Welcome to our Clubhopping Top 10, a monthly list of dance tracks that have caught us by the ears and feet (not necessarily in that order), with embeds so you can hear them for yourself. This month’s roundup includes everyone from Autechre to Ricardo Villalobos to Terror Danjah, in alphabetical order after the jump.
Breach, “Fatherless” (PTN)
A snaky, swirling flute hook and the deepest-sounding beat London has delivered for a while — in the face of some very stiff competition — make this one of the year’s great records, and producer Ben Westbeech judiciously juggles the arrangement to maximum effect.
The Bug, “Skeng (Autechre Remix)” (Ninja Tune)
“Skeng” is avant-garde like you’d expect from the kings of art-electro, but here they keep the beats tidy and the focus absolute. It’s arty as ever, of course, but it’s also a monster groove and a contender for remix of the year.
Duffstep, “Know You” (Saigon)
At first this unabashed dubstep anthem comes on like old L.T.J. Bukem — oceanic synths and gliding bass under jittery rhythms — but the music’s slow-mo feel, even as it crests, is all now.
NDF, “Since We Last Met (Ricardo Villalobos Remix)” (DFA)
The skittery, distant original is very nice on its own, but this is Villalobos doing what he does best: teasing out elements at his own leisurely pace for as long as he can keep us guessing. He’s been turning more playful lately, and this is excellent evidence of it.
Peverelist & Hyetal, “The Hum” (Punch Drunk)
If you went to a haunted house with a real DJ on Halloween weekend, maybe you heard this — certainly, you could have. Over clinking-tinkling percussion and rubber-walls bass, the synth lines evoke a haunted house and/or a dance sequence in an ’80s movie in which teenagers are murdered. Dubstep: where everything happens.
Ramadanman, “Glut” (Hemlock)
Born David Kennedy, Ramadanman is owning the year, from his self-titled April EP, which yielded the anthem “Don’t Change For Me,” to this startlingly complete track. A slightly-too-fast hi-hat gives every other element — the crawling organ, the cut-up female vocals, the forward-and-backward bass — a constant tension that they make the most of.
Roof Light, “Harlem Power” (Prolific)
As you may have noticed, not everything on these lists is up-to-the-minute — things reach people at different times, and club music moves quickly and voluminously. So we want to say hi to this May track, a brisk and very free-floating 2-step garage track with a lot of micro-samples studded throughout. Imagine if Akufen’s 2002 cut-up house landmark My Way had been issued by MJ Cole’s label, as this is. The EP it titles is worth your time as well.
Sentel, “Chapel 20” (Concrete Cut)
Polish dubstep, we mean funky, we mean whatever you call this woozy bass line and that off-kilter beat and those stretched-out synth tones.
Sepalcure, “Love Pressure” (Hotflush)
That post-Joy Orbison style of a couple lines sung out of breath and cut up over enticing synth drone and churning low end? Not going away anytime soon. Praveen Sharma and Travis Stewart of Brooklyn help see to it that while it lasts, this stuff both drifts and drives.
Terror Danjah, “Bruzin VIP” (Hyperdub)
The alphabet is what it is, unchanging, but ending with this one feels right. It’s basically instrumental grime that could have come from the mid-’00s, though the “purple” synth line is pretty right-now. Nevertheless, it’s an appropriate closer for a Top 10 so heavy on the hardcore continuum in which grime occupies a prime spot.