Track By Track: Dance System – In Your System
Dance System takes on the infamous ‘dance music’ album…
Many have tried and failed to produce or create the perfect “dance” album. My theory is that it doesn’t exist, someone likes techno, someone likes house, someone likes trance, someone likes disco and whatever, whatever. Nobody likes them all do they?
Anyway, Dance System has recently produced an album, his first under the alias which attempts to unpick his passion for fluid thinking dance music and its ability to be pieced together. ‘In Your System’ features eleven tracks which span a breadth of styles and genres – nearly all of it is built for the clubs and that is maintained through the emphasis placed on repetition and energy.
Dance System, to some, might be better known as another moniker of L-Vis 1990.
For many years James Connolly has produced futuristic, electronic music which has always had one foot in the past as much as it does in the present. The infamous jackin’ sound of Chicago has pounded throughout much of his work, ballroom and vogue influences from New York have remained prominent and yet the work he released under the guise of L-Vis 1990 never necessarily sat comfortably within the domain of either.
Perhaps this is why the Dance System project is so important – it has allowed James the opportunity to directly connect with the sounds he loves. No gimmicks, no hyper complex futurism – this new record is strictly business and built for the dancefloor, as intended and nothing less.
Perhaps he might just explain it a bit better than me…
“Filter Funk was one of the first tunes I made using my Akai S3200 sampler. I Love to manipulate samples and chop them in ways that make them seem otherworldly, so far away from the original that it’s totally unrecognisable, this is definitely the case with this tune. Its layers of simple patterns are individually filtered in the sampler to give that funk and live feel. Wanted to keep the drums in a simple backbeat pattern so they really stomp and leave space for the sample chops to really glide around them.”
What You Want
“This track was so fun to make! I made it back in 2019 with my friend Harry (Lazy H), an amazing keys player I’ve worked with loads over the last few years. Was a winter’s night in the basement studio I had in Stoke Newington underneath this Irish dive bar. We definitely had a few that night.. was that magic hour when you kinda should go home but you say.. Let’s do one more track. I had the groove and acid line already from earlier in the day. The sampled groove just felt like it could roll on forever without getting boring, like a tune you would walk to in the streets at night. For a laugh I got on the mic and just freestyled the lyrics. I imagined a drug dealer walking down the street trying to shift gear to a young clubber. We were both cracking up in the studio after. That voice is my evil alter ego Mike James that appeared a couple of times on my mixtape Where’s the Party At?”
Wet N Wild
“I was just having fun with my Access Virus on this one back in 2019. Love to get so tweaky on that machine. Decided to add this track halfway through mixing the album. There was a day when I decided to cull some of the lighter more hopeful tracks and just make the album more freaky and twisted, Wet N Wild was a perfect addition to really switch the albums energy. My flat mate says it sounds like some squeaking cuddly toys having sex, I can’t get that picture out of my head when i hear it now.”
Bring The Noise
“Bring the noise was my statement of intent for the album. It’s all about energy builds and releases and using the filter on my Akai S3200 like an instrument and really manipulating the short half bar sample to be something totally new. I chopped the vocals from this 90’s dutch rap sample CD I found.. I had no idea at the time that the lyrics would be so pertinent today. When I wrote it it was more of a statement about the political violence the the UK government was afflicting on our country but now with the war in Ukraine it has taken on a whole new meaning. This was a massive tune in my post lockdown gigs and on my Mixmag Lab, I knew I had to build the album around this track.”
In Your System
“The title track from the record and the only time I really let a lighter more hopeful energy through on the record. I wanted to have a little bit of a respite on the record before more madness. A palate cleanser, some pickled ginger between sushi courses. It’s a fun track that can sit nicely in most house sets. The lyrics ‘Pump it through your system’ and clear all that dark energy.”
“‘Shutter Track’ was made after a very intense and transformative trip to Berghain / Panorama Bar. God, I sound like such a cliche, haha. Musically it was incredible with Kevin Saunderson on the decks in Pbar. The Reese style lead synth is a little nod to him. But I had a friend going through a little bit of mental health issue, whilst I was also trying to deal with some personal problems on the outside. The cut up sample that runs throughout represents those things panned left and right they are frantic but hold the groove. You then have the rumble of the kick drums in the background of Berghain and the euphoric synth giving you that Pbar energy. I made this tune knowing I would be playing Pbar in a month.. I wanted to make a tune that would make the bar staff open the shutters, hence the name. It worked! Such an amazing moment.”
“I chopped the vocals from this 90’s dutch rap sample CD I found.. I had no idea at the time that the lyrics would be so pertinent today.”
“I made this track in Italy during lockdown armed with my Access Virus and novation Drumstation 909 Clone. A rumbling brooding techno tool in the vein of Joey Beltram. After the high emotions of Shutter Trak i wanted to take the listener into the basement of the club, a dark freaky room where anything goes. Bodies dancing close together, sweat dripping and strobe flashes, things getting very twisted as the drugs kick in.”
““Découper” to cut up in french. This is my kind of deconstructed funky house tune. Minimal and stripped back with just a simple 808 kick and clap and closed hi hat. I was experimenting more with envelope filters on this one. They really add that extra funk to sample chops. You don’t really hear to much of that these days with your average filter disco edits but I really love the sound. I bought an Electrix Filter Factory. It’s a stereo analogue filter with so much character that DJ’s in the 90s used in their setups before filters were added to mixers. The thing is dangerous and has some mad resonance that I’m sure blew a few eardrums on the dance floor back then. I used that filter on this tune and It’s starting to become my signature bit of gear.”
Pump It Up
“Time to bring more energy towards the end of the album like I would do in one of my DJ sets. Pump It Up is another filter funk banger made using the S3200. I had a lot of fun stretching the vocals on this using the sampler. There is just no way you can do that in such an authentic way using a plugin or Daw.”
Dreams 2 Luv
“Another track I made in 2019 around the same time I made ‘Can’t Stop (Lovin U)’ that dropped on Mella Dee’s label Warehouse Music back then. It’s a bouncing synth workout I made using a sick little rack synth called the EMU MoPhatt. I love the filters on that thing, it’s got some serious squelch!”
“I had a totally different closer to the album when I began to mix it. It was a lot more of a spiritual tune that left you more in the clouds but I had a revelation after rewatching Gaspar Noé’s insane and fucked up film, Irreversible. The way that film ends is with this really intense strobing effect that just leaves you in shock and contemplating all of the fucked up events that happened before. I really felt ‘4 play’ similar energy to that moment with its audio strobing engulfing you on the dancefloor. Its a ‘What the fuck?’ tune that leaves you high and dry and wanting more. The title is also a statement ‘In your System’ is just the foreplay for where I’m going to take this project.”
Buy the release HERE.