Album of the Day: Hot Since 82, “8-track”

It’s easy to gloss over big-room house as Ibiza fodder, but sometimes there’s a deeper sentiment shining through the crispy productions. After a two-year break and heavy touring, Hot Since 82 (aka Daley Padley) returns with an album that defies expectations.

8-track carries a heavy emotional weight beneath its seductive kick-drums, glistening snares, and perfectly synched 4/4 phrases. Its subtleties can feel hard to pin down, but what’s swimming beneath that gleaming production is the cathartic energy associated with overcoming trauma.

The muscular “Buggin’” was an inspired first teaser, but second single “You Are The Light” captures the spirit of the album even better. Featuring U.K. vocalist Jem Cooke, a familiar name for Knee Deep in Sound fans, the track is an uplifting tour-de-force, clocking in at over eight minutes. Cooke’s voice is muddled and pitched down, conveying an androgynous timbre, while the lyrics “You are not your body” chanted repeatedly, work as an incantation. We can read it as getting lost in music through a communal, out-of-body experience, but these lyrics also carry a secondary meaning, expressing a much-needed sense of inclusivity in their push against gender norms.

Less obvious numbers like “Tilted,” an ecstatic mid-tempo instrumental with echoing, ghostly voice snippets and dreamy pads, are 8-track’s hidden strength. This is a soundtrack for the train ride home after the party, flanked by sleepy commuters and fellow ravers with runny mascara. These are hypnotic, emotive anthems rather than pure dancefloor stamina.

-Andra Nikolayi

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