This week in dance music: Coachella announced a 2024 lineup populated with more than 60 dance artists, including the hyper-anticipated return of French duo Justice. We also got the first look inside Hollywood’s newest nightclub, The Spotlight.
And there was, as always, also a load of fresh new tracks. These are the best dance songs of the week.
REZZ & Holly, “DYSPHORIA”
REZZ and Portuguese bass producer Holly link for the predictably heavy “DYSPHORIA,” the first collaboration from the pair. The track falls squarely in each producer’s wheelhouse, with huge drum hits, meticulously chopped and twisted bass, cinematic build-ups and inventive climaxes. Out on REZZ’s label, HypnoVizion, the song is the lead single from CAN YOU SEE ME?, the Canadian producer’s fourth studio LP. Touted by REZZ as “the perfect entry to this new bass music era for my project,” the song is happily challenging, veering in unexpected directions and exhibiting the best of both producers’ capabilities.
“This one means a lot,” adds Holly. “I’ve been looking up to Rezz since I came across her music in 2015. I have always respected the world she’s built with her art and how true to herself she has been since day one.”
Shygirl feat. Boys Noize, “tell me”
’90s house music maintains its massive influence on dance music of the moment, with varying degrees of success and innovation. U.K. artist Shygirl, working here in collaboration with German fan favorite Boys Noize, does right by this trend with uplifting new track “tell me.” Taken from her forthcoming Club Shy EP, coming February 9 on Because, Shygirl joins contemporaries Romy and Dua Lipa in romanticizing Y2K’s clubbing culture. And with “tell me”, she’ll actually make you want to dance, like she did for tens of thousands of fans when she opened for Beyoncé on the Renaissance tour’s London stop last summer.
Sammy Virji, “Moonlight”
U.K. producer Sammy Virji is one of the rising producers carrying the ever-burning torch of U..K Garage into a new generation. His latest, “Moonlight”, out on Positiva/EMI Records, brings the familiar groove of garage beats beneath a catchy vocal hook and hypnotic synth chords, with the production offering a pleasing turn in its eventual key change. Kicking off his North American tour in Toronto on January 25, the artist and DJ is one to watch for 2024.
Joy Orbison, “flight FM”
Rife with the esoteric sound design we’ve come to expect from U.K. producer Joy Orbison, “flight fm” is an uptempo house track with deep, rolling basslines that are reminiscent of his fellow Croydon natives, Skream and Benga. Released on XL Recordings, the track was produced while the artist was waiting for a ride to his performance at the festival Lost Village, tested on the car’s speakers before debuting that night. The song has since been rinsed by contemporaries including Four Tet, who spun it not once but three times during a Manchester B2B2B with none other Skrillex and Fred Again.. last year.
Clocking in at over nine minutes, Elkka’s “Passionfruit” revolves around an omnipresent synth melody and elegant piano phrases courtesy of American pianist John Carroll Kirby. Out on Ninja Tune, the song is an homage to patience — “the pleasure in taking your time with someone, to explore them and them you,” she says.
“This song was born out of an improvisation between John and I in the studio,” Elkka adds. “I took it home and expected to cut up certain sections, re-arrange etc but I quickly realized that I loved how it developed, expanded and didn’t rush. That’s what the song is about.”
Wh0, Mark Knight & James Hurr feat. Kathy Brown, “Turn Me Deeper”
Toolroom boss Mark Knight rallies with James Hurr and Wh0, bringing the labels’ signature peak-time energy to iconic ’90s house anthem “Turn Me Out” by Sol Brothers and Kathy Brown — and for a good cause, too. Funds raised by “Turn Me Deeper” benefit the song’s vocalist, Kathy Brown, who is currently undergoing treatment for stage four lung cancer. The label has pledged all of its royalties towards Brown’s GoFundMe campaign to pay for health care fees, while all original writers have allocated their publishing earnings to the cause as well.
Volaris, “Close To You”
Melodic house newcomer Volaris is coming in hot with the first release from his label HORIZN, ”Close To You.” The debut is especially poignant for the London-based artist as he celebrates overcoming a battle with cancer and also recently becoming a father. Now, Volaris is celebrating life with an emotive track primed for a warehouse, with a breakdown of belting vocal lines and a dramatic build-up that complements a lead melody reminiscent of Eric Prydz’s anthemic offerings. That makes sense for a producer that’s opened for dance music royalty Deadmau5 at Colorado’s iconic Red Rocks.