Whether you want to chill out, taste the underground, rave or sample Absolut’s latest vodka concoction (more on that later), these hot-off-the-presses electronic tunes will help you on all fronts.
Pretty Lights “We Must Go On,” Pretty Lights Colorado’s king of downtempo you can dance to, Pretty Lights, slips another soul-sampling gem onto the Internet (free download at prettylightsmusic.com). This psych-hop romp with dazzling jazz riffs and a “times will get better” mantra is mushroom jazz fit for Mark Farina.
Scuba “Cognitive Dissonance,” Hotflush The odd one out on Scuba’s latest LP, Personality, this track skips both the future-bass sounds and the vintage four-on-the-floor that the visionary producer has been toying with. Instead, we get high-grade LTJ Bukem–worthy atmospheric drum ’n’ bass.
Maceo Plex “Under the Sheets,” No.19 Music The current darling of the underground techno-soul scene, Maceo Plex hits hard with a wash of bass that inspires one last turn on the dance floor and then lets you down easy with a delicate MIDI sax. It’ll massage your brain all the way home (preferably with a special someone).
Maya Jane Coles “Lookin’ Out,” Hypercolour Maya Jane Coles is dominating the deep-house circuit thanks to cuts like this. Meditative enough to put you in a trance and bouncy enough to keep you there, “Lookin’ Out” makes it easy to see why Beatport voted Coles its top artist of 2011.
Swedish House Mafia “Greyhound,” EMI The namesake song for Absolut Vodka’s latest cocktail, “Greyhound” propels these progressive house giants past hip-hop’s elite as the top choice for pushing product. We can’t vouch for the drink itself, but this track packs a lot of rave into a tight package.
Nero “Must Be the Feeling,” MTARecords If Skrillex and Kaskade had a love child, it might sound something like U.K. duo Nero. Drawing from dubstep, electro and big-room vocal house in equal measure, “Must Be the Feeling” bangs mightily but tones that bass-music bite down to a flirtatious nibble.
Flosstradamus “Total Recall,” Jeffree’s Hometown party rockers Floss dominate the DJ booth. Now they dominate the studio as well. This sci-fi trap-music freebie (head to jeffrees.tumblr.com to download) is a glimpse into the future of what crunk will sound like in 2050, and as wild as a chick with three…never mind.
Photek & Kuru “Fountainhead,” !k7 One of drum ’n’ bass’s original players, Photek is fresh off a simply brilliant installment to !k7’s DJ-KiCKs mix series, of which “Fountainhead” is an exclusive track. Overflowing with Photek’s signature deep ambience but with a dubstep framework, it proves that the man is a genius regardless of the sound of the moment.
SBTRKT “Evening Glow,” Ramp The tribal mask doesn’t hurt his appeal, but SBTRKT is a leader in the post-dubstep movement because of his strength in crafting precision bass-driven future soul. Teaming back up with vocal talent Sampha, “Evening Glow,” which tiptoes along as delicately as anything by poster child James Blake, is no exception.
Burial “Ashtray Wasp,” Hyperdub If SBTRKT is a leader, Burial is the post-dubstep overlord. As mysterious as his tracks are—like smoke and mirrors set to a beat—Burial has yet again woven static-filled beats, field recordings that exude the murky gray of his London home and the most heart-warming, lovelorn soul samples he can find into an epic 11-minute electronic-music masterpiece.
Nero and SBTRKT both set up shop in Chicago this weekend.