So far 2016 hasn’t delivered dance hits quite as large as, say, Lean On, but dig deep and you’ll find there’s plenty of good music being made right now. From maturing North American sounds to stellar local productions and plenty of European fire, the first six months of this year has given us house, techno, trap and beats-y delights by the bucketful. So grab your headphones, turn up the volume and catch up with the 50 best dance tracks of 2016…so far.
In 2016, OWSLA doesn’t just do bass bangers. Case in point is From Here, the feels-heavy, beats-driven tune from the label’s Worldwide Broadcast compilation. It comes from Louis the Child, AKA Chicago duo Freddy Kennett and Robby Hauldren, who are part of the new wave of artists changing the sound of North American dance music. From Here is only their second original, which means you can plant Louis the Child firmly on your artists-to-watch list. [Katie Cunningham]
German producer’s Recondite’s debut on Hotflush is a melodic techno weapon that’s built from the ground for a powerful impact. Warg goes for unrestrained epic vibes, with its high-pitched synths and menacing drops that rattle and thunder like the apocalypse. It made such an impression in his DJ sets that Recondite had to take to Facebook to ask overeager fans not to rip and share it prior to release, evidence enough Warg‘s packing some serious firepower. [Angus Paterson]
While Eric Prydz’s long-awaited artist album contained perhaps a few more straightforward club bangers than you might have expected from a project he’d been talking about for a decade, OPUS came into its own with those transcendental, vocal-driven anthems.
With a little help courtesy of Rob Swire from Knife Party, he really nailed it on Breathe. Swire sounds like he’s trying to impersonate Bon Jovi, and the whole affair shamelessly channels the extravagance of 80s hair rock. Just like all true guilty pleasures, it’s every bit as terrible and wonderful as it sounds. [Angus Paterson]
So far 2016 has been a big year for forward-thinking club sounds and few are doing it better than Ducky. The Los Angelean pushes the limits on her track Work, channelling Uffie vibes and proving that a 150 bpm is where it’s at. [Kristy Barker]
Legend of the UK’s 170bpm music scene Fracture teamed up with fast-rising star Deft to deliver a stellar track, perfectly capturing the leftfield sound which is becoming more and more popular in the drum & bass scene.
As always with Fracture, there are tonnes of rare samples and classic breaks all finely diced and re-combined into new, exciting patterns as well as killer bass growls which carry the groove. Deft’s personality shines through in the lush chords, chunky sub bass stabs, and schizophrenic percussion sequencing, which keeps I Just fresh throughout. Footwork-meets-half-time-meets-jungle at its best. [Andrew Wowk]
It’s gotta be a pretty daunting task for anyone, let alone a label mate and buddy like What So Not, to remix one of the finest moments on RUFUS’ massive album Bloom.
Unfazed and brave, What So Not’s take on the epic Innerbloom manages to stand proudly on its own thanks to producer Chris Emerson’s canny approach to remixing the 10 minute original. Isolating the mood of the source material in that chilled opening, WSN then reinterprets Innerbloom with a newfound tension. It’s a sweeping banger of sorts that’s faithful yet inventive, and one we’ll surely be playing for the rest of 2016. [Dave Ruby Howe]
Contrasts first fluttered out across the speakers at last year’s Group Therapy gig at Madison Square Garden during the ‘warmup’ set from Above & Beyond, eventually revealing itself to be the Anjunabeats debut for Belgrade producer Vintage & Morelli. Hovering ambiguously in that gulf between house and trance, Contrasts is haunting, and the build-up to its powerful peak is mesmerising. Groove-driven progressive trance that gets it right. [Angus Paterson]
It’s been a healthy 2016 for Aussie linchpin Nina Las Vegas with a whole run of overseas shows under her belt, including the big deal of doing Coachella earlier in the year.
Meanwhile Nina’s NLV Records imprint has been catching fire with big releases from Swick and Strict Face, but we’re particularly keen to single out her own EZY as the pick of the bunch. This one struts out on a drumline snare, before NLV swerves into the oncoming traffic of a pounding beat and buzz of noise. [Dave Ruby Howe]
Brissie producer Scraps does everything in the right measure on Touch Blue, easy-going as it meditates on a no-frills groove for close to seven minutes, never feeling undercooked or overdone. There’s noodling melody, a detached yet resonant vocal. It’s a gentle tractor beam, drawing you either to the dancefloor or towards introspection. Maybe a combination of both. A shiny opal from the Australian underground. [Lachlan Kanoniuk]
As is the case with much of Gold Panda’s productions, In My Car is stuffed with so many musical ideas that it could all very easily go tits up. Instead, it flourishes, and therein lays Gold Panda’s adept programming skills: keeping all the madcap elements sounding so beautifully coherent. With its crisp hip-hop template, chopped-up vocal samples and shimmering synths, In My Car ’s magic lies in its power to conjure up wistful, long forgotten memories. [Henry Johnstone]
Another year, another entry from power duo Samo Sound Boy and Jerome Potter. Their name might have changed – DJ Dodger Stadium quietly became DJDS sometime last year for reasons still unexplained – but the themes of hometown and heartbreak have not. On I Don’t Love You, the Body Higher founders are still making songs about breakups and videos about Los Angeles. The end result is, as ever, excellent. [Katie Cunningham]
Lindstrøm returned to the clubs this year with Closing Shot, keeping one foot in the psychedelic prog-rock sound he’s been exploring lately and coming out with a record that’s all the better because of it. He unleashes his arrangements one after the other over the course of eight and a half minutes, with the track’s early synth flourishes followed by a rubbery bassline, then a gorgeous chord progression, which in turn is followed by lush string arrangement, before it all peaks with a serotonin rush of a psychedelic synth swirl. Much musicality. [Angus Paterson]
It looks like this could be the year that Tkay Maidza graduates from darling of the Australian industry to the rising star the rest of of the world is obsessed with. She’s already scored a BET nomination – just like little known names Beyonce, Rihanna and Drake – and now French hitmaker Martin Solveig has tapped her for a collaboration. Together, they make magic: Do It Right is pure dance-pop joy and the sort of tune you would have to be straight up dead inside not to enjoy. Keep killing it, Tkay. [Katie Cunningham]
While he’s shared many a production experiment in 2016, so far dance music’s serial antagoniser has given us just one official single. Snowcone is Deadmau5 in downtempo mode – there’s no vocal, there’s no drop and the Boards of Canada influence is strong – but it’s a side of Joel Zimmerman we thoroughly endorse. [Katie Cunningham]
There’s plenty to love on Harley Streten’s long-awaited second album Skin but for our money, it’s the two-minute instrumental Pika that towers above the rest. It may be brief, but Pika is the perfect encapsulation of the direction we’re so glad Flume took on this LP: it’s icy, forward-thinking and a little bit experimental, but it retains the melody and emotion the Future Classic star built his name on. [Katie Cunningham]
If anyone had assumed German electro duo Digitalism were a spent creative force, the pair’s surprisingly epic comeback album Mirage would have set the record straight. Go Time proudly stepped up as the album’s lead single, a piece of crossover radio-pop perfection that channelled – and possibly even exceeded – the exhilaration of Digitalism’s biggest ever hit Pogo. [Angus Paterson]
For their second full length album, Faraway Reach, Los Angelinos Classixx called in guest spots from famous friends including Holy Ghost!’s Alex Frankel, Passion Pit, T-Pain and Future Classic outfit Panama, cooking up another set of tasty and slickly-produced dance music.
Standing out from the LP is the How To Dress Well collaboration Just Let Go, a track that plays to the strengths of both artists – you’ve got the glimmering production that has become Classixx’s trademark, while How To Dress Well delivers a typically emotive and whispy vocal. It doesn’t really matter that Just Let Go arrived after the Australian summer had waved goodbye, this tune is a pop-up poolside getaway all in itself. [Dave Ruby Howe]
Not only is Harry Agius one of the most consistent producers knocking about, he’s also one of the most versatile. Just look at the contrast between his two releases so far this year. While the Blush EP boasts three cuts of heads-down, sci-fi techno, the aptly titled Final Credits is a hands-in-the-air summer anthem that just wants to plant a big silly grin across your stupid face.
It’s not exactly wheel re-inventing stuff, but what Final Credits does show off is expert crate-digging chops and a knack for editing, with Agius speeding up the unassuming funk of Lee Alfred’s 1980 cut Rockin-Poppin Full Tilting and marrying it with a bittersweet diva vocal sample. Make no mistake – this one is destroying a dancefloor somewhere in Europe as we speak. [Henry Johnstone]
While the modern age of music listening places a lot of currency on the discovery of brand new talents, there’s a rewarding thrill to watching a couple of old timers bounce back with a reminder of what made them so celebrated in the past. So it was when French icons Cassius broke a six year drought and dropped the undeniably fun and groove-struck Action.
Fittingly, Action comes with the featured talents of a couple of other old hands, including vocals from Cat Power and Mike D of The Beastie Boys. The tune’s accompanying video, overrun with kitsch props and effects, gold body suits and synchronised boner thrusts, is obtuse but totally hypnotic – with is a pretty good way of thinking of Action, really. [Dave Ruby Howe]
By now it’s standard to describe James Blake’s music as ghostly, angelic or ethereal, but there’s no denying the primal impressions it evokes. Perhaps the original concept of soul music meant something this spooky and transcendent. And from the cheeky but perfect title of this song, the first single from his third album, The Colour in Anything, clearly Blake ponders these things.
Despite the control he’s gained over his voice, his crooning and pleading is still so ragged and raw – still as astonishing as it was five years ago. And he is, of course, still an awesome producer and composer, still at the peak of his powers with the spare beauty and shimmering weirdness of this one. Not fair how talented some people are. [Jim Poe]
Precious little is known about the real identity of German house wizard Traumprinz, AKA The Prince of Denmark, AKA DJ Metatron. What we do know is that for the past five years he’s released some of the most consistently fascinating and beautiful underground dance music (mostly on vinyl only), with uncanny command over multiple modes from bassy minimalism to melody-saturated, ravey progressive and drum & bass.
2 Bad might be his best yet, a jaw-dropping mini-masterpiece of string-laden soulful melancholy and wicked mid-tempo breakbeats. It’s a very deliberate pastiche of party-closing, everybody-hug-now ’90s anthems by, say, Orbital or Massive Attack, but still sounds like the freshest thing that’s come out this year. [Jim Poe]
Of all the guests aboard Paces’ debut LP Vacations – and it’s a star-stuffed affair with artists like Reija Lee, Bonde Do Role and Jess Kent mixing it up with less obvious names like Oliver Tank and Guy Sebastian – the track Work Me Out featuring American rapper Rye Rye is worth particularly high praise.
Work Me Out marries Mikey Perry’s past in Gold Coast bass duo Surcut Kids with the kind of tropical flavours he’s made his trademark as Paces. The vocal from Rye Rye is a serendipitous team-up too, with Rye Rye’s rubbery raps matching the bounce and fizziness of the beat. [Dave Ruby Howe]
Dusky kept their heads down producing a particularly functional form of deep house in the wake of their superb debut album Stick By This in 2011, though with the announcement of their sophomore album this year they’ve teased a return to a broader, more musical palette.
Its spectacular first single Ingrid Is a Hybrid sees Dusky stepping away from the 4/4, and decidedly towards the rave. The R&B vocals and deep house string sections are intact, though its broken beats bring a heightened euphoria that slingshots right through to its final frenzied drumroll. There’s a particularly wonderful D&B remix from John B that’s also worth checking out. [Angus Paterson]
Funky-house producer and bandleader extraordinaire Matt Chicoine, originally from Detroit by way of New Zealand, now based in New York, has held off on releasing music for the past three years, much to the chagrin of fans who fiend for his unique, thoughtful strain of jazzy deepness. Give the guy a break, he’s no doubt been busy raising his kids and moving house.
Now Honey Rocks comes along, and woah, was it worth the wait; the title track from his new EP is one of his best yet. It’s a highly textured marvel of effervescent percussion, spacey atmosphere and spine-tingling chord progressions; one of those tracks that makes you think that house music keeps getting better. [Jim Poe]
Odesza might currently hold the title of dance music’s buzziest remixers, but Jai Wolf is certainly giving his Foreign Family Collective label heads a run for their money. Last year he turned in on-point edits for Skrillex, kitty and Mocki and in 2016, the New York native has kept the hot streak going with his flip of Feels. Luckily, this won’t be the last dance time dance producers fuck with Kiiara – she told BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe this month that tracks with Dillon Francis and Marshmello are on the way. [Katie Cunningham]
Over the course of seven years and three albums, Modeselektor and Apparat have strived to master the synthesis of their distinct sounds. On III, their goal has come to fruition. This is immediately apparent on the first single, Reminder; staccato breakbeats pummelling their way through glorious, triumphant synths, with Apparat’s image-evoking chorus line (“Burning bridges light my way”) elevating it all into glorious pop territory. [Henry Johnstone]
Kenton Slash Demon’s keen sense of melody and emotional groove has always made for accessible dance music, but the Danish duo’s latest single Peace might just be their long overdue pop moment. Possessing a catchy-as-hell bassline (reminiscent of their excellent 2011 track, Daemon) and their first use of a vocalist instead of samples, it’s shaping up to be their biggest release to date. Frankly, it’s about time the newest members of the Future Classic stable received their comeuppance. [Henry Johnstone]
Feki had a pretty fantastic 2015 thanks to tunes like Remember and Quiet Minds and now, the Brisbane genius has started his 2016 on the right note with the excellent Thankful. As has quickly become the producer’s calling card, Thankful is brimming with warm, starry chords – drawing a few comparisons with Porter Robinson, which never hurts on the internet – and a real emotional depth even without lyrics.
Thankful never pushes too hard or tries to be too clever for its own good; it’s a steady tune in BPM and by nature, but it’s got Feki’s multi-textured layering as well as a lightness and adaptability to it that’ll likely have it on playlists for both the Northern Hemisphere summer and an Australian winter. [Dave Ruby Howe]
From the first few moments of Drop Your Love On Me, you get the feeling that something big’s going to come of this track. DiRTY RADiO’s vocals are wrapped up in some tasteful production before the arrival of grin-spreading piano house pumps. From there, things take off and we’re left with something that’s both soulful, jackin’ and, thanks to a little bit of vocoder, definitely funky.
Young Franco has been making us dance for the last couple of years (seriously, check his tracks with KLP, UV boi and Set Mo if this is your first taste) but this one will go down as the Brisbane producer’s breakthrough moment.
RL Grime shoots for the stars on Aurora, and what results is a track that pairs his ability to craft gargantuan production with tasteful restraint in the right places. The video for Aurora couples perfectly with the colossal nature of RL Grime’s production – showing vast and isolated stretches of desert from outer space, making this track sound like a precursor for a mysterious alien invasion. [Christopher Kevin Au]
Snakehips had great crossover success with their 2015 festival favourite All My Friends, and Tinashe’s sing-a-long hook served as one of the year’s most addictive.
On Money On Me, Snakehips collaborate with another West Coast talent in Anderson.Paak, weaving a woozy soundscape that has us floating blissfully through purple space. There’s plenty to love this track: Anderson.Paak’s irresistible “put the money on me” refrain is delivered endearingly, while the animated ad-libs slice through the serenity to inject some unexpected energy. [Christopher Kevin Au]
So far this year, Four Tet has collaborated with UK identity Champion and Melbourne’s own Designer on an EP, released a free download by the willfully-difficult name of TrackI’veBeenPlayingOnRadio+StuffSeemsNiceThing2DropBecauseSmashingItOnInternetShouts2B.UFO+A.Naples and pulled together a decades’ worth of odds and ends from his hard drive for the album-of-sorts Randoms.
But our pick of his 2016 productions goes to the Touch remix done for UK talent Shura, a subtle transformation that picks up the tempo and adds some shine. It’s the latest in a string of high-profile remixes from Kieren Hebden – recently he’s waved the magic wand on Grimes, Sia, Coldplay, Rihanna and Lana Del Rey – proving that electronic music’s most revered producer does fuck with pop, thank you very much. [Katie Cunningham]
There’s an ominous undercurrent that carries throughout Clouds & Rain, often clearing for flashes of legit brilliance from Sydney’s BUOY. The repetition of the vocal hook is emboldened by some fearless production tricks, with a modus operando that never settles for ‘good enough’. It demands repeat listens, and rewards each time with dense and deft craftwork. [Lachlan Kanoniuk]
It’s no secret that Tiga has a strong love for early 90’s rave music, regularly taking staple elements from the era and reworking them to fit into a contemporary underground framework, but still keeping that cheeky, playful attitude that characterised the early hardcore sound. On Planet E, he pays homage to those vibes with a nasty lead hoover synth that filters in and out of the mix throughout the track, while adding his trademark catchy, irreverent vocal content and underpinning the tune with a relentless TR-808 groove and gritty electroclash style bassline.
D.R.A.M was thrown into the spotlight last year after accusing Drake of jacking his anthem Cha Cha for Hotline Bling, but in 2016 he seems to be moving on from the debacle. Here, he’s featured alongside Mabel on SBTRKT single I Feel Your Pain, the standout tune from a surprise 8-track release.
The staccato production is backed by synths that heighten greatly with uneasy tension, before relieving the listener and building once more. It’s a rollercoaster of sorts that D.R.A.M rides confidently with his silky crooning, and Mabel jumps on a verse before the two tangle towards the song’s cathartic end. [Christopher Kevin Au]
This year dubstep pioneer Benga made his welcome return to dance music, some eighteen months after taking time out to focus on his mental health. While the Londoner’s solo EP Future Funk wasn’t quite a homerun, Boys Noize collaboration Dynamite was a sure winner.
Alex Ridha says Benga helped him take Dynamite from something “too busy and hectic” to the sleek, bassline-driven banger that arrived on his fourth album Mayday – and for our money, it’s the best track on the LP. (The uncredited vocalist laying down those howls, by the way? That’d be Don’t Wait singer Mapei.) [Katie Cunningham]
The PR campaign for Sasha’s latest album Scene Delete promised a side of the dance music titan that “you’ve never heard before.” Truth be told, if you slapped a 4/4 beat under most of the album’s ambient and modern classical passages, you’d wind up with the same emotionally driven club cuts that we’ve come to expect from The Man Like. Still, for all its hit-and-miss familiarity, Scene Delete possesses moments that are up there with some of Sasha’s finest. His sublime collaboration with Ultraísta, Bring On The Night Time, is a shining example. [Henry Johnstone]
This meeting of minds between Detroit’s minimal-techno master and Toronto’s mavens of dark, obsessive electro-pop made for one the coolest tracks of the year. The tension between Jeremy Greenspan’s hushed crooning – spookily obsessing over the fashion choices of an unrequited love – and Hood’s surging horror-movie strings and brittle pulsating percussion makes for hair-raising feels when Big Black Coat is dropped at peak time. It’s highly reminiscent of Kevin Saunderson’s late-80s/early-90s fusions of techno and sythpop – a welcome nod to Detroit’s expansive, accessible roots. [Jim Poe]
The UK grime scene roared back into the greater cultural consciousness last year, thanks in part to Skepta and the Godzilla-sized stomp of his single Shutdown. That one was inescapable in 2015 and it set a pretty lofty bar for Skepta’s fourth record, Konnichiwa. Luckily the album delivered and this year, the UK don has continued rattling with speakers with Man.
Adjusting to his newfound ubiquity on Man, Skepta bosses the would-be hangers-on trying to ride his coattails, hitting ‘em with a line like “told me you was a big fan but the first thing you said was can I get a pic for the ‘gram?” That’s gotta sting. [Dave Ruby Howe]
Could William Phillips – that’s the dude who produces as Tourist – think of anything more apt to title this tune than Run? Because it’s practically perfect – the title and the song itself, that is. One of many standouts from the London gun’s debut U LP, Run is the kind of song that demands movement.
If the rhythmic beat and the repeated intonations of “ruuuuuuuuuuuuun” don’t compel you to get off the couch and sprint down the street in your joggers, then it might very well convince you to pack your bags, tell your boss to shove it and race across the world and catch the sun setting over as many countries as you can before the euphoric smile makes your face hurt. [Dave Ruby Howe]
Though we first got acquainted with Ta-ku through his many beat sketch tapes, lately the Perth producer has been exploring the songwriting side of his artistry. In Brisbane’s Wafia, he’s found an ideal collaborator.
Meet In The Middle is the first taste of the duo’s forthcoming joint EP (m)edian and it finds Ta-ku and Wafia playing to their strengths; a precisely-rendered production full of mood-driven cues and Wafia’s magnetic voice. It’s a fittingly cozy listen on the ears that wraps Wafia and, yes, Ta-ku’s vocals together like the tentative fingers of two young lovers holding hands on a first date. [Dave Ruby Howe]
Anohni’s voice has always been a powerful force, a vivid beauty like no other. Here, it’s weaponised. For the album Hopelessness, producers Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke provide a fractured, techno-dystopic setting for Anohni’s politically charged commentary.
Drone Bomb Me is a confronting depiction of the now. Anohni attunes to global horrors, and brings it all to the fore in vivid, literal detail. Anohni pushes the boundaries conceptually, OPN and HudMo manage to find instrumentation that lend to both the horror and the beauty. [Lachlan Kanoniuk]
By now Karl Hyde and Rick Smith are both well into their fifties, but they’re still turning out the sort of music that makes you want to ignore all adult responsibilities and cut shapes in a crowded warehouse until dawn. I Exhale, the lead single from their first album in six years, is pinger music so pure you can just about taste the endorphins. It doesn’t mess much with the classic Underworld formula – those hazy drums and Hyde’s spoken word vocals still have centre stage – but we’re not sick of the ‘90s rave vibes yet. [Katie Cunningham]
This moody, implosive, achingly melodic midtempo ballad is a dream-team meet-up between one of electronic music’s most respected and versatile producers and Radiohead’s always-adventurous frontman. It’s a highlight on the first album in five years from the England-born, Sydney-based Pritchard, who’s stayed busy and recorded under many aliases since his 90s heyday in Global Communication.
The cool thing about this collab is the way its influences cut both ways. It’s obviously Pritchard’s loving tribute to Radiohead and their impact on contemporary music. At the same time it lets Yorke get weird for a release on Warp Records – whose glitchy classics from Aphex Twin and Autechre in turn loomed large over Radiohead’s leap into electronica at the turn of the millennium. [Jim Poe]
There’s been a well of talent in the Melbourne electronica underground in the past five or so years, bubbling forth onto SoundCloud with a loosely intertwining community. Simon Lam has been overachieving with projects such as the now-defunct I’lls, his newly resuscitated solo project Nearly Oratorio, and here with Chloe Kaul as Kllo.
Bolide is their best track yet, a gentle construction of ornate clicks and whirring bass. International success resulted in an extra ‘L’ added to their name due to German translation issues. Bolide will guarantee Kllo continue to be flushed with success. [Lachlan Kanoniuk]
While it’s been four years between drinks for Miike Snow, the Swedish-American trio showed no signs of musical cobwebs when they released their third record iii back in March. The stylish production from Bloodshy & Avant and Andrew Wyatt’s distinct lead vocal still sound super crisp, especially on album highlight Genghis Khan.
Reunited with their frequent collaborator Henrik Jonback (who’s also worked with Avicii and Britney Spears) Miike Snow saunter and shuffle all over this one, reaching genuine ear-worm status with that chorus and the ooh-ooh-oohs. Bonus points for that video clip. [Dave Ruby Howe]
“This is one of the missiles. This is one of the ones I guarantee is gonna make some kind of noise,” Baauer said of his track Kung Fu. It’s a statement that’s not to be taken lightly, and here Bauuer delivers a banger that’s enough to cause a snowstorm.
Pusha T delivers vicious verses that build upon his two-decade career of cocaine-based bravado, while the hovering production gains ominous weight for Future’s melodic, drawling hook. And just when you thought that the duo had delivered every drug reference possible, Pusha uses Macklemore as a metaphor for that illicit white substance. Suited to an Atlanta strip club or Miami mega-festival, Kung Fu is the crossover that most producers wish they could craft, and the track that Baauer’s been destined to make in his post-Harlem Shake career. [Christopher Kevin Au]
Given that Kaytranada and Anderson.Paak previously connected on the soulfully upbeat Lite Weight, expectations were high for Glowed Up – and it shines with hazy energy as one of the highlights from the former’s brilliant 99.9% album.
Trickling synths are bolstered by thumping, head-nod percussion, with Anderson.Paak’s raps reclining comfortably in between. His nonchalant approach aligns with Kaytranada’s equally relaxed approach to production, and mid-way through the beat flips and eases even further into dreamland territory with rolling bass and drums that hit like sonic skipping stones. [Christopher Kevin Au]
Flume’s most successful single so far, his first #1 on the ARIA chart and a worldwide hit, was, thankfully, a track that you didn’t really get sick of hearing just about everywhere you went. An ideal balance of sugary pop hooks and warped, jagged production, Never Be Like You is, like most of Flume’s work, a lot better than it has to be for heavy rotation on triple j. It’s the type of tune that provokes obsessive fascination each time the chorus climaxes, and makes your spine shiver each time the kick drum does one of those weird, wobbly dropouts. [Jim Poe]
There’s a theme running through the majority of Bicep’s productions: an unashamed love for retro house music. Single out any one of their cuts from the last five years and it’s almost guaranteed to sound like something straight outta 1993. This is no bad thing; ‘90s house is still very much in vogue, and Bicep have a canny knack for making their tracks sound decidedly fresh.
For their remix of Sydney-bred producer Isaac Tichauer’s Higher Level, Bicep continue to play to their strengths. Over a signature ‘90s drum beat and bass line, the Irish duo rinse the living fuck out of a twirling synth pattern, building it up and up until triumphant pads begin to emerge at the surface. It’s a deceptively simple trick that is deadly effective because, before you know it, everything has broken apart at the seams and euphoria is spilling out all over the dance floor. Why change a winning formula? [Henry Johnstone]