Staycore - Erelitha

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  • "We asked them to think of the lightest light," Staycore co-founder Dinamarca told FADER about his crew's new compilation, "and [to] put that feeling into their tracks, whichever color of light they ended up with in their minds." Erelitha, the latest transmission from a buzzing crew of young producers, is a collection of club music inspired by summer but without the usual tropes. These themes are defined by crystal-clear MIDI tones, careful drums and a spaciousness uncommon to experimental club tracks. You don't get shattering glass, pounding drums and sawtooth bass on Erelitha—you get ornate, finely wrought jewels. Staycore was started in Stockholm in 2014 by Dinamarca and Ghazal, and has since become a source for international club music that connects regional sounds. Rather than weaponizing these borrowed rhythms, the label's producers give them svelte countours and a graceful lilt. Toxe's "Bite" is as characteristically aggressive as anything else she's released, but there's something zen about how it's composed of so few elements, the quick drums arranged with nuance instead of chaos. Other Staycore producers prefer to dip and sway instead of attack. Oklou's "Silicium" is like disembodied dancehall, with autotuned vocals and disparate elements peppered over a bouncing rhythm, while Resla throws a Eurodance-baiting arpeggio on top of a stuttering drum pattern. Europe's mainstream dance sounds are catnip for Staycore (check the explosive hardstyle synths on MM's "Zero-G"), but even those moments tend to favor the crew's potent melodies and bright sound design over outsized theatrics. Grime is also a key influence here, especially the introverted, melancholy kind. Though Dinamarca's "Libro" might not have a traditional grime rhythm, it's hard not to hear Slackk in its sing-songy synths. Pininga's "Gaibu" has the kind of cutesy lead and bassline combo you'd hear in a track by Dark0 or Sharp Veins. Best of all is Mechatok's "Day Lite," which takes grime's obsession with early video game music to a new level of prettiness. MIDI strings turn from chintzy to baroque, and they trace out a melody that reaches trance levels of saccharine. It's an arresting turn from a producer whose work can often feel confrontational, and another example of how Erelitha has wrung the best out of its contributors. For a sound that violently chops vocals or edits whole songs into jagged bangers, the experimental club music of Erelitha is curiously softspoken. There are snippets of vocals here and there, but they're rarely more than percussive punctuation, leaving all the emphasis on glassy instrumentation and bobbing drums. (Mobilegirl's "GCC," a serviceable Missy Elliott edit, stands out like a sore thumb because of its vocal.) The result is club music stripped down to its barest elements, with each artist's particular style left to shine through.
  • Tracklist
      01. Erelitha 02. Pininga - Gaibu 03. Oklou - Silicium 04. Toxe - Bite 05. Mechatok - Day Lite 06. Zutzut - Tantra Negro 07. Jackie - Twi 08. MM - Zero-G 09. Resla - Nitro 10. Dinamarca - Libro 11. Mobilegirl - GGC 12. Don Sinini - Chapati