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20 summer sizzlers for discerning ears 2022

Unmissable musical gold mined from deep in the Asian underground

  • Patrizio Cavaliere
  • 23 June 2022

The summer season is upon us, and with the sun's golden light shining through the dissipating clouds of the pandemic, large parts of planet earth are ready to resume the dance with full force. Though lingering pockets of lockdowns continue to hamper the grand re-opening, large parts of Asia are approaching full swing. At long last, the exceptional music crafted by the continent's ever-growing legion of creators is able to freely cascade across gyrating dancefloors, just as the producers intended.

The Mixmag Asia team have been blown away by both the quality and volume of sparkling sounds emanating from the region in recent months, with all shades of underground dance music being gloriously manifested by producers, rising and established. The change in the seasons represents an opportunity to take stock and look back on some of this year's most impactful tunes that have been vibrating throughout Asia and far beyond. From introspective ambience to stirring drum 'n' bass, sumptuous deep house to pounding techno, all subterranean tastes are catered for in this brilliantly expansive list. The fire burns throughout, with each track bringing its own nuanced flavour to the sonic stew.

So, without further ado, turn the music up loud and make your merry way through our choice of 20 summer sizzlers for the most discerning of ears.

1
Soichi Terada & Masalo – Diving Into Minds (Club Mix)

Title: Diving Into Minds (Club Mix)
Artist:
Soichi Terada & Masalo
Label: Rush Hour
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Kicking things off, we have this intriguing intergenerational dance union. Soichi Terada is a revered pioneer of Japanese electronic music, having been composing delectable sounds since the late '80s rave explosion. Joining him to remix a pair of tracks lifted from last year's 'Asakusa Lights' album on Rush Hour Records is Masalo, a label affiliate and shining star of the contemporary dance landscape. Both tracks included on the EP are sensational, but the old-meets-new charm of the title track is irrepressible in its floor-focused gravity. Retro chords power over shuffling house beats and deviant acid textures to create a kinetically-charged storm in the clubs. Immaculate work.

2
Closet Yi – Revolver

Title: Revolver
Artist:
Closet Yi
Label: Curving Track
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

We've been keeping a close eye on the evolving work of Korean artist, Closet Yi. She's already made an indelible mark on the Asian dance scene, and her latest EP represents an irresistible new addition to her growing repertoire. 'Revolver' is a beautifully hypnotic fusion of deep house and techno textures, subtle, balanced, and undeniably propulsive. Taken from her 'Bmore Baby' EP, the track has made its way around the world via the clubs and radio waves, with plays on UK's beloved BBC Six Music among many notable appearances.

3
Omri Smadar & Roy Shpilman – Adama

Title: Adama
Artist:
Omri Smadar & Roy Shpilman
Label: Hard Fist
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

This bubbling acid groove has been causing quite a stir since French label Hard Fist dropped it earlier in the year. A collaborative piece composed by Omri Smadar alongside Shlomo Gronich and Roy Shpilman, 'Adama' makes imaginative use of the music recorded in the '90s by the Ethiopian and Israeli childrens choir, Sheba Band. Layering the evocative vocal chants over crisp drums and infectious 303 licks, the club-primed track bursts with unfettered energy. French super-producer Yuksek offered a disco-fused interpretation on the EP, but it's the original we've opted for here.

4
Manami – Eventide In Orbit

Title: Eventide In Orbit
Artist:
Manami
Label: Viscera Transmissions
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Bristol-based Japanese artist Manami continues her seemingly unstoppable trajectory into the stars with her latest astrally-charged release. Classically trained but rooted in the underground, her music is endowed with a level of musically-rich sophistication that is lacking in much of the dance canon. With imaginative chord progressions and dextrous musicality, this trance-embellished underground dance fusion is another prime example of her unique musical voice. One to watch, beyond a shadow of doubt.

5
Orio – Lost Dog

Title: Lost Dog
Artist:
ORIO
Label: Soul Clap Records
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

The latest funk-flecked instalment from Boston-based Soul Clap Records arrived via Israeli producer, ORIO. A long-time resident (and renowned party starter) of Singapore, Orio was set to end his Asian adventure and head home to Israel after years away from home. The pandemic had other ideas, and an unplanned stay in Hong Kong led to him collaborating with a selection of organically assembled musicians to create his wonderful debut EP. Interstellar disco funk with a deep house core, this is a wildly impressive first effort from ORIO, and a fascinating snapshot of his epic immersion in Asian culture.

6
Saucy Lady – Hoshi No Suna (Stardust)

Title: Hoshi No Suna (Stardust)
Artist:
Saucy Lady
Label: Austin Boogie Crew
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

The Boston connection continues here as the "Beantown disco queen" resumes her retro-leaning boogie flex. The singer, producer, and DJ has released on labels including Soul Clap Records, Toucan Sounds, and Star Creature, from where she routinely raises spirits with her kaleidoscopic sonic creations and vintage stylistic vigour. Jazz-schooled and with a larger-than-life stage presence, we find the unstoppable musical force in typically buoyant form on her latest release. String-laden synth boogie with an authentic soul, 'Hoshi No Suna (Stardust)' sounds as though it was rescued from long-lost Japanese disco archives, timeless, fun, and bursting with style.

7
Ground – Over the Kimi Pass

Title: Over The Kimi Pass
Artist:
Ground
Label: Chill Mountain
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Enigmatic Korean artist Ground is known for his deep, experimental and uncompromising soundscapes, and his latest release ticks all necessary boxes to be considered among the best of his roundly impressive catalogue. Having made some dazzling appearances on ESP Institute in recent years, he returns to his familiar home of Chill Mountain with this wonderfully idiosyncratic groove. Meandering through waves of psychedelic swirls and dissonant textures, this is proudly leftfield – and delightfully wonky – work from the maverick producer.

8
DJ Droopy – So Freaky VIP (ft ARS Series)

Title: So Freaky VIP (ft ARS Series)
Artist:
DJ Droopy
Label: Silk Road Sounds
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Arriving via the esteemed Yeti Out stable, this hard-hitting jam from newcomer DJ Droopy makes an instant impression. The London-based producer layers a collage of samples and scatches over a stripped, futurist groove, with deviant vocal cuts and rousing calls to action mesmerising as they weave their erotically charged spell. Memorable and packed with personality, this is a guaranteed party starter for rough and ready floors.

9
Baypoet – Translink

Title: Translink
Artist:
Baypoet
Label: Sprechen
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

It always brings immeasurable pleasure to see homespun Asian artists arrive on respected international labels, and Baypoet's recent entry to the fold of future-disco purveyors, Sprechen, was certainly something to celebrate. The Manchester-based imprint have been engineering an exciting collaboration with Indonesian artists over the past few years, with music set to drop later in 2022. Serving as a taster of what's to come, 'Translink' blasts out of the blocks with life-affirming chords, throbbing bass, and crisp disco drums endlessly building over a floor-filling arrangement. An unmissable fusion of forward-facing disco and cosmic-centred house.

10
Mori Ra – Gaia Disco

Title: Gaia Disco
Artist:
Mori Ra
Label: MM Discos
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Osaka-based edit specialist Mori Ra never fails to enchant with his imaginatively-spun releases. Digging deeper than most scalpel-wielding re-edit contenders, Mori consistently surprises, breathing new life into lesser-known pearls with his inspired reworks and dance-ready tweaks. 'Gaia Disco' is some of his finest work to date, with hands-in-the-air chorus melodies launching over an organic groove of intoxicating rhythmic wonder. Warm, evocative, and joyously dynamic, this is an undisputed filler of cosmic floors.

11
Egbert & Metodi Hristov – Connect (Shaun Moses Remix)

Title: Connect (Shaun Moses Remix)
Artist:
Egbert & Metodi Hristov
Label: Gem Records
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Goanese techno chameleon Shaun Moses returns to Gem Records with this outstanding remix. He follows on from last year's 'Lustful Desires' debut appearance on Secret Cinema's revered imprint with this imaginative revision of 'Connect' from techno heavyweights, Egbert & Metodi Hristov. Rightfully thrilled to be invited to interpret the track, Moses grabs the opportunity with both hands, serving this magnificently textured and off-kilter slice of late-night audio exploration. Undulating synths glide over scattered drums and fizzing percussion, conjuring an intoxicating spell as the music elegantly unfurls.

12
Hamza Rahimtula – Dakini Tales

Title: Dakini Tales
Artist:
Hamza Rahimtula
Label: Wind Horse Records
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

New Delhi deep house purveyor Hamza Rahimtula maintains his prolific release output with this captivating groove. 'Dakini Tales' arrived as part of the Tibetan leg of his ongoing Banjara series and is palpably inspired by the country's spiritually charmed mountain territory. Hamza's carefully crafted productions routinely strike a chord, but even by his exacting standards, this is something special. Blissful vocal waves caress the organic rhythm, as mystical pitched percussion and looped guitar motif mesmerise locked-in dancers. Addicted to creating in the studio, Rahimtula's commitment to creating sonic alchemy is nothing short of inspirational.

13
Mountain – Passenger

Title: Passenger
Artist: Mountain ft In:Most
Label: Soulvent Records
Release Date: Out now, you can buy it here

Our list wouldn't be complete without a dose of speaker-rocking drum 'n' bass, and who better to deliver the goods than Japanese artist, Mountain. Having released on labels including Hospital, RAM, and Liquicity, he returned to London's Soulvent with an eponymous album this year. Lifted from the LP, 'Passenger' sees him join label regular In:Most to serve this effervescent, floor-filling roller. Leviathan snares power the groove as delicate synth arpeggios, shimmering chords and heavyweight bass combine to fist-pumping effect. Energetic, harmonically rich, and endowed with a crossover-primed shimmer, this is powerful work from both players.

14
Mogwaa – Crackle

Title: Crackle
Artist:
Mogwaa
Label: MM Discos
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Loose-limbed sonic explorer Mogwaa landed on MM Discos with his latest album this year, serving six genre-defying tracks on the wonderful 'Del Mar' LP. The Korean artist has crafted a flurry of imaginatively constructed vinyl releases over the past five or so years, finding a home on the likes of Star Creature, Bless You, and Asian-based Klasse Wrecks and More Rice Records. Nestled alongside a selection of gorgeously Balearic musical treasures, 'Crackle' sees atmospheric house organs and spirited synth flutes vie for position over swung drums and ethereal pads, creating a mind-melting dose of sundown introspection.

15
Mr. Ho ft NYPD – BMW (Remix)

Title: BMW (Remix)
Artist:
Mr Ho ft NYPD
Label: Klasse Wrecks
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Klasse Wrecks co-founders Mr Ho have been in exceptional form recently, with each making appearances on benchmark international labels over the past 12 months. Fresh from dalliances on 2020 Vision (Ho) and Running Back (Lozano), the duo reunited on the 'Wrecks 4 Wave' collaboration with Tokyo's Wave Records, and, predictably, the results were rather splendid. Our pick from the luminous green cassette EP was 'BMW (Remix) from Mr Ho and NYPD, with the players combining their distinct musical forces to forge an irresistible slice of electro badness. Aberrant, future-facing while rooted in the old school, the music features searing leads charging over sinister acid and fizzing broken drums. Sone cold killer material.

16
Mogambo – Urvi

Title: Urvi
Artist:
Mogambo
Label: Siamese Twins
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Arriving from the ever-imaginative Siamese Twins fold, the latest spellbinding work from Mogambo continues the enthralling studio work manifested from the relatively new production project. The duo of Sunju Hargun and Jerom Doudet made an instant impact with their debut 'Cobra EP' last year, and they maintain their subterranean charm via the evocative audio haze of new track, 'Urvi'. Fusing disparate eastern textures, Mogambo effortlessly blend traditional Indian instrumentation with subtle Goa trance refrains, all presented through the futurist frame of Bangkok's evolving electronic underground. Mystically charmed and embodied with indefatigable dancefloor thrust, this is utterly bewitching.

17
Noriko Shakti – Shanti Protocol

Title: Shanti Protocol
Artist:
Noriko Shakti
Label: SXN
Release:
Out now, you can stream it here

Tokyo-raised and Goa-based, producer, composer, DJ and tabla player, Noriko Shakti smashes through cultural barriers with her music and artistic vigour. Her recent '‘Reunion (Saikai 再会)' EP meditated on the Indian mythology stating that Vedic mantras and the associated developed sciences were handed down to humans by aliens. Imagining a reunion between these terrestrial and extraterrestrial beings, the music overflows with vivid imagery and profound spiritual intention. Featuring Kolkata-based sitar musician Kaushik, the spellbinding music does a majestic job of evoking this transcendent encounter through waves of talking drums and mystical instrumentation.

18
Shubostar – Gundagai (Zombies In Miami Remix)

Title: Gundagai (Zombies In Miami Remix)
Artist:
Shubostar
Label: Uju
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Fast-rising Korean artist Shubostar busied herself during the lockdown by composing the Italo-flecked 'Space Racer EP'. Meditating on a reconnection between her current and younger self, the EP conjures a cosmic journey, with the "young Shubo made these tracks with adult Shubo's skilled hand." The four-track EP arrived with a pair of breathtaking remixes from two of Shubo's favourite acts, Panthera Kraus and Zombies In Miami. It's the latter we've opted to include here, with the Mexican artists gently nudging the 'Gundagai' tempo, adding weight to the rhythm and spacing out the futurist instrumentation while embellishing the cut with delicate synth motifs and saucer-eyed sweeps.

19
FINGERGAP – Would You Like To Dance With Me

Title: Would You Like To Dance With Me
Artist:
FINGERGAP
Label: Seeahole
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Hong Kong's footwork maestro FINGERGAP once again summons the spirit of city pop with this dazzling fusion groove. Featuring Kazakh-Korean singer Fedor Yury, the track takes its inspiration from the city pop genre that defined both Japan and Hong Kong’s pop scenes in the '70s and '80s. Here, FINGERGAP re-imagines a melancholic Cantopop composition as a danceable juke track, incorporating a quickfire tempo that imbibes the music with an undeniable dancefloor edge. Adding a turbo charge to the generally horizontal city pop aesthetic, the artist forges something genuinely memorable and a la mode.

20
Peggy Gou – I Go (Soulwax Remix)

Title: I Go (Soulwax Remix)
Artist:
Peggy Gou
Label: Gudu
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Though Peggy Gou may have moved beyond the underground and into more commercially-minded realms over the course of her stratospheric career, her music is more or less still rooted in the strobe-lit sweat of the nightclubs. New life was breathed into her recent 'I Go' release thanks to a set of remixes from bonafide subaquatic protagonists DJ Koze, Maurice Fulton, and Soulwax. Here, the latter presents Gou's sing-along vocals over an Italo-tinged bass belter, with evolving chords synth stabs, and harmonic layers combining for a fist-pumping main room workout.

Patrizio Cavaliere is Mixmag Aisa's Music Editor. Follow him on Instagram

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