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Clubhopping Top 10: August’s Essential Dance Tracks

Welcome to the Clubhopping Top 10, a monthly list of dance tracks that have caught us by the ears and feet (not necessarily in that order), with embeds so you can hear them for yourself. August’s roundup includes everyone from Four Tet to Kelis to Nebraska, in alphabetical order after the jump.

Challenge, “Broken Clock” (Marketing)

Churning live bass, off-kilter percussion, squinchy synths, an arty feel that could have fit into early-’80s NYC but feels utterly 2010: This track by London-based Tim Paris’s latest project ought to be making James Murphy look over his shoulder.

George FitzGerald, “The Let Down” (Hotflush)

On the one hand, this track does sound an awful lot like Joy Orbison’s “Hyph Mngo” — and on the same label, no less. On the other hand, “Hyph Mngo” is one of the best dance records of the last couple of years, and while this isn’t quite up to its standard, it’s a beautifully wrought variation on that sturdy template.

Four Tet, “Sing (Floating Points Remix)” (Domino)

Kieran Hebden’s original “Sing” is a bright spot among many on Four Tet’s recent album, There Is Love in You, thanks to its Björk-like vocal abstraction. Here, Londoner Floating Points stretches it to twice its length with modest keyboard builds, a subtly dubsteppy feel, and what sounds like splinters of acoustic guitar strumming. It drifts and it drives.

Gerd, “For 12 Minutes She Danced With an Alien (Gerd’s 2010 Re-Mix)” (Rejected)

In this 15-year-old B-side recently dug up by Joris Voorn (whose fine remix is on the 12-inch’s B-side), the Netherlands’ Gerd-Jan Bijl reworks his own track into something that shimmers, floats, and never peaks because it never has to.

Jaga Jazzist, “220 V / Spektral (Final Mix)” (Ninja Tune)

Young Oslo producer Final (born Magnus August Hoiberg) could be the next big Norwegian house producer — the airy disco of fellow Scandinavians like Prins Thomas is in full effect on this remix of his hometown’s renowned jazz-not-jazz nonet, but this version is also full of the kinds of stops and starts that typified mid-’80s club edits, and he’s got an audible sense of humor that only enhances his effects.

Kelis, “Acapella” (Interscope)

Serious dance aficionados have good reason to sneer at David Guetta’s work with pop giants like The Black Eyed Peas, but “Acapella” is so massive it blurs such considerations. Kelis dives headfirst into dance music: all of Flesh Tone is real, straight-up house, and if there were any justice this single would have been a pop #1.

Kode9, “You Don’t Wash” (!K7)

The selectors behind !K7’s DJ-Kicks series are obliged to include an all-new track in their mixes, and Hyperdub head Kode9 brought out this lovely, frisky bounce, with a gleaming synth wash that gives the track its shimmer.

Nebraska, “Soho Grand” (Rush Hour)

Lush, pearly, keyboard-and-hi-hat-driven house from (despite the artist name) England, this is as lovely a record as any you’ll hear this month in or out of dance music, and it leads off a five-track EP, A Weekend on My Own, that in full is equally worth your time.

Sigha, “Shake” (Hotflush)

Though it’s on Hotflush, a label known for dubstep, this a house track with loads of click-clacking growls and rustles that tease the ear as much they work variations on the straight-four pump on which it’s built.

Peter Van Hoesen, “Irrational X (Slowmix)” (Exone)

The subtitle is a little misleading — no one’s going to chill out to this track. Good. Its dirty clank and acidic vibe make the song feel like one long build-up, and the beat drags just enough to add a suggestion of dubstep without straying from the rhythmic parameters of techno.

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