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CLUB DRIVEL: October 2015

It's the fourth edition of CLUB DRIVEL! Read the column after the jump, or you can stream the full list in the 8tracks widget above or view the entries on Resident Advisor, Spotify, or Beatport if that's your thing.

10. Shackleton - "In Norwegen Ganz Verwegen" [Woe to the Septic Heart]

Sam Shackleton began releasing music during the first wave of dubstep in the mid '00s. He had a particularly minimal, cerebral interpretation of the then-new genre. And he has brought those slick sensibilities into the '10s with his own brand of surrealist techno. "In Norwegen Ganz Verwegen" is the B-side of the third and latest entry in his "Deliverance" single series. It continues to build on the tribal motifs that have become more present in his work in recent years. The whole "Deliverance" series is highly recommended, and "In Norwegen Ganz Verwegen" is a fine place to start.

9. Glacci - "Ember" [Heka Trax]

I did not invent the term "grimegaze," but I have used it numerous times to refer to the current ethereal strain of grime music led by producers like Dark0, Strict Face, Mr. Mitch, The Visionist, and more. The term has ended up being a point of contention. Some fans and producers within this small music scene find the term unflattering. I'd be interested to know what Glacci thinks of the term because his new Ember EP is exemplary of it. Although rather than keeping things 100% delicate throughout like many of his contemporaries, Glacci introduces some highly energetic—even caustic—moments. It's not the most original stuff out right now, but it is current, well balanced grime through and through.

8. Nicolas Jaar - "Fight (Nymphs IV)" [R&S Records]

Nicolas Jaar kept almost completely silent in 2014 but has been more than generous in 2015, sharing three EPs and a free re-score LP of the 1969 Soviet film The Color of Pomegranates. His latest EP, Nymphs IV, features only one track, which—appropriately—is filled with an EP's worth of ideas. "Fight" drifts in and out of subdued ambient territories then rips into dance rhythms with great dexterity. It's reminiscent of "Temple Sleeper" and other material by Burial, who is known to similarly pack a handful of ideas into a single tune.

7. Rolande Garros - "Wimbledon" [MMODEMM]

Frankfurt-based tape label MMODEMM debuted earlier this year with three EPs, each of which is curiously packed into boxes of five "cassingles." Rolande Garros' Grand Slam is the fourth release and first solo effort in the budding label's promising catalog. The theme of this release is clear—cheeky alternate new wave themes of international sporting events. "Wimbledon" is the standout for its victorious, faux-anthemic cheesiness.

6. Archie Pelago - "Clammy Customer" [Mister Saturday Night Records]

For anyone who grows bored of the absence of melodic depth in much of today's tech-house, Brooklyn trio Archie Pelago are here to fill that void in a big way. The three members share production duties, but each also brings a different live instrument to the table (sax, cello, trumpet). The rhythmic structure usually stays tethered to familiar house and techno constructs. The instrumentation typically leans on modern classical but can teeter on jazzy too. "Clammy Customer" works as a fine introduction to the trio.

5. Plastician - "Sorcery" [Terrorhythm Recordings]

Like the aforementioned Shackleton, Plastician got his start during the first wave of dubstep, but his trajectory since then has been quite different than that of Shackleton. Since his early days, he has straddled the line between grime and dubstep. More recently he seems to have found a more grime-centric footing, especially with the serene "Sorcery." This track may very well end up being a landmark in the grimegaze movement, and here's hoping that Plastician will return to this sound in the coming months and years.

4. Inoue Shirabe - "Camping in Your Soul" [Antinote]

The hazy lo-fi house of Inoue Shirabe could easily be at home on Not Not Fun or 100% Silk, but instead the Okayama native has landed a spot on the Parisian imprint Antinote. The most noticeable thing about "Camping in Your Soul," which is the B-side to "Down Into the Black Church," is the amount of atmosphere Shirabe can create with percussion alone. Throw some hissy synth washes, trickling key refrains, and a bubbling bass line on top, and you've got yourself one wonderfully nebulous mass of a house song, and you're all the better for it.

3. Call Super - "Migrant" [Houndstooth]

There's something satisfying about Call Super's use of vibraphone here. It serves as a perfect backdrop to this impossibly dreamy house number. "Migrant" comes off the heels of the London-raised, Berlin-based producer's ace 2014 Suzi Ecto LP, which had plenty to offer in the realms of ambient and experimental house. With "Migrant," Call Super returns to a more unabashed variety of dance floor-friendly house, a sound he's clearly very much at home with. Essential listening for anyone in search of quality left-field deep house.

2. Avalon Emerson - "Sword and Rose Forever" [Shtum Records]

Avalon Emerson has been putting out quality singles for over two years now, and all the while she's been improving at an incredible pace. I think it's fair to say that her latest EP for Uncanny Valley sublabel shtum is easily her best work to date. The key feature in "Sword and Rose Forever" is what sounds like a variably generated and very nasty synth. It's rowdy and playful but remarkably sophisticated. Emerson is positioning herself with a dual appeal for both club music purists and experimental circles alike. It's a winning balance and one that's likely to take her far.

1. Elysia Crampton - "Axacan" [Blueberry Recordings]

Full disclosure: I am aware that I keep giving the number one spot to very unconventional, "undanceable" songs. This isn't on purpose—it's just that the best dance music coming out lately doesn't adhere to some idyllic dance floor comfort zone. And Elysia Crampton is certainly off the grid in terms of club conventions. She is part of a new breed of producer making club-ready experimental music. "Axacan," which is culled from her excellent American Drift mini LP, is essentially a cumbia track gone gonzo. A cabasa shuffles along throughout the track's nine-minute-plus duration. Crampton cradles this rhythmic centerpiece with soft synths and bizarre sound collage elements, some of which are in rhythm with the song, and others.. not so much. (Admittedly I started checking my browser tabs for a rogue audio source when I heard the Lil Jon samples.) It's all very refreshingly disorienting.

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