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DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ – Under Your Spell

More dope beats from the other realm courtesy of the queen of electronic witchery. If you’re familiar with DJ Sabrina’s previous work, this follows in pretty much the same vein: 90s-heavy samples blended with bright, open-hearted production. An out-and-out nostalgia-fest, in other words that will make you yearn for the days when aspect ratios were square and TV audiences pissed themselves laughing at literally everything.

https://djsabrinatheteenagedj.bandcamp.com

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Teno Afrika – Where You Are

It’s been a long old time since I heard a straight up house track (or amapiano, as I’m reliably informed this should be classed) I enjoyed at much as this, which given my day job is a dispiriting state of affairs. Calling to mind Mr Fingers-era Larry Heard without directly aping it, it’s soulful and deeply relaxing, but with enough low-end throb to shake your chest. Stirring stuff.

https://soundcloud.com/tomu-dj

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BRLY DRSSD x Chanty Thushara

Shout out to BRLY DRSSD for leaving it late in the year to drop one of the most unashamedly positive tracks of 2021. Teaming up with Sri Lankan artist Chanty Thushara and reminiscent of Crazy P at their bubbliest, Diamonds is “for all the ladies who sometimes don’t think they are strong or worth listening to.” A warm, breezy dance/pop cut, it’s hard not to be won over by its open-hearted optimism.

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Soshi Takeda – Floating Mountains

The elevator pitch for Tokyo producer Soshi Takeda’s new album Floating Mountains was probably “Mr Fingers-era deep house meets floaty new-age noodling”, and as undeniably shit as that sounds it’s entirely accurate while completely underselling what is an incredibly enjoyable collection of tracks. Yes, the basslines might be fairly predictable at times and it’s certainly not doing anything especially groundbreaking in terms of structure or progression, but there’s something undeniably joyous about hearing the open-hearted optimism of plinky plunky, almost pan-pipe-esque synth stabs above a simple, shuffling 4/4 groove. Apparently inspired by a well-know mid-80s photo book of Chinese landscapes, Floating Mountains is both grandiose and quaint: a wonderfully effective experiment in completely ignoring the cutting edge and finding comfort and even a little excitement in the path well trodden.

https://takedasoshi.bandcamp.com/album/floating-mountains

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Galcher Lustwerk – Real Estate

Galcher… Lustwerk! Every time I see this guy’s name written down I suffer from an uncontrollable compulsion to say it out loud, mimicking that robotic French tag from his breakthrough Blowing Up The Workshop mix. Try it! It’s fun! Anyway, this is taken from a new Explorations in Analog Synthesis collection (Volume II, funnily enough) where Moog have asked a load of Very Good Producers to demonstrate the “powerful analog sound and sonic possibilities Moog Sound Studio offers”. Each track was built around the Moog Mother-32, DFAM, and Subharmonicon included in each artist’s Moog Sound Studio, and the full seven track EP includes music from Boy Harsher, Hannah Peel and others and is well worth checking out.

https://soundcloud.com/moogmusicinc

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Music

Baltra – Dreaming of a Disco

I very rarely miss clubbing these days. It all just feels like a bit too much effort and the recovery time is just way too hideous to contemplate. Gigs are fine as you can can be home at a reasonable time (yes, I’m aware how old and boring this makes me sound: I’m ok with this) and festivals are different, and worth it. But clubbing isn’t something I’ve yearned for during lockdown in the same way I would have a few years ago. But then records like this come along and I feel almost sick with desire to be all fucked up in a club with a load of other sweaty people, fingers clutching a bottle of water, a mindless grin slapped all over my big stupid face.

https://baltra.bandcamp.com

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Moomin – For Willow

Moomin’s wonderful debut album The Story About You came out a literal entire decade ago, in what seems at this distance to be a time so far removed from my (and possibly the world’s) current circumstances that I can’t be completely sure it wasn’t a dream. In fact I’m pretty sure the only thing that hasn’t changed in that time is the music Moomin makes, which is still dreamy, drifty, dusty and hugely evocative. In my head this track is dedicated to his newborn baby – a fittingly beautiful tribute to a new life entering its first stages of consciousness – a flight of fancy so fitting I’m not even going to bother to check if it’s true.

https://soundcloud.com/moomin

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Boo Tell – Alone

Described by the label 2 B Real – a new label from electronic artist Finn and established imprint Local Action – as “languid and loopy, dreamy and aimless”, it’s about the most succinct and accurate release hypes I’ve ever read. Alone is 6+ minutes of hazy, sun-bleached beats, shimmering pads and a relentless vocal which might potentially get a little irritating if it wasn’t so lovely. I’m assuming Boo Tell is an alias of Finn: if so, battered straw hats off to him as it’s fantastic.

https://2-b-real.bandcamp.com

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India Jordan – For You

I’m a sucker for a Change sample (I mean, who isn’t) but often they’re a poor imitation of the original rather than doing anything especially interesting with it. India Jordan’s For You takes an extremely chill soul classic and transforms it into a rapidly-paced house banger, and does it with a huge amount of class, and a nod to Orbital’s Chime along the way. There’s a lot of stuff thrown at the wall here, but it all sticks, resulting in a ferociously joyous record.

https://indiajordan.bandcamp.com/

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The Soft Pink Truth – We

The Soft Pink Truth is an experimental electronic alias of Drew Daniel, who apparently started the project after Matthew Herbert bet him he couldn’t produce a proper house record. This is the first time I’ve come across his music, but I think it’s fair to say he won that particular bet. We is glorious deep house music that sounds like something from Laurent Garnier’s seminal Unreasonably Behaviour LP. Definitely check out his new album as well, Shall We All Go On Sinning… which is an absolute delight from start to finish.

https://thesoftpinktruth.bandcamp.com/