This week in dance music: We talked to nightlife promoters about how they kept crowds on the floor this year, we chatted with Dutch producer Mau P about his hit “Drugs From Amsterdam,” the Rüfüs Du Sol guys dropped the lineup for the festival in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula this May, Kaskade and deadmau5 didn’t let an exploding generator stop them from playing a historic show at the L.A. Coliseum, we said arrivederci to the second season of White Lotus with this house edit of the show’s theme song, we heard an exclusive from Soulwax’s soundtrack for the latest Grand Theft Auto Online update, Diplo teased the return of his country project, Fabric London enacted a lifetime ban on an attendee who shared a video of a fellow clubgoer, Chris Lorenzo was announced as the headliner for Monster Energy’s 2023 Up & Up tour, Sony Music sued Ultra Records Founder Patrick Moxey over his continued use of the Ultra name and Fred again.. made moves on Top Dance/Electronic albums.
Is there more? There’s always more! Here, in the final First Spin of 2022, are the best new dance tracks of the week.
Zeds Dead & GRiZ, “Ecstasy of Soul”
The mere thought of a collaboration between melodic bass masters Zeds Dead and GRiZ elicits cinematic grandeur and an epic mood — but who could have known it would come to life in Ennio Morricone proportions?
“Ecstasy of Soul” is built on the dramatic back of the late Italian composer’s iconic theme for The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. This track inherits all those traits; building a divine feast of sound and texture over a beat so bad (in the Run D.M.C. sense) it’ll set your dance floor on fire. Once the drop hits, you’ll be making ugly faces in pure astonishment.
“We were doing a big back-to-back set in Arizona and wanted to create something super epic for the intro,” the Zeds Dead guys are quoted. “We tossed around a few ideas and finally decided to try something with a version of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly theme. Something about the Wild West and the new frontier seemed to be calling our name. GRiZ is the best, and this was a lot of fun to work on. It brought us back to our old remixing days. We’ve been playing it at every show since, and it’s gotten the most insane reactions. Stoked to finally put it out!” – KAT BEIN
While the rest of us are planning for 2023, DJ_Dave is already raving in 3023. The future-facing algorave producer is back with her latest single “Break,” a wistful track somewhere between pop, electronic and cyberspace. Its drum patterns softly pitter-patter like tears spilling onto concrete, while Dave begins over solemn synths and layers of pitched vocals: “I’m burning out/ Asking too much, losing my touch.”
“I made this song so long ago when I was messing around with Sonic Pi for the first time and I’m so excited to finally get to share it,” she wrote on Instagram. The single arrives in the form of a video involving both a live code edit and live performance. “my first time singing + coding in a vid alone because I really wanted to showcase everything that goes into the process of performing.” — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Deorro feat. Lost Boy, “Nobody Like You”
Successfully cycling through genres (including the Latin sounds of his heritage) throughout his career, Deorro has now found a house groove in “Nobody Like You.” Out via Ultra Records, the bouncy track has a melancholic edge, with vocals from L.A. singer Lost Boy proclaiming “I don’t want to be nobody like you,” while illustrating the frayed end of a romance gone wrong. The track got major shine during Deorro’s recently completely 60 (!) date Tour De ORRO, and additional play during his Dec. 8 halftime show during the L.A. Rams game at SoFi stadium, in which he got his hometown crowd on their feet with his signature celebratory and sound-traversing style. — KATIE BAIN
Skepsis & Raphaella, “Know What It Means”
Is there anything better in life than a bangin’ drum and bass beat with a strong female vocal and a kickin’ hook? It’s hard to imagine a more pure alternative when jammin’ to Skepsis’ latest. “Know What It Means” is the U.K. bass producer’s first official taste of d’n’b, and we’re hoping this is the start of a strong trend. Persian-British singer-songwriter Raphaella delivers a top-notch performance over the chune so hyphy that our sneakers might catch blisters. The music video is pretty pro as well: Directed by Ranvia Kaur Johal and Eleanor Grace Hann, its story of a young couple that falls out of love will get ya right in the (very true-to-life) feels. – K. Bein
Jackie Queens, “I’ll Find a Way”
Perseverance is at the heart of Jackie Queens’ new song “I’ll Find A Way.” The South African house heavyweight brings a simultaneous determination and comfort through her rich vocals, which breeze over an Afrohouse rhythm that chugs towards a chest-swelling crescendo. With lyrics about strength and taking pride in warrior roots, the song is described in a press release as a “tribute to Black women’s courage.” “I’ll Find a Way” comes from the soundtrack for YE! A Jagun Story, the first part of a forthcoming film trilogy from Nigerian-American filmmaker John Oluwole Adekoje and Bomb Squad producer/composer Hank Shocklee. — K.R.
Philly-based producer Subtronics ends 2022 with a nod to both the year that was and the year ahead with the release of ANTIFRACTALS, a batch of deliciously dirty, rail-riding edits of his already hard-hitting LP FRACTALS, released this past January. The new LP is packed with remixes from what feels like half the bass music community, with contributions from PEEKABOO, Virtual Riot, Jantsen, Wooli and Grabbitz, and edits from Subtronics himself. “I’m honored to have so many top-tier producers put their spin on my vision, it really means the world to me, and I’d like to extend a huge thank you to all of them,” says the producer born Jesse Kardon. “Over the last year, I have continued to evolve as an artist, so ANTIFRACTALS has been an awesome journey for me to refine FRACTALS even further. I think I like these versions better than the originals.” Surely much of both LPs will be heard on the producer 27-date North American tour, which launches on January 13 and takes him to venues including L.A.’s 17,000-person Kia Forum. — K. Bain