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Top 10 releases: January 2015

Hibernating? Abstaining? Or worse - exercising?? Whatever your January entails, it needs new music.

Hanna Wants and Chris Lorenzo 'Rhymes' / Virgin / 25th January

An oh-so-familiar opening, Rhymes nicks the digitised vocal line from Daft Punk's Technologic and drags it into the 21st century with the deep and chunky bass lines that characterise so many of dance music's finest releases at the moment; deliciously heavy, but with enough skip in its step to get you grooving. Full marks for including a peow-peow-peow laser synth (technical term).

Pit Spector and San Proper 'Sleepwalk Your Sex Dream' / Prospector / 15th January

Prospector, the live-label concept, Pit Spector, the artist and San Proper the collaborator - it's like they want us to get confused... Tongue twisters aside this track is a slow-building beast. Eerie, dreamlike and dark, it oozes through several different stages and moods with the anti-hero of the piece, a lustful growling bass line, introduced halfway and swelling from there.

Leon Sweet 'Sunny Bigler' / Paper Recordings / 15th January

Not nearly so chirpy as disco tracks tend to be, this steady funk sounds almost as if it's in slow motion. Most of the dynamism comes from the fantastically varied male vocal line and its improvisational exploration of pitch, rhythm and tone. Expertly blended with the strutting bass line, the effortless falsetto flicks of the chorus leave the listener in permanent cruise mode for the day.

Pentatones 'Karma Game' (Steve Bug retouch) / Poker Flat Recordings / 12th January

Always room for a progressive and dark techno number on my playlists, all the more so in the depths of winter. Delhia de France's husky vocals add a sultriness to this brooding number which opens fairly modestly and slowly builds into an emotional and epic crescendo.

Daniel Steinberg 'Gotta Get' / Arms & Legs / 12th January

Peak-time banger right here. Daniel Steinberg's loud, thudding bass line comes crashing down on the delicate percussion like a ton of tits, yet the heaviness doesn't cancell out Gotta Get's lively and irresistable hop. A track for loud dark rooms and early mornings if I ever heard one.

BEA 'Filthy Believer' / BEA1991 / Video released 16th January

And now for something light and fluffy, anchored by a punchy brass section. It's been a few months since Dutch artist BEA released Filthy Believer, but the video just hit our inboxes a few days ago. It's taken me less than that time to develop a raging girl crush on the prancing pink marshmallow that is the sole subject of the vid and indeed BEA herself. You dance girl. You dance.

Sandeman and John Monkman 'French Girl In Berghain' / Rebellion / 19th January

Not usually one for overly-sexy female vocals, I'm making an exception for French Girl In Berghain. The atmosphere created in this piece fits perfectly to the vague backstory of getting lost in Germany's most high profile club, the industrial cavern of Berghain. A slow and steady start, it gradually escalates into the creepiest breakdown of manic and layered laughter, mimicked by high pitched arpeggiated synths.

Isle of Indigo 'Paycheck' / Method Records / forthcoming in January

Big, brash and funky, Paycheck will really grow on you as it struts its way across the blogosphere. Already getting support from Disclosure and Zane Lowe, it's clear Isle of Indigo (so far an anonymous act) is about to burst onto the scene. My favourite part has to be the punchy chorus where the vocal line is neatly doubled by a retro synth whilst the deep bass line is let out for a quick waddle.

Red Pill 'Learning To Punch EP' / free download / 20th January

If hip hop has a place in Ibiza, it's going to be this kind. Honest and balanced lyrics roll over sunny guitar licks and a slow beat in this smooth release from Detroit's Red Pill. This EP has more power and punch behind it than its relaxed tone reveals, each track with a unique hook reflective of the three different producers Red Pill has worked with on each.

Frank Ocean 'You Are Luhh' / unreleased / January 16th

Shared on what would have been the late Aliyaah's birthday, Frank Ocean has recorded a sentimental ode to one of the RNB stars of the ninetines.The melody has passed down a few hands, starting with the 60s band Isley Brothers', then onto Aliyaah and finally Ocean. The falsetto is clear as a bell and very beautiful, but the golden moment comes when Ocean drops to his normal register.

WORDS | Jordan Smith


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