I recently joined the editorial team of Loose Lips, and was asked to introduce myself to readers through a ‘Picks’ piece, selecting 10 tracks on a personal theme. I chose Liminal State Dance music; music that works as a transition between dancefloor intensity and everyday life, that can give you a little serotonin boost without upsetting the neighbours.
‘You’re cruising you don’t want to dip,
But you don’t beach it either,
Slide onwards with the tide,
Roll the sails out, Easy there,’
Tevo Howard – The Age of Compassion (Original)
The more popular version of this track is a ‘house mix’ that underlines those bouncy synths with a thudding beat, but this one is great for reflecting on the human tones of dance music, particularly if you’re in such a fragile state that drums don’t feel good right now… Avalon Emerson’s ‘Synthapella‘ (what a gorgeous word) version of her track The Frontier is another great example of this.
Portico Quartet – Ruins
This comes from the band’s awesome self-titled album, something I absolutely smashed during alevels revision. I’d recommend listening to the track without watching the video and once with, as it’s pretty astonishing to see how they create such a full, coherent warm sound as a set of individual musicians.
SND – 1,193
The first time I heard this I thought it was a great, intelligent response to Burial’s best work, easing up on the raw emotion and exploring that world of ghosts and glitches further. Turns out it was released by a duo from Sheffield in 1999. Madness! Its parent record is brilliant, really worth a listen.
Dante – Champagne Problems (HNNY Remix)
You wanna get deep? DO YA? SLAP THIS RECORD ON AND LET YA TEARS ROLL MATE. First played to me at an afters, following a brutal 5 hour Daniel Avery set, the aux-controller proceeded to play Dua Lipa’s Be The One. The fact that it made for a natural transition track between Daniel and Dua is testament to how special this track is. I’ve listened since on an all-night bus with a broken wrist and on a midnight hilltop with my then-girlfriend, any time you feel a situation deserves some emotional icing.
Robag Wruhme – Tulpa Ovi
This comes from one of my favourite albums, a fragile gem of a record that feels like it was arranged by hand over years in a dusty sunlit workshop. Listening to it on headphones loosens up your surroundings, giving them more air and slipping sound effects under your feet.
Passmore – The Passive State
This one is more for raising you back to a state of rave intensity than cooling things down, ideal for listening on the walk to work on a Thursday, when you could do with a little slice of euphoria. Released on Lionoil, the uk’s most underrated dance label…
Belief – Authr
Found this at the start of a DJ EZ set, it’s got a faster tempo and more of a big room sound than anything else here, but I couldn’t possible leave it out. I love the tenderness of the chords and the pressure-drop of the hook, they dovetail into something halfway between a hug and a teardrop.
Unknown Artist – Voodoo Way
Bannoffee Pies is one of my absolute favourite labels, they’re self-descriptively genre-free, but everything they sign has this sheen of mysterious perfection. I bought this in Bristol on a visit, but it reminds me of walking around the city when I lived there, in a slight daze. That intimate, slick vocal is like making eye-contact with someone on a bus as they glide away from you, leaving a trace on your imagination.
Maya Jane Coles – Senseless
Annie Mac used to do this Sunday night radio show, that linked ornate dance and bedroom pop under in the bracket of medicinal music, music as a tonic, music as a healer. A lot of Maya’s solo stuff has that quality, the sense of walking home in the half-light after a mind-imprinting rave, but this track has a particular place in my heart.
Bruce – The Trouble With Wilderness
This is the first track on an ep that chronologically describes Bruce’s mental process after a breakup. It shows how great producers’ work is imbued with their feelings; he said (in a must-read interview) that its creative process was the same as all his other work; ‘Fucking with sound on my laptop in my bedroom. The only difference being that there were more tears this time round.’