Music » This Little Underground

New Orlando releases: Three breakbeat-steeped singles from Melo-dii and a fried techno grind from Astro Pup

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There is definitely something in the water around here lately, and it's conjuring the once-global spirit of Orlando's dance music past.

Although new, Melo-dii is an intriguing Orlando character whose string of releases are a throwback to the 1990s rave scene — a time, incidentally, when Orlando was a prime-time, world-class player and an era that's currently seeing a pronounced resurgence around here (read on for proof).

This virtual act is definitely kin to Gorillaz, in concept at least. Musically and graphically created by an Orlando artist who prefers to remain wholly and anonymously behind this persona, Melo-dii is an intergalactic manga-style pixie whose music started out low-key enough with an astral three-song EP (Starship Tunes) earlier this spring. But the six singles that've followed so far have established a pulse that rides like a jungle chillout room, merging floating downtempo moods with drum-and-bass kicks.

Steeped in U.K. breakbeat vibes, her latest releases (this month's "Stretched Outward" and July's "Interspace") are like lost vignettes straight out of a classic rave archive. The songs are pop-sized bites of dance revivalism nicely conceived with a smart little avatar. Look for Melo-dii on Bandcamp.

The rave train just keeps on, ahem, rolling this week with Astro Pup, another act that features some eye-catching, DIY visual art. This side project of Winter Garden artist Elliott, who records and performs primarily under the moniker Gojii, is another quarantine baby. An avowed young rave disciple, Elliott has used Astro Pup to chase that muse out to its extremities.

Astro Pup's latest release, Killshot, packs their hardest tracks to date. Launched from the unequivocally hard-core end of the dance spectrum, this EP is a three-song salvo of frenetic, unrelenting stompers that are overdriven to a fried techno grind. Killshot is up on both Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

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