For Club Use Only is your one-stop guide to the best underground dance music from across the world. Each month, The Astral Plane’s Gabe Meier forecasts the next wave of sounds due to break through into the mainstream.
Efforts from newcomers and scene veterans collide in this month’s edition of For Club Use Only, touching on everything from overdriven breakbeat to a gorgeously harmonized UGK flip.
The world might be burning, flooding and generally speeding towards disaster, but these 10 tracks will provide the dancefloor muscle to get you through — or punctate your despair.
To hear all the tracks in one go, use the playlist below.
Julien finds the sweet spot on ‘Snowblind’, lacing a breakcore structure with haunted vocals and overdriven-to-the-point-of-collapse drums. B-side ‘Highest Point’ loses the breaks but maintains the blown out spirit, approaching footwork from the left without sacrificing dancefloor functionality.
A standout from the UNITI crew’s RECLAIMING THE VOID compilation, that’s themed around “womxn & non-binary artists reclaiming ownership of darkness, sadness & the void,” Bonaventure’s ‘Multiplicity’ is brilliantly multilayered, cavernous in its design and with enough switch-ups and electro-organic energy to keep listeners feeling for the edge of their seat throughout.
After taking a quick detour to experiment in a range of more subdued styles, Ase Manual is back to doing what he does best: hypnotic, stripped down club smashes. ‘Aye Ok’ is the latest, flipping a mystifyingly addictive loop of OJ da Juiceman’s adlibs into a minimalist smash.
Vilnius’ DJ JM has made a name for himself over the past year or so with a range of rhythmic workouts, pushed out through his SoundCloud page and the Tactic Signals show on Radar Radio he co-runs with Tuan:Anh. His latest, titled ‘Kaz’, sees the Lithuanian push an almost hyphy sound; it’s a slow, trunk-rattling monster with just enough eccentric quirks to balance out the menace.
‘International Players Anthem’ (Seazers & Organ Tapes Edit)
I can’t remember who said it first, but I definitely subscribe to the narrative that Organ Tapes took the edit crown from Elysia Crampton when the latter relinquished her E+E moniker. Simply put, the London-based producer and vocalist’s edits, bootlegs and covers are fully original works that deserve to be treated as such.
OT takes a backseat role on this edit of the UGK and Outkast classic, with Budapest’s Seazers handling production duties, but his otherworldly vocals are what make this more than your average club track.
Bryte x Gafacci
‘I Like Your Girlfriend’ (Ahadadream Remix)
Ahadadream is one of the most consistent producers around, pushing a hard, fast UK funky sound that pulls influence from the genre’s heyday while simultaneously keeping his finger on the pulse of its contemporary movements.
The Londoner’s take on Ghanaian MCs Bryte and Gafacci’s ‘I Like Your Girlfriend’ is a case in point, a fast, muscular, modern track that retains the swing and flexibility of funky’s classic era.
‘Brown Skin’ (Skyshaker FQ Edition)
Released along with a deluge of originals, blends and edits (including a no vox version of one of our favorite club tracks of 2016), this take on PND’s ‘Brown Skin’ is a masterclass in stripped back ballroom energy. Skyshaker injects the classic sound with a pronounced dissonance that only makes the whole thing more fierce.
Having only debuted on Astral Black last month with the Alloys EP EP, Xao is a relatively new name in the London scene. ‘Devylz’ is proof, however, he’s developed a distinct vision around stark arrangements and spectral melodies. It’s hard-hitting like the best turn-of-the-millennium New York rap.
DJ Taj & DJ Diamond Kuts
‘Rake It Up’ (Jersey Club Mix)
A classic Big Ria sample and Mike Will Made It’s ‘Rake It Up’ collide on DJ Taj and DJ Diamond Kuts’ latest collaboration, a speedy two minutes of masterful sample flips and the aggressive-sexy energy we’ve come to expect from Jersey’s best.
Built out of stems from past W-I releases, KABLAM’s ‘Mouthing (Recycled)’ is yet another brilliant effort from the Swedish producer. Taking bits and pieces from Chastic Mess, Lokey and Celyn June, KABLAM’s final product is true enter-the-mainframe music, a perspective swiveling effort that reaches an aggressive fever pitch before atomizing back into nothing.
Gabe Meier is on Twitter