Essential Dance/Electronic Albums for August 2015


People often talk about the dog days of summer, and the term applies to album releases pretty well, since it’s often been the practice of larger labels to cool their schedules down in the summer months, waiting until the last quarter of the year to drop their biggest bombs. But that also means that the field is open for the indies and the less ubiquitous artists to sneak their wares onto the table without too much undue competition. In the spirit of that notion, you’ll notice the underground bubbling up to the surface as we zero in on some of the most intriguing releases coming our way this month.

The Black Dog – Neither/Neither (Dust Science Recordings)

British techno trio The Black Dog raises its head once more with Neither/Neither. This is the veteran outfit’s 12th album, and their energy and focus show no signs of flagging so far. This crew was keeping it real with acid house and ambient techno when some of you were still in diapers, and you can bet they’ve still got a thing or two to offer anybody who cares to lend an ear. The record, released on the ensemble’s own Dust Science Recordings, will be available in CD, digital and LP formats, so whatever you’re working with, there’s no excuse for not snapping the thing up.

Essential track: “Hollow Stories Hollow Head”

Release date: August 17

Woolfy vs. Projections – Stations (Permanent Vacation)

This album marks the conclusion of a trilogy that began back in 2008 between Simon James and Dan Hastie. A space adventurer by the name of Captain Starlight is at the center of the concept threading through all the records, so you know you’re in for something at least slightly cosmic. You’re also in for something undeniably eclectic — you can expect stations to incorporate dashes of everything from disco and funk to folk and psychedelia, all swirled together with an appropriately summery Balearic feel for maximum August impact.

Essential track: “Absynth”

Release date: August 21

Heathered Pearls – Body Complex (Ghostly)

Born in Poland, bred in Detroit and currently operating out of Brooklyn, Jakub Alexander was influenced by both ambient music and more beat-oriented avenues of expression. In examining the sound of his latest album, he mentions the concept of “interior architecture,” and listening to the way he brings atmospheric textures and rhythmic locomotion together in a seamless sort of way, that notion starts to make a lot of sense. You can swim through this ocean of sound or just let it wash over you, whichever way the spirit moves you.

Essential track “Sunken Living Area”

Release date: August 7

Slim Twig – Thank You For Stickin’ With Twig (DFA)

Is there still room for a “rock ‘n’ roll subversive” in the 21st century music scene? Slim Twig thinks there is, and who are we to argue? Of course, his definition of rock ‘n’ roll is a pretty open-ended one that involves synths and guitars transmuted into a swirling, swampy sonic atmosphere that’s at once thrilling and disorienting in a futuristic sort of way. But hey, that sounds pretty much like what a rock ‘n’ roll subversive should be doing.

Essential track: “Slippin’ Slidin’”
Release date: August 7

Yard One – When Elements Collide (Tact Recordings)

Time to let somebody new step up to the plate. When Elements Collide is the debut album from the British duo of Jordan Bruce and Larry Jones. The pair have already put out remixes and EPs, but this is their first full-length. Ambient spirituality, intense grooves, jazzy harmonic sensibilities and funkified riffs are all part of the package as the record gathers steam by turns subtle, supple, sensual and beat-centric. It’s a rich journey full of fascinating detours — just don’t get yourself lost along the way, you might not want to come back.

Essential track: “Memory Echoes”

Release date: August 3

DJ T. & Luke Solomon – Defected Gets Physical (Defected Records)

When two of the top dance labels around, Defected and Get Physical, come together for a historic DJ mix, it takes a triple-length record to tell the tale. Defected housemaster/A&R man Luke Solomon represents his side of the fence, while Get Physical’s co-founder DJ T. is on the other. Each one comes armed with an awesome archive of sounds from their respective labels, and Matthew Dear, Jimmy Edgar, Osunlade, Maya Jane Coles and Dennis Ferrer are just a few of the artists who pop up over the course of this once-in-a-lifetime milestone mix.

Essential track: Osunlade – “Envision” (Yoruba Soul Mix)

Release date: August 28

Various Artists – Cocoon Compilation O (Cocoon)

From minimal house to techno and beyond, the latest compilation to come out of the Cocoon label offers all kinds of rhythmic perspectives while still maintaining a linear feel. That’s no easy feat, but the folks at Cocoon have been doing it long enough that they know all the ins and outs of crafting a concise-but-flowing feel for a mix. Who will you hear along the way? Glad you asked. Everyone from Ronald M. Dill and Tripmastaz to Steve Parker, Reset Robot and Luca Ballerini turns out to make this one move.

Essential track: Roland M. Dill – “The Messenger”

Release date: August 31

Various Artists – fabric83: Joris Voorn (fabric)

Hard to believe though it may be, this will be the 83rd installment in the now-legendary fabric mix series, and Joris Voorn definitely does justice to the legacy of these collections. Michael Mayer, Wassermann, Superpitcher, and others all contribute exclusive new tracks for the cause, and Dutch DJ supreme Voorn puts his vast knowledge and skill to work on a mix that incorporates tracks from the likes of Speedy J, Plastikman, John Tejada, Cobblestone Jazz, Roland Klinkenberg and more.

Essential track: Plastikman – “Consumed”

Release date: August 21

Various Artists – TOTAL 15 (Kompakt)

Kompakt’s always reliable TOTAL series returns with its 15th edition (!). Like its predecessors, it’s a sprawling affair — 15 clocks in at 24 tracks and features an array of bespoke electronic cuts, from label co-owners Wolfgang Voigt, Michael Mayer and Jürgen Paape to Kompakt regulars including Kölsch, Gui Boratto, Agoria, Dave DK, Matias Aguayo and John Tejada. Each selection is a highlight, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t tip our hat to DJ Tennis’ edit of Vermont‘s “Majestät,” a slice of late-night bliss calling to mind Mr. Fingers’ pioneering exploits in the ’90s. On the whole, the care and context the Cologne-based imprint provides for TOTAL is truly something to behold and relish.

Release date: August 21

Essential track: Audion feat. Troels Abrahamsen — “Dem Howl”

Jim Allen

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