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India Jordan - For You Music Album Reviews

The UK producer arranges classic dance tropes into a roadmap of euphoric self-actualization, creating some of the year’s giddiest, most assured electronic music.

All the best club music rests on the thrill of combustion. Fusing opposing elements and watching sparks fly is what keeps dance culture alive and kicking today, even when there appears to be limited fresh ground to break. London-based, Doncaster-born India Jordan is, alongside compatriots Finn and Anz, part of a new alliance of DJ-producers who can zip between any number of rave-ish genres without blinking. Having grown up in South Yorkshire on the most x-treme fare clubland had to offer, that sense of kinesis never left Jordan, even as the 29-year-old producer siphons and smooths it into different avenues. For You, their second EP, is a testament to this instinct, fusing drum’n’bass, filter disco, breakbeat, and reflecting-pool synth shimmer into some of the giddiest, most assured electronic music of 2020.
India Jordan initially established themself on the British club circuit as a promoter of ambient nights and one-time president of Hull University’s DJ Society. 2019’s DNT STP MY LV was their first full record, though it was rinsed so hard by tastemaker jocks that it felt happily lived in by the time the year wound to a close. Jordan’s song titles typically speak to an act of movement, forever shuffling, warping, leaving, and traveling through. For You shifts along the axis, now concerned with arriving and becoming. It is an overtly queer record, even if it doesn’t explode with pride on the surface. The “you” in the title refers to Jordan; rooted and at peace in inclusive East London, they came out as nonbinary just before Christmas last year—revealed on Instagram with a chipper, quintessentially Yorkshire sense of humor—and present themself as a work in progress.
Jordan makes this lack of fixed definition work to their advantage. The opulent flourish of French touch and the chemical twang of drum’n’bass usually stand in high contrast to one another, but within the EP, Jordan makes them feel like two sides of the same rhapsodic coin. For You’s middle tracks are the hardest to throw a genre lasso around, yet might make the handiest transition tools in a DJ’s hands. Both glide forward as if carried by a jetstream, linear in structure though anything but trad in construction. “Rave City” is a soup of subdued breaks and smeared effects that suggest a dancefloor could be nearby while feeling wholly apart from it. The arpeggiated ripples on “Emotional Melodical” hit like a wonderful rainbow refracting off a chandelier, or taking a trip to the aquarium on acid.

Jordan allows moments of earned catharsis at the close. The headstrong “Dear Nan King” is a thank you to Tipping the Velvet, a tale of female lovers that drew complaints from puritanical Middle England when broadcast by the BBC in the 2000s. Twenty years removed, Jordan threads samples from the TV drama that sparked their sexual awakening through raging Reese basslines and thunderclap percussion, life and death snare-rushing before their eyes. And on the soaring “Westbourne Avenue,” Jordan casts back to student days in Hull, a place where friendships were formed but gates were guarded by recalcitrant men in the D&B scene. The song is a composite of the EP’s various moods, pummelling and beautiful, reaching for the ecstatic while being cleansed by a flamethrower.

The passion in Jordan’s music pays off most spectacularly on the opening one-two punch, a pair that would demand inclusion on any rundown of filter house’s greatest hits. They recall the glory era when Alan Braxe & Fred Falke, Joey Negro, and Bob Sinclar ruled the MTV Dance playlists and charts alike. “I’m Waiting (Just 4 U)” comes first, a ritzy whirl of mirror balls and chromatic LEDs. It elegantly tees up “For You,” an accelerated second stage which utilizes the same vocal sample as its predecessor—this time clipped, mechanical and insistent. We’re cruising now: The tension ratchets as “for” and “you” bounce back and forth, energy increasingly chaotic, sweet harmony in the thrum of human bodies. A filter sweep draws back the velvet curtain and reveals that the soft disco essence of “I’m Waiting” sample was resting there inside this tougher, more technoid track all along, before a kick thumps in and pandemonium breaks loose. Taken together, the songs are proof that you don’t need a star budget to make Stardust-sized bangers.

For You arrives with live events in suspended animation, a quirk of fate that might stymie its evident crossover potential. These six tunes should be perfect fodder for long summer nights that stretch ’til dawn, but will instead be judged soberly and with appropriate care, rather than becoming fond memories of an ecstasy honeymoon. For a roadmap of self-actualization, perhaps this is no bad thing—and when we’re released back into the wild, these songs will feel all the more celebratory. The animating idea behind For You is that the music is India Jordan’s gift to themself. The fun part is, it lifts the rest of us too.
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