Welcome to ‘Mengzy Selects’, a 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 SUPERFLAT ‘AKIBA KEI’
Mexican future funk producer Superflat returns to Hong Kong-based Neoncity Records for the third time with Insert Coin to Continue. ‘Akiba Kei’ opens the EP with an infectious UK garage vibe that alternates between 2-step and 4/4 phrases in the build-ups and drops.
Slang for Akihabara style (a district in Tokyo famous for video game and anime culture), ‘Akiba Kei’ is an evocative sensory overload of lush chords and filtered vocals that conjures up images of Japanese pop culture in your mind’s eye.
Listen to ‘Akiba Kei’ here.
2 LOVELY ‘ARGYLE STREET PLAYGROUND’
Off the heels of three successful drum ‘n’ bass EPs on UK label Guidance, Wonton Bass co-founder Lovely drops his first release of 2022 in the form of ‘Argyle Street Playground’.
The single, released via Warner Music subsidiary Whet Records, showcases garage and house influences amid the producer’s distinctively stripped back sampling aesthetic.
Listen to ‘Argyle Street Playground’ here.
3 CLOSET YI ‘HEAVY’
South Korean producer Closet Yi has been making waves across continents with EPs and singles dropping on labels in the UK, North America, Asia and Australia. With Simmer, released on July 1, the Seoul-based artist joins the ranks of Scuba’s esteemed imprint, Hotflush.
Lead single ‘Heavy’ is a muscular bass / club outing with a breaks and rave lean that befits the discombobulated and progressively pitched down vocal sample that gives it its title: ‘heavy, heavy, heavy, heavy…’
Listen to ‘Heavy’ here.
4 FREESTYLE MAN & HENRIK SCHWARZ FEATURING JIMI TENOR ‘MOABIT’
It’s a well-known fact that jazz is revered in Japan. With ‘Moabit’, Tokyo’s Mule Musiq treats us to an eight-and-a-half minute jazz and deep house odyssey by Freestyle Man and Henrik Schwarz that features Finnish instrumentalist Jimi Tenor killing it on the saxophone and flute.
It’s a relentlessly cool track that sees all three artists, who have released with Mule Musiq before in different configurations, collaborate as a trio that begs to reassembled again in the near future.
Listen to ‘Moabit’ featuring Jimi Tenor here.
5 JUAN MEJIA ‘AT THE COPA’
With twelve releases under its belt in just under a year, Bangalore’s Dynamite Disco Club has been steadily building a groove-filled catalogue spanning different shades of house and nu disco.
Their latest single, ‘At the Copa’, brings Dutchie Music head Juan Mejia into the fold from Miami with a Latin-flavoured deep house offering that feels effortlessly smooth while vibrantly funky.
Listen to ‘At the Copa’ here.
6 LUJIACHI ‘MANTIS’
Out of the Taiwanese underground crawls a menacing predator: ‘Mantis’ by producer Lujiachi. The title track of the latest EP from avant-garde label OverMyBody is an experimental fever dream that plays rhythmic mind games in the first half before settling into a 4/4 march in the second.
With ferocious bass and dark energy at around 100 BPM, ‘Mantis’ is the kind of tune that would be the perfect match to score a badass slow motion fight sequence à la Matrix.
Listen to ‘Mantis’ here.
7 WRACK ‘TOPCHOP’
Get down in the cyber dancehall with ‘Topchop’, the opener on the latest EP from Tokyo’s Usi Kuvo Records. As much a DJ tool as it is a sonic power drill, ‘Topchop’ is sure to hammer its way into many selectors’ digital crates.
WRACK, who has previously released on Mexico’s N.A.A.F.I and Hong Kong’s Absurd Trax, injects a whimsical touch into this otherwise militantly industrial track with the addition of Italo drum fills – and we love it.
Topchop EP bangs as a whole and it was honestly a tough choice between featuring the title track and ‘Earthman’ for this month’s picks.
Listen to ‘Topchop’ here.
8 MR. HO ‘BURROW’
Klasse Wrecks co-founder Mr. Ho is currently touring Europe and it’s not a far stretch to assume he’s rinsing ‘Burrow’ for crowds there along with the multitude of other techno weapons in his arsenal.
Out since June 29 on JIN, ‘Burrow’ is the lead track on Mr. Ho’s second EP for the Taiwanese label and features crisp and impactful drums (damn, that snare!) over a restrained acid bassline that lets its hair down every now and then as the track unfolds.
Listen to ‘Burrow’ here.