Recommended Dose, our monthly column of the best in underground dance music, took June off while we argued over our favorite tracks of the first half of 2015. (You can see them here and listen to them here.) So we broke the rules and included a few cuts from June that we didn't hear while hunkered down in the NPR Music war room.
Our mix this month features boogie from Australia, funk and techno from London, deep house from Paris, broken beats from Berlin, and a remix of one of last year's most memorable dance songs.
Harvey Sutherland, "Bermuda"
If the name Harvey Sutherland sounds too good to be true, that's because it is. Melbourne producer Mike Katz's taste in pseudonyms rivals his abilities behind a keyboard, and those magic fingers are the stars of his new track, "Bermuda." It could pass for an unearthed early-'80s disco diamond if it didn't feel so of-the-moment. Katz recorded most of the cut live using his vintage Roland Juno-60 synth, a popular keyboard during the original electro-funk heyday, and the virtuosity shines through on every vamp and run. "Bermuda" has the potential to appeal to audiences of all genres and ages — it's that good.
Appears In The Mix: 00:00 - 05:39
"Bermuda" is out now on MCDE Recordings.
Dego & Kaidi, "Black Is Key"
Dego & Kaidi is the duo of Dennis McFarlane (of 4hero fame) and Kaidi Tatham (of Bugz In The Attic), UK dance-music veterans with more than 20 years of experience each. Both are known for their contributions to the West London sound known as "broken beat," a mélange of jazz, soul, hip-hop and drum & bass. They've collaborated frequently since the early 2000s, but have hit a bit of a stride the past year, with releases on Theo Parrish's Sound Signature, and Floating Point's Eglo Records. "Black Is Key," the slow-burning lead track to Dego & Kaidi's latest EP, is a paean to the African diaspora's influence on Western music of all sorts, with a chorus that we've been humming for the past month.
Appears In The Mix: 05:40 - 11:07
EP2 is out now on Eglo.
Pépé Bradock, "Abul Abbas"
Parisian deep house producer Pépé Bradock is one of the most beloved characters in the dance underground. His best work ("Deep Burnt," "Lara") during the city's French Touch heyday of the late '90s earned him a lifelong fanbase. Earlier this year, Bradock (born Julien Auger) was coaxed into Red Bull's Paris studios after two years off to fool around on the energy drink's expensive equipment, and the results speak for themselves. "Abul Abbas" was stitched together from "a crate of records that no club would normally have accepted," according to Bradock, and the kitchen-sink result feels akin to Caribou's more adventurous material. Why more musicians don't sample elephant roars is beyond us.
Appears In The Mix: 11:08 - 15:34
Download Pépé Bradock's Red Bull Paris session for free here.
Portable, "Surrender (feat. Lcio) (Kosi Edit)"
South African-born producer Portable (born Alan Abrahams) struck a chord last year with his single "Surrender," a romantic Balearic anthem about that feeling when you first fall for someone new. On that original, Portable's vocals wrestled the beautiful, cascading synth lines for the spotlight, and the repeated refrain of "Hands up/I surrender" lost a little bit of its charm with each revisit. DJ Koze (given name, Stefan Kozalla) fine-tunes "Surrender" to near-perfection on this edit for his DJ-Kicks mix album, stretching out the blissful instrumental and judiciously spotlighting the lyric. (While you're listening to his "Kosi Edit," head over here to read our feature on DJ Koze from earlier this month.)
Appears In The Mix: 15:35 - 20:46
Download DJ Koze's edit for free at K7.com.
PLO Man, "Rare Plastic"
PLO Man is an expat of an expanding Vancouver music scene that's responsible for some of our favorite tunes over the past year. He's long left the land of Mood Hut and 1080p for the dance music stronghold of Berlin, but his approach to the hardware remains Pacific Standard Time leisurely. His new EP, Stations Of The Elevated, kicks off with "Rare Plastic," a languid take on breakbeat music that's heavy on ambient vibes. With snippets of jungle poking through the haze, "Rare Plastic" represents a narcotic middle ground between new age and hardcore that never gets old.
Appears In The Mix: 20:47 - 26:36
Stations Of The Elevated was available on Acting Press, but is currently out of print.
Karen Gwyer, "S*** List With Kid"
There's an aggressive aimlessness to Karen Gwyer's new techno track, "S*** List With Kid." The London-based producer (who grew up in Michigan, and attended school with Wolf Eyes' Nate Young) isn't afraid to let her music drift into weird‑--even ugly--territory,; and to the closing track of her new Bouloman EP is exhilarating to absorb at high volumes. An ominous bed of pitched-up wobble bass lays the foundation for pounding 140bpm kicks and snares, but it soon gives way to what sounds like sustained bursts of microtonal church organ. It's a gnarly, religious experience.
Appears In The Mix: 26:37 - 34:20
Bouloman is out now on Nous Disques.