Summer is finally here! While most records labels typically hold off on releasing albums from big-name artists until the fall, it seems that dance music doesn’t hold true to that ethos and continues to barrel along with no signs of slowing down. July features a host of choice releases, ranging from Para One’s seriously amazing back-to-the-future album to Mat Playford’s politically-charged release to Ultrademon’s highly addictive brand of slice n’ dice sample tracks. Here are our picks of ten July releases to check out listed in no particular order.
1. Para One – Club (Big Beat)
Parisian DJ/producer Jean-Baptiste de Laubier has continually evolved his sound since he began making dance tracks a decade or so ago under the Para One moniker. On his fourth album, Club, he’s outdone himself by producing a set of uncompromising club tracks which run the gamut from ravey piano workout (“You Too”), ’80s electro homage (“Sigmund”) and sample-delic deep house masterpiece (“Albatross,” a track that recalls the glory of famed old-school NYC house label Nu Groove). Full of a range of styles and woven together with a common musical thread, Club draws from the past while sketching out a modern sonic blueprint.
Essential track: “Wake Me Up”
Release date: July 15
2. Mat Playford – Too Big To Fail (Black Rock)
In the classic 1976 film Network, Howard Beale, the longtime anchor of the fictitious Union Broadcasting System’s UBS Evening News, has reached his limit and urges people to open their widows and yell at the top of their lungs, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.” Veteran UK producer Mat Playford seems to be in a similar frame of mind as Too Big to Fail — a belief that if a business fails it will have disastrous affects on the economy — clocks in as one of the most political dance albums to surface in recent memory. Over beds of refined breakbeats, silky soundscapes and crafty grooves on songs like “Over Leveraged,” “Ponzi Scheme” and “Keynesian Fears,” he peppers in news samples about the gloomy economy and the diabolical schemes devised to make the rich even richer. Chalk one up for the good guys with this smart release.
Essential track: “Ponzi Scheme”
Release date: July 6
3. Wolfgang Voigt – Rückverzauberung 9 Musik für Kulturinstitutionen (Kompakt)
Comprised of five moments, the genesis of Rückverzauberung 9 stems from its appearance as a sound installation produced for Doofe Musik, Lieder zum Träumen, Betäuben und Vergessen, a festival at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin in May 2014. Voigt’s arrangements are precise and pristine, with the synthesizer serving as the conductor of his digital orchestra. While this ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco and this ain’t no fooling around, it is seriously good fun that veers away from all things high brow. Collectors should take note: this release is limited to 500 CDs worldwide.
Essential track: “RÜCKVERZAUBERUNG 9.2”
Release date: July 7
4. Louie Fresco – Autophobia (No.19 Music)
Mexicali-based DJ/producer Louie Fresco broke out globally a little over two years ago with his funky deep-house jam “So Good.” In the same way he rinsed his track with Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love,” he unabashedly washes “Misunderstood” feat. Aquarius Heaven with The Animals’ “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and builds the track over ragga vocals. House nuggets are still plentiful (“White Sugar,” “Do Ya”), with his finest performance being the epic “Arabian Sexcapade.” Kudos to a producer who is obviously unafraid to think outside the box.
Essential track: “Arabian Sexcapade”
Release date: July 7
5. Jungle – s/t (XL Recordings)
With much of soulful/funky dance music centered around purism and/or fashion, UK outfit Jungle seem to eschew all the bullshit (for now, at least). Comprised of a duo named J and T, their vocal arrangements are as intoxicating as their movement-inducing grooves. Backed by a seven-piece band when they play live, these guys could well be on the way to becoming electronic soul’s answer to the Bee Gees.
Essential track: “Son of a Gun”
Release date: July 15
6. Ultrademon – Voidic Charms (Coral Records)
Rising Chicago via Kansas producer Ultrademon (a.k.a. Albert Redwine) slices and dices samples as easily as a Ginsu knife cuts through a soda can. His modus operandi consists of building effervescent songs by pitching down/speeding up vocals and beats and chopping up everything in his path. While fellow sonic trailblazer Dan Deacon also enjoys letting his freak flag fly, Ultrademon has no appetite (as far as we know) for conducting symphonies and the like. Instead, he’s created a relentless album that will leave you dazed, dizzy and wanting more, more, more. Forget the seapunk association that makes Dazed & Confused editors weak in the knees. Voidic Charms has legs to stand on its own bizarre and artistically glorious merits.
Essential track: “Flash”
Release date: July 25
7. Matom – Love Mistakes (Planet E)
Having ditched Matrom’s one-off mission which was to create an hour of music to celebrate the iconic Hansa recording studios in Berlin, friends and long time collaborators Matt “Radio Slave” Edwards and Thomas “Cagedbaby” Gandey take their relationship to the next level by releasing a full-length album. The LP features no samples or MIDI, embracing organic music creation at its finest and is given life through the implementation of Fender Rhodes, Moog Voyager, Clavia Nords, Roland Drum Machines, live percussion and guitar from collaborator Paul Sandrone.
Essential track: N/A
Release date: July 28
8. Various Artists – Cosmic Computer (Sonic Mind)
Kalamazoo, MI/Warsaw, Poland technocrat Donnell Knox’s Sonic Mind imprint celebrates its 20th anniversary with a compilation packed with new and exclusive tracks from a range of notables such as Dan Curtin, Fabrice Lig, Alphacode, Rob Salazar and Fabrice Lig. Cosmic Computer features everything from jacking tracks to more atmospheric efforts. Sonic Mind head into their next decade in a big way.
Essential track: D-Knox & Spiritman – “Body Intelligence”
Release date: July 14
9. Various Artists – Boutique Hostal Salinas: Ibiza Summer Sessions (Seamless Recordings)
Summertime can only mean one thing: Ibiza mix compilations! This massive three-disc set presented by Boutique Hostal Salinas features White Isle mixer David Phillips taking control of discs one and two (the first is decidedly Balearic and the second is packed with deeper, housier tracks), while PBR Streetgang flex their mixing muscles on the third disc that’s funky as hell. There are too many great artists to mention, making this a no-brainer for those with great musical taste who’d rather be partying than spending precious moments selecting music.
Essential track: “Nancy Whang & Bonar Bradberry – Working The Midnight Shift (Disco Version)”
Release date: July 21
10. Various Artists – FABRICLIVE 76: Calyx & TeeBee (Fabric)
Drum ‘n’ bass mainstays Calyx & TeeBee have scratched their way to the head of the heap through hard work, dedication to their sound and pure talent. The duo lend their mixing touch to FABRICLIVE and deliver a high-octane, 34-track affair that never lets up for a single moment. Though the duo include a lot of upfront tunes, they wisely mix in classics like Ed Rush & Optical’s 1999 remix of Optical’s “The Shining.” This one’s guaranteed to get a lot of rewinds.
Essential track: Gridlok & Prolix – “Revenge”
Release date: July 21