Danny L Harle’s “Harlecore” Is a Fantastical Raving World of Wonder

Danny L Harle takes dance music back to its legendary late 90s-early 00s era with Harlecore, his latest release. The UK producer, an illustrious figurehead in the world of hyperpop, creates a fully realized and magical world with this album, featuring collaborations with artists like Caroline Polachek, Lil Data, and Hudson Mohawke. Harlecore spans multiple genres, with different styles throughout the album’s universe from Harle under monikers like DJ Danny, MC Boing, DJ Mayhem, and DJ Ocean.

Harlecore by Danny L Harle album cover

Album cover courtesy of Mad Decent

As a concept, Harlecore is a mystical tower of music, each level a different venue for aforementioned club artists like DJ Mayhem and MC Boing. The album’s artwork shows DJ Danny, arms outstretched, in front of these musical creatures, as if leading them into the promised land of raves. While Harle’s music from the beginning has always been clearly influenced by Eurodance, club music of all kinds, and trance, Harlecore is, at its core, a love letter to his most cherished inspirations.

With songs like “Do You Remember,” “Where Are You Now,” and “On a Mountain,” Harle invents his own turn-of-the-century pop songs, like alternate reality Top 40 hits, to gnash and grind into club anthems. In a playlist for The Fader, Harle lays out a plethora of influences for Harlecore. Listening to them, it’s clear how precisely he created Harlecore to incorporate elements from what inspired him — it is an excellent companion to Harlecore’s world. And yes, of course a hardcore remix of Gigi D’agostino’s "L’Amour Toujours" is on it.

The album’s concept of an eternally raving online fantasy is apropos to the current coronavirus situation, which has shuttered music venues across the world — some for good. “Car Song,” which Harle debuted as part of his Square Garden set in May of 2020, inspired many listeners to sprain their thumb on the space bar, directing their Minecraft avatar to hop up and down along to the song. In Harlecore, we can continue to rave together no matter where we are, connected by the power of dance music.

While much of his music exists outside the niche styles of hyperpop, Harle’s reputation as one of its biggest influences remains obvious in the genre. With many years as a DJ under his belt, Harle has a strong ear and an even stronger production style. Harlecore makes you feel like you’re really inside a towering club complex hearing music live, whether you’re really listening through your headphones or in your car’s stereo. While Harlecore feels distinctly unique to Harle’s legendary previous releases under PC Music, it is certain to establish itself as a new classic in the artist’s discography.

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