Mengzy Selects – 001 / June
Mixmag Asia's bass purveyor Mengzy shares her musical discoveries from around the region
Welcome to ‘Mengzy Selects’, a new monthly column which features eight recently released tracks by producers and labels in Asia and across the Asian diaspora. Your host is Mengzy: a Hong Kong-based DJ and producer, academic, music journalist, and co-founder of Wonton Bass.
1 THREE GENERATIONS ‘GET IT OFF’ FEATURING CHEVELL (DAZZLE DRUMS REMIX)
Kicking off this month’s picks is a sonic marvel from Japanese husband and wife duo Nagi and Kei Sugano, aka Dazzle Drums.
Their remix of ‘Get It Off’ breathes vibrant new life into the 1990 house classic with acoustic instrumentation replacing most of the original elements. There are new additions too, like a saxophone, organ, and brass section that take over in the improvisatory middle section, while the driving 4/4 parts benefit from the clarity of contemporary production fidelity.
A jazz jam in disguise as a bumping house track, Dazzle Drums live up to their moniker with this absolute killer of a remix.
Listen to 'Get It Off' featuring Chevelle (Dazzle Drums Remix) here.
2 LAU TROPICO ‘TAMMA TAMMA’ (EDIT)
Bollywood fans will already know what’s up but for anyone who doesn’t, this edit is a rework of ‘Tamma Tamma Loge’, the hit song from the 1990 Hindi film Thanedaar. It is the opening track on Hong Kong-based Fauve Records’ most recent compilation, Extinct Melodies from the World Vol. 1, which dropped June 3.
Belgian producer Lau Tropico leans heavily into the Italo vibe of the original, pumping up the epic end-of-phrase drum fills, stripping back almost all the vocals, and letting those deliciously retro synth trumpets do most of the proverbial talking.
The result is endlessly satisfying with melodramatic reverb pushed to the max and a punchy snare that will slap you all the way back to 1990.
Listen to 'Tamma Tamma' (Edit) here.
3 FETUS ‘SWIRL’
From London via Osaka comes ‘Swirl’, a genre-twisting bass exercise from Japanese producer Fetus.
It’s the kind of track that makes raving feel as serious as it does funky and it stands out on ‘Sole’, a solid EP which calls //DarkMode (PAV4N’s moody 140 / D&B imprint) home.
With ‘Sole’, Fetus, who previously released a drum & bass project on Unchained Recordings in 2021, continues to demonstrate a mastery of the UK bass aesthetic, incorporating influences from dubstep to dark garage, grime and broken beat.
Listen to 'Swirl' here.
4 MUTO ‘SEVEN BLIND MEN’
Great things happen when different disciplines collide and Vast Plains, the debut LP from South Korean collective MUTO, exemplifies this. MUTO brings together the talents of electronic dance music producer Bumho Sin, graphic and media artists Hunkyu Park and Chanhyuk Hong, and geomungo player Woojae Park.
The geomungo, a traditional Korean string instrument, is the central character and sonic fixation of Vast Plains, an expansive auditory journey that also has a visual component in the form of a music video for track 3, ‘Mountain’.
‘Seven Blind Men’ is the only dancefloor-oriented track on Vast Plains. The combination of the mournful geomungo with an industrial techno beat is a hauntingly beautiful and compelling one that I can’t wait to try in the depths of a 3am set.
Listen to 'Seven Blind Men' here.
5 LJJ555998 ‘BOILING’
The first half of ‘Boiling’, the lead track from FunctionLab’s latest EP, sounds like ‘Kodamas’ from Joe Hisaishi’s score for Princess Mononoke – if Princess Mononoke was a cyber goth.
Produced by ljj55598, one of the Hangzhou-based label’s resident DJs, ‘Boiling’ is experimental club music that unfolds in cascading waves of arps and bleeps amid weighty trap-inflected drums. There is no groove here but clinical synths and artificial textures that uncannily conjure the feeling of being boiled… alive?
Listen to 'Boiling' here.
6 R.I.D.D.E.M ‘DESERVE’
Two minutes, forty five seconds is not enough time for this vibe. Representing Hong Kong on FuFu Records’ latest 88 Double Happiness compilation, R.I.D.D.E.M is a classic outfit in the bass plus drums, keys, guitar and vocals sense.
With ‘Deserve’, the band brings organic neo-soul and hip-hop influences to the fore in a song as heady as a 35 degree summer day. My only gripe is wishing that R.I.D.D.E.M made room for an extended instrumental jam in the middle.
Listen to 'Deserve' here.
7 HØST ‘SAY YOU LOVE ME’
Move over, Marilyn Manson, this is tainted love. The latest offering from Shenzhen’s Unchained Recordings, ‘Say You Love Me’ rounds off the Have & Have Nots EP from British multi-genre bass producer, HØST.
The experimental lean of its grinding bass and filthy distortion may not be for everyone, but ‘Say You Love Me’ is a spellbinding and sinister counterpoint to an otherwise ethereal liquid drum & bass EP.
Listen to 'Say You Love Me' here.
8 SAIFUL IDRIS ‘REAL LOVE’ (TRIBUTE TO MORODER MIX)
While HØST’s take on toxic love song is bleak and dystopian, Singaporean Saiful Idris delivers anthemic ‘I will get over you’ energy with ‘Real Love’ on SRNDR Records. The funky house / nu disco single is accompanied with acapella versions as well as a ‘Tribute to Moroder Mix’, that transforms the song into an Italo banger.
With rich pop-level production and a sensational singalong vocal about moving on from a doomed relationship, there’s no question that ‘Real Love’ (Tribute to Moroder Mix) is dancefloor dynamite.
Listen to 'Real Love' (Tribute To Moroder Mix) here.
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[3D cover art by Daniel Stiensmeier]
Mengzy is Mixmag Asia’s Music Culture Columnist, follow her on Instagram.