- The first Jesse Kanda video I saw was a 2014 clip with Arca from TRAUMA. Three animated babies with monstrous deformations dance in unison, like a nightmare version of a '90s rap video. I first remember thinking, "Wow, this is terrifying." My next thought was, "Wow, those nightmare babies are really good dancers." From the way those animations danced, it was clear that Kanda knew a thing or two about the way bodies move. His second EP for Hyperdub, Luna, is a testament to that keen understanding of movement. Despite the weird synth textures and dissonant notes, some of these tracks are ready for the dance floor.
It's a lot less abstract than his last record, Heart, which sounded like disassociated fairy songs, with MIDI choirs noodling around barely there beats. On Luna, tracks like "Burning," by contrast, could be red-hot party starters in the right context. Rhythmically, it even sounds like the mid-tempo instrumental hip-hop you hear from the Lite Feet kids dancing on the New York subway. (Mosca's 2010 anthem "Tilt Shift" also comes to mind.) "Molting" has many of the same ethereal synths we heard on his last EP, but this time they are anchored by sturdy drums that sharpen the music's contours.
"Luna"'s lead melody is so catchy that you might find yourself humming along to it. Kanda adds harmonies and counterpoints as it repeats, creating the effect of momentum, like we're all going somewhere together. "Shed," with its underwater drums and sexy-but-sad synths, would sound totally natural with Drake and The Weeknd singing over it. The thing that's striking about this record is the way it stays just on the right side of comprehensibility while also making genuinely unusual statements. At first the tracks may seem too quirky to be dance floor bombs, but I'd encourage adventurous DJs to try them out and see what happens.