This week in dance music: so much happened! We spoke with Moore Kismet’s manager Anthony Baca on the strategy to managing an underage electronic artist; Day Zero Masada 2022 announced a lineup of heavyweights house and techno acts; we unpacked what Four Tet’s settlement with Domino Records means for the industry; our Billboard Dance editor’s mom reviewed Electric Forest 2022; Calvin Harris announced a crazy incredible list of featured artists for his forthcoming album, and dropped its second single; and the new Drake and Beyoncé releases gave dance music its biggest week ever on Apple Music.
Is there more? There’s always more. Let’s dig in.
Fred Again.., “Jungle”
Sampling heavily from “immortal,” a 2017 track from Mobile, Alabama-born vocalist Elley Duhé, Fred Again..’s “Jungle” is a product of time spent in the studio with Four Tet. This meeting of the minds has delivered a predictably excellent dance floor burner, with the two taking Duhé’s “ain’t no love in the jungle” chorus and turning it into a full on warning, complete with sirens, before chopping the whole into pieces and turning up the BPM to frenzy level. While Fred and Four Tet are both masters of music that falls in the contemplative/ethereal end of the electronic spectrum, they both also how to start a party — and this one demonstrates that latter skill. — KATIE BAIN
Bicep’s Isles is the gift that keeps on giving. From the Belfast duo’s sophomore album (a Billboard dance favorite) released in January 2021, a deluxe version arrived the following April with three new tracks including the beatless “Meli (I).” This week, from “Meli (I)” comes “Meli (II),” a longer and more club-oriented version of its parent track. While just as mesmerizing with its celestial vocals and transcendent synth builds, the simple addition of driving drums adds depth and muscle for a more corporeal and intense dance floor experience.
For Bicep, “Meli (II)” was born after many failed demo attempts to make a drum version of the original during the production of Isles. “We always knew there was room for this version though, hence naming the original ‘Meli (I),’” they said. “‘Meli (II)’ was formed slowly on the road. Each week we changed the drums a bit, the structure and generally allowed the crowd to inform the process. It was great to grow the track in this way, it felt like a very organic way of working.” U.S. fans can catch them on the road in September before they play their biggest UK show to date in December at Alexandra Palace. — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
LP Giobbi, “All In A Dream” Feat. DJ Tennis & Joseph Ashworth
You’ve heard LP Giobbi give rousing sermons from behind her synthesizer keyboard, but have you heard the piano house queen cast a psychedelic spell with narrative mood? The fast-rising star shifts perspective on her latest single, “All In A Dream.” It’s not just about the build and the drop, or the exulted primal scream — this song is about wading in deep seas of feeling, and we have a colorful cast of friends and characters to thank for it.
“‘All in a Dream’ came together in such a fun and fluid way,” LP Giobbi says. “I started working on the idea of the track with one of my favorite producers, Le Chev (Michael Cheever), and I was in Miami with Sofi Tukker, and they walked into the studio and heard the record and Tucker immediately said ‘I have this vocal sample that would be perfect.’ I threw it in the session and it was in the same key and fit perfectly. I eventually played it for DJ Tennis and Ashworth, and Tennis suggested we record live drums for it, so we spent a joyous day in the studio trying out all sorts of beats with a live drummer. Tennis and Ashworth then ran the track through outboard gear that made me want to crawl into the frequencies of the piano and never leave.”
The single heralds LP Giobbi’s fresh signing to Ninja Tune’s imprint Counter records, and there are certainly more musical musings to come. – KAT BEIN
Hudson Mohawke, “Bicstan”
The world continues to burn around us, and Hudson Mohawke is here to put a soundtrack to it. The Scottish producer earlier this week announced his new album, Cry Sugar, which according to a press release was inspired by “apocalyptic film scores and soundtracks by everyone from the late Vangelis to the goofy major-chord pomp of ‘90s John Williams.”
In addition to a Megamix of the LP, HudMo has shared in full its lead single “Bicstan.” A blender of house, acid, and gabber flipped to turbo speed, it’s at first disarmingly cheery with its neon house chords and childlike vocal; as the song goes on, you sense yourself hurtling faster towards utter chaos by way of surging acid and a gabber section so hard-stomping it could break concrete. Trust HudMo to create something so unhinged yet so euphoric. Cry Sugar arrives on Aug. 12 via Warp Records. — K.R.
Bad Tuner, “Oxygen”
How can losing a lover feel so bad but sound so good? Bad Tuner’s latest single “Oxygen” is described by the rising artist as “an introspective song reminiscing about a past partner and the confusion that comes with a breakup.” It’s got soulful piano stabs, a kicking beat and a delicious, repetitive vocal sample (which apparently were culled from a chance collaboration via TikTok). “Oxygen” is dreamy, nostalgic and fun, paired with a music video that taps into the song’s vintage aesthetic. It serves as the lead single to a forthcoming sophomore EP, but you can always listen to his 2021 debut Self-Care if you need more in the meantime. – K. Bein
Zeds Dead, “I Took a Ride”
To say that Zeds Dead has a big weekend ahead understates what the duo will actually be doing over 72 hours: a two-night headlining run at Red Rocks this weekend (July 2-3), and then a two-set throw down at Denver’s Mission Ballroom on the 4th of July. The fan-favorite bass duo has a new anthem for the weekend, too — and it’s a bit of a twist, with Zeds Dead releasing a house song. “I Took a Ride” is a breezy passing cloud of a track with a melancholic, sort of moody twist, and it should certainly meld well into the barrage of music Zeds Dead will be dropping this weekend. — K. Bain