From London, Lisbon and Gary, Indiana they come: the best electronic records of the last fortnight.

With far flung producers making music not beholden to genre, convention or even good taste, it's undoubtedly a particularly exciting time to be following the most exciting music on the planet. Tragically though, there are fewer and fewer permanent spaces to hear that music in. Even as a new club comes to Detroit, the birthplace of techno, another one has bitten the dust in London: Crucifix Lane has followed nearby Cable in falling victim to the development of London Bridge station. With Plastic People gone and Fabric on the ropes, the recent wave of creativity can feel bittersweet.

Revival or not, two of the finest free mixes of the fortnight centred on grime: one collected the best of the new wave of instrumentals that have taken the scene by storm, the other saw the genre's formative influence used as a jumping off point for musings on the changing seasons. And amidst all of that, the young producer who released perhaps the most influential British dance album of recent times decided to remodel himself as a socialist Jai Paul.


Jam City - Dream A Garden (Night Slugs)

At first it's hard to imagine a more radical change in direction than following the high definition, dizzying fury of 2012's game-changing Classical Curves with the organic, light-under-the-curtain bedroom pop of Dream A Garden, the latest effort from Night Slugs' Jam City. Curves predicted the squeaky-clean synthetic surfaces of PC Music, but it shared none of that label's fixation with bygone styles, nor its ironic gloss. It was a cold, hard record, an apt document of its present even as it pushed on into an unexplored future.

In their own way though, the two records can feel like companion pieces. Along with an affinity for Prince, they share in a reaction to their late capitalist surroundings. Jack Leatham has been clear in the motivation behind his new album, in case the shocking red of its cover weren't enough. Unlike its predecessor though, Dream A Garden's flaws aren't obscured by the jolt of hearing its production for the first time. Notably, Leatham has taken the decision to sing, and unfortunately he is sorely lacking as both a vocalist and lyricist. For every timely reference to Foxton's ('Crisis') and XTube ('Unhappy'), there are countless awkward pleas, and that's when the words can actually be made out. Leatham has 'buried' his vocals in much the same way as Meredith Graves of Perfect Pussy, another artist with a lot to say about love, does, accidentally or otherwise making them inextricable from the music.

Dream A Garden can be read as situationist, a reaction to commodity fetishism and the alienation Leatham has said he feels both as a young person in this age of austerity and a DJ on the macho-centric club circuit. He urges the listener, and by proxy his peers, to find meaning in real human connection. It can feel slightly embarrassing talking about what is, essentially, a pop record like that - the image of Leatham, in full anarcho-student regalia, glowering among the gravestones in Highgate Cemetery is not an easy one to shake - but as bell hooks says, "Whether we're talking about race or gender or class, popular culture is where the pedagogy is." And when Leatham expresses support for arts students protesting cuts, the album's promotional cycle looks less like posturing and more like candour. Dream A Garden, then, offers duel reasons for hope: for a future where our artists are both sincere and creative and for the tantalising promise of the Jam City project.


Jlin - Dark Energy (Planet Mu)

She may have first come to wider prominence on Planet Mu's second Bangs & Works compilation, but everything about Jlin positions her as footwork's great outsider. She is, for one thing, a woman and peppers the best tracks on her new album Dark Energy with women's voices. She's also from Gary, Indiana, just outside the scene's Chicago hub, and her experience working in one of the city's steel mills informs her harsh, dark music. Where the late, great DJ Rashad's Double Cup relied on his esoteric taste to stretch footwork's formula across a full LP, Jlin does so by honing in on her own peculiar style. There are fewer samples here than we're used to from this music, and when they do show up they feed the all-consuming mood of darkness. Not a pleasant listen in the truest sense but a thrilling one.


DJ Nigga Fox - 'Um Ano' (Principe)

'Um Ano', the lead track from DJ Nigga Fox's second 12" for Principe, Noite e Dia, sounds like the freak-out after the party turns sour, lurching forward as drums clatter in the background. Not so much alien as distinctly foreign, it brings new meaning to the term 'outsider house'. One of many younger DJs to take their name after DJ Marfox, the figurehead of Lisbon's fertile African Portugese dance music scene, Nigga Fox blends a clear internet-bred Anglo-American influence with his immediate environment. Noite e Dia joins Nidia Minaj's Danger in shaping a stellar 2015 for Principe.


Tessela - Bottom Out (R&S)

Tessela's work sounds more and more like the deconstructed husk of the industrial techno made by his brother Truss. Nancy's Pantry, his first EP for R&S, retained at least some of the maximalism of breakout romp 'Hackney Parrot', but he's down to the bare bones on 'Bottom Out'. The metallic clang of its percussion recalls but never matches the two Sounds, Pearson and Livity (whose Kowton is on remix duty).


Laksa - Draw For The (Mistry)

Mistry, the London-based label run by Beneath, continues its great run with this fourth release, a debut from Laksa. The A-side makes a splash, all crashing cymbals and screeching synth, scanning like a meaner, messier version of what we were calling 'UK Bass' a couple of years ago. 'Baded' hints at the dread of classic DMZ but places it within a strident techno march, while closer 'Touch Down' is ferocious. Laksa calls to mind the assemblage of past UK styles on Mumdance & Logos' Proto but never loses sight of the contemporary club context.


Sweyn Jupiter - Hyp 219

Sweyn Jupiter announced himself last month with the arresting keyboards on 'Papaya Lipgloss', his collaborative single with Night Slugs boss Bok Bok. Here he paints a rich portrait of life in London and on the internet, placing obscure gems like Chris J's 'Body Mechanic' alongside party-starters like Busy Signal's 'Bou Yah' and completists' grime cuts.


Slackk - Boxed Classics Mix

Slackk shared this mix ahead of Boxed's second birthday, hinting that many of these 'classics' from the instrumental grime night's first twenty-four months sadly wouldn't be getting much play at future editions. He kicks things off with fellow resident Mr Mitch's epic 'Don't Leave' and just keeps ratcheting it up. Personal favourites like Murlo's remix of JT The Goon's 'Twin Warriors' rub shoulders with unimpeachable anthems like Finn's 'Keep Calling' and Dark0's 'Sweet Boy Pose', while gassed-about young crew The Square are well-represented in leader Novelist's brilliant 'Sniper' and Lolingo's delirious bedroom Ameriie flip 'New Cross Gate'.