What happened in the dance scene this week? Plenty.
In the wake of the confusion over EDC Las Vegas, Insomniac’s Pasquale Rotella addressed the questions festival fans are asking, Kazakh phenom Imanbek signed with a new agency for global representation, Warner Music launched a new dance label in Asia, we tracked down the mysterious producer behind that pair of Taylor Swift remixes, Tiesto signed a new Vegas residency deal, we rounded up the four hottest emerging artists of the month, Kygo dropped some new merch, Porter Robinson announced the lineup for the second iteration of his virtual festival Secret Sky, LP Giobbi told us about her Deadhead parents (and her scorching new track), and Illenium topped the Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart.
And yes there’s more, and it is the music that drives all of this news. Ready for the seven dance tracks we’re fanning out over the most this week? Let’s dig in.
Kygo feat. James Gillespie, “Gone Are the Days”
Kygo isn’t just dropping merch. He also came through with a new sunset pop jam with pulling vocals from James Gillespie. It’s pure, classic Kygo with sweeping textures and emotional piano melodies that build slow and heavy over strings and a sometimes beat. Gillespie’s lyrics tell a tragic tale of loss, something many can unfortunately relate to after the last year. A dramatic opening for the Norwegian superproducer, “Gone Are the Days” is his first official music release of 2021. Here’s hoping we can all get close to our good friends one day soon. — KAT BEIN
Gaspard Augé, “Force Majeure”
Gaspard Augé may not be smiling (he never does), but his chest must be swelling with pride. The Justice dude with the curly hair and the mustache unleashed a sweltering single, the debut from his forthcoming solo album, Escapades. If your favorite part of the French duo’s signature sound were the bombastic nods to ‘70s and ‘80s arena rock, you might want to put on a seat belt. “Force Majeure” is exactly that: a propulsive, shimmering streak of gold shot into a disco rainbow. It’s a bold statement and an enticing teaser of more to come, not a far cry from what Justice fans have come to expect, but certainly brighter and stamped with Augé’s personal flair. The music video, filmed in a Turkish cymbal factory, is a demonstration of the fresh solo artist’s tongue-in-cheek style of epic.
“We were really attracted by the epic visual appeal of cymbal making: bronze, fire, hammers – something almost mythological and elemental like Vulcan or the Nibelungen,” Augé is quoted in a press release. “We chose Bosphorus Cymbals because they had this very traditional process that barely changed in centuries. In this video, I am just a link in the chain of production and quality control after all these cymbals have been melted, hand hammered and lathed into a musical object.” Escapades is due later this year. We’re already prepping our sequin dresses and denim jackets. — K. BEIN
Foolie & 96 Vibe feat. Wez, “Bass Drum”
Some tracks are designed for sunshine, blue skies and fresh air. Foolie and 96 Vibe’s “Bass Drum” is not one of those tracks. The drum enthusiasts have teamed up on Shiba San’s Basement Leak label on an absolute heater made for near-pitch-black dance floors where you can barely see the person in front of you but you can feel sweat flung from every direction. Strictly functional, this tech house goes hard with tightly woven percussion and a radar-like sound that pokes your brain in just the right way. Stuttering, distorted vocals ultimately culminate in one deliriously meta question: “Can you feel the bass drum?” Oh yeah. — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Icarus feat. Jamie N Commons, “Moment in Time”
As the late great George Harrison once noted, all things must pass. Nothing lasts forever, even though it sometimes seems like it might in our myopic human minds. Bristol-based duo Icarus links with the husky voiced singer/songwriter (and fellow Bristol resident) Jamie N Commons to remind us of such things on their latest, “Moment in Time.” Out via the ever-consistent Anjunadeep, the song is an emotive, chime-laden, deep house-leaning slow burner that advises, “Now I finally open my eyes, I can see it’s just a moment in time.” For whoever currently needs to be reminded that this too shall pass, for whatever reason, this very pretty one is very much for you.
“We wrote the original idea with Jamie a few years ago and knew we’d never got it ‘right’ for release,” the guys of Icarus say in a joint statement. “With the last year that the world has endured, we felt it was time to revisit the song as it had never felt more relevant than it does right now.” — KATIE BAIN
Sam Gellaitry, “Duo”
Scottish producer Sam Gellaitry has long been one of the best beatmakers on the scene. His Escapism EP series is nothing short of god level, dripping in enviable textures and sensual moods. In 2019, he dropped a 12-track compilation called Viewfinder Vol: 1 Phosphene, injecting even more R&B smoothness into his low-lidded, haze-hop style. Today, he seems to have totally cleared the air, releasing a smoke-throated dance-pop jammer aimed straight for summer night domination. “Duo” sees Gellaitry sing over a funky bass line and piano-stab groove. It’s a little bit ’80s, a little bit future, and the whole thing feels delicious with a side of frenetic, neon video cuts (aka, this trippy music video). It’s the first taste from a forthcoming EP, due May 14. — K. BEIN
Nora En Pure “Oblivion”
Nora En Pure’s productions always have a therapeutic quality, sort of washing over you you, gently taking over control of your brain and limbs and thoroughly wringing you out with gently powerful builds and releases until you have officially danced yourself clean. That’s the vibe on her latest, “Oblivion” the B-side of a new two-track EP out via the Zurich-based house and progressive-house label Enormous Tunes. The song is dually ethereal and hefty, built from piano and strings (and beats and synth, of course.) And yes, this release is coming in conjunction with an NFT drop, a 1-of-1 release via SuperRare.co titled ‘Connection’ and built around the track’s drop. — K. BAIN
Piero Pirupa, “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)”
In September of 1991, Zimbabwean singer Rozalla released her single “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)” as the second single from her debut album, Everybody’s Free. It topped Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart within a year, and the feel good anthem has since become rooted in history as one of dance music’s greatest songs, with homages paid by artists from Kylie Minogue to Chase & Status. Italian producer Piero Pirupa is the latest to take on the song, giving it a 2021 update with an acid twist and brooding, blocky sonics that give the euphoric original a bittersweet edge. When festivals come back for good — and we’re all once again free to feel good — it will make for some banging rave catharsis. — K.R.