With cities on lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, everyone is adjusting to a new way of life. For dance music obsessives, the communal experience of the dancefloor is on hold.
As much as we miss the club, DJs and promoters around the world are delivering non-stop streaming sets to keep us sane. And there’s another solace out there for the housebound raver: new albums. Cut off from touring, a host of artists are forging ahead with planned release dates.
Whether you need a headphone escape or a living room fist-pump, these album drops will sustain us through April. (Porter Robinson, Tchami and Above & Beyond are releasing closer to summer, while artists including Tiga, Flume and Nghtmre are using this crisis to hunker down on new music.)
Stay safe, stay home and stay hopeful with these incoming albums.
Nicolas Jaar, Cenizas
Does anyone out there make better music for a scrambled headspace than Nicolas Jaar?
Sirens, the electronic shapeshifter’s last album under his own name, dropped in 2016. Since then, Jaar’s kept the fires burning under the club-geared alias Against All Logic. (Just last month, he collected A.A.L.’s recent techno adventures on 2017-2019.)
Cenizas sees Nicolas Jaar back in command. Lead single “Sunder,” recorded in 2017, revisits the itchy yet lush textures we fell for nearly a decade ago on Space Is Only Noise.
Ideal Isolation Pairing: Eyes closed and luxuriating by an open window.
When It Drops: March 27 via Other People.
DJ-Kicks: Mr. Scruff
Commercially released mix compilations are few and far between these days, but DJ-Kicks is a survivor. The series celebrates its 25th year with this 31-track odyssey from U.K. crate digger Mr. Scruff.
The tracklist hits all the marks of a Mr. Scruff set, from funk and soul to disco and house. Each DJ-Kicks entry includes an exclusive new track, and here it’s the DJ’s own supremely funky “3001: A Space Disco Remix.” If you’re missing real discos, this is a worthy stopgap.
Ideal Isolation Pairing: Your new ‘getting ready’ mix, before going out to buy essential supplies.
When It Drops: March 27 via !K7 Records.
FERR by Ferry Corsten, As Above So Below
Most fans turn to Ferry Corsten for propulsive trance. The Dutchman’s recent collaboration with Purple Haze (aka Sander Van Doorn), “Flanging,” hit that mark with precision. Corsten’s next project, however, is a swerve.
As Above So Below is the veteran’s quiet, contemplative ambient album under the FERR alias. Influenced by Jon Hopkins and Nils Frahms, it’s a long way from peak hour under the lasers. With decidedly not-banging mood pieces like “When Thoughts Become You” and “Dark Water,” this is not the Ferry Corsten you know.
Ideal Isolation Pairing: Early morning meditation when you’re usually rolling in from the club.
When It Drops: March 27 via Flashover Recordings.
Nathan Fake, Blizzards
Nathan Fake’s music can get pretty heady, fusing freeform electronics with an occasional house pulse. Sometimes, though, the producer zeroes in on heads-down club gear.
Fake describes his latest single, “Vectra,” as “bouncy”. It’s that and much more, with a driving bassline, squiggly acid notes and a blissed-out final stretch.
“Vectra” bodes well for Fake’s upcoming album, Blizzards. “I know it seems a bit strange maybe announcing a record at this strange time in our planet’s history, but I for one use music as escapism,” he writes.
The album was largely recorded in one take on a hardware setup. Escaping into this one will be a pleasure.
Ideal Isolation Pairing: Making, then savoring, the first coffee of the day.
When It Drops: April 3 via Cambria Instruments.
Kaskade, Redux 004
Last year, Kaskade gifted fans the 18-track Redux 003. The DJ’s deeper side returns on Redux 004 — only this time, it’s a four-track EP. Not technically an album, then, but still an event.
Kaskade has already shared two singles from Redux 004: the slinky throwback “Love Like That,” and its rowdier wingman, “Sexy.” Now that Kaskade has postponed his run of Redux shows, this EP is the deep and jacking silver lining.
Ideal Isolation Pairing: Cooking up your favorite comfort meal.
When It Drops: April 4 via Arkade.
Brave arrives with an intense backstory. Following spinal surgery in 2017, Joyryde struggled to regain his creative spark. Prescribed opioids to help with the pain, the producer battled hallucinations and dark thoughts.
Joyryde gradually got back to the studio after a long struggle to kick the medication. Brave is the result of that willpower. With bass house bombs like “Madden” and “I’m Gone,” this album will bring the heat.
Ideal Isolation Pairing: A sweaty workout on any floor space available.
When It Drops: April 3 via Hard Recs.
Duke Dumont, Duality
Duke Dumont makes the kind of exultant house music we could all use right now. “Ocean Drive,” “I Got U,” “Need U (100%)” and “The Giver (Reprise)” are just some of his healing hits. It’s remarkable that he’s only now getting to a debut album.
The producer approached Duality with a clear mission: “No genre, no boundaries, no restraints and no fear.” Lead single “Therapy” is pure ‘90s-channelling Duke Dumont. After a swelling intro, we’re shot headlong into the house keys and diva vocals. Here’s hoping the other songs feel this good.
Ideal Isolation Pairing: Jumping up and down on your bed to sweat out the cabin fever.
When It Drops: April 17 via Virgin EMI Records.
Roza Terenzi, Modern Bliss
If you haven’t yet heard the name Roza Terenzi, this is a good time to get acquainted. The Australian DJ made an indelible impression on the Boiler Room broadcast from last year’s Dekmantel Festival in Amsterdam. In these uncertain times, her dreamy, driving set remains a balm.
Terenzi is also an agile producer. Expect her debut album, Modern Bliss, to zag between house, techno, breakbeats and spacey electronics. Not for nothing, it also features one of 2020’s best track titles: “My Reality Cheque Bounced.”
Ideal Isolation Pairing: A combination of vigorous and meditative cleaning.
When It Drops: April 17 via Planet Euphorique.