Playlist of the Week: Dusky
Playlist of the Week: DuskyNovember 10, 2021
This playlist is a collection of some of our favourite classic dance tracks. In particular, all of these tunes have had a big influence on our new artist album, JOY.
Our sound has always been heavily shaped by the past, but during the Covid 19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, we found ourselves increasingly referencing the classic UK hardcore, jungle, and garage that we used to hear growing up in London, first on pirate radio and via rave tape packs, and later at parties once we were old enough to go out raving. For JOY, we really wanted to call upon the feelings of euphoria and excitement that those genres of music have bought us over the years.
Dance music will always be about the future and the cutting-edge, but we find it’s at its best when it references the past in a refreshing, new way. These tracks are perfect examples of the kind of music we seek inspiration from in the studio, a foundation to build on, whilst looking at interesting ways to develop our sound into the future.
Dusky’s new album, JOY, is out now via 17 Steps. Buy it on Beatport.
Speedy J – De-Orbit [Warp Records]
This track was featured on the seminal Artificial Intelligence compilation on Warp Records. The album as a whole is a cornerstone of electronic music and a must-listen. “De-Orbit” is one of the stand-out moments of the compilation and one we’ve kept coming back to over the years as a touchpoint. Listening to this is like “earthing” for electronic music makers.
TJR – Just Gets Better (feat. Xavier) [Catch Records]
In 1997 this track was all over the house and garage pirate radio stations in London. We were a bit too young to go out to clubs and raves then, but we were obsessed with listening to pirate stations. Through them it felt like we had a way to listen in on what was going on in the parties of that era even if we couldn’t actually go. A house and UK garage crossover, this track ticked the boxes of both genres with its sparse but powerful bass line, swinging percussion and soulful vocals.
M&M, Rachel Wallace – I Feel This Way (The Beefed Up Mix) [Suburban Base Records]
Released on Essex’s finest Suburban Base Records, this tune used to get banged out regularly in the old schoolroom at Bagley’s nightclub when we were young lads out raving. Brings back great memories and still gets an amazing reaction when we play it out from time to time.
Laurent Garnier – Flashback (Laboratoire Mix) [F Communications]
This track is a mixture of classic French touch and also Detroit-influenced sounds. We love the sound of the long “Reese” bass, which was a big inspiration for our track “Take Me High.” A similar bass crops up in Laurent Garnier’s most famous track, “Man With The Red Face.” This track is unusual due to its unquantized drums, which gives it a really frenetic rhythmic feel.
Dave Angel – Fallen Destiny [R&S Records]
One of UK techno’s most iconic producers who was prolific from 1991 to 1992. Dave Angel’s reimagining of the Detroit techno sound is unparalleled and uniquely British. For further listening check out his tracks “Great Daine” and “Endless Emotions.” Top-quality.
Hyper Go Go – High [Distinctive Records]
This track is unashamedly pure feel-good music and has some of the greatest piano riffs ever. The way the track changes keeps it interesting throughout, and the switch up into the clearly “Strings Of Life” inspired middle section works really well. This is a track that never fails to raise some smiles on a dance floor.
Robert Armani – Circus Bells (Hardfloor Mix) [Traxxmen]
A Chicago classic gets the acid treatment from German duo Hardfloor. We once played this at Glastonbury during a sunrise set and it absolutely blew people’s heads off. Hardfloor’s unique acid sound later formed part of the inspiration for the “Fields” track from our new album.
Nu-Birth – Anytime [XL Recordings]
This is one of the era-defining four–to-the-floor UK garage records, first released in 1996. All the elements work together beautifully. Of particular note is the insistent midi Saxophone lead line. While in truth, that kind of fake saxophone sound popular in the ‘90s sounded nothing like a real saxophone, it has its own charm that’s irresistible here.
Foul Play – Finest Illusion [Sneaker Social Club]
This tune includes two classic UK hardcore tropes, chipmunk vocals and sped-up scratching samples, and it should just be cheesy and terrible but when it’s Foul Play at the controls, their ability just elevates it to become more than the sum of its parts. Absolute banger.
DJ Rap – Spiritual Aura (Engineers Without Fears Remix) [Propa Talent]
This is a great example of a jungle track that has a raw, moody feel, while also carrying moments of light and euphoria. Though all of our album “Joy” is at a much slower tempo, this and other jungle tracks like it were a big inspiration. The swirling, ethereal pads and melodies in the breakdown are particularly evocative.