Dexter's Beat Laboratory Vol. 54

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA managing editor Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.

Every release on Pilot Records‘ forthcoming Destinations, Vol. 1 EP has been incredible. From Fox Stevenson‘s “Bruises” to Feint‘s “Mirror Signal,” the label has tapped full-fledged talent across the drum & bass board. This latest from Ownglow is no exception. Wistful vocals matched with Ownglow’s impeccable production result in a piece of art. Sept. 12 can’t come soon enough.

Jay Dunham’s latest release on Sans Merci Records paints a powerful, clean-cut picture. A formidable, dark build leads the listener into an intense electro haven, marked at times by eerie audio clips of things like “please, don’t kill me,” followed by a malicious chuckle. It’s a brilliantly authoritative piece that commands the listener’s ear from start to finish.

Switching gears completely, Alex Lustig crafts a serene soundscape in his latest release. “Free Form,” part of his three-song Wave002 compilation, sits on a bed of lush percussion and alluring vocals that ebb and flow through the course of the song. Though short at less than three minutes long, “Free Form” sears itself into the listener’s memory with its peaceful atmosphere, leading into the EP’s next two tracks.

The ’80s resurgence is in full swing, bringing with it gorgeously modern takes on synthwave and its surrounding sub-genres. France’s A.L.I.S.O.N has teamed up with Zane Alexander across the pond to create “Starchild,” a track as sparkling in its instrumentals as it is in its name. Twinkling, lighthearted melodies float over top of a retro drum kick, conjuring up decades past while honoring elements of today’s electronic music.

Synchronice brothers Will and James have tapped vocalist Karra for their latest release, “Distraction.” Karra’s sugary vocals lead from the intro to the bridge, where the listener is met with an surprise. A warped, wobbling bass hits unexpectedly in the chorus, followed closely by a brief guitar interlude and a lively, plinking piano melody. While these elements may not sound complementary on paper, the trio have found a way to bring them all together in a way that’s catchy and pleasing to the ear.