This week, we got the run down on everything that happened during Porter Robinson’s Second Sky festival, saw Tomorrowland attempting to expand to three weekends in 2022 to recoup nearly $30 million in losses incurred during the pandemic and learned about 10 Latin producers to keep on eye on during Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond.
Meanwhile, The Weeknd was accused of plagiarizing a 2018 track co-written by Nicolas Jaar, the Avicii estate announced a forthcoming documentary on the late producer, and Boys Noize shared his wild origin story as a teenage DJ playing in the red light district of Hamburg.
Plus, we’ve got music. Let’s dig in.
Jamie Jones, “Handy Work”
Ahead of his Stateside jaunt in Boston and New York this weekend, Jamie Jones is dropping new heat in the form of his Handy Work EP. It’s been a minute (okay, a year) since the Hot Creations head last appeared on the label, but good things come to those who wait, right? Right. “Handy Work” is tech house made for big rooms, with air-shredding synths and a low-end so low it shakes the Earth. A sample nod to Junior Vasquez’s 1994 track “Get Your Hands Off My Man” gives it an extra dose of drama.
Jones shares that “Handy Work” came together quickly after he’d already spent an entire studio session working on another song. “I literally made the first version in about an hour, and when I played it out I knew I had something, the crowd reaction was killer,” he says. “This track is a simple party anthem to welcome back the parties!” — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Rüfüs Du Sol, “On My Knees”
“On My Knees” is the third new single the Australian trio has dropped in the past two months, and it comes alongside the announcement that the group will drop their new album, Surrender, this October 21. (The LP, their fourth, will follow 2018’s Grammy nominated Solace.) While the group’s previous two singles “Next to Me” and “Alive” erred towards the sonically and thematically bright vocal house soundscapes that have been their signature, “On My Knees” treks into the minor chords with a hint of edge via dark slabs of synth, and what sounds like an elephant sample. The song’s red tinted video was filmed in August during a unique Red Rocks Amphitheatre show rehearsal, and the guys play Governor’s Ball tonight in New York. — KATIE BAIN
Disclosure, “Observer Effect”
Consider it confirmed: Disclosure are deep in the dis-club. After pulling listeners onto the dance floor last month with their excellent Never Enough EP, Howard and Guy Lawrence are back with a new track “Observer Effect,” from their forthcoming DJ-Kicks compilation for !K7. “Observer Effect” is a brisk, jacking house track that starts out minimal with a prominent distorted main synth line that fuzzes out like a live wire on the ground. Halfway through, after a prolonged anticipatory silence that makes you wonder if the track had already ended — spoiler: nope! — it blooms into a lush track with luxurious synth pads and bubbly accents, yet still brimming with electric energy.
“Most of the mix is presenting what you can do with house,” Guy says. “And that’s basically our career: trying to move house forward, whether it’s with songwriting or using different genres or different languages. The mix should represent where we’re at now, and where we’re at now is clubby.” — K.R.
French trap mainstay UZ is back with more beats as hard as bricks. His first new music in nearly a year, “Focus” delivers more of the heavy, heady, gloriously wonky weirdness that’s made him a legend of the genre. The single precedes an expanded version of UZ’s 2020 album Trinity, which drops October 22 and will be released as a continuous mix composed of the original tracklist, two new songs, and eleven remixes from bass and trap producers including Bailo, Basstrick, Great Dane, LYNY, sebjin, HWLS, and more. Last year the masked producer (who in 2017 revealed himself to be two-time DMC World Champio producer DJ Troubl) told Billboard that Trinity would be the last UZ LP, and we’re thus grateful that he’s back throwing his weight around. — K.B.
Elkka, “Harmonic Frequencies”
When Elkka released her Euphoric Melodies EP on Technicolour this past May, the record felt like spring after a long and lonely frost with its warm, earthy house sound and open-air textures. Her latest EP for the imprint, Harmonic Frequencies, could be its companion. The title track, released today, instead finds comfort indoors, preferably in a pitch-black club where you can only feel the people around you. There’s still a delicacy here in the sparkling sounds that pepper the production like constellations, but there’s also an urgency in the clipped vocal samples and crushing percussion — the perfect opportunity to go heads down, eyes closed and get lost in the dark.
“Not being able to see family and friends, to perform and fully express myself left me feeling like a part of me was not being nourished,”Elkka says. “Like most people, when things opened up again, I could feel and see the color coming back into my life.” — K.R.
Slushii, “All I Need” (VIP Edit)
Last September, Slushii debuted his single “All I Need” via a live performance on Fortnite‘s Party Royale Main Stage. Later that month, the song was used the lead song in Rocket League and Fortnite‘s Llama-Rama crossover event, with these gaming platforms ultimately making “All I Need” the fastest-growing track ever released by Canadian label Monstercat. (The song peaked at No. 33 on Hot Dance/Electronic Chart during its 14-week chart run, and currently has more than 30 million global streams.)
Now, a year later, the producer is back with a “VIP Edit”, which trades the smooth house bounce of the original for a more slightly more challenging (in a good way) progressive house vibe that builds into a frenetically chopped chorus, with a sped-up BPM. It’s a solid take on the producer’s biggest hit, and a smart way to make sure that the track keeps making noise. — K.B.