Raving Disco Breaks Vol 1.
T4T LUV NRG
In a time of uncertainty, it’s quite relieving when something does what it promises, and ‘Raving Disco Breaks’, a mixtape by Chicago DJ Eris Drew, delivers all three title ingredients in abundance. Although on paper the formula may sound a little clunky, on record – or on cassette, as is the case – and handled by Drew, it’s a storming exploration of irrefutable grooves and beats, peppered with old-school DJ flair. This is a mixtape in the purer sense, as Drew has essentially weaved it together from various gems and oddities in her record bag. There is – shock, horror – no tracklist, but you don’t need one, partly because that’s really not what this mix is about and partly because you’ll recognise some of what’s there anyway. There’s plenty of uplifting house plucked straight from the ’90s (24Hour Experience’s ‘Scatter’ and Jomanda’s ‘Make My Body Rock’ stand out), disco-infused bangers (Sneaky Tim’s ‘Ever Body’) and ravier scenes like Rhythm on the Loose’s euphoric ‘Break of Dawn’, plus – of course – big, chunky breaks galore, making things even-more dancefloor-primed. Drew occasionally gets playful with what’s there, but never at the expense of the tunes or the overall mood, making for an energised mix that demands repeated listens.Tristan Parker
Bobby Krlic aka The Haxan Cloak’s music has always been the stuff of shadows; dark, haunting and at times a little bit creepy while always powerfully emotive. Horror writer/director Ari Aster reportedly wrote the script to his new film Midsommar with Krlic’s morbidly stunning second album ‘Excavation’ on heavy rotation. Aster then brought Krlic on fairly early in the process, and the result is a terrifying soundtrack that holds its own, providing both evocative backdrops and also diegetic music that is performed on-screen by the villagers in the film’s pseudo-idyllic setting. The scene-setting pieces start out as lush homages to an ever-sunny northern summer countryside that is constantly at odds with the atrocities taking place in the film. Krlic conveys this juxtaposition of beauty and horror perfectly via strings and organic percussion, which is a marked departure from the electronic palette of his previous works. Personally, I have a weak constitution for horror, and the skin-crawling ebbs and flows, trembling detuned strings and freaky diegetic chanting in this soundtrack alone scared me enough already to keep well away from Midsommar. If that’s not an endorsement…Zara Wladawsky
Savage but smart D&B
New Zealand-born, Berlin-based Samurai Music occupies its own place in D&B. So it is with this set which feels more like a collaborative album than a compilation, despite pulling from a spectrum of producers including regulars like Homemade Weapons and label boss Presha alongside up and coming Torana and frequently nudging itself onto the techno-D&B axis. A collection that makes no attempt to back down from its brutalism yet never lapses into one-dimensionality, it’s pitched firmly at the darker corners of D&B, but there’s a subtlety and modulation at play as it seemingly tackles it from all angles. It would be easy for this to lapse into juvenilia or overegg its menace, but tracks like Antagonist’s ‘Ministry’ are artful without becoming finicky and primal enough to sate those who need their D&B to punch at gut-level.Sunil Chauhan
Time Traveler – Chapter 4
This Polish label’s latest collection features 13 tracks of characterful house tunes. Bicep’s Celeste is a classy bit of piano house joy, Cuthead offers deep and breezy summer grooves and Matthew Styles’s rubbery drum programming and tribal percussion adds to the generally outdoor, sun-kissed vibes of the whole compilation. Useful indeed.Kristan J Caryl