Tag Archives: Dance

The Best 12” Dance Singles on Bandcamp: March/April 2019

Best-12-April-1244In this new column, Sean Keating goes crate-digging on Bandcamp, and returns with the hottest 12”s released during the previous two months.

The 12” dance single has been synonymous with clubs and DJs since its first appearance more than 50 years ago. That’s in part due to its practical nature: It saves the DJ from having to needle-drop their way through album cuts, and its spacious grooves and speedy RPMs make it, to some ears, the “loudest” vinyl format by a long shot. (You can argue your own opinion on that statement in the comments.) And while the digital revolution has resulted in DJs choosing to carry a tiny USB stick instead of crate-tons of vinyl, a large number of labels, artists, and fans remain dedicated to the format. Below are 10 of the most exciting 12” dance releases to hit Bandcamp over the past two months, ranging from eerie mystic house to misfit Miami bass, courtesy of artists and labels from Bologna to Calgary via St. Petersburg and beyond.

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Inês Coutinho’s Naive and Naivety Labels Help Open Up Dance Music

Naive

When Inês Coutinho was growing up in Lisbon, Portugal, she loved dance music. The problem was that she couldn’t see herself in it: not in the label rosters full of serious-looking white dudes, nor the record bins overflowing with pounding minimal techno meant to bang against warehouse walls. “No one like me was making music,” she remembers thinking. Or, if they were, they’d been rendered invisible, leaving her feeling like an outsider. “I thought I would never be cool or credible enough.”

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Hidden Gems: Silla + Rise, “Silla + Rise”

HG-Silla-1244In our series Hidden Gems, writers share their favorite Bandcamp discoveries.

In recent years, diverse indigenous artists from all over Canada are transforming the country’s music scene—from the edgy Tanya Tagaq and influential Tribe Called Red to the irreverent Snotty Nose Rez Kids and defiant pop star Iskwē. Joining this club of hitmakers, who bring their folk-inspired beats and vocal prowess to genres as diverse as rock, hip-hop, and EDM, are the trio Silla + Rise.

The group—comprised of throat singers Cynthia Pitsiulak (Kimmirut, NU) and Charlotte Qamaniq (Iglulik, NU), and DJ, producer, and dancer Rise Ashen—first appeared in 2016, with a self-titled debut that paired the ancient vocal stylings of Inuit throat singing with ultramodern, seductive dance beats. The atmosphere of the record shifts from sexy to glamorous to menacing, and Pitsiulak and Qamaniq’s commanding throat singing feels deeply narrative. Each track is sonically breathtaking—rich and enchanting. On “Kuuq (Flood),” their voices float above Rise’s brassy percussion. “Atausiq (One)” is built for the dancefloor, with slinky beats, sensual synth lines, and halting vocal melodies.

Skeptical listeners may be tempted to write off Silla + Rise as a studio creation, but a quick glance at the band’s spellbinding live shows proves otherwise. Onstage, Pitsiulak and Qamaniq perform as if in a rap battle, challenging each other, responding, and switching up vocalizations in an instant. They pull all this off while remaining in sync the entire time, Rise’s beats making the floors quake with their rhythmic ferocity. This masterful debut was nominated for Canada’s Juno Award for Indigenous Music Album of the Year. Nearly three years later,  it still sounds light years away from anything else.

-Chaka V. Grier

Jayda G Celebrates the Classic Sound of Chicago House & Detroit Techno

Jayda

“The whole thing with club music—and specifically house music—is basically to have a room full of people where you can be free to be yourself, to let loose to really enjoy the music,” says DJ and producer Jayda G. “That’s what I hope I bring to music and that’s really what music is about—connecting people.”

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Hidden Gems: El Plvybxy, “Abya Yala”

HG-Abya Yala-1244

In our series Hidden Gems, writers share their favorite Bandcamp discoveries.

Like an EDM Janus, El Plvybxy’s Abya Yala EP faces forward and back, pairing post-club production with a pre-Columbian mindset. Released on Houston’s MAJIA label, it’s an intricate hybrid of techno, trance, and traditional South American rhythms. El Plvybxy—a founder of the visionary Buenos Aires netlabel/collective AGVA—drew on his Argentinian and Brazilian roots for these tracks, which the producer crafted amid his travels through both countries.

Field recordings—captured by El Plvybxy in the Regiao dos Lagos region of Brazil— feature heavy into the mix. On-site wind and water sounds are translated into melodic synth parts and combined with regional percussion patterns and fragments of human voice. These techniques ground the production in living history and physical terrain. The title itself references land; Abya Yala is the name used by the Guna people to refer to their region, both before European colonization, and today.

The album, however brief, abounds in sonic detail: the percussive lattice and mournful sliding techno driving “Febre,” the adrenalized ecosystem humming  with life on “Lazos,” the relentless static coursing through “Veneno.” Elsewhere, “Paraiso Entre Rocas,” a collaboration with the vocalist Morita Vargas, finds the producer deftly uncoiling tightly-wound synths as if on autopilot; naturally, the accompanying remix, from Lao, delivers a sprawling, trance-like listen, too.

The eye is drawn to the EP’s evocative cover image: sun, moon, owl, and planet, stylized in black and white. It’s a flag inspired by indigenous symbols, forming a perfect visual for the production’s sense of reverence and style.

-Mike Pursley

With The Buddy System Project, King Britt Finds Strength in Numbers

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King Britt by Colin Kerrigan

In a now famous interview clip filmed in the summer of 1969, Doors frontman Jim Morrison talks with Rolling Stone writer Jerry Hopkins about the future of popular music. Morrison predicts that the future of music will be machine-driven, creating the space for individual composers to fully execute their vision alone. Continue reading

Album of the Day: Various Artists, “Italo Funk”

Don’t worry Italo-disco fiends, you’re not missing a whole subgenre in your collection of sought-after 12”s. Italo Funk is a new-school gathering of underground heads who helped shape the country’s dance scene from the ’90s onward. Curated by Soul Clap co-founder Eli Goldstein (aka Bamboozle as of late), the compilation doesn’t stick to one record store aisle. It starts with more outré strains of house music, and only gets weirder and wilder from there.

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Album of the Day: 1five1, “1five1”

The self-titled EP from producer and multi-instrumentalist 1five1 (aka Sandra Annan) is technically her debut, but it doesn’t sound much like one. The Toronto-based producer’s tracks are finely woven and wholly assured, sounding as if she’s been crafting and producing music for years. Influenced by post-dubstep, lo-fi house, and trip-hop, 1five1’s sound draws from iconic outfits like Portishead, even as she completely pushes her own distinctive beats and textures into sophisticated spaces beyond those original inspirations.

From the brief horns and haunting, beautifully layered vocals on dark opener “Blloom,” to the woozy rhythms on “Mila,” and delicate key twinkles on “Heaven,” each track features fine details that create entrancing atmospheres. The cool yet luxurious “Voodoo,” in particular, invites repeat listens, with melodies steeped in sensual, electronic rhythms. There’s a marvelous quality to 1five1’s sound, and its textural richness ensures we’ll be returning to her debut again and again.

-Chaka V. Grier