It’s Friday, and if you’re going clubhopping over the weekend, we’d like to help. This week, three big, unapologetic dance tracks you may already be familiar with, but not necessarily by name or artist. And, of course, we’ve added YouTube embeds for each, to help you ID them out on the floor.
Dolphin Boy, “Don’t Stop (Andreas Saag’s Dolphin Deep Perspective)” (Rebirth)
We know what you’re thinking: “Really? Dolphin Boy?” Ignore that instinct and fix on the remixer: Andreas Saag, the Swedish vet whose jaw-dropping gospel-house overhaul of Joy Orbison’s “Hyph Mngo” caught fire earlier this year. Saag works similarly here, taking a fairly sleepy downtempo track and building it into a nine-minute house epic that reaches its climaxes gradually, authoritatively, and without undue effort — in this case a filtered synth-blip riff that pushes the record away from vocal house into techier terrain. It earns comparisons with vintage Masters at Work: all the basics prepared with maximum care and a luxurious sensibility. If you prefer things spooky-pretty, go for the Soul Clap Remix.
Marcel Fengler, “Thwack” (Mote-Evolver)
Sometimes a name really does say it all. This track is titled “Thwack”; it is not titled “Caress” or “Comfort” or “Cogitate” or “Doing Puzzles in Your Mind” or “Glow Sticks 4-Ever.” Some things it includes are: Bernard Herrmann’s shower-scene strings from Psycho are evoked; handclaps fed through echo to sound menacing; a crashing cymbal noise that sounds more like trash-can lids being struck together; a lockstep rhythm that everything revolves around without fail. It’s what you expect from one of Berlin’s premier techno DJs (Marcel Fengler’s a regular at the legendary Berghain), especially with a directive like “Thwack.”
Slam, “Maffaking” (Drumcode)
Glasgow duo Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle founded the pioneering Soma label and, as Slam, began making waves pretty immediately, with their inspired 1993 neo-Chicago acid banger “Positive Education.” The insistent “Maffaking” is gleefully grid-like, gliding by with clean lines and precise detail, and even the 303 tweaks are kept to a minimum. Although this record’s May release means there’s no way those buzzing noises that occupy the background for much of the track could have been vuvuzelas, it’s hard not to hear it that way, at least a little.