This week in dance music: we dove deep on the new genre of electronic music forming as part of the psychedelic renaissance, got the rundown of the live return of IMS Ibiza this April, saw Ducky ducking out of the music industry, got a new single from deadmau5 and Portugal. The Man that’s only available as an NFT and saw Lady Gaga’s Dawn Of Chromatica rise back to the top of Dance/Electronic albums.
Plus, this week sees a load of new music from a cluster of subgenre stars. Let’s dig in.
Alison Wonderland, “Fuck U Love U”
Alison Wonderland has never been one to mince words, and her latest single turns the pain of an anxious artist into a bit of head-banging brilliance. We really want Wonderland to be happy, but her lows sound pretty freaking great—literally speaking, these bass rumbles vibrate our very souls. The tastiest sonic tricks come out in the latter half of the song, twisting and glitching in a delightful bit of noise play matched by the violent color patterns of the official lyric video directed by fellow anxious electronic boss Elohim. This is a team up for the ages, serving mental breakdown with a side of glamour. Honestly, we’re here for it. – KAT BEIN
Lane 8, “Nuclear Lethargy”
The third single from Lane 8’s forthcoming Reviver LP (out January 21st via the producer’s own This Never Happened imprint) maintains the same lush, natural quality that defines most of Lane 8’s work. “Nuclear Lethargy” thickens to the point of bursting, before taking a right turn into stabs of synth that darkly shimmer as the kickdrum picks up steam underneath them before the whole thing launches off via the same type of sophisticated build/release that’s long made the artist born Daniel Goldstein one of the smartest and most consistent artists in the progressive house scene. — KATIE BAIN
William Orbit, Starbeam EP
UK legend William Orbit is back with his first solo release in seven years, the dazzling Starbeam EP. Out via Anjunadeep, the four-track EP includes the previously released stunner of a title track, which folds elegant piano and equally refined digital production into an immersive effort that embodies the celestial shimmer of its title. “Wordsworth” features more downtempo/dub vibes, while the seven-minute “Diso” is the most straightforward dance track of the bunch, with urgent piano stabs and a propulsive beat creating a feeling of sonic levitation. Meanwhile “Águilas” — a collaboration with Colombian/Canadian vocalist Lido Pimienta — brings a soaring global house finale. A three time Grammy winner, longtime electronic legend and all around icon, Orbit has worked with everyone from U2 to Britney Spears to Blur, Robbie Williams and Madonna, for whom he co-produced the seminal, acid-house oriented “Ray Of Light” and the rest of the 1998 namesake LP from whence it came. — K. Bain
Illenium With Sueco & Trippie Redd, “Story Of My Life”
After logging his first Grammy nomination late last month (for his 2021 LP Fallen Embers), Illenium returns with more of the larger than large, punk/pop oriented future bass that is his signature. “Story Of My Life” is a collaboration with Sueco, the vocalist/rapper formerly known as Sueco the Child who blew up on TikTok in 2019 via his single, “Fast.” Sueco hammers out a full-lunged performance that sounds like it left his vocal chords in shreds, while Trippie Redd drops in to provide slightly smoother vocal layers. This is an especially hard track for the producer born Nick Miller, with sections of both industrial grade dubstep and hammering rock guitar. This weekend Illenium will also go hard at his own Ember Shores festival, happening in Cancun, Mexico. — K. Bain
Gina Jeanz, “100ml”
More than simply an album, Lucid Theory by Namibian producer Gina Jeanz is a token of triumph in the face of grief, self-doubt and anxiety. The LP traverses a number of sounds over its nine tracks, from amapiano to R&B to future bass, with Jeanz joined on nearly all by African vocalists including Moonga K., Jordan Baker and Sio. On rare solo track and album closer “100ml,” she shines. Inspired by conquering anxiety attacks, it beams with joie de vivre in its expansive, jubilant synths and uptempo energy.
“Being able to produce my own music during this period of uncertainty brought me so much healing,” Jeanz writes. “It’s really the kind of space where I can just be my true authentic self without thinking about it. However, this has been threatened by my inner saboteur, fuelled by the many ideas people had for my career, and it was discouraging that this led me to question who I wanted to be in music. For the first time in a long time, with this album, I knew if I truly wanted to enjoy making music again, I had to freely and fearlessly just do it. This is my story, this is my healing, this is my theory.” — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Yung Bae feat. Cosmo’s Midnight, “Straight Up Relaxin”
“We’re bringing you summer in December,” says Yung Bae of his new song with Cosmo’s Midnight, “Straight Up Relaxin.” On the latest single from the future-funk artists’s upcoming album, Groove Continental (Side A), the trio of good-vibesmen have crafted a tune that from its first notes unlocks a portal to pool parties and beachy resort getaways — picture this playing while lounging on your favorite pool floatie. With its liquid bassline, rippling synth keys and breezy vocals, “Straight Up Relaxin’s is a prescription to treat yourself with sunshine, sand and peace of mind. — K.R.
LP Giobbi x Born Dirty, “24”
Grab your roller skates, and get ready to stay up all night. Piano house queen LP Giobbi got with bass funk master Born Dirty, and the blend is a hefty, shimmering slice of disco boogie bliss. The beat hits heavy, the sonic accents sparkle like glitter bell-bottoms under a mirror ball, and the groove runs deep as our love for star-shaped sunglasses. It’s the first official collaboration between the producers, but if this is what it sounds like when worlds collide, we hope they sign up for another couple’s skate session soon. – K. Bein
The Crystal Method, “Act Right”
’90s and early aughts electronic icon The Crystal Method blows the doors off the damn place with its latest release, “Act Right.” On it, propulsive bass functions as the foundation for sinewy rapid-fire flows from Boston-based rapper Billy Dean Thomas, who performs as The Queer B.I.G, while The Crystal Method’s Scott Kirkland progressively turns the dial up on the bass-forward track, raising it into a carnival style party-starter featuring horns that sound like the trumpeting of an elephant and big ol’ whalloping beats that will leave you out of breath by the end. “Act Right” is the second single from The Crystal Method’s forthcoming LP The Trip Out, due for release this February via Ultra Records — K. Bain