The week in the wide, wild world of dance: Swedish House Mafia was named in the Pandora Papers in regards to an offshore company the group formerly held in the British Virgin Islands; the “rocktronic” trio Princess Goes To The Butterfly Museum, fronted by actor Michael C. Hall, answered 20 questions about life and love; the Los Angeles city attorney’s office said it’s considering criminal charges against Diplo in regards to sexual misconduct allegations; and Diplo himself responded to these allegations in a long Instagram post in his defense.
Meanwhile, we sat down with Dillon Francis to chat about his new album, piano house and Libra season; got a very pretty new dance performance video for Nervo’s latest track; saw 16-year-old phenom Moore Kismet gracing our new 21 Under 21 list; and got a sage lesson on creativity from Anna Lunoe, who just launched her podcast, Create/Destroy.
And the music that makes this whole world turn? We’ve got that, too. Let’s dig in.
Lakou Mizik & Joseph Ray, “Kite Zo A” (Michael Brun Remix)
When Joseph Ray of Nero traveled to Haiti, he met with local roots musician and teacher Steeve Valcourt, and his musical perspective was forever changed. Ray spent the next few months learning and working with Valcourt and his band Lakou Mizik, transforming traditional Vodou chants into organic-house hybrids.
It’s only fitting that Michael Brun, perhaps the most successful Haitian electronic producer to hit the scene, is reinterpreting those moods in his own sultry style. Brun puts his touch on the tack “Kite Zo A,” a song that in its original form comes on as a slow and steady-burning trance of groove. Brun adds more tropical depth and dance-floor function, but the lyrical chants and rhythm remain complete, which — as Valcourt told us in our feature with the collaborators — is the true soul of these Vodou traditions. May Brun’s remix bring ever more international attention to this lasting cultural legacy. — KAT BEIN
Bonobo has always managed a balance between warmly immersive, hip-shaking rhythms and a vague sense of melancholy, capturing both the essence of the dancefloor and the morning after the party, too. This same alchemy that’s made Simon Green one of the most celebrated producers of the last two decades is all over his latest, “Rosewood.” The UK producer slowly turns up the dial on just about every element of the production, from the skittering percussion to the warm groove, to the floating clouds of synth to the vocal sample that adds another layer of comfort by promising, over and over, “I won’t leave you,” as the beat builds to something that demands you move. The track is the lead single from Bonobo’s forthcoming album, Fragments, out Jan. 22 via Ninja Tune, with the producer launching a North American tour in February. — KATIE BAIN
Apashe, “Witch” Feat. Alina Pash
There’s no one in the modern music scene quite like Apashe. The Belgian producer and songwriter lives in his own cinematic universe, one where orchestral grandeur meets tooth-crumbling bass and darkness permeates every muscle in your dancing body — but he also always saves space for some humor. The messy, beautiful and monstrous sonic themes of his music come to life in his high-production music videos, and his latest single, “Witch,” is a prime example. As sensual as it is bombastic, the song features Ukrainian rapper/singer Alina Pash who plays the head witch who takes revenge on a cruel, crusading king. It’s the latest and last single from a new four-song EP, I Killed The Orchestra.
“It has always been a dream of mine to perform with an orchestra,” Apashe says. “While shows weren’t possible during the pandemic, we prepared a livestream with the FILMHarmonique Orchestra in Montreal, and I absolutely wanted to have the orchestra perform new songs I was writing. I loved the result, so I decided to shape my next EP around the recordings of that livestream. While doing this, I wanted to resample those pure/beautiful recordings and almost destroy them into these dark songs I had written mid-pandemic. This led to the title… It’s a mixture of beauty and violence. That’s what Covid actually meant to me, in a way.” — K. Bein
Moonchild Sanelly & Sad Night Dynamite, “Demon”
With October ushering in spooky season, Moonchild Sanelly and Sad Night Dynamite have delivered a collaboration to soundtrack these longer, colder nights. “Demon” tells two separate stories from the South African musician and UK band, respectively, but they have in common a shapeshifting villain who at best is a meddler, and who at worst is intent on poisoning others with their toxicity. It’s alluringly dark but incredibly catchy, with a skulking groove and a blunt hook whose last line (“I don’t want to deal!”) spills pent-up frustration.
“When I heard [SND’s] twisted instrumental, I knew I needed to write about this Demon that was in my life at the time — a very real and dark experience I was going through,” Sanelly says. For SND, the story came to them “after Moon’s verse gave Josh a nightmare in which he was on trial for being a witch. In the end it turned out he wasn’t one, but by that point it was too late, they’d already drowned him.” — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Let’s rewind to April 2020, when Prospa uploaded a minute-long music snippet to their social media channels. “For your quarantine pleasure,” they wrote. “This one will be called ‘Voyage.’” In the 18 months since, the UK duo have released two EPs and a handful of singles — none of them that elusive track.
It’s finally here: Whereas Prospa typically sends serotonin levels soaring with their maximalist rave revivalism, “Voyage” is relatively subdued and aquatic, maybe even melancholy. There’s an eeriness to the typically euphoric vocals, which sigh and hover over brooding, crashing production like stormy clouds above turbulent seas. It sounds like the kind of track meant to wind down a crowd after an adrenaline-filled night; for Prospa, “Voyage” marks the beginning of their upcoming Rave Science Vol. 2 EP. — K.R.
Tchami & Habstrakt, “Eternity”
It’s full on jena se qua as French producers Tchami and Habstrakt pair up for their new collaborative single, “Eternity.” The song is a smooth seduction with edge, as a gently pulsing beat quickly ramps up into a drop forged from thick walls of synth. Vocals come from Lena Leon, who’s previously sang on tracks by artists including Deorro, Seven Lions and Tiësto & Dzeko. “Long time coming, something we started discussing a while ago and took our time writing,” Habstrakt tweeted about the song. Certainly, this type of “Eternity” was worth the wait. — K. Bain