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CLUB DRIVEL: July 2015

After three and a half years of keeping up a monthly dance chart, I've decided do a little re-branding. CLUB DRIVEL is now what I'm calling the chart, and it will double as a column. I was once an aspiring music writer, so this is something of a return to form for me. With all the hours I spend compiling these charts, I figure there's no reason not to spend a bit more time and write up each track. Write-ups should make the whole thing a bit more useful and visible, and that's a challenge I'm up for. It will be a work in progress for some time to come, but hopefully within a year's time, I will have many of the kinks worked out in terms of formatting, branding, etc.

I will continue posting playlists of the chart in the usual places (8tracks, Spotify, Resident Advisor, and Beatport). So if you're accustomed to streaming the chart, not much will change for you.

If you have followed my charts in the past, I ask that you please blast this around social media and help me get the word out. It would be much appreciated. And now, on with the show.

10. Kornél Kovács - "Pantalón" [Numbers]

Studio Barnhus co-founder Kornel Kovacs takes a break from the obligations of running his label to release Radio Koko for Scottish imprint Numbers, who has brought us music by household name acts like Jamie xx and Sophie. On "Pantalón," Kovács flips Latin freestyle samples into an Italo-influenced tapestry.

9. Bruce Smear - "Touchy" [Driftless Recordings]

This is something of a heritage entry because Bruce Smear's Chlorine EP dropped a year ago. I'm guessing many people missed it the first time around—as did I— because it was only available as an exclusive digital purchase through Driftless Recordings' site. However it has recently become widely available through digital and streaming, which makes the EP's standout "Touchy" and its oddball new jack swing an irresistible entry.

8. Rude Boyz ft. TD Snax - "Mercedes Song" [Goon Club Allstars]

In the world of dance music, few things are more exciting than being introduced to a budding genre and its outside-the-box rhythmic structure. Such is the case with "gqom," which Resident Advisor tells us is "a Zulu word that roughly translates to 'drum' or 'hit.'" Hailing from Durban, Rude Boyz appear to be at the forefront of this South African movement, and I will be keeping my eye on what they come up with.

7. Lakker - "Milch (Lahun Remix)" [Stroboscopic Artefacts]

In 2015, the break beat is starting to seem more and more like your disheveled, uncool uncle. You may find his dated fashion sense and bad jokes unappealing, but then you remember how kick-ass his BBQ is. That's sort of what's going on with Lahun's take on Lakker's "Milch." Its jittery drum programming owes quite a lot to the break, even though it's clearly not sample-based.

6. Panama Brown - "Theme From Panama Racing Club" [Viewlexx]

It's been since 1995 that Dutch label Viewlexx released its original Test Pilot compilation, but the second entry has been well worth the wait. Club Drivel mainstay Legowelt teams up with Viewlexx owner I-F as Panama Brown for the Italo-encrusted "Theme From Panama Racing Club," which kicks off this 20-year-in-the-making Test Pilot sequel.

5. The Galleria - "Calling Card" [Environ Records]

It's no surprise that the perfectionist nature of Morgan Geist keeps him from releasing music for years at a time. His classic house-influenced Storm Queen project saw its latest release in 2013. Two years later, along comes The Galleria, Geist's duo with alt pop/R&B singer/producer Jessy Lanza. This time around the item of historical reference is freestyle, an electro-influenced strain of pop music that rose to attention in the mid '80s. As expected, Geist handles production duties flawlessly while Lanza croons a convincing Trinere impression.

4. Mikael Seifu - "The Lost Drum Beat" [1432 R]

If the music of Ethiopian producer Mikael Seifu conjures up one word, it's "busy." People have claimed that Seifu's music bares some resemblance to the folk music of his native country, but I simply don't hear it. What I do hear are bustling rhythms, skittering hi-hats, and gonzo ethereal synth arrangements. Definitely more akin to Burial or Four Tet than something you'd expect to hear out of Africa.

3. Clap! Clap! - "Camo" [Black Acre]

"Camo" is a jovial 140 BPM, but it seems quite a bit faster on first listen. Its Africa-meets-juke rhythmic direction is not an uncommon one for this Italian producer, who released his debut LP last year. "Camo" would have been an easy standout on the album, but instead it has been made exclusively available alongside its B-side, "Fever," as bonus content for.. a pair of socks. You read that correctly. £10 may seem steep for two tracks, but at least you get to.. wear them(?)

2. Dark0 - "Fuschia" [Rinse]

Dark0 has become quite the fixture on Club Drivel and AiMT at large. His space at the forefront of the current strain of ethereal grime is hard to look past. Solace is his third excellent EP released in just over a year, and "Fuschia" is one of the work's snappier, more memorable numbers. And with it's trap-style beat structure and simple, soaring melodies, it's also the most straightforward song Dark0 has released in quite a while.

1. DJ Koze - "XTC" [Pampa Records]

If Orbital were to reunite, spend a few years in Germany, and eventually release music for the Kompakt label, I would guess it would sound something like "XTC." (And I mean that in a good way.) "XTC" is deep tech-house done right. It's fairly spare in its construction, but the more you listen, the pastoral chords and pulsing one-note elements draw you in deeper and deeper. A lengthy, subtly pitched down vocal refrain contemplating self improvement through drug use and meditation fleshes out this exquisite track.

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