Clubhopping Top 10: February’s Essential Dance Tracks


Welcome to the 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 (or, failing that, audio clips) so you can hear most of them for yourself. This month’s roundup includes everyone from Robert Owens and Tom Trago to Jarvis Cocker (!) and the Dirtbombs (!!), in alphabetical order after the jump.

Benoit & Sergio, “Where the Freaks Have No Name” (Visionquest)

Sly, minimal weirdo house with a distorted voice interjecting every so often — something about “freaks.” Why call them that? Probably because they’re listening to this song.

Chaim ft. Meital de Razon, “U & Eye” (Bpitch Control)

Balancing DJ proclivities with pop ones is Bpitch Control’s specialty, and this loping cyber-soul track from up-and-coming Israel producer Chaim Avital — not to mention the album it comes from, Alive — accomplishes it smartly.

Crato, “30.6.1881” (Kompakt) [audio clip]

The promo material for the new edition of the redoubtable annual Pop Ambient series compares this track to death metal, and no, they aren’t joking: it’s creepy, intense, and the best exclusive on a Kompakt comp since DJ Koze’s similarly slithery “Zouzou” on 2008’s Total 9.

The Dirtbombs, “Sharivari” (In the Red)

Oh yes they did. The legendary Detroit garage-rockers reimagine A Number of Names’ 1981 proto-techno classic as a churning live-band workout, and sparks fly absolutely everywhere. It appears on Party Store, which performs the same trick on more Detroit dance classics by Carl Craig, Derrick May, Juan Atkins, and more.

Discodeine ft. Jarvis Cocker, “Synchronize” (DFA)

You can just tell Jarvis has been waiting for this moment — to be a no-joke disco man-diva — his entire working life. It’s equally clear that Discodeine (French house producers Pilooski and Pentile) have been waiting just as long to get Cocker on a track. So they made one that gets better with every play.

Egyptrixx, “Bible Eyes” (Night Slugs)

The title track from this smart Toronto producer’s debut album picks up on the same springy rhythms and sproinging keyboard effects that marked his great remix of Cubic Zirconia’s “Josephine” last year.

Justin Nabbs, “Knife Fight (Exercise One Remix)” (Exone)

Nabbs’ debut 12-inch for Exercise One’s label is an early 2011 highlight, shifting from dark to bright with little effort, but the bosses’ reworking makes it even livelier.

Oriol, “Solar” (Planet Mu) [audio clip]

The lead cut on a new collection from one of dance music’s most consistent labels is a fabulously airy mesh of old jungle rhythm tricks and a psychedelic, gaseous feel that owes as much to Flying Lotus as to Planet Mu-mates such as FaltyDL.

Robert Owens, “Bring Down the Walls (Leo Zero Re-Edit)” (DJ History)

Most of the new Trax Re-Edited, from which this comes, is pretty kid-gloves, which is strange given that Trax was the weirdest house label of the genre’s early years. But this version of Owens’ classic anthem is cheeky as well as updated, and it makes a big difference.

Tom Trago, “Shutters” (Rush Hour) [audio clip]

Cosmic disco lives! (Again!) (Or still!)