Weekly roundup: what we’ve had on repeat

Image by Sabrina Feige

From retro-futurist remixes to a single produced by some of the most innovative minds in contemporary music, we roundup our favourite releases of the week. In no particular order: 

Alex Virgo / Purple Disco Machine: Playbox (Alex Virgo Remix) 

Purple Disco Machine has become synonymous with his fixation on the past. The music he has created subsequently channels the sports of every record burnt at Disco Demolition Night to formulate inescapably infectious modern iterations of the disco formula. For any DJ, remixing these tracks that are so inherently grounded in the past hinges on honouring the epochal spirit of Purple Disco Machine rather than chucking it into the blender of contemporary electronic dance music. It’s something that London’s Alex Virgo clearly understands, with his take on Purple Disco Machine’s Playbox simultaneously honouring the track’s retro spirit and his own tech-house futurism. His remix switches the locale of Playbox from Studio54 to The Factory, opting for a razor sharp electroclash approach that trade’s the original’s 70’s funk for angular 80’s synthpop. It’s a smart move that allows for Virgo’s own historical influences to shine, leaning into his affinity for the decadently cool aesthetics of French Touch. Recalling the era-defining best of Kraftwerk and The Human League with lo-fi drum machines and laser pointed synth lines, Virgo’s remix is born from and for the discotheque. Stream it below.

Alister Fawnwoda – Night Bunny

Assembling an all-star cast with the likes of Suzanne Ciani and Greg Leisz is already a pretty good indication of where producer and composer Alister Fawnwoda is going on his upcoming album, Milan. Night Bunny, the first single, is a sweeping and ambitious piece of ambient sound design that is entirely easy to get lost in. Sumptuous washes of Ciani’s synths breeze away in the background as the subtle oscillation of the ocean moves back and forth. A waning Fender riff rises over layers of plucked guitar chords and spectral strings, folded into Ciani’s atmospherics and dotted with subtle electronic beeps and modulations. It’s an otherworldly portal into a strangely ethereal landscape, coloured by the brilliance of these visionaries musicians. Milan is due on AKP Recordings on September 24, pre-order it here. 

Claptone / Faithless – Innadadance (Claptone Remix)

Faithless’s 2020 album All Blessed was probably one of the most eagerly anticipated electronic music releases in recent memory, coming a decade after the iconic band’s previous collection. First single Synthesizer gesticulated toward a minimal house influence for Sister Bliss’s production, but it was second single Innadadance’s laid-back and jazzy house vibe that affirmed Faithless’s version of contemporary trends, sounding distinctly of the time. Claptone’s take on Innadadance however, looks to relocate it back to what it may have sounded like should Faithless have put this record out in the 90’s. Claptone’s remix vehemently embraces its 90’s house influence, featuring a bouncing, deep baseline and a piano chord progression for a track that feels beautifully inspired by and dedicated to Faithless’s legacy. Claptone turns up the BPM and adds breathy, smooth vocal accents that take Innadadance from the pool deck to the dance floor. While it may make Maxi Jazz’s absence a touch stronger, Claptone’s Innadadance is a welcome reminder of Faithless’s iconic and enduring impact on dance music. Stream it below. 

Machinedrum – Only One 

American producer and performer Travis Stewart, better known as Machinedrum, has a penchant for making effortlessly cool electronic music. Last year’s A View of U album combined hip-hop and trip-hop influences for a collection of distinctly smooth and starkly modern electro-trap tracks. His latest single, released on Ninja Tune, follows suit. Only One is a percussive breakbeat driven track that has a sort of jazzy, improvisational syncopation. It’s this factor that gives the track an edge of nonchalance, casually laidback with a sultry and scatty vocal performance from Anjelica Bess. Machinedrum’s interweaving of electronic and organic sounds produces a lushly textured track, with slick bass guitar and subtle, brassy horn flourishes. The whole thing thrums with a deliciously louche sense of irony, finding it’s soul informed by elevator music and the bizarrely comforting familiarity of trite 90’s breakbeat patterns. Only One is taken from Machinedrum’s upcoming EP, Psyconia on Ninja Tune. Pre-order the EP here. 

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