Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 18
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.
We’re kicking things off this week with a chilled-out track from Gill Chang and Rahn Harper. “By Your Side” features a catchy, simple trumpet melody that serves as a perfect backdrop for Harper’s emotive vocals. With a noninvasive trap beat in the background, they’ve crafted a beautifully mellow journey that will fit in perfectly with any “chill out” type playlist.
I first heard Icehunt‘s music when he released the wonderfully glitchy “Paint the Sky” a few months ago. His next release following that is a melodic masterpiece: a remix of KDrew‘s “Back To You.” Upon first listen, it flows along smoothly with vibrant synths and playful vocal chops. About halfway through, Icehunt changes gears completely and flips his remix into a fast-paced drum & bass revival, giving it an extra touch of ferocity that sets it apart from other remixes of the track.
In those first few bars, the nostalgia hits like a brick wall. It’s been more than a decade, but Eric Prydz‘s iconic 2004 “Call On Me” is a classic that still gets nightclubs full of people shouting those three words at the top of their lungs (I know this because I’m one of them). “Call On Me” is one of the first dance music tracks I remember listening to on repeat, never tiring of its simple vocals and timeless house beat. When I saw Crystalize had remixed it just a few days ago, I braced myself. He’s been gutsy enough to remix some truly iconic tracks and has done them all justice — this one included. He’s put a bass-heavy, future bass-like spin on the track and even incorporated some saxophone riffs. It’s just plain awesome.
Grandtheft and vocalist MAX are the perfect combination. With the incorporation of a variety of genres, “Square One” effortlessly appeals to listeners of all realms of dance music. Heavy bass and a trap beat in the chorus flow seamlessly into vocal-centered verses from MAX, bridging gaps between pop, future bass and even R&B. It’s been stuck in my head since its release on Dec. 5, and I find something new I like about it with each listen.
Xan Griffin continues his stellar zodiac series with his latest, “Sagittarius,” featuring the vocals of Alexa Lusader. Lusader’s serene voice lends itself impeccably to the ethereal soundscape of the track, making it one of the best in the series. Xan Griffin is a master at building dramatic, cinematic journeys with his music, and “Sagittarius” just demonstrates he’s been able to fine-tune his sound even more as this series has progressed.