This week in dance music: Sacred Society Music Group launched a new label focused on ambient music made in spatial audio, Zerb and Sofiya Nzau released a music video for their viral hit “Mwaki” shot in Kenya’s Hells Gate National Park, we shared exclusive footage of Rico Nasty and Boys Noize throwing a mobile party on Friendship 2024, Mija, Dombresky and Netsky shared their sets from Holy Ship! Wrecked 2023 and REZZ, ISOxo and more were announced as headliners for a Lunar New year party series starting this weekend in Brooklyn.
New music? We’ve got that, too. These are the best new dance tracks of the week.
Bicep isn’t short on ambition with their new CHROMA project, which encompasses a record label, event series, a new and evolving live show and visuals made in collaboration with renowned designer David Rudnick and his Terrain studio. None of this works without the music to fuel it, but the Belfast-born/London-based duo deliver in fine form with ” HELIUM” a lush, nearly genre defying amalgamation of synth plucks, a grime vocal sample, breakbeat drums and growling bass written specifically for the pair’s shows at London’s Ally Pally at the end of 2022.
“The show felt a little too sweet in certain sections and we wanted to add some more grit,” they say in a statement. They made “‘HELIUM” to serve as something “a bit darker and more club-focused than most of our music we have released over the past few years. Although it’s actually a pretty fair representation of what we’re listening to and playing in our DJ sets”.
Launching on the tail of a sold out 15,000 person show at London’s Drumsheds last December, CHROMA is mean to encompass all varieties of Bicep music, with the pair adding that “We do a lot of more heavy techno focused music, ambient and various other styles that don’t really fit into the ‘Bicep’ sound, and which often never sees the light of day.” CHROMA, it seems, will shine that light. Bicep will play Coachella in April and tour Europe throughout the summer.
Pet Shop Boys, “Loneliness”
Pet Shops Boys, who celebrate the 40-year anniversary of their classic “West End Girls” this year, demonstrate their ongoing creative verve with their latest, “Loneliness.” A song that plays like the antidote to its titular sad state, the production has a peppy brightness throughout, scaling down to an elastic bassline for the choruses and building back up to a more parade-type atmosphere for the chorus. The song marks Pet Shop Boys’ return to Parlophone Records and comes from their forthcoming album Nonetheless, out April 26. The pair’s concert film, Pet Shop Boys Dreamworld: The Greatest Hits Live At The Royal Arena Copenhagen, also plays in theaters around the world today and February 4.
“We wanted this album to be a celebration of the unique and diverse emotions that make us human,” the pair (Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe) says of the new LP. “From the more dance-orientated tracks to the raw poignancy of the introspective ballads, with their beautiful string arrangements, each track tells a story and contributes to the overall narrative of the album.”
Wavedash & Madeon Feat. Toro y Moi, “All Ur Love”
Texas trio Wavedash link with French maestro Madeon and indie electronic fav Toro y Moi for the extremely feel-good “All Ur Luv.” Built around buoyant piano stabs, the indie pop track puts Toro y Moi’s plaintive, playful vocals at the fore, altogether creating a fun but still totally sophisticated jam with a joyful and genuinely resonant melody.
“‘All Ur Luv’ is, in our eyes, what making music is all about” Wavedash say. “Five unlikely collaborators and friends coming together to make a beautiful piece of music that, in some ways, is bigger than the sum of its parts. I don’t believe anyone else on earth could have made this song; without our flip of the original sample, or Madeon’s master-level pop writing, or Chaz’s ability to churn out ear worms with ease, this song couldn’t have been possible. It’s been the most fun we’ve ever had making a piece of music, so we hope you’ll enjoy listening to it half as much as we enjoyed making it, because we had a ball.”
The Blessed Madonna & Clementine Douglas, “Happier”
Reminding us once more that she has one of the most special, essential voices in dance music, Clementine Douglas absolutely blazes through “Happier,” a collab with The Blessed Madonna that created a breakout moment during The Blessed Madonna’s Boiler Room set last year in Bali. Out via Major Recordings, the track evokes the ’90s club production trend of the moment while still sounding fresh, with gently rising synths and a cool vocal chop climax indeed likely to leave you feeling happier than you were when the song started. The Blessed Madonna plays Coachella in April.
Orbital, “Tonight In Belfast”
Orbital’s 1991 classic “Belfast” gets reimagined here, with DJ Helen blending David Holmes’ “Belfast” remix with Manchester street poet Mike Garry’s “Tonight.” These many parts build a track that’s spatial, joyful and often delightfully strange. The song launches the campaign for the re-release of Orbital’s eponymous 1991 debut LP (known as The Green Album), which comes amid their Coachella dates and after a set at Ultra Music Festival in Miami. The following April and May U.K. headline tour will find the British genre pioneers playing The Green Album in its entirety for the first time.
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