Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 6
Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA music editor and staff writer Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.
What starts as a light, playful tune quickly turns into something much more formidable. Icehunt’s latest tune on Pantheon wastes no time dropping the listener into a vat of heavy, glitchy bass. The producer takes turns switching between lighthearted synths and filtered vocals to a darker, bass-centered sound. It’s completely unexpected and caught me off guard the first time I heard it — but in the best way. A SoundCloud user in the comments described it best: “Was not expecting that. Awesome!”
After seeing SOFI TUKKER open for M83 last summer (and admittedly having no idea who they were), I became transfixed with their unique tongue-in-cheek style. They’re sassy and their music is cheeky and they’re just all-around great. For “Best Friend,” which was recently featured in an iPhone X commercial, they’ve brought along talented friends The Knocks, NERVO and Alisa Ueno. “Best Friend” is probably one of their catchiest songs to date, with a grooving, downtempo bass line and funky filtered vocals.
Oh, Ember Island. The things you do to my emotions. This talented Swedish trio has been on the rise over the past few years with a slew of creative covers and thought-provoking originals. Lately, they’ve been releasing songs from their forthcoming EP through a set of beautiful videos. “Hide Me” is probably my favorite of theirs to date. Singer Alex’s vocals are soaring and flawless, and her strong harmonies give the song an incredibly sturdy backbone. The video for this track is incredible, too. Ember Island’s debut EP comes out in November, and if it’s anything like this, my little heart won’t be able to handle it.
I am so, so happy Arty‘s back to making music under his Alpha 9 moniker. He’s been releasing a lot of pop-oriented music lately as Arty, which is great, but I’ve really missed this kind of ethereal music from him. Earlier this week, the world caught a glimpse of “Lily,” which comes out on Flashover Recordings in early October. He started his journey with the label in 2009, and it’s so awesome seeing him go back to his roots. Though this is only a clip, it’s apparent trance is still deeply ingrained in Alpha 9 as an artist. Can’t wait to hear more like this.
Cheating a bit here because this isn’t a song — it’s a mix. When The Midnight’s “Kyra” randomly began playing on my stream earlier this year, I was hooked immediately. These guys have masterfully modernized ’80s music in the best way: with a combination of heartfelt lyrics, disco beats and groovy saxophone breaks. Being a total sucker for anything with a saxophone, I perused the rest of their music and was wholeheartedly impressed with everything from their Days of Thunder and Endless Summer albums. A few weeks ago, they took over Above & Beyond‘s Group Therapy show with an absolutely impeccable guest mix. I couldn’t not share it.