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CLUB DRIVEL: August 2015

Post-punk, freestyle, ambient techno, and Detroit techno walked into a bar...

It's the second 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. e-Dancer - "Speaker Punishing (The Dirty Mix)" [KMS Records]

I like the idea of this column being reserved exclusively for new music, but every now and then I gotta slip in a reissue, like this shuffling 1991 techno burner from Detroit icon Kevin Saunderson. "Speaking Punishing (The Dirty Mix)" has a lo-fi, barebones rave charm that countless producers are emulating today (most notably The Cyclist). Run your favorite classic Detroit tech-house track through a bassy telephone speaker, and you might hear something like this.

9. Koova - "This Is Not My Future" [Central Processing Unit]

Gavin Pykerman (aka Koova) is a UK-based electro devotee with a handful of EPs to his name dating back to 2009. "In Search Of" comes from his latest, This Is Not My Future, courtesy of CPU Records. Unlike the purist electro of the EP's other three selections, "In Search Of" is more of an homage to the freestyle genre. The track kicks off with a pair of mismatched cornball orchestra hits, which set the stage for the pop synths that later ensue. "In Search Of" may lack the labored perfection of another recent freestyle gem, The Galleria's "Calling Card" from last month's column, but it still offers a very fun interpretation of this underappreciated '80s movement.

8. Brian - "Woo" [S/T]

The music of mysterious New Yorker Brian Tessler is decidedly more straightforward than his gonzo visuals, but the two manage to fit together quite harmoniously. His visual art feels like a deranged meditation on '90s CGI, and his music is clearly formulated to accentuate that era and avenue of media. It's not vaporwave, but Muzak seems to be a clear point of reference. And while Brian is not a dance producer per se, "Woo," which kicks off his new Paths We Take EP, is easily the danciest number on the release.

7. Taragana Pyjarama - "Ber (Round Remix)" [True Panther Sounds]

Taragana Pyjarama's excellent downbeat Ariel EP gets some leftfield club remix love with the Ariel Remixes EP. The standout track is this reinterpretation of "Ber" by Danish producer Round, who twists a few elements of the source material into a barely recognizable subdued house affair. Round's work is accessible enough to be found on throwaway deep house compilations, but his signature organic sound offers much more than your workaday deep house producer.

6. Baby Face Thrilla - "Rep Ur County x Pisces MM" [S/T]

Sydney producer Baby Face Thrilla put together this simple A-plus-B mashup of Miss Modular's remix of "Pisces" by AiMT favorite The Phantom and the vocals of Tampa Bay rapper Thast's 2013 banger "Rep Ur County." MM's "Pisces" remix could have made this list without Thast's Plies-ian inflection looming above it, but these vocals improve the listen by fleshing it out in an unexpected way. While the heyday of the mashup artform has long since past, Baby Face Thrilla proves that it's still a viable party trick and that it can work in any era: past, present, or future.

5. Heathered Pearls - "Perfume Catalogue" [Ghostly International]

Polish-born Jakub Alexander (aka Heathered Pearls) straddles the line between deep house and ambient techno with his new Body Complex LP out on Ghostly. The tracks within barely deviate from a 120 BPM-range 4/4 kick drum foundation. Rhythmic loyalty is often a recipe for dullness in the world of dance music albums, but Alexander makes it work by staggering beatless ambient songs throughout, and of course it doesn't hurt that he's a very apt and adventurous house producer. "Perfume Catalogue" is a juicy standout, and while it won't set the dance floor ablaze, it might just provide a serene 4 AM transition to the chill tent.

4. The Pagan Rites - "Every Mauser & Browning" [Rat Life Records]

"Every Mauser & Browning" kicks off the post-punk/EBM EP of the same name by this little-known Swedish outfit. This is the only release by the band, and its material dates from 2013 all the way back to 2008. So there's really no telling how new "Every Mauser" is, but its bubbly, uptempo backbone works well in 2015, a year that has seen a continued resurgence of EBM dating back a few years. This is the fourth release in Uncanny Valley's Rat Life offshoot.

3. Kuedo - "Boundary Regulation" [Knives]

Kuedo has kept relatively quiet since the 2011 release of his excellent IDM-leaning album, Severant. He's finally back with the Knives release Assertion of a Surrounding Presence, an EP of terse ambience with big nods to Chicago footwork music. "Boundary Regulation" is the one rhythmic track on the release that deviates from footwork structures and opts for more of an irregular pop beat. Minor synth pads pulse, whirl, and tug at each other under a bed of vexing ambience to flesh out this driving track.

2. Hunee - "Crossroads" [Rush Hour Recordings]

Berlin-based Hun Choi has released music under his Hunee alias since 2009. The 11-track Hunch Music is his only album to date, and "Crossroads" is a great summary of what you can hear on the rest of the record—melodic, leftfield house with some caustic moments and touches of broken beat. Choi makes excellent use of his knack for whiny-but-catchy hand-played lead elements, and the punctuality of the bassline and percussion catapult "Crossroads" into bonafide danceable territories.

1. Precipitation - "Meditations on the Self and the Other (B2)" [videogamemusic]

The ambient techno stylings of SAW1 are alive and well in 2015. And 21-year-old Vancouver-based producer Zefan Sramek (aka Precipitation) has cranked out one of the best ambient techno songs in recent memory with "B2" off his excellent Meditations on the Self and the Other, a cassette offering of four lengthy songs on London tape label Videogamemusic. According to Sramek, these four tunes are relaxed straight-to-tape sessions. That's quite a feat considering the dexterous melodic depths achieved on "B2." Count Precipitation as a producer to watch in 2015 and beyond.

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