Weekly Roundup, November #2

From Grimes going techno to Yaeji trading up her style, we roundup our favourite tracks of the week. In no particular order, here’s what we’ve had on repeat: 

Yaeji, OHHYUK – 29 / Year To Year

The collaboration between k-house star Yaeji and frontman of Korean four piece Hyukoh is apparently the result of both artists feeling creatively stagnated. The last time we heard from Yaeji, she was turning Pac-Man into house music while OHHYUK was lending his voice to Peggy Gou. The meeting of these two minds as a result of musical writer’s block results in work that is distinctly different in style from their usual output, a shift from their respective sonic safe spaces toward something less familiar. 29 has the tonality of hip-hop while phasing from cavernous house and pop-punk guitar riffs into a bright bossa nova groove. Year To Year is dreamy and sort of amorphous, with oscillating electronic pan pipes and bouncing bass against post-punk guitar strums. The two tracks prove that sometimes the best cure to a creative block is to just dive right into the deep end. 

Arca – Electra Rex

Arca is doing the things. Just last week, the Venezuelan avant-pop artist released the incredible music video for tracks Prada and Rakata off their forthcoming KICKii album. This week sees the release of Electra Rex, the first single off newly announced album KICKiii, which will be released alongside KICKii. Electra Rex is immediately more reminiscent of Arca’s early style compared to her more recent cumbian pop explorations, chaotic and indistinct. Racketing beats shake beneath a whining synthline,shifting in pattern and tempo as her pitched vocals bleep out an ode to the imagined ‘Electra Rex’ character. A morphing of Oedipus and Electra as a new archetype, Electra Rex is in Arca’s words “a nonbinary psychosexual narrative to avoid falling into the same generational tragic blind spots… it kills both parents and has sex with itself, and chooses to live.”

Monobox – Fowardbase Kodai

As a member of the techno pantheon, Detroit’s Robert Hood is one of those artists who have single handedly shaped the landscape of the genre. One of the original founders of Underground Resistance alongside Jeff Mills and Mad Mike Banks and a progenitor of the minimal movement, Hood is a trailblazer who has made his influence apparent beyond his name. His releases under the moniker Monobox have always felt a bit more experimental, allowing him to explore facets of his minimal techno instincts otherwise foriegn to the Robert Hood persona. His first release as Monobox in the past six years sticks to this playbook, presenting us with the darker shades of Hood’s artistry. Forwardbase Kodai is as ominous as it is infectious; full of minor keys and storming percussion that chugs along relentlessly. An eerie drone note lurks beneath, adding a deft sense of tension to a track that sees Hood at his most insidious. 

Chris Lake, NPC – A Drug From God 

Firstly, let’s get this out the way. NPC is Canadian popstar Grimes. More specifically, it’s her ‘A.I Girl Group,’ or moniker that she’s using to release music outside of her label’s interference. This track was teased by British producer Chris Lake a few months ago, after he dropped it during a live show and posted snippets to social media. Finally arriving in its full form, A Drug From God is a full on tech house banger featuring Grime’s distinct timbre chanting a spoken word bit about money, fame and love as the ultimate drug from God while Lake’s production throbs with kinetic basslines and drums that locate Grimes at Ultra for the first time ever. 

Jouissance – Harvey Sutherland

French psychoanalyst Jaques Lacan coined the term ‘jouissance’ to refer to a state of incomprehensible pleasure or ecstasy; that insatiable drive for us to feel elation and desire. It’s a term that isn’t used enough in the context of dance music, to be honest, as no other word manages to more accurately define the driving force at the core of the form. Australian producer Harvey Sutherland takes the term as his point of departure for his new single of the same name, and boy, does he hit those pleasure points. Evolving from his usual disco-house style, Jouissance features analog drums and fidgety modular synths. Opening with squiggly, acidic arps and bursting into buzzy, percussive electrofunk full of handclaps and laidback riffs. There’s an element of frivolity and leisure to Jouissance that speaks directly to its namesake, and Sutherland crafts a kinetic retro tinged ode to the pleasure of chilling out.