Connecting the best in URL and IRL club music, this month with NTS DJ, RA producer and Tempo founder Martha
Welcome to the first instalment of Siteclubbing, a new L&Q column in which we’ll be scouring the digital landscape for the finest in new underground electronic music. We’ll be taking in the worlds of soundsystem bass, club tracks and experimental work to help shed light on the most exciting new sounds that might be flying under the radar elsewhere. It’s gonna be fun.
Every month, we’re going to be inviting a guest to shout out some of their favourite new releases too. For our inaugural column, we’ve got noted DJ and tastemaker Martha, whose weekly NTS show is a bastion for up-and-coming young artists from across the globe. Alongside radio, Martha curates and produces podcasts for Resident Advisor, and runs the DJ-centric running club Tempo.
Get stuck into the music below, and enjoy. We’ve even put together a buymusic.club list for you here, so if you’re into something, you can support the artists directly. See you back here next month.
Ugandan producer Don Zilla returns with some of the most genuinely anxiety-inducing club music to surface in recent memory. An irresistibly blunt pummelling of belligerent sonic maximalism executed with a considered sense of rhythmic pacing. The lacerated vocal stabs that feature throughout almost sound like the hook from Hardrive’s classic house anthem ‘Deep Inside’ mangled beyond repair. The whole release is mind-bending, with ‘Bujingo’ and ‘Tension’ being other noteworthy highlights.
Deena Abelwahed wrestles with ballistic breaks, subaquatic bass lines and sharp darbuka samples on this stand-out track from Flore’s recent remix EP. The release finds Deena, alongside LCY and Azu Tiwaline, reconfiguring tracks from last year’s RITUALS. A strong statement of intent for all involved.
Militant, yet tastefully balanced junglist science from Kessler on his new split tape alongside fellow producer AK Sports. While the aggressive percussion grounds the track, it’s the thoughtful melodic framework and expansive, evolving arrangement that sets it apart. The full release is a must for fans of the new wave of rave revivalism; a promising showcase of Kessler’s deft-handed touch across multiple breakbeat styles, bringing to mind the likes of Special Request, Sully and Tim Reaper.
Pensively yearning piano phrases soon make way for a tough drum workout, before finally the two opposing elements gel together as if there was never any question that they’d fit hand-in-hand. A surprisingly intricate track that rewards repeat spins.
A jaunty and angular excursion from up-and-coming producer Delay Grounds. At once playfully addled and hypnotically percussive, later the whole affair takes a step toward to the uncanny valley, its woozy wonkiness dissolving into something a bit more unsettling.
Sugar-rushed yet weighty UKG from the Overmono brothers featuring a chipmunked vocal that brings to mind the infectious energy of Sovereign’s ‘Truly’. Duly contorted in the latter half towards the darker garage leanings that birthed grime and dubstep. Simple and effective, a reminder that garage can still uniquely bang amid a dearth of sample-pack carbon copies.
Leeds’ BFTT heads the latest various artist EP from Ansia alongside tracks by Metrist, Siete Catorce and label-head Piezo. The track exists within the joyfully synthetic domain of the PC Music cohort, all glistening squelches and contorted pleather FX. As with YCO co-founder AYA, the line between contemporary sound design and club-ready party lark is always perfectly poised.
This gully roller is the stand-out from the latest vinyl-only release from London’s BLUFF imprint. The track satisfies in its patiently observed tension and release, expertly building and folding into itself in an uncomplicated but deeply effective way. When it hits, the muscular kicks, rattling breaks and hazy pads land with kick to the chest.
Purpose-built soundsystem jam from Stacktrace on the new split release from Riddim Supplies. Hefty dancehall rhythms beneath an earworm MIDI sitar melody – the latest in a growing wave of dancehall-influenced excursions appearing from across the global club community.
On a side note, the new compilation from Felix Hall, Now Thing 2, is a good place to start for historical context on the digital dancehall sound. The release is a spiritual sequel to the renowned 2001 Mo’ Wax compilation Now Thing.
I first heard Toya Delazy on a KG track and started researching her further. This track is going to sound incredible in the club. Toya says: “The song is about reclaiming myself, my spirit and roots, and more generally in a post lockdown world, the global rebirth, AKA we’re all going to be party animals.”
This is a record I’ve really been enjoying playing on my NTS show. Laughing Ears is part of my guest mix family – she built this amazing mix for my show last year. I’ve picked the title track from her new EP for trusted label Hemlock to share with you. I admire her ability to pair club energy with delicate, intricate layers of sound.
I met Femi at Tempo, the run club I organise in south London. It’s been wonderful to see him take steps into music and find his voice. I’ve picked Disinformation because I’m especially drawn to the storytelling in it, but the entire album is thoughtful and introspective, illustrated by delicate production from Ugly Corners. Critiques has really been keeping me company lately, I hope you’ll enjoy.
Mix of the Month
Bristolian soundsystem oddballs Bokeh Versions present the third in their Glacial Dancehall tape series, this time inviting Duppy Gun founder DJ Velkro into the fold for a selection of iced out and forward-thinking dancehall gems. Yet another reminder that the label is one of the foremost purveyors of all that is weird and wonderful across the UK scene, while joining the dots on an international scale.
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