Whereas previous editions of Signal to Noise have focused on DJs and producers, this time around we're putting the spotlight on the musical tastes of party photographers. Highly opinionated about music, these are the people behind the lens at some of your favorite events. Read on -- you just might hear one of these songs the next time you're out having your picture snapped.
1. Alexandra Mae Munson, photographer at Haçeteria
"We Made This Jack," by Social Disco Club
"We Made this Jack" seamlessly emulates that classic Chicago and early-90s jackin' sound that has become the bread and butter of Haçeteria. It never fails to pack the floor and get booties bouncin' (mine included). Complete with fast-hitting high hats, and whimsical lyrics, this song is almost as fun to sing as it is to dance to. Not to mention that people love getting their pictures taken when this song drops. With references to all the jackers in Europe and all the jackers in Heaven, this little track is packed with a surprising amount of house history current and past, which I am sure appeals to all of my fellow house music nerds. I personally can't get over that Legowelt shout-out!
2. Raynie Alexandria Vratari, Cudunko Photography
"Hush Up Riddim," by I.D. Baobinga
I absolutely adore this track. I first heard it back in 2010 I think, when my good friend Chris (DJ Manitous) played it out and I instantly got chills sent down my back. It was one of those moments where I left whatever conversation I was in the middle of to hound him for the name of it. Its bass levels are pure perfection and all those sounds winding up and down in between are otherworldly. I just think it's one of the most badass beats ever, and anytime I hear [it] on the dancefloor, I end up looking like I'm at church: hands in the air, getting my praise on.
"Azz Everywhere," by Big Freedia
I wracked my brain trying to be thoughtful about "hot dance tracks" I've been listening to lately, but really the stuff that moves bodies the most requires zero brain power. So I went directly to the song that will have me bent over in a second flat, no matter how much equipment I'm toting. When I hear this song, I access secret powers in my pelvic cradle and unlock the bounce inside an otherwise totally inoffensive frame. My fascination with bounce music, and Big Freedia specifically, is not just the energetic sound, but the feeling of experiencing culture in a ritual way. You can catch me at Future | Perfect offending the dancefloor with some back-end aerobics if this tune drops -- hands on the speaker.
4. Astra Brinkman, freelance photographer
"Past Midnight (Daniel Bortz Remix)," by Cadillac
I understand that the beauty of art and music is that it's a reflection of the time that births it, but I've come to realize that the best kind of dance music leaves me feeling nostalgic. Or like I've just conquered a mountain after days of seeking to reach the summit. I'm pretty picky about what I groove to -- I seek out certain tempos and melodic lines, so when I find something I can sink my teeth into, it's typically something with a lot of layered subtleties and progression. This song is no exception: it's a deep house throwback that reminds me of open, airy textures a la Nathan Fake, and it's slow and steady like some of my favorite Diskjokke or Lindstrom pieces.
"Heartstones," by The Party Bros.
There aren't too many musical cliches that I go hook line and sinker for. One of them however is a massive, reverbed-to-hell clap on the two and four. Another is a chugging, key-filtered Juno bassline. And, I suppose, a wild '80s lead saxophone solo is another thing that makes me weak in the knees. The Party Bros. out of DC, nail all of 'em with their "Heartstones" track from late last year. It sounds like Daft Punk on lean.