Every week or thereabouts, Mutant Dance Moves takes you to the shadowy corners of the dancefloor and the fringes of contemporary electronic music, where new strains and dance moves are evolving.
As recent numbers have put it, this spring was the warmest ever recorded for the United States, and as we’re now swimming in sweat floods come July, we figured it was time to ask a few DJs and producers what songs have heated, melted, combusted, flambéd or burnt up dancefloors for them.
Illustrations by Debbie Allen.
Four Tet (Text, Domino)
“Freak” by Happa.
Morgan Geist (Environ)
Todd Terje “Inspector Norse” has become a silver-bullet track in many DJ sets, including mine. This is Italodisco that benefits from hindsight and high-tech: even though Terje’s entire palette (and the EP’s namesake) is allegedly a single synthesizer made in the ’70s, the computer used to sequence, arrange, mix and master the song brings it into the present. The overtness (kitchy disco bells, bouncy bassline) makes it a shortcut to fun for even straight, uptight, or too-young crowds who wouldn’t normally relate to the unbridled joy of the best Italo, but then the key change in the middle moves those with their disco heart in the right place.
Jonathan Galkin (DFA)
“Harvest Moon” by Poolside.
DJ Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy (Ministry of Sound)
The record that I am getting the biggest dancefloor reaction to is a remix that Ashley Beedle, Yam Who? and I did under the name DarkStarr Diskotek, for the song “Children” by the Rapture. The remix hearkens back to the indie-disco-no-wave scene of downtown New York in the ‘80s but with some killer guitars and a stripped down vocal from the Rapture.
E’s E (Names You Can Trust)
Albeit a self-indulgent selection, “Rise Up” has been an absolute mainstay in my record bag and dancefloor smasher since we released it on NYCT a couple of months ago. Tyrone Evans’s cosmic heat rock from 1983, re-edited and re-mastered on a big boy 10″ pressing. Been playing it to death with plenty of success.
DJ Duane (StillLove4Music)
“Pascal’s Chorus” by Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Turquoise Wisdom (Dublab)
From their original jam, the “Valley of Paradise” 12″ (the title track or which is built on a loop from one of my favorite records of all time: David Crosby’s “If I Could Only Remember My Name”). It’s a beautiful late-night slow burn from Psychemagik.
Prince Language (The No Comprendo)
Australian producer Tyson Ballard’s “My House” on Voyeurhythm has found a place in pretty much every set I’ve played since I got it at the beginning of the summer. With breezy, plaintive synth pads that teasingly recall Frankie Knuckles’ “Whistle Song” and a low-slung bassline over a lazy yet deceptively bumping beat, it actually sounds like summer, and never fails to heat up the dancefloor and put smiles on faces. The sneaky sample of (I think) Aretha Franklin singing “Oh, let’s do it” is the icing on the cake. A perfect slice of dance music that works equally well at an outdoor party in the sunshine or a smoky basement jam.
Andrew Morgan (PPU, Earcave)
It’s got to be Tom Noble’s “Malaco.” We featured this one on the PPU Video Party Volume Two DVD. Originally released by the Future Times label, designed for wide-open spaces, “Malaco”’s intro has these eerie whistle synths that reach the furthest from the dance floor. It’s a fun one to watch people dance to as it wobbles; you’ll wait all night for it.
Tom Noble (Superior Elevation)
Ice Band with Unique Pleasure’s “Live People” was a rare modern soul single that I had been hunting for, for about six years. I then managed to get my hands on the original masters and got to do my fantasy mix of the song. It is just great to go back in on these old sessions and retroactively put them on par with the mixes that were coming out at the same time in NYC: Walter Gibbons, John Morales and Larry Levan. So I gave it the New York angel dust facelift.
Juju & Jordash (Rush Hour, Golf Channel)
This unknown white-label single-sided promo was handed to me a few month ago at an afterparty I was DJing with the Beautiful Swimmers in San Francisco. It’s on their Future Times label.
Maxmillion Dunbar (Beautiful Swimmers, Future Times)
This new JT Stewart a/k/a $tinkworx record on New World Aquarium’s label Indische Burrt: soooooooo BRUTAL.
Eamon Harkin (Mister Saturday Night)
Gregory Porter’s “1960 What?” This remix never fails and has been a real feature of our parties this summer.
Justin Carter (Mister Saturday Night)
The track that’s continually winning them over at Mister Sunday is FaltyDL’s “Hardcourage.” “I’ve played it every Sunday since I got it, and each time I put it
on, I’m surprised at how much dirty dancing ensues.”
Tim Sweeney (Beats in Space)
I definitely think that Andrés “New For U” 12″ is a huge one this summer. I mean, he was just on the show, so it’s the freshest one in my head right now, but everyone has been playing it.
Jacques Renault (Let’s Play House, On the Prowl)
First thing that pops in my head Storm Queen’s “Let’s Make Mistakes.” At the last Let’s Play House party, I played with Morgan Geist at 285 Kent for one our bigger fogged-out warehouse events. About halfway through Morgan’s set, he drops his latest single and the room went nuts, myself included. A memorable moment for me this summer.