Though it might not feel like it, British Summer Time has just hit, and what better way to kick off all that festival-going than rounding up some of the finest bits of wax and digital downloads that the electronic world has to offer? Below we've listed the best of the best dance singles and EPs to have come sailing through Clash's digital mailbox.
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The slaughterhouse that is Tectonic right now (we're still reeling from Pinch + Mumdance's 'Big Slug') has ushered in Walton, fresh from outings on Keysound and Hyperdub. The Manchester noisemaker kicks things off with 'Wrench', a pneumatic drill-ed out cut with a UK funky swing, while 'Flute Riddim' flirts with breathy woodwind grime and more claps than a flamenco show. It's the weighty title track that hits the hardest, though - lurching between 'OK!' and 'nah!' as vocal reference points. 10/10, would listen again (...we already are).
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'Highlife World Series: Kenya'
The Huntleys + Palmers sister label drops the second in their Highlife series: set up to release collaborations between label mainstays Auntie Flo and Esa and local musicians on their travels. This time we've been flown from Cuba to Kenya, with Esa going solo to work with East African collectives Santuri and Makadem, as well as Nairobi band Sarabi. Rhythmic complexity and solid grooves underpin this set of three tracks - with the final, remixed by Sam Jones, "denouncing the tribalism and corruption choking Kenya's growth."
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Over a year on from the Chicago pioneer's passing, Hyperdub have reached into the vault to compile a brand new release of four unreleased tracks. With all proceeds going to Rashad's family, the '6613' EP boasts collaborations with Spinn, Gant-Man, Taso and DJ Manny. As you'd expect from the luminary, it's a patchwork of skippy, frenetic footwork that weaves a web of danceable intricacy, with vocal snips offered up as percussive tools.
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'Green Eyes EP'
Sinogrime strikes back. Layers of Eastern-facing synth strokes flavour the intro to Spokes's four-tracker on the perennially great Coyote Records. The Loose Synths crew member delivers again on 'Mutations', which lowers the tempo to something resembling a sunken rave underworld. And it doesn't get more melodic than 'Ritalin', which gets an overhaul by key player E.M.M.A, who dices it into finer slices of bass and garnishes with some trill snares.
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'Be So Cruel EP'
When you've got Dusky heading up a label, your expectations tend to be pretty high. Since featuring in the head honcho's RA mix last year, 'Be So Cruel' has been an eagerly anticipated cut - a dark, scalpel-precise roller that encompasses a club friendly vocal line. On this, his debut on the 17 Steps label, Darren White AKA Velvit exercises his brand of soulful house with 'No Excuses' and the ever-so-slightly more haywire 'South of Your Soul'.
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LHF VS. RAGGA TWINS
'EP4: From The Edge'
The prize for the most elusive of Keysound's acts has to go to LHF - a clan that counts Amen Ra, Double Helix and Low Density Matter as members. This time round, we've got Double Helix going head to head with legendary jungle pioneers Ragga Twins, whose vocals have been pulled from "an unlikely source". Intriguing... and especially when coupled with Amen breaks, murky low end, sax and sirens. With an LHF album on the way, too, it's time to get re(un)acquainted with the London crew.
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Sometimes four minutes doesn't cut it; you need 11. Ellen Allien proves the worth of the lengthy trip on A-side 'High', bowing down to the dancefloor by constructing a subtle builder that can't fail to induce sonic hypnosis. Released on the Berliner's own BPitch Control - shaper of 4x4 in central Germany - the flip also sees an energy-gathering number that blasts you further out into the techno stratosphere.
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Dark0's name has become synonymous with anthemic grime through his joint efforts with "you don't wanna war with" MC K9, but he's consistently shown off a sadder, melodic side that has the sweet boy hater tugging on heartstrings. This time round the Patron enthusiastic delves even deeper with 'Solace' - bearing bejewelled standout 'Fuschia', while 'Spiral' wraps a pitch-bent vocal over some sub pressure. Helping to wipe away those tears is Software's Suicideyear, who hands in a sufficiently trapped-out reshuffle of 'Abrasion'.
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Words: Felicity Martin