Diplo & Damian Lazarus, More of The Week’s Best Dance Tracks: First Spin
Eric B. and Rakim took a journey into sound, but Elohim takes that one step deeper with a groovalicious, psychedelic “Journey to the Center of Myself.” Proving herself a commanding force in today’s electronic landscape, this two-minute freak-out plays bright and unhinged with hypnotic bleep-bloops, grumbly bass lines and twisted choral vocals. Her lyrics cut hard to the point, sharing a story of self-medication and anxious evasion — but like, it’s super fun.
“‘Journey to the Center of Myself’ is much like a labyrinth,” Elohim is quoted in a press release. “The intention of a labyrinth is to heal your mind by following the spiral path without averting your eyes. Ultimately, what you experience is a short reprieve from the chaos of decision-making as your mind is allowed to wander, because there is no left or right, only a line that you know will lead you to the center and then back out again at whatever pace you choose. Johns Hopkins actually created one in Baltimore as a spiritual service for patients and their families to discover peace during trying times. This project was exactly that for me: it was a way for me to find peace in self-discovery.”
This is the title track of a five-song EP out now, the first of four coming in a volume set. Journey to the Center of Myself also features previously released single “Strut” with NoLa bounce icon Big Freedia. Check the full EP and prepare yourself for enlightenment. — KAT BEIN
Diplo & Damian Lazarus feat. Jungle, “Don’t Be Afraid”
Whenever Diplo shows up on his Higher Ground label, you can bet he’s bringing along a friend (or three) for the ride. After collaborating with Andhim and Elderbrook on “One by One” in April, the producer is back with a new and equally unexpected crew in Damian Lazarus and Jungle on their new song “Don’t Be Afraid.” Jungle’s music often flirts with disco and electronic styles, but here the UK duo is pulled firmly onto the dance floor with galloping percussion, shimmering synths and a certain Lazarus-esque melodic mysticism. Between Jungle’s come-hither lyrics and the balmy production, you’re transported to a pop-up disco deep in the Tulum jungle where the air is hot and humid and nature offers its own strobe lighting when sunlight peeks through the trees. Catch the vibe in the above music video, which in true Jungle fashion shows off killer dancers and style. — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Busy P feat. Haich Ber Na & Shay Lia – “Track of Time”
As of today, 2021 is 48 percent complete. That’s facts, but where in the heck did the first half of this year go? We don’t know, and neither does Busy P nor his fabulous collaborators Haich Ber Na and Shay Lia, nor do these poor French teenagers they “forced” to dance for 24 hours in the “Track of Time” music video. Busy P is the ringleader of Ed Banger Records, so you already know how it goes. “Track of Time” is a blissful bit of raunchy disco funk, all scuffed up with crunchy synth melodies and hand claps and robot voices. It’s brilliant, really, and we’d dance to it for 24 hours if they made us too.
Busy P has a lot to celebrate today, because on top of his dangerous little ditty, he and the team are partying for the release of Justice member Gaspard Auge’s debut solo LP, Escapades. It, too, is a beautiful way to get lost in the music, and if you’ve got 42 minutes to take a fantastic journey, we suggest you give that a deep dive as well. — K. Bein
Eli & Fur, “Broken Parts”
Nine years and many releases into their tenure, Eli & Fur’s debut album, Found in the Wild (out now on Anjunadeep), is long overdue but entirely welcome. The LP is a dual showcase of their songwriting roots and club evolution, often simultaneously. One such track is the equally gorgeous and devastating “Broken Parts.” There’s grief in the song’s DNA, with an overwhelming frustration and isolation stemming from the inability to effectively communicate with someone you care about. “So lonely to stay here, when I want to run, run away from me, run away from this,” the duo sing, their airy vocals more like wistful musings. That sense of restlessness fuels the melodic house production, which is deep and rolling but brisk. It evokes memories of midnight drives to clear the head, rolling down empty streets under the neon glare of city lights. “Broken Parts” is a one-two punch: melancholic enough to make you retreat into your feelings and clubby enough to dance those feelings away. — K.R.
Gorgon City, “Tears”
Gorgon City dropped into the scene circa 2012, helping — alongside fellow UK-based contemporaries like Disclosure and Disciples — to usher in the mass popularity of UK house and garage in the United States. The duo have maintained that same sleek, deep vibe throughout their discography, which expands Friday via the release of their third LP, Olympia. Named after the site where ancient Grecians would gather to pay homage to Zeus, the 18-track album contains a flurry of already successful singles, including “House Arrest” (with Sofi Tukker), “Nobody” and “You’ve Done Enough” (with Drama). Solid from start to finish, the album contains a few standouts like “Tears,” a slightly darker, thicker and more urgent production featuring vocals from Grace Grundy, a UK singer and vocalist best known for her cover versions of hit songs who here coolly requests, “Can you turn the music up? I’m trying to forget about real love.” This fall, Gorgon City will support the album via a multi-continent tour, which includes already-sold-out dates in London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detroit and more. — KATIE BAIN
Hannah Wants, “Never Gonna Tell You”
Like most dance music producers on the planet, UK mainstay Hannah Wants spent the bulk of quarantine in her studio creating a stockpile of genre-crossing new music. Calling this arsenal of tracks “by far the best I’ve ever made,” on Friday, she releases her newest weapon “Never Gonna Tell You,” a pumping, vibey deep house-leaning anthem propelled by hefty slabs of bass and a big-lunged vocal about keeping your true romantic feelings hidden inside. Don’t worry about trying to hide your enthusiasm for the song. — K. Bain
Bee Gees, “More Than a Woman” (SG Lewis’ “Paradise Edit”)
For disco producers, the music of Bee Gees is basically the genre’s holy grail, and on Friday, SG Lewis put his fresh nu-disco spin on the group’s 1977 classic “More Than a Woman.” Here, the UK producer thickens up the percussion with hand drums and a shuffling beat, slows down the BPM and does some artful rearranging to make the song’s eternally beautiful string section the edit’s standout element. Verses are largely discarded, with Lewis sampling some lyrics but focusing mostly on the chorus and other artfully placed Bee Gees harmonies.
“‘More Than a Woman’ is one of the greatest songs of all time, and to be asked to reimagine it was both a huge honor, and an extremely intimidating task at the same time,” Lewis says in a statement. “I wanted to take the love and euphoria of the original and place it in the context of the dance floor whilst keeping the original very much in tact. Making this edit made me dream of the post pandemic dance floors that are within touching distance now, and I hope that it can soundtrack a few of them as we come together to dance one again.” — K. Bain