth, flowing house track full of soft chord inversions and emotive melodic lines. ATTLAS’ rich, full sound design and control of space in the mix are really what set this track apart, and repeat listens will reveal layers upon layers of carefully placed detail for such a deceptively simple track.
5. Boys Noize - Euphoria (Skream Remix)
It’s rare to hear the work of one legendary artist be reinterpreted by another legend. It’s rarer still that the results of such an engagement are as harmonious and complete as Skream’s recent remix of Boys Noize’s single, “Euphoria.”
The second single off of Boys Noize’s newest LP, Mayday, the original mix of “Euphoria,” which features vocals from rapper Remy Banks, was a dark and rumbling techno number full of tense samples and sharp stutters of melody. Skream’s remix stays remarkably similar to the original, keeping many of the musical ideas and building off the same skeletal beat. But Skream’s mix is wider than the original, brassier and brighter, building to subtle, uplifting chords that offer a deceptive sense of resolution before switching back to thundering drums.
4. ZHU - Generationwhy
The latest highly anticipated single from Zhu has emerged, entitled “Generationwhy.” This production’s quality and atmosphere is hardly a surprise for fans of Zhu, but it certainly bolsters the LA-based artist’s impressive résumé nonetheless.
“Generationwhy” features the classic Zhu vocals in combination with an addictive synth progression and a guitar riff that simply drips sex appeal. As per usual, the infectious sound of Zhu’s productions has the world extremely excited about what’s to come from the artist. Zhu has been using the ‘Generation Why’ branding for quite some time, and it has been speculated that his debut album will carry the same name when it allegedly releases on July 29 later this year.
3. Moderat - Running (Tale of Us Remix)
Moderat released their third album III in April, a haunting body of nine tracks showcasing their eclectic method of production. “Running” became a single of its own off the album, adored by fans for its dramatic climax and melancholic atmosphere created through Ring’s dissonant vocals.
Tale Of Us, known for their own introspective pieces, felt inspired by the original work and decided to present their own interpretation of it. The Italian duo play off the energy of “Running,” transforming it into a 4/4 tech piece with deep basslines and brooding overtones. Their re-work feels fluid in nature, trapping the listener in a hypnotic soundscape filled with consistent drums and subtle sound layers that reveal themselves throughout the track’s duration.
2. EDEN - Sex
Most music fans may not have heard of young Irish producer and singer EDEN, but Lorde sure has. The pop star took to Facebook to congratulate EDEN and to draw attention to his newest single, “Sex,” released June 9 ahead of a new EP. It’s easy to see why Lorde was so taken aback by the track as it’s rather similar to her music in a number of ways. It’s lyrically more complex than most pop music, and looks at youth from an insider’s perspective. Musically, the song is built on a strong foundation of thick, pounding drums, and full of warm guitars, sneaky synths, and interesting cuts and stutters.
1. Mat Zo - Too Late (Matt Lange Remix)
Matt Lange has built a brilliantly dark and esoteric name for himself. Through his original work he has demonstrated a mastery of modular synthesis and through his remixes, an unwavering ability to breathe ethereal yet melancholy life into a track. His latest production sees him lend a hand to Mat Zo‘s impassioned “Too Late.” The remix is rather deceptive, starting out with only subtle nuances, allowing synths to replace the soft guitar licks in the original. As the track continues to evolve, jarring texturized sounds are layered in until its true motives are unveiled and a vastly nefarious soundscape is unleashed.
Ultimately, it’s the kind of visceral production that sticks with one long after listening, and a clear choice for our top track of the month.