Newcomers and scene veterans converge in this month’s edition of For Club Use Only, which traverses geography and genre to bring you the month’s best under-the-radar club material.
The sun’s out, spring is finally in full swing, and over the past few weeks we’ve seen a remarkable number of quality releases on a plethora of diverse labels. New work from underground hopefuls v1984, Chino Amobi, Lao, Organ Tapes, Tarquin, Finn and Dinamarca has impressed, while established heavy hitters Ikonika, Sinjin Hawke and Jlin have offered up full-lengths that are already being touted as among the year’s best.
But outside the buzz and hype of “official” releases, SoundCloud continues to excite with its bounty of eclectic, intense and challenging tracks. The following list collects up the finest club murmurs from the last few weeks, from EBM-inspired drum workouts to 100 BPM Kodak Black edits.
Air Max ‘97
Air Max ‘97’s uneasy, physical dance music seemingly draws as much from industrial and EBM as it does from regional club sounds or the more traditional house/techno axis. His latest EP, Vessel, is among his most distinctive and arrives on his own Decisions label.
The whole release teeters on a precarious edge, and the title track approaches unease with a rare enthusiasm. The track is both austere and funky, a full aural experience and an experiment in minimalism.
‘Gritos do Infinito’
Firma Do Txiga arrive on Príncipe this summer with a three-part self-titled release that gives each member of the trio a 7” to highlight their respective styles, ranging from emotive, synth-drenched tarraxhina to gravelly, almost frustratingly dense batida.
Puto Anderson provide the latter with ‘Gritos do Infinito’, a track that challenges the listener with its combination of organic and digital sounds, which ease into an irresistible groove without simplifying the hectic formula.
CYPHR x Ms. Dynamite
‘Talk’ (Dis Fig Blend)
This is your regular reminder that we shouldn’t take the Her Records crew’s consistent excellence for granted. Here, Berlin’s Dis Fig matches CYPHR’s ‘Wetware’ (from Her Records Vol. 4) with Redlight and Ms. Dynamite’s ‘What You Talking About’, providing the sense of drama and pacing that the original’s cartoonish beat never could. I was lucky enough to catch Tzusing performing in a warehouse a few weeks back and this sounded every bit as large as you’d expect.
Adolf Joker & Jakkz
‘Jersey Pride (Drop That)’
We’ve been seeing an impressive number of largely instrumental Jersey club tracks of late and Adolf Joker, fresh off a feature on DJ Jayhood’s debut album, is the latest to strut his percussive muscle.
‘Jersey Pride (Drop That)’, a collaboration with Jakkz, is a masterful arrangement of vocal samples, horror movie ambience and vibe-altering switch-ups. Joker is one of the scene’s most distinct voices and he delivers in full here.
‘Vending Machine’ (quest?onmarc Remix)
The latest track from quest?onmarc, released on the Materia label, is another entry in his growing library of club exercises. Taking on Images’ ‘Vending Machine’, the New York Qween Beat representative raises both tempo and heart rate, flipping standard ballroom samples over an unrelenting 4/4 kick and brief melodic flickers.
The original’s sunny techno is primed for summer play, but quest?onmarc drags it into a realm frequented by the more adventurous dancers among us.
Fallow & Alex Compton
Fallow and Alex Compton’s odd collaboration has been floating around for years and will finally see release on the grime-focused White Peach label. A prime example of FX-laden sino-grime, ‘String Assassin’ is hardly representative of either artist’s current work, but its release should please many who have caught glimpses of its gorgeous strings in mixes.
GRAN & Avbvrn
Polish party and label Intruder Alert has hosted some of Europe’s most exciting performers and DJs in recent years, providing a regular outpost for Warsaw residents to catch the likes of Chino Amobi, Abyss X, Eaves and Nunu.
Candles, a split release from GRAŃ and Avbvrn, is the platform’s most definitive recorded statement to date, a five-track effort that finds both producers pushing a contorted, greyscale sound. ‘Personal Joy’ is the EP’s standout, constructed from focused kicks and crunchy lead drums that balance the foggy, woodwind-like pads.
Chicago’s Thoom is back again this month with solo track ‘Asthmatic’, a creeping effort that veers towards club functionality, but prefers to stay on the periphery of the dancefloor.
Chopped vocals float into the mix and over pattering drums that drop out to leave an oddly tactile buzz. As the track title suggests, you can feel this one creep up your chest as it becomes increasingly suffocating.
‘Eau Frais’ (Kareem Lotfy’s Mallorca Version)
With a valuable Ryuichi Sakamoto co-sign in the bag, Kareem Lotfy drops his first dancefloor track in a good while, adding an island flair to French rap duo TripleGo’s elegiac flow.
A contribution to PAN’s Mono No Aware brought new ears to the Berlin-based artist’s work, which has touched on everything from richly textured synth excursions to bubbling edits. While this edit of ‘Eau Frais’ falls into neither camp it shows off a flair for vivid melodic flourishes and fluid drum arrangements.
DJ Aaron is one of the pioneers of New York’s FDM scene and his edits are an absolute must-have for DJs. His flip of Kodak Black perfectly utilizes the original’s addictive flute melody, splaying it seductively over the rolling kicks and energy-raising samples that are to be expected from a FDM tune.
The sound has been making its way to more and more setlists recently and DJ Aaron’s tag should be recognizable to many who aren’t versed in the New York scene’s dynamics.