At this point, Dawn Richard — known these days as D∆WN — is simply beyond pop music. That's not an easy place to be — her legitimately future-seeking sound is at once everything that's part of dance and R&B music and everything that isn't yet. She's already on the next level while everyone else catches up.
Originally released as a single in January, "Not Above That" comes from the forthcoming album RED*emp*tion a.k.a. The Red Era, closing out a trilogy that started with 2013's Goldenheart. Machinedrum is a producer sympathetic to the side of D∆WN that breaks the neon dance-floor into fractals; at the same time, she pulses heart into his sharp, clipped synths. "I want it all" becomes a mantra, her breathy voice glitched and rearranged in blocks of sound that dart in and out of beats.
Monty Marsh directs this video for "Not Above That," which first appeared in a different version as a virtual reality experience where D∆WN was our holographic captain on a club spaceship. (There's also a lyric video with stunning 3D visuals.) The VR is worth watching if you have the gear and know-how, but here the visuals have been turned into an abstract story, a dance of cosmic desire. D∆WN plays several characters, including a galactic goddess made of stardust and a leather-clad queen surrounded by techno-topographic mountains. But "Not Above That" always comes back to the club, as it is a song that was always meant for that space — which takes on new meaning in light of the recent events in Orlando.
"It's being unapologetic about the dance, [it] is a blatant stance in celebrating who you are," D∆WN tells NPR. "Even before Orlando, I stated The Red Era would be about dancing in the beauty of self, that whatever or whoever you are, be proud of it — that this would be our redemption. To go into this era hands up and heads high."
The "Not Above That" single is available now.