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.
End of year list season creeps further into fall with every passing year, but that didn’t stop a range of singular artists from getting new material out. Tapes from Endgame, Kieran Loftus, L-Vis 1990 and Ynfynyt Scroll should energize dancefloors across the globe while mixes and live recordings from Ariel Zetina, DJ Haram and Teki Latex showed what some of the most dynamic selectors have to offer.
To hear all the tracks in one go, use the playlist below.
One of many talented producers in the fruitful Lisbon scene, Bubas Produçoes employs a full-bodied approach that falls on the more musical end of the kuduro spectrum; it’s less hallucinatory than some of his contemporaries but equally as effective in a club setting. ‘GgENERAL 2017’ is a case in point, simple and direct, almost tripping over its own feet but largely maintaining a distinct forward momentum.
‘Hands of the Year’
Kieran Loftus’ debut mixtape, HANDS OF THE YEAR, arrived like a shot in the arm at the end of October, utilizing an in-your-face production aesthetic and an insatiably blown out sound palette.
In a sea of self-described “industrial” dance music, HOTY is refreshingly rough, emphasizing core loops and grooves that batter as much they establish an idealized rave setting, more akin to Blade than anything most New York or Los Angeles residents will have attended.
‘d xo torus Llif3’ (Torus remix)
DJ Lostboi’s interpolations and covers have become a minor sensation over the last year, providing earnest, brilliantly textured analogs to the scourge of acoustic guitar covers of rap and R&B that dominate Youtube.
got lost is the producer and vocalist’s longest statement to date, a blissful six-track run punctuated by a cult favorite cover of Lil Uzi Vert’s ‘XO Tour Llif3’. Torus’s version takes it from the bedroom to the stadium, adding a heavy set of FX around the core, ever-important melody.
‘You Thought’ (Ariel’s Pearls X Stress Edit)
Ariel Zetina has been on a roll of late, turning in energetic mixes for Honey Soundsystem and Discwoman in which the Chicago based DJ and producer seamlessly ties together irrepressibly bouncy techno and a range of stripped back club styles.
Zetina’s productions, released through outlets like Boukan, Club Chai and SHXME follow a similar route: restrained and heady, distinctly Midwestern in their composition and primed for late night play.
Norway’s Ṭāriq has shown up on a huge range of platforms over the past few years, gracing labels like Quantum Natives and Staycore, exploring the nether regions of abstracted online club music.
Their latest is dense and rhythmic, nodding at footwork, jungle, ballroom and Mid-Atlantic styles, but largely staying in its own amorphous lane. Unlike other hybrid efforts though, ‘HäT GYAL’ feels less like an attempt at synthesis than a map of individual nodes, barely tied together by the producer’s overarching rhythmic sensibility.
‘Nobody’ (Ase Manual Remix)
It was difficult to choose from among Ase Manual’s many drops in October, but his bootleg of WizKid’s ‘Nobody’ takes the spot, proving once again that the New Jersey native has an uncanny knack for looping key refrains into irresistible hooks.
See also his take on Future and Young Thug’s ‘4 The Gang’ and two separate joint releases with Gianni Lee and $JAYY for further examples of Manual’s club music mastery.
Menchess, one third of the Rudeboyz, is at his patient best on ‘Loxion Techno’, throwing a velvety spin on gqom that defies gravity.
El Blanco Nino
The Bronx’s El Blanco Nino provides soaring, hypnotic footwork on ‘Driving ‘87’, the closer of the birthday/halloween-themed 30 EP.
The remainder of the release explores bright, rave-y textures with elements of acid and piano house sublimated into kicking footwork structures.
Self-released as part of the Vibes package, Portland, Oregon based Fantasy Thrilla’s ‘Vibes Riddim’ pushes the euphoric end of the dancehall spectrum to the breaking point, drenching a standard percussion arrangement with wave after wave of brilliant synth melodies. It’s a little EDM, but it works.
‘Pyre’ (feat. Milky He and Jordan Tierney)
The mini epics released through Country Music (the label insists on a minimum seven minute run time for all songs) straddle the line between concrete dance music and abstract storytelling, allowing artists like Oxhy, Nkisi and Estoc the room to dive deep. Shanghai’s Osheyack is the latest to contribute to the series, displaying a knack for adrenaline-driven techno before devolving the track into distorted spoken word.