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CLUB DRIVEL: November 2015

It's the fifth 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.Dance System - "Turbulence" [Ultramajic]

James Connolly (aka L-Vis 1990) co-runs the prolific Night Slugs label, which has been at the forefront of the left-field UK bass movement since the imprint's inception in 2010. Connolly's own music has always occupied the middle of the house/bass Venn diagram. But he reserves his Dance System alias, which he introduced last year via Clone's Jack for Daze label, for more stripped down variety of ghetto house. "Turbulence" has no bass line but makes up for it with a surging kick drum and an unceasing peppy synth refrain.

9. Reckonwrong - "Luscious Lips" [Whities]

Young Turks sublabel Whities makes its fifth catalog entry with four punctual experimental dance tracks by Reckonwrong. "Lucious Lips" kicks off the EP with a bang. A gonzo rhythmic structure persists throughout the track with the signature element being a scratchy snare sample that plays, reverts, and hiccups along incessantly. An eerie arpeggio sample eventually makes itself known and is played seemingly out of time with the song. Somehow "Luscious Lips" manages to survive as a dance track despite so many competing rhythmic ideas.

8. DJ Khalab & Baba Sissoko - "Kumu (Harmonious Thelonious Remix)" [Wonderwheel Recordings]

Stefan Schwander has been active in some way, shape, or form since 1990. He's played in a number of bands and is probably best known for his Clicks & Cuts-style minimal techno output as Antonelli Electr. His work as Harmonious Thelonious is a surprising departure from his Antonelli days. With Harmonious Thelonious, Schwander draws African influences into palatable, drifting variety of house. Thumb pianos abound on his rework of DJ Khalab & Baba Sissoko's "Kumu."

7. Tuff Sherm - "Greenhouse Dance" [S/R]

Sydney-based Dro Carey dusts off his Tuff Sherm guise for some playful deep house with this exclusive free download hosted by FACT. "Greenhouse Dance" comes off the heels of his new Dern Werk EP, a collaborative release with Patch Free out on Hot Haus Recs. Why he chose to make this particular track available for free is anyone's guess, since it's as good if not better than his other recent work. Here's hoping a full length is on the way.

6. DJ Dotorado ft. DJ Teklas - "Drena" [Warp Records]

We'll forgive Warp for appropriating the bizarre kuduro-house movement taking place in and around Lisbon and led by the Principe Discos label. DJ Dotorado's "Drena" comes from Warp's third CARGAA EP compilation, a series which spotlights this peculiar genre (and probably introduces it to an audience which largely may not have otherwise heard it). Not surprisingly, Warp opts to feature the weirder, more experimental examples of this sound. "Drena" is actually among the more accessible tracks in the series, and it also easily stands out as one of the best.

5. Kode9 - "Holo" [Hyperdub Records]

I've always found myself more impressed with Kode9's work as an academic and label owner than his output as a musician. But after 13 years of Kode9 material, he's finally released Nothing, his debut solo full length, and it pretty much instantly made me a fan of his production for the first time. Footwork proves to be one of the biggest influences on the album, which isn't a big surprise considering his visionary Hyperdub label has released its fair share of the genre over the years. "Holo" is one of the more footwork-oriented tracks on Nothing, but Kode9's clever terse spatiality makes it much more than just another footwork song.

4. Vejgaard Ambient - "Unknown Raver" [Metaphysical Digital]

Unless the small amount of available biographical info on Vejgaard Ambient deceives me, he hails from Vejgård, a neighborhood in Aalborg, Denmark, as his name implies. He has not—however—made anything particularly akin to ambient music lately. Instead his current efforts go into making a nostalgic concoction of rickety breakbeats and psychedelic techno. "Unknown Raver" is among the more frenzied tracks in his catalog, most of which you can find on Metaphysical Circuits (along with its digital sublabel Metaphysical Digital).

3. Sega Bodega - "Sun Loop" [Activia Benz]

Glasgow's Sega Bodega makes a bass-informed strain of house music, and with his latest EP, Sportswear, he's tackling airy melodies akin to the recent work of Murlo or Dark0. "Sun Loop" feels like a cousin to grimegaze, or at least the most 4/4-structured examples of the genre. Celestial flute pads toot along to provide the song's melodic centerpiece. A humming bassline, skittering hi-hats, and a modest kick flesh out the rest of this wavy tune. A good match for the Activia Benz label.

2. Matt Karmil - "Moment" [Studio Barnhus]

Studio Barnhus makes its second CLUB DRIVEL appearance in as many months with England's Matt Karmil, who is known for his peculiar strain of vibey house music. Karmil has kept very active lately with a number of 2015 EPs and 2014's excellent, oddly titled - - - - LP. "Moment" comes from the Dans Maxi Nacksving EP, which is all over the map stylistically. Ambient and beat scene-leaning tracks appear alongside "Moment," which approaches deep house territories but feels a bit too adventurous for that tag.

1. Morgan Geist - "Darkstar" [Environ Records]

Simply put, Morgan Geist is one of the best active producers in dance music today, particularly on the North American circuit. It's not surprising that he releases one single every 18 months or so on average considering the dexterity and depth of his song structures. It's not that they're complicated; they're just perfect. This is great for his legacy, but there's clearly a huge downside for fans and DJs who crave more and more of his work. Lucky for us, Megaprojects One appears to be a platform for him to create a more relaxed variety of his take on classic NYC-, Chicago-, and Detroit-informed house and techno. He describes the series as "a collection of low-tech tracks made with cheap little drum machines and rejected old synths." Here's hoping he's able to churn out other Megaprojects editions more frequently and leisurely. "Darkstar" kicks off the EP, and it's exactly what it should be—a thirst quencher for those of us who feel deprived of Geist tracks. It doesn't quite compare to Geist's labored perfection with The Galleria or Storm Queen, but it gets the job done and is a worthy addition to Geist's catalog, and I'm elated for that.

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