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Download: Niva "Boy From the Sun"

Stockholm-based producer/singer Niva just released his debut EP, Feverish Dreams (pictured above), via UK label Something in Construction, and here we have one of those six preciously simplistic synth-pop tunes. The clean-cut production features a straightforward electro-house beat, a few lo-bit synth tones, a slightly funky bassline, and some quietly cooed and slightly warbled vocal hooks—basically, the go-to recipe for upbeat electronic pop music these days. Despite its predictability, Niva's "Boy From the Sun" displays an earnestness from its creator, as the artist crams all of those genre hallmarks into a quick, well-crafted two and a half minutes that never feels a moment too short or the least bit half baked. There's a pretty little music video for the song to boot, which you can check out after the jump.  Read more » 

Average: 7.5 (55 votes)

Download: Tre Mission "Maxin Everything (Mr. Mitch Remix Instrumental)"

Each month, UK grime imprint Butterz offers up a free ZIP file of goodies, usually stuffed with unreleased b-sides and remixes. It was hard to pick a favorite from the recently released April edition, but we settled on this tune from Butterz acolyte Mr. Mitch (pictured above), who you may remember from this post at the end of last year. He recently turned in a remix for Canadian grime MC Tre Mission's "Maxin Everything" tune, which is good in and of itself, but just to keep things interesting, the imprint is now giving away this instrumental of his remix. You can probably tell immediately after hitting the play button that things are a bit slower and a touch more sparkly on Mr. Mitch's instrumental, at least when compared to what we're accustomed to hearing from his high-energy label. Nevertheless, the production quality and audio intensity are very much still intact: The producer's beats punch and crack immensely, the bass vibrates the space between your ears, and the deep synth melodies swirl around your head. It's a refreshing change of pace, but if you're after the usual Butterz goodness, you can grab the rest of the label's free monthly giveaway, here

Average: 6.7 (28 votes)

Download: d'Eon "Transparency"

There is no question that Los Angeles label Hippos In Tanks has emerged as a remarkably consistent supplier of next-generation artists reinventing '80s and '90s synth soundscapes. On April 19, the label will release Dark Bloom, a split 12" shared by Montreal artists d'Eon and Grimes. Each side will contain roughly an EP's worth of material from each artist (the complete tracklist is posted after the jump). On this cut from the d'Eon side, glittering gospel-organ chords introduce what could be '90s-era Brandy, but instead accompany d'Eon's equally captivating and effeminate voice. The rest of the track's production is no less rich, as the song is expertly executed to sound both vintage and disarmingly fresh. If the rest of d'Eon's contibutions are anything like this piece of throwback perfection, the growing contingent of male R&B vocalists will have a serious contender in its ranks. (via Altered Zones)  Read more » 

Average: 8.3 (43 votes)

Download: Dirty "Ride (Maxmillion Dunbar Fix)"

First Listen

Maryland-based DJ/producer Maxmillion Dunbar has a new three-track 12" ready to drop on the Future Times label, called Max Trax For World Peace, and even though the smooth jam we have to share with you here won't be found on that release, it's still a fine example of the kinds of deeply soulful house music the record will offer. The artist completely takes out the rap vocal on his rework of "Ride" by Alabama hip-hop outfit Dirty, and leaves only the laid-back bass grooves, soft synth pads, guitar strums, chilled-out string melodies, and playfully off-handed mutterings of the background instrumental. It sounds awesome to begin with, though Maxmillion Dunbar takes it another step further—tossing in his own bubbly drum-machine patterns, and turning the whole thing into a definite dancefloor gem. 

Average: 7.7 (45 votes)

Download: DJ Tuco "Not Crenshaw"

Label: Meanbucket

As juke continues to rip through underground music hubs around the world, more and more interesting interpretations are rising to the surface. Out now on Prague imprint and Czech go-to blog Meanbucket is this bass-buzzing piece of unruly music, an unexpectedly eerie ode to the troubles of finding a worthy female suitor in Los Angeles' Crenshaw neighborhood on a Sunday night. Produced by Meanbucket crew member DJ Tuco, the comedy of this track may perhaps be lost underneath the serious weight of Tuco's bass and handclaps. As such, the song may not illicit laughter, but it will certainly inspire plenty of head bobbing and waist dropping.  

Average: 7.2 (33 votes)

Download: Unknown to the Unknown "Assassin"

Label: UTTU

DJ Haus, one of the two illustrious club maestros in UK funky production outfit Hot City, has a fresh solo endeavor, called Unknown to the Unknown, under which he just dropped the new Assassin EP. We've got the title track from that release here, and it certainly proves itself to be a proper departure from the producer's day job. Instead of the slick, pop-heavy inclinations of Hot City's tunes, DJ Haus crafts a rough-and-tumble bit of hard-stomping dancefloor music chock full of lo-bit audio samples, distorted basslines, and kitschy synth melodies that could've been lifted from any of the boss levels in the Super Mario Bros. games. If that's your jam, you can check out the rest of the release, which includes a remix from Underground Resistance/Drexciya acolyte DJ Stingray, here, and also download a free version of "Assassin" that features Japanese grime MC Dekishi, here. Still not enough? DJ Haus just did an exclusive mix for Sounds of the Universe this month, which you can check out here

Average: 7.5 (35 votes)

Download: Lapalux "Time Spike Jamz"

Taking a step back from its work on the dancefloors of the world, UK label Pictures Music branches out from releasing high-tempo bass music with a new EP from Essex-based producer Stuart Howard (a.k.a. Lapalux). The 22-year-old artist seems to prefer crafting chopped rhythms, slow-moving bass grooves, sporadic sample flurries, and other handmade audio treats, as opposed to the kinds of slick club burners we're used to hearing from his new label home—and that's just fine with us. Like on the fractured sounds of "Time Spike Jamz," Lapalux's formula exposes the bones of his productions, allowing the listener a chance to see the many ideas that float and flutter about inside his musical mind, but not without leaving us with a fully formed jam before the track's end. Expect more of those revealing sounds when Howard's Many Faces Out of Focus drops as limited-edition cassette and digital download on April 18. 

Average: 8.2 (130 votes)

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