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Recommended Dose: Our Favorite Dance Tracks Of May

House music vocalist and producer Virginia.
Stephan Redel
Courtesy of the artist
House music vocalist and producer Virginia.

This month's survey of the dance music underground is energetic to say the least. Looking for mellow backyard BBQ jams? Hold off on those for another month. All six of our selections for May 2016 keep the tempos in the 120s or above, ranging from the ecstatic screams of the anonymous Mainline to the tribal polyrhythms of Lisbon's DJ Marfox.

Until the next dose, you can follow us on Twitter at @Sami_Yenigun (Sami), @raspberryjones (Piotr) and @spotieotis (Otis), for our day-to-day listening selections.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Recommended Dose: Our Favorite Dance Tracks Of May

Mainline, "Feelings (Vocal Mix)"

This anonymously-produced anthem popped up in premier DJ sets throughout the first half of 2016 and is now finally available to anyone willing to pay shipping and handling from Europe. Early co-signs included inner circle selectors Four Tet, Ben UFO, Pearson Sound and BBC Radio 1's Annie Mac, and you only need to hear about 30 seconds to understand why: The titular vocal sample nails the rapture of dancefloor euphoria. And while the track's producer may not have a name, that voice of God screaming "Can't stop the feeling!" does: Iyona, the guest vocalist on The Jason Load Experience's underground house staple "Mainline '90" (which itself was a cover of Black Ivory's 1979 hit record). Iyona's a cappella has been sampled several times over the past 15 years, but never quite to this effect.

Timecode: 00:00 - 05:08

"Feelings" is available now.

Alexander Robotnick, "Love Machine"

Robotnick (a.k.a. Maurizio Domi) is one of synthesizer music's wonderful spirits, a don of Italo-Disco and electro whose catalog stretches back to the 1984 hit "Problemes D'amour" and whose 21st Century foray back into the club with his own Hot Elephant Music label has been one part revelation, one part lark. "Love Machine" is both: What begins awesomely as melody-heavy, minimal house, perfect for 2016, soon acquires a keyboard-cum-horn line that's all swinging disco, like Kid Creole & the Coconuts being pimped for 122bpm, and then heads towards euphoria. It's hard to imagine having more fun than the good times that parts of this music hints at.

Timecode: 05:09 - 09:20

Music For An Imaginary Club Vol. 5 is available June 20 on Hot Elephant.

Paul Woolford, "Mother & Child"

Recently having massive impact as Special Request, his modern throwback-junglist alias, Woolford has been making steadily great (at times epic) house and techno records under his own name for well over a decade. And from its classical title on down, his newest single for Scuba's Hotflush label is a deep diver — an emotional, Detroit-style composition whose allegiance to the dance-floor seems at once central to its being (music for dancing and thinking) and completely beside the point (music for thinking). The track's base is a set of ominous, low-end string stabs, with sequencers and techno beats flitting in and around them, all tension and operatic movement. It's a wonderful piece. (The B-side mix strips away the party quotient altogether.)

Timecode: 09:21 - 15:09

"Mother & Child" is out now on Hotflush.

Rush Plus, "Low For Me"

The acid is strong in this one. Washington D.C. producers Jus Nowhere and Jackson Ryland teamed up to form Rush Plus (a nod to their city's subway system), and the duo's first official release, "Low For Me," is classic rave material. The track's main ingredients — a 303 acid squelch and a panned vocal snippet — take turns in the spotlight, fading in and out, left and right, and when they align, things get pretty crazy. Rush Plus released "Low For Me" on its own and only pressed 100 copies of the 12", which seems short-sighted for such a large tune.

Timecode: 15:10 - 20:55

"Low For Me" is out now.

Virginia, "1977"

You know styles are changing when Ostgut Ton, the label formed by the Berlin club Berghain, a mecca of hard minimal techno, releases an album of throwback boogie and vocal house created for the contemporary dance-floor. This has always been vocalist/producer/DJ Virginia Nascimento's musical mode, and her excellent full-length debut, Fierce For the Night, showcases soulful classicism in a thoroughly modern context. Co-produced by Steffi and Dexter, "1977" features a funky synthesizer bass line, Linn drum rolls, and a keyboard melody hinting at Rebbie Jackson's "Centipede," all of which place it squarely in the late '70s/early '80s while sonically prepping it for the modern DJ software and soundsystems from which its likely to pump all summer long.

Timecode: 20:56 - 24:59

Fierce For The Night is out now on Ostgut Ton.

DJ Marfox, "2685"

Marfox (nee Marlon Silva) has been at the forefront of a Lisbon-based scene that's evolved into Europe's capital of global-minded, future-forward dance music, creating a unique homegrown style from rhythmic pieces of the African diaspora and from good old-fashioned rave. "2865," which leads off his new album, Chapa Quente, is an encapsulation and the absolute best of the Lisbon style on display: layers of natural, polyrhythmic percussion mixing with a hyperactive flute melody, rising to peak-time fervor, getting unwound and re-threaded, again and again. It is as joyful as it is unrelenting.

Timecode: 25:00 - 29:18

Chapa Quente is out now on Principe Discos.

Sami Yenigun
Sami Yenigun is the Executive Producer of NPR's All Things Considered and the Consider This podcast. Yenigun works with hosts, editors, and producers to plan and execute the editorial vision of NPR's flagship afternoon newsmagazine and evening podcast. He comes to this role after serving as a Supervising Editor on All Things Considered, where he helped launch Consider This and oversaw the growth of the newsmagazine on new platforms.
Piotr Orlov
Otis Hart
[Copyright 2024 NPR]