By ZACHARY DE STEFAN
It’s hard to deny that there is an infectious quality to essentially anything produced by British DJ Duke Dumont, who exploded onto the House music scene in 2012 after releasing a debut EP in 2007 that garnered little attention. Characterized by relentless synth-heavy beats that might just blow out your eardrums and endlessly looping drum-clap backgrounds, what sets Dumont’s music apart from, well, every other House music producer is the quality of the vocals he employs, elevating his songs from your average dance tracks to fiery thumpers you can’t help but rock along with.
The song that brought Dumont to the forefront of the British House music scene was no doubt his 2012 single, “Need U (100%)”, featuring the infectious vocals of Sierra Leonean-born AME, who was only 18 years old at the time of the single’s release. I find it extremely difficult to refrain from snapping my fingers the second “Need U” pops up on my iPhone, which would probably elicit odd looks from my fellow TCAT travelers, but the fact remains that Dumont’s debut single is as dance worthy as it is ridiculously fun to groove out to. AME is a rising talent in her own right, having been nominated for BBC’s Sound of 2013 poll; she is expected to release her debut album in early 2015. The winning combination of her impressive vocal abilities with Dumont’s 90’s-inspired production resulted in “Need U” being nominated for Best Dance Recording at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards in 2014, alongside other hits such as the Florence Welch/Calvin Harris lovechild, “Sweet Nothing” and Zedd’s irresistible “Clarity.”
Dumont’s first EP with Virgin EMI, EP1, contains two more songs that have the potential to become instant dance club classics. “I Got U”, co-produced by Jax Jones, charted at #1 in the UK, and sounds like the perfect song to blast on a radiant summer day (though it’s equally enjoyable on an unforgivably cold Ithaca afternoon — I promise). Featuring Kelli-Leigh’s vocal sampling of Whitney Houston’s “My Love Is Your Love,” a sprinkling of steel drums, and warm calypso beats, “I Got U” is equally as infectious as “Need U (110%),” if not more so. Another EP1 gem is “Won’t Look Back,” featuring uncredited, brassy vocals that soar to unimaginable heights on the song’s hook. Feverish, anthemic and tinged with some unmistakeable Gospel flavor, Dumont’s latest single is a must-hear for House music fans. Give him a listen and enjoy!
Zachary de Stefan is a freshman in the School of International and Labor Relations. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mixtape appears alternate Thursdays this semester.