Each month, we listen to hundreds of new electronic music tracks, test the standouts on loud speakers and highlight the best of the best in a 30-minute mix called Recommended Dose.
January's selections include some seriously gnarly vibes from the other side of the planet (Shanghai and Sydney, to be precise), as well as triumphant returns from two of New York City's most distinct dance producers.
You can stream this month's mix here or through NPR Music's SoundCloud account. If you'd rather just hear each song individually, check out the tracks below.
Dolo Percussion, "Dolo 5" (Future Times)
This is the best set-starter I (Otis) have heard in ages. Andrew Field-Pickering, better known as Maxmillion Dunbar and one-half of Beautiful Swimmers, occasionally produces rhythm tracks under the name Dolo Percussion. And like a lot of Field-Pickering's productions, "Dolo 5" feels powered by an IRL drumkit. The spontaneity he conjures without sacrificing energy is a real talent, and one that separates him from 95 percent of his brethren behind the boards. (Full disclosure: Sami Yenigun has performed with Field-Pickering on a number of occasions in their hometown of Washington, D.C.)
Appears In The Mix: 00:00 - 05:05
"Dolo 5" appears on Dolo 2, out now.
Lucy Cliché, "Shallow Shadow" (Noise In My Head)
Lucy Phelan has made a variety of music in Sydney's DIY scene for over a decade, including new wave, drone, and murky synth pop. Now, under the moniker Lucy Cliché, she's releasing a techno EP with the Australian label and mix series Noise In My Head. "Shallow Shadow" is a brutal drum beatdown. Nodding to Phelan's noise background, the track lays stuttering toms against a squawking bassline, with synth pads and jagged flourishes to darken the mood. It's a maximal track that's manages to be both ominous and inviting.
Appears In The Mix: 05:06 - 09:40
"Shallow Shadow" appears on Drain Down, due out Feb. 16.
Levon Vincent, "Anti-Corporate Music" (Novel Sound)
New York City's Levon Vincent dropped this freebie on his Facebook page in mid January, with a hint that it's part of a full length album on the horizon. "Anti-Corporate Music" is heavy. Lead drums power this peak-time cut, but it's the sound design in the upper register that crackles with electricity. Streams of rippling sound could make your hair stand on end and give you goosebumps in the dark.
Appears In The Mix: 09:41 - 16:39
"Anti-Corporate Music" appears on Levon Vincent's forthcoming self-titled LP.
Brassfoot, "Serpentina's Lust" (Apron)
The striking thing about "Serpentina's Lust" — aside from This Sick Beat™ — is the lack of low end. The latest single by London producer and artist Brassfoot doesn't try to blow you away with subs. All the action is in the upper register, where chrome loops, hi-hats and static bursts battle for your attention. It's a refreshing change from the standard club constructions and a promising sign of things to come for a producer on the rise.
Appears In The Mix: 16:40 - 20:11
"Serpentina's Lust" appears on Apron 15, due out Feb. 5.
Tzusing, "Frankinsense and Myrhh" (L.I.E.S.)
On a list of full of noisy techno, Tzsusing's "Frankinsense and Myrhh" is probably the noisiest here. The Chinese producer has made a deeply eerie dance track here; the high octaves sound like a deadly swarm of bees in the distance, using chords that squirm away from a steady note. Brash guitar sounds and pitched buzzing give this cut all the bug-out one could want from a club track.
Appears In The Mix: 20:12 - 25:01
"Frankinsense and Myrhh" appears on LIES-058, due out in February.
Black Meteoric Star, "Unearthed Arcana" (Sisterjam / Bossa Nova Civic Club)
Most probably know Gavin Russom for his time twiddling knobs with LCD Soundsystem. But the man's more than a supporting character: he's released incredible cosmic music under his own name (with Delia Gonzalez) as well as monikers like Crystal Ark, Black Leotard Front and Black Meteoric Star. The latter incarnation has been an ongoing project for Russom since 2006, with most of it emerging in 2009 on one of the finest albums of that year. Thankfully, there's more on the way in February — 18 minutes more. "Unearthed Arcana" is the type of proto-techno that soundtracks empty highways.
Appears In The Mix: 25:02 - 41:18
"Unearthed Arcana" appears on Bushwick Is Melting, Vol. 2, due out Feb. 26.