Dirty Dancing: October 2013

Hello again! It’s unusual for me to be nursing sunburn mid–October; then again its also unusual for me to save up enough of my hard earned money to go on holiday, but that’s exactly what I've just returned from! Don’t for a minute, however, think that it was all cocktails, pools and Swedish massages in a 5-star hotel under the African sun, for accompanying me on this voyage were MP3 players full of some of the best new dance and electronic music to be released this month.

After hours spent slaving in the 35 degree heat, I’ve narrowed the list down to a mere handful of the very crème de la crème for your delectation. The things I put myself through for you guys…

Book: Marcus Barnes - Around the World in 80 Raves

First, something a little different. Perhaps the first comprehensive guide to parties, festivals and semi-illicit rave culture, Around The World ... is a must for any clubber who fancies themselves as a bit of a globetrotter. This will ensure that you're never far from a party ever again. If you're more of an armchair festival fan (if there even is such a thing), Barnes' book still makes for interesting reading because it seems like Marcus has actually attended the vast majority of the events he describes - and so his accounts are more from the perspective of first hand experience than just a list of facts he's collated from the internet. A really useful publication!

Album: Annie Mac – Annie Mac Presents…2013 (Virgin/EMI Records)

A familiar name in electronica, Annie Mac predictably delivers nothing but the best in electronic music. Much like her previous releases, the album is something of a round–up of this year’s top artists, featuring either original tracks or Annie’s favourite remixes from the likes of Duke Dumont or Ben Pearce (familiar names by now). For this listener, some sections of the album feel a little too mainstream to be truly engaging, but there is so much material here that chances are you’ll find something that suits.

Album: Grum – Human Touch (Heartbeats)

Is it house? Is it disco? What the hell does his name mean?! All I know is that I love it! The mellow tones of Human Touch are carried right through the album, being countered at various points by bursts of energy such as the synth–filled 'Lotta Love'. It’s easy to spot when an artist really puts their soul into producing an album, and in this case it is quite obvious that each individual track both means something in particular to Grum - and that he is trying his best to make us feel it as well.

Single: Name One & Maxxi Soundsystem – One in Three (Defected)

If I was opening a house set in the club of my choice and had just a few tracks to get people on the floor, this would definitely be in my shortlist. Super–smooth house that should only be listened to in the company of beautiful people under a setting sun and with a lazy cocktail in hand. Absolutely can’t get enough of this one - will be keeping my eyes open for any hints of an album.

Album: Various Artists - Azari & III Presents - Body Language Vol. 13 (Get Physical)

After a fairly intense start to Body Language comprising of various schizophrenic cuts between vocal samples, we jump straight into the heavy bass lines with an offering from Shed. Never heard of him? That’s OK, neither had I! In fact, Shed is just the first in almost an entire album of artists that I’ve never had any contact with (and I’m supposed to be the expert!). That’s fine though, because what the album lacks in familiarity, it more than makes up for in quality.

Expect plenty of deep, thoughtful bass interspersed with retro-style disco breaks. Easy to listen to and irresistibly catchy.

Single: Osunlade – Dionne/What Gets You High ( Yoruba Records)

Beautifully crafted house music fit for easy listening or a late night on the dance floor. Choose from serene female vocals backed by phasing in/out bass or male vocals complemented by easy synth. A step outside the house norm and a standout single for the genre.

Single: Bellatrax feat. Sophia May – Falling For You (Bedtime Records)

Missing the sun? This should sort you right out. As upbeat as they come and guaranteed to lift those winter blues, 'Falling For You' is intoxicating from the start, delivering a summer-filled slice of house as rich and undeniable as a weekend in Ibiza. For those of you with slightly more refined tastes (and who don’t mind a little digging around Soundcloud) I can strongly recommend the Trav & Volta deep house mix of the same track.

Sound of the Month

Album: Morcheeba – Head up High (PIAS)

I’ll admit, I wasn’t a massive fan of Morcheeba until I heard this. In fact, if the album hadn’t turned up in my inbox I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. Whatever you do, don’t, for God’s sake, ignore this album! Head up High is absolutely sublime in every way, featuring enough big names to merit a dip into mainstream electronica and yet unashamedly individual and original. I genuinely still can’t stop listening to this and I can almost promise you that you’ll instantly be a fan!

Album: Various Artists – RAMsterdam (RAM Records)

Yep, the clue’s in the name! A tour de force of the heaviest, bassiest, ear-damaging drum and bass monsters from the RAM label.

Stunningly loud and packed full of energy, RAMsterdam represents the very best in modern D&B handily collated into one album. Expect offerings from the like of Wilkinson, Noisia and Loadstar, as well as a few names you may not be so familiar with. If you’re something of a D&B fanatic (like me), this is what you need to be getting hold of.


Single: Mind Vortex – Gravity Catapult (RAM Records)

If you’re going to ruin your hearing, may as well do it in style! Cause irreparable damage with these two drum and bass gems.

Mix: Lowtec – Kristina Records live in-store (Kristina Records)

New house mix from Lowtec, currently up for free download on Soundcloud and well worth getting hold of.

Album: Kitsune Maison - 15 (Kitsune)

A good chance to get acquainted with Kitsune if you aren’t already. Minimix available on Soundcloud if you’re after a preview.

Single: Horixon – Lifeline (Kitsune)

Smooth, mellow house ready for the club.

EP: Programme – Programmed 2.0 (RAM Records)

More brutal D&B from the guys at RAM. Edgy enough to cut the skin.

That’s all for this month folks. Whilst I recover from my brief foray into the jet–set lifestyle, I hope there’s enough here for you to be going on with until next time. Remember to check me out on the DD Twitter page. Try and preserve some of your hearing for next time but as always, don’t stay in!

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