Andrew Rayel & Garibay's trancey new banger "Last Summer" is entirely of-the-moment.

Dance music is all about being in the moment, letting the thoughts drain out of your head while sweat pours from your body as the beats take hold and carry you away. Pop music, on the other hand, is all about intimacy and connection, bonding over shared triumphs and mutual grief. Both dance music and pop can encourage escapism, at times, when left to their own devices.

A pop/EDM hybrid promises the best of both worlds. It shatters the insulating cocoon we sometimes fall into on the dancefloor, where it's easy to feel disconnected and atomized, living in your own little universe. It also promises a much-appreciated collectivism in pop fanatics, who can be a bit overly-individualistic at times. This pop/EDM crossover hints at people bonding over shared experiences, coming together for a common cause. "Last Summer" from producers Andrew Rayel and Garibay, featuring guest vocals from Jake Torrey, is a particularly strong example of this mutualism.



You'd hardly realize "Last Summer" is a dancefloor banger as Jake Torrey’s smooth, folksy vocals creep in. Sunshiney, African-sounding guitars burble along like the most mellow Vampire Weekend song they never recorded. A smooth, light 4/4 beat creeps in, soft as a feather but insistent as a windstorm. It's a testament to the songwriting instincts of everyone involved that Rayel and Garibay hold back and exercise restraint, waiting until nearly the halfway mark to truly drop the beat and give us the club anthem we so desperately crave, here in the tail end of a mercurial summer.

Trance music is often associated with tropical beaches, bringing to mind the endless parties of Ibiza's white-sand beaches. "Last Summer"'s trance is as much for sipping mojitos as for losing your mind of the dancefloor until dawn. It truly stands to act as a gateway drug for popheads and ravers alike. Fernando Garibay is a Grammy-winning producer who's worked with Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, and Shakira, among many other of Pop's royalty. Rayel is one of the biggest names in progressive club trance. The equation is complete with Jake Torrey, who seems to have real star potential, as both a guest vocalist and an indie pop star proper.

"Last Summer" sounds in keeping with some of the last few year's big electronic releases. Fans of Kaytranada, Calvin Harris, or The Chainsmokers will get a lot of mileage out of this short-and-so-sweet anthem. We Are: The Guard can't get enough of it. It's on permanent repeat, bringing a bit of much-needed chill in this August heatwave.


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.