It took a little while to shake-off the sugar crash of Halloween, but we're finally ready to present our October edition of Recommended Dose. This month features Balearic house from Australia, eerie techno from a fashion-minded Russian, Colombian club workouts from Northern England, Detroit-infused funk from London, hard-hitting bass from a young Swede, and a potential anthem that's already earned a co-sign from Skrillex.
The Melbourne record collector and nature enthusiast known as Len Leise (pronounced Liza) knows how to soundtrack a warm bath. The mysterious veteran producer, who didn't pop up on the Internet until last summer, makes relaxing dance music that runs the spectrum of touched-up field recordings to narcotic Balearic house. His latest exercise in the art of feeling good, Lingua Franca, is a serious contender for the myriad of year-end lists due to publish in the next month. The opening track, "Forlorn Fields," sets an appropriate tone with tubular bells and disco hi-hats dancing around each other at 80 beats per minute. Superb slo-mo.
Don't let the name fool you: the only thing cheeky about Buttechno's music is the alias. The young man behind the project is Russian DIY producer Pavel Milyakov, one of the key figures in Moscow's suburban arts community. Milyakov first made international waves earlier this year when he soundtrack'd a catwalk for his friend, the fashion-designer Gosha Rubchinskiy; and October saw the release of his debut album, Sport. "East" is a hypnotizing, grayscale exercise anchored by what sound like pan flutes; you can practically feel the cold Moscow winter moving in. If Milyakov had mixed in a rain shower, you'd swear this was a new Burial track.
"Llamada" is one of five tracks on Tu y Yo, the debut from DJ Florentino, a Manc of Colombian descent, playing deeply satisfying global beat games for Swing Ting, a Manchester label that grew out of a long-running bashment party by the same name. Amidst the slathers of reggaeton dembow, batucada battery and cumbia lilt, "Llamada" is where the EP goes techno. Actually, that's a slight mis-representation: as its title hints, this is a telephone track, and its "techno" comes from the sounds of old phones, giving the modern worldly rhythms a touch of nostalgia. And some humor, too; Florentino's call bears romantic notions, which he invokes with dollops of camp on every beat-drop. It's a healthy reminder that parties and dances (and recommended doses) come with all sorts of purposes, and some are almost as old as the beat.
Red Bull Music Academy — the energy drink's annual, music-savvy marketing event — descends on Paris this month for a series of shows. One of the youngest invitees in what RBMA calls the Class Of 2015 is 18 year old Tove Agéli, a Swedish high-school student known professionally as Toxe. (She shares a stage with DJ Funk on Nov. 4th.) When she's not taking classes in her hometown of Gothenburg, Agéli is at her computer producing hard-hitting tunes in Ableton — or across the country in Stockholm with the city's underground dance collective Staycore. Her debut EP, Muscle Memory, stirs to life with "Determina," a Cerberus of styles that balances booming bass, panoramic noise and a minor-key melody. And Ageli is as mature as she is talented: she recently co-founded an online support group for female producers called Sister.
As befits a young, insatiable musical mind, the output of Morgan Neiman as Ducky escapes any easy attempts at categorization besides "electronic." She's got wise-beyond-her-years, electro-pop songs; she's got a series of what she calls "Rave Toolz"; and on her new three-song Lost Angeles EP, ostensibly a marker of the former NYU student moving to the city of lights, she delights in a kind of post-Four Tet techno. "Rain Dance" is built on a looping five-note melodic line, its mild harmonic deviations, and Ducky's voice repeating an unintelligible phrase (phased and echoed at a variety of speeds), all percolating at a 126bpm jack. It's simple fare, bright and florescent, the product of an over-stickered laptop playing with forms because the software and the knowledge are there. But it ultimately wins because it is emotionally present and wonderfully reserved, when it has no need to be. Watching Ducky's space from here on in.
There's a reason that Dan Shake (Londoner Daniel Rose-Weir) became the first (and only?) non-Detroit resident to release a record on Kenny "Moodymann" Dixon Jr.'s Mahogani Music imprint - his debut, no less. Shake's house music possesses a width of pocket, a live feel and an off-the-cuff funkiness, and, most importantly, comfort with extreme ends of the mixing-board. This is a sound that's hard for Detroit house-heads to resist. "To the Love," Shake's contribution to From Hell With Love, a comp celebrating the fifth anniversary of Amsterdam's deep disco Lumberjacks in Hell imprint, is no different. A spectacular bassline, at least three layers of laid-back percussion (hi-hats, handclaps, finger-snaps) surround a classic disco pulse, with the sound of a crowd having a damned good time added for vibe. In the first minute, you know a Jimmy Nolen-like guitar scratch will make an appearance at some point. And it does. So masterfully fool-proof that most producers think it's easy.
Appears In The Mix: 18:11 - 23:59
From Hell With Love is out now on Lumberjacks In Hell, but currently sold out.