KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Piotr Orlov

There are infinite reasons as to why people go to dance clubs, but once they're there, it often boils down to variations — and the interplay between — two themes: escape and meditation. We here at Rx Dose are down with both, though when searching for tunes — falling harder for some, remaining choosy about others — it's safe to say that we gravitate towards the latter, in spite of our awareness that balance is the optimal terminus.

Though Byron Blaylock made his recorded debut as Byron The Aquarius only a year ago, by most standards his musical journey had already been long and fruitful. Born and raised in Birmingham, Ala., Blaylock had been a keyboard and hip-hop production prodigy during the golden Myspace days of the late-Aughts.

It may seem like a trivial thought, but one of the purposes of art is to make sense of the times that we live in — usually, though not always, by reflecting them back at the audience, as though through a prism. But great art — and music most definitely applies as a great art — can add a layer of meaning regardless of circumstance.

Long before Marea Stamper was The Black Madonna, feminist DJ heroine, she was a known and beloved figure on the Midwestern rave scene: the mixtape girl. Stamper, who grew up in a small eastern Kentucky town and found her dance-music calling early because of a record-collecting stepfather, spent a chunk of her late teens and the mid-1990s going from party to party all over Middle America, selling DJ mix cassettes and spreading the rave gospel, while simultaneously receiving an unparalleled music education.

Return To Daddy

Dec 22, 2016

If there was one moment in Houston on Saturday night that brought meaning and context to Aphex Twin's first U.S. performance in eight years, it was when the storm arrived, about 30 minutes in.

In a society increasingly filled with self-delusion, there are still times when the roles individuals see themselves playing can unlock astonishing insights about who they are.

And so, it ended with, very appropriately, a deathly quiet. "Fabric is closed. That's it. Heartwrenching silence around the room." So read a Tweet by Jeremy Abbott, the digital editor of Mixmag, who was in the room on Tuesday night when the Islington council licensing committee's met to determine whether the London neighborhood would permanently revoke the operating license of fabric, one of the city's longest-running and most iconic clubs.

There are a number of reasons why the 26-year-old, Los Angeles-based producer recording under the moniker Delroy Edwards stands out from the pack of young guns who've begun impacting the American house music underground over the past half-decade.

There's always an air of introspection hanging above self-titled albums produced by musicians well into their careers. It's especially prominent when producers who've spent their entire creative lives hiding behind monikers, suddenly jump out. The moment can't help but scream "personal statement." In the case of Alan Abrahams, the Cape Town, South Africa-born electronic producer who for the better part of two decades has been successfully floating upward in the European dance music scene, under the names Portable and Bodycode, this moment may be especially salient.

Guest Dose: Lindstrøm

Jul 15, 2016

A Lindstrøm DJ mix? Yes, you did read that correctly — and yes, we too were pleasantly surprised when one of the masters of Norwegian electronic music offered to make one for NPR Music.

One of dance music's many great attractions is the standing offer of leaving behind the world's darkest tendencies and day-to-day squabbles for a few hours. Yet the primary reason such an offer is consistently valid, and more therapy than escapism, is that beneath what seem to be a simplistic, always-having-a-good-time veneer, dance music reflects the world that it is created in. In fact, at its best, dance music transcends it, becoming a possible model for organizing society's moving parts.

Welcome to Guest Dose. Every month, NPR Music's Recommended Dose crew invites a knowledgeable and experienced DJ/selector to share personal perspectives on electronic and beat-driven music, and to make a mix from some new tracks they're digging.

Nowhere to begin but with the brutal fact that we're still crying purple tears here in Rx Dose land, and this month's selections reflect that somewhat. We're not going to spend this short space rhapsodizing Prince Rogers Nelson's impact on electronic and dance music, especially when others have done the job more thoroughly for us, in both listicle and essay form.

Guest Dose: DJ JNETT

Apr 15, 2016

Welcome to Guest Dose. Every month, NPR Music's Recommended Dose crew invites a knowledgeable and experienced DJ/selector to share with us their personal perspectives on electronic and beat-driven music, and make a mix from some new tracks they are digging.

"Y'all still read books, right?" Prince asked from the balcony of Manhattan's Avenue Club on Friday night, knowing what the jubilant response would be from the crowd of publishing folks, journalists and VIPs gathered below.

The evening's occasion was the announcement that Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House publishing, had purchased the rights to the enigmatic 57-year-old music legend's memoir, which is expected sometime in 2017.

Welcome to Guest Dose. Every month, NPR Music's Recommended Dose crew invites a knowledgeable and experienced DJ/selector to share with us their personal perspectives on electronic and beat-driven music, and make a mix from some new tracks they are digging.

I don't know if you'd agree, but we at Rx Dose have been noticing that the world seems like an increasingly bizarre place, full of instability and chaos but bearing also an endless supply of leftfield wonders. Has this always been the case, and we simply have more access to the information that spotlights our current state? (Because Internet.) Or is it just the sign of the modern times? (#WATTBA, etc.)

Our first Rx Dose mix of 2016 is fashionably late, and all the better for it. Corralling our favorite dance tracks from January (and beyond) took a little longer than expected for a host of boring reasons, but hopefully, once you hear this month's roster, you'll agree it was worth the wait.

On Sunday, Jan. 17, globalFEST, one of America's premiere showcases of musical talent from around the world, once again took over the three stages at Manhattan's Webster Hall. The one-evening festival has few American rivals in the way it simultaneously expands and condenses musical perspectives. The performances here move naturally between those that are heady and thought-provoking and those that are rhythmically sumptuous and sweat-inducing.

There's a reason why Sébastien Devaud (a.k.a Agoria) has remained among French techno's brightest and longest-burning lights: When Devaud finds himself at a creative crossroads, he chooses to do "something different, always challenging myself to try to make other beats, other sounds." It may be a cliché, but it's a worthy one — and it explains how the 39-year-old Lyon-born producer and DJ has made a two-decade career out of being more than a trusted interpreter of the future sounds of Detroit (the city's electronic music being his first love).

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.


Finding an acceptable line between influence and appropriation has dogged musicians for generations, and Dexter Story addresses the issue in surprising and joyous ways on Wondem, his second album as a bandleader.

A songwriter better than you or I once wrote that "days grow short when you reach September" — forgetting to add that this is why you need more bangers for the seasonally expanding night-times. Enter Recommended Dose, whose monthly offering doesn't simply span multiple continents, but numerous rhythm sources, large and small, acoustic, analog and digital.

This month, our mix features the modern sounds of London and Stockholm, the classic traditions of Brooklyn and Detroit, as well as collaborations between Italy and Mali, between old North Jersey and nü Berlin.

Even in the world of outré electronics, the experimental-music swings of Chicagoan Jamal Moss are radical. If you have the hips, stomach and brain for a steady stream of sonic surprises, he's your man in lo-fi techno. Among the many technologically astute and historically Afrocentric monikers Moss hides behind, Hieroglyphic Being has come to be his best known­ — if only because the labels through which Moss releases HB records (beside his self-run Mathematics Recordings) have the widest distribution.

The dance music that moves us in these waning days of summer often does so in minuscule ways. Maybe it has something to do with the merciless mercury levels, but a good portion of our Recommended Dose mix for August doesn't require the flailing of arms and legs. Your brain, however, should be mightily entertained.

The tracklisting includes new music from underground star Joy Orbison, space disco from Japan, ambient beats from Paris, electro from England and a meditative warehouse juggernaut from Belgium.