Essential Dance/Electronic Albums for March 2015


Yeah, it’s cold as hell almost everywhere on the planet but thankfully that hasn’t stopped March from coming in like a lion with four weeks of amazing new music. House, techno, downtempo, bass, experimental — it seems that there’s something for everyone this month. Here’s our curated list of March’s most essential releases listed in no particular order.

The Persuader – Skargard (Templar)
Few mix CDs have withstood the test of time as well as Jesper Dahlbäck’s Stockholm Mix Sessions. Released in 1999 on Tiga’s Turbo Records, Dahlbäck’s session is a flawless snapshot of the mood and feeling of the global tech-house scene at the time. All these years later the Swedish DJ/producer revisits The Persuader, a production alias he used during the period before SMS‘s release (two Persuader tracks appear on the famed compilation,) for an album’s worth of utterly sublime tech-house. Skargard, which is inspired by the largest archipelago in Sweden, finds Dahlbäck with his head down and focused on deep, lush and housey. The bass is warm, grooves are tight and production is pristine. If you’re a fan of subterranean excursions, buy this record and go straight to “Pinnharan.”

Release date: March 9, 2015

Dasha Rush – Sleepstep: Sonar Poems for My Sleepless Friends (Raster-Noton)
On her first release on Raster-Noton, the globetrotting Russian DJ/producer takes a step to the side to explore the depths of experiential techno and ambient, with results that are often dark and always uncompromising. Over the trajectory of what she defines as nine micro-compositions and sound collages, Rush creates an unassuming assault on the senses by using music, poetry and photography to realize her concept album. Though standouts like “Dance with Edgar Poe,” “Sleep Ballade” and “Lumiere avant Midi” are solemn and beat-less, “Scratching your Surface (Revisited)” sports French vocals and a slow, wickedly dubby groove that would make Massive Attack take note. Sleepstep glistens like the high art that you’d see at a museum, but it’s still very much music for the people.

Release date: March 2, 2015

Vessels – Dilate (Bias)
On their 2008 debut, White Fields and Open Devices, Leeds-based five-piece Vessels etched out a musical framework that was tied to post-rock. Over the past four years they’ve been ensconced in a period of self-imposed musical evolution, slowly and patiently moving toward a proper electronic sound that’s bold, elegant and fresh. Their journey is now complete, and Dilate is the document of their pilgrimage. It doesn’t take long to feel the bliss from opening track “Vertical,” which segues effortlessly into the deep bass and beats of “Elliptic.” Their experience as live players and polish from producer Richard Formby (Spectrum, Wild Beasts, Darkstar) is the special sauce for each track, whether it’s on the simmering synths that propel “Attica” into the stratosphere or the bold drumming on “Glass Lake.” Dilate is a courageous album that could’ve only been achieved by reinvention.

Release date: March 2, 2015

Worriedabousatan – Even Temper (This Is It Forever)
Manchester musicians Gavin Miller and Tom Ragsdale, who also work together in Ghosting Season, revisit their Worriedaboutsatan project after a four-year hiatus and deliver what will go down as one of the finest albums of 2015. Influenced by krautrock, techno and beyond, Even Temper is laden with deep, minimal arrangements that are embedded with melancholy and euphoria. The hypnotic “Sleep of the Foolish” is endemic of the thesis they present, a slow burn that simmers by design but never ignites. The gorgeous vocal track “MV Joyita” featuring rising star Morgan Visconti tips its hat to Depeche Mode while the rhythmic march of “Jaki” presents the duo in an altogether new musical light. Hail satan!

Release date: March 16, 2015

Fort Romeau – Insides (Ghostly)
Three years after releasing his Kingdoms debut on 100% Silk, learnings from a series of releases and time spent in the DJ booth informs Londoner Mike Greene’s second album under his Fort Romeau nom de plume. Insides is awash with tight 4/4 tracks forged with deep bass and hypnotic grooves. The title track unhurriedly percolates on a slow, steady boil, while Greene goes sans beats on “IKB.” “Lately” is arguably the album’s deepest and finest cut, a number that would no doubt get a tip of the hat from Bobby Konders when he was producing late-night house back for Nu Grove back in the day. On the whole, Greene keeps the vibe fresh and loose, piloting Inside like a producer who is wise beyond his years.

Release date: March 31, 2015

Pearson Sound – Pearson Sound (Hessle Audio)
Well, it’s about damn time. David Kennedy, the prolific producer and co-head of bass music emporium Hessle Audio, finally gets around to releasing his debut album after issuing a plethora of releases under a host of aliases and a sublime DJ mix for Fabric. Known for mining footstep, drum ‘n’ bass, techno and a spate of other sub genres, Kennedy’s debut is as eclectic as you’d imagine it to be. On tracks like “Swill” and “Rubber Tree” he unleashes caustic, razor-sharp beats and completely flips the script on the evocative and highly rhythmic funk of “Six Congas.” Although many of his peers are slotted into one particular style, Kennedy’s unbridled eclecticism manages to always reign supreme.

Release date: March 9, 2015

Scuba – Claustrophobia (Hotflush)
Paul Rose likes to keep his fans guessing about where he will go next as an artist. Known for his excursions in dubstep, bass and even trance, he’s continually changing gears, even putting a halt to making music after releasing his third album, Personality, in 2012. After having health issues last year, preparing for his set at Japan’s Labyrinth in 2014 helped Rose put Claustrophobia together. The Berlin-based DJ/producer/head of the esteemed Hotflush imprint calls another musical audible on Claustrophobia, an album that finds him dabbling deeper into techno (“While You Feel So Low”) and electronica (“Drift”). While tracks like “Needle Phobia” and “All I Think About Is Death” come off as a tad somber, Rose’s sad songs say so much.

Release date: March 23, 2015

Tuxedo – Tuxedo (Stones Throw Records)
Soul man Mayer Hawthorne has made no bones about pledging his allegiance to dance music by collaborating with Detroit Swindle and uniting with Jake One on the disco-funk throwback project Tuxedo. Proudly channeling ’80s R&B outfits  from The Gap Band to The Ohio Players, the duo craft an album’s worth of some of the smoothest jams you’ve heard so far this year. “Watch the Dance” and “The Right Time” are delightful funkfests while slow jams like “Two Wrongs” and “Get U Home” show another layer to this musical union. Watch your backs, Chromeo.

Release date: March 2, 2015

Various Artists – FABRICLIVE 80: Mumdance (Fabric)
Jack “Mumdance” Adams first came to our attention a little over seven years ago, and it’s great to see him having his moment in the spotlight after years of hard work. After dropping the Proto concept album in February with kindred musical spirit Logos on Tectonic comes FABRICLIVE 80, a brilliant session overflowing with advance music and exclusives from the likes of Pinch, Untold, Acre and a host of collaborations. As expected, Adams’ mix is highly experimental and falls well beyond the confines of 4/4. Where he’ll take his sound from here is anyone’s guess.

Release date: March 16, 2015

Various Artists – Zehn Mixed by Chris Tietjen (Cocoon)
Sven Väth hands over the keys to the 10th and final installment of Cocoon’s mix CD series to his protégé and former intern Chris Tietjen. The massive 40-track, 80-minute compilation is chock full of big-name dance artists including Guy Gerber, Joel Mull, Nina Kraviz, Martin Buttrich, Adam Beyer and many more. Tietjen’s mixing is tight and focused, and he takes a lot of unexpected twists and turns during this journey. His “Chamber Nights” collaboration with Christian Burkhardt is easily one of the compendium’s standouts, showing he’s got some studio chops too. Thanks to Tietjen Cocoon close this chapter on a high note.

Release date: March 27, 2015

Darren Ressler

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