This week in dance music: “Lean On” vocalist MØ says the video for the 2015 Major Lazer hit was “cultural appropriation, for sure,” David Guetta is performing as an avatar for the first time in a Roblox set, we selected the 10 rising dance artists who deserve your attention this year, Detroit’s Movement Festival dropped a huge phase one lineup, Swedish House Mafia’s Steve Angello was announced as an investor in a new blockchain platform, Meduza and Hozier’s “Heart” hit No. 1 on Dance Mix/Show Airplay, we spoke with an organizer of Tucson’s jamtronic Gem and Jam festival and Carl Craig announced an event series happening during Black History Month and culminating with a livestream from South Africa.
And new music? We’ve got it. Let’s dig in.
Flume, “Say Nothing”
Ahead of the impending deluge of love songs coming this Valentine’s Day, Flume has shared a song that’ll have lonely hearts in their feelings. “Say Nothing” is the first single from the Aussie producer’s forthcoming album Palaces, and it’s an emotional rollercoaster. Vocalist MAY-A alternates between sounding cool and collected, and impassioned pleading as she reflects on an ended relationship. Flume’s production follows her lead, climbing from a steady beat to a choral explosion of choppy percussion, synth splats and vocal distortions. It’s weird, yet still radio-friendly, a taste of Flume leveled up.
“This song is about feelings of post relationship clarity,” Flume writes. “We wrote the song midway through 2020 while the pandemic was still pretty new. I was really excited about the initial idea but it was only once I got back to Australia in early 2021 and linked up in the studio with MAY-A that the song really came to life.” — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Turn down the lights and put your sunglasses on. It’s time to don your best red leather jacket and get in a neon mood, because everyone’s favorite late-night dance super hero is back. Kavinsky is the neo-noir French touch master who gave the world the 2010 classic “Nightcall,” and he’s back from an extended hiatus with a slew of sensual sounds. “Zenith” is the spiritual successor to “Nightcall” (a Drive soundtrack megahit), and the new synth work is electric, with sultry vocals tinged with just enough robotic hue to give your spine the shivers. For this story, he enlists Prudence, formerly of the duo The Dø, and frequent Justice collaborator Morgan Phalen, who appears on the other French group’s tunes “Newlands,” “Randy” and “On’n’On.” Even more, there’s sexy sax on this beast. What is there not to love? – KAT BEIN
Griz & CloZee, “Color of Your Soul”
A collaboration between these vibey two bass bosses seemed inevitable, and it’s as heavy and as heady as you’d hope. “Color of Your Soul” has a major grandiosity, but still hits your solar plexus with wavy wobbles — managing to be simultaneously dirty and celestial. (Griz calls it “lush, bangin, big, deep, colorful, victorious, and heart expanding.” We’d have to agree.) The two artists — who became friends after both settling in Denver — have been teasing the track during recent sets, and it’s now free in the world via CloZee’s Odyzey Music imprint. Expect this to be a big one at the bass stages this festival season. — KATIE BAIN
Whatever the Weather, “17ºC”
Loraine James is back in a new way. Following her 2021 sophomore album Reflection, the UK club experimentalist has taken on a new alias, Whatever The Weather, and an album of the same name for Ghostly International. James describes the album process as “free-flowing, stopping when I felt like I was done.” The LP’s lead single, “17ºC,” is a prime example of her approach. It swells and recedes gracefully as James weaves texture into her vast atmospheric fabric via skittering percussion, blooming synth bursts, soothing vocal chops and subtle field recordings. Like its music video, “17ºC” is stunningly cosmic. The eponymous Whatever the Weather LP is set for release on April 8. — K.R.
Sébastien Tellier, Symphonic EP
What do you get when you hand Sébastien Tellier a giant guitar designed by French artist Xavier Veilhan? You get a super sexy, cinematic soundtrack to Chanel’s Haute Couture 2022 runway show. The French producer has always had an especially dreamy touch, and his latest sonic fantasy brought Chanel’s high-fashion to new heights. Today, he’s releasing the collection of songs as a new EP. Four original tracks of elegant beauty are bolstered with three exciting remixes, courtesy of Planningtorock, Soulwax and Not Waving. There’s also an extended version of the EP’s opening track “Portés par le Vent,” which closed the Chanel showcase. — K. Bein
Jax Jones feat. MNEK, “Where Did You Go?”
In the late ’80s the bright, bubbly form of electronic music known as Eurodance emerged after a period of social and economic strife in Europe, reflecting a collection desire to just have some damn fun already. Maybe you can relate? Previous collaborators Jax Jones (whose house banger “Feels” graced Billboard‘s Best Dance Tracks of 2021 list) and MNEK certainly did, sensing that the world as it presently stands could use a dose of this feel-good genre. They’ve delivered it with “Where Did You Go?” on which Jones’ production manages both playfulness and soul, with MNEK’s big vocal hook showcasing the incredible shimmer of his voice. Clocking in at just under three minutes, this one is a quick hit of fun that will you propel you forth with a bit more bounce and moxie. — K. Bain