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.
Club music often relies on sonic intensity to convey its intended message or simply incite dancefloor movement, but a range of releases from the past month took a step away from traditional methods (speed, bass pressure, syncopation) in favor of complex affective gestures.
Kelman Duran’s latest self-released album, simply titled 6am, sees the Los Angeles-based artist dive further into the hauntological depths, resurrecting lost futures and unclaimed potentialities across 12 tracks that draw on and blow apart a rich reggaeton lineage. Taking a step back from both longform explorations and tightly coiled dancefloor tracks, songs like ‘STILLONLYU’” and ‘A CONSCIOUS’ feature simple arrangements that provide plenty of space for Duran’s apparitional presence to take hold, this time comprised almost solely out of samples, fx and thin, almost immaterial synth work.
Providing a reflection of Berlin’s “libidinal vortex”, M.E.S.H.’s long awaited mixtape for Janus, titled Hart... Aber Fair!, draws on the neo-gothic heft that has become the American artist’s sound design calling card in recent years, bridging the gap between the phosphorescent textures and trap drums of 2012’s Share the Blame EP and the multitudinous rhythmic experiments on EPs like Damaged Merc and early 2019’s split with Tzusing. Sounding very much like a M.E.S.H. live set, Hart... Aber Fair! satirizes uninspiring DJ set maneuvers while still laying out a challenging, formally distinct composition.
Lastly, Air Max ’97 and Via App, the former on a two track single for Timedance and the latter on a mix for Crack Magazine, have inverted familiar sounds into dynamic new shapes, imprinting their respective singular aesthetics onto classic dancefloor sounds in the process. On ‘Bruxis’, Air Max ’97 hits a stride somewhere between EBM and dancehall, utilizing spacious sound design to create a metallic dirge that is constantly on the verge of unravelling.
Via App’s selections range from ravey techno and industrial to a range of exciting noise derivations, suturing the two together and positioning the latter as the central dramatic point. New school New Yorkers like Bergsonist, Dreamcrusher and Quest?onmarc take center stage in the procession, counterbalanced by classics from Container The Mover, Orphx in an impassioned drive towards intergenerational cohesion. Feverishly arranged, the only thing holding the mix together at times is a willingness to embrace the extreme and the results are as frightening as they are sublime.
100 Gecs – ‘money machine (HDMIRROR RMX)’
Air Max ’97 – Bruxis
BADSISTA – ‘MTG DA XERECA (MAFFALDA EDIT PIQUE FUJI OPENER SAUDADES DO RAMEMES)’
Bastiengoat – ‘There’s Only’
Ben Ritz – ‘Imaginary Number Generator’
BSNYEA – ‘Waves (Lock In)’
DJ Haram – ‘Gemini Rising (BASSBEAR!! Remix)’
DJJam305 – ‘Neck’
Dj L-Banga – ‘Bringing Back Philly Club’
Doctor Jeep – ‘Snake Eyes’
Ganx – ‘Really Real’
KG – ‘Obsession’
Low Jack – ‘Grass 29’
Mang – ‘Dead on Arrival’
MC JESSI – ‘AQFFE (LAZA EDIT)’
MC Yallah & Debmaster – ‘Dunia’
ROTTERDAM TERMINATION FORCE – ‘POING (COLD REMIX)’
speightsrawkid – ‘Dark Lite Phoenix’
Tayhana, Lechuga Zafiro – ‘Condenada’
Thegn – ‘I Heard Your Voice’ [Feat. Dis Fig]
Read next: 7 must-hear mixes from September 2019