Origin stories are always more complex than they appear. Case in point: Dardan Aliu (a.k.a. Regard). When the Kosovar DJ’s deep-house remix of “Ride It” went viral on TikTok in 2019 (and was subsequently released as a single via Ministry of Sound), it seemed as if the newly anointed dance-music superstar had appeared out of nowhere. And although that frequently invoked framing possesses a great deal of truth, the fact is, Aliu was no newbie to house music. Born in 1993, the then 26-year-old already was a seasoned producer, one with a stack of well-crafted tracks under his belt (including the purring “Good Vibes”, which also dropped in 2019). So, yes, Aliu knew exactly what he was doing when he ingeniously transformed an 11-year-old ballad from R&B singer Jay Sean into a deliciously sleek house cut that nails the euphoria of a weekend beach party drenched in tropical-sunset hues. It’s a vibe into which he dives even deeper on the follow-up “Secrets”, another sensuously anthemic hit. Featuring the hushed vocals of RAYE, an electro-pop singer who has also collaborated with Jonas Blue and Jax Jones, the single manages to pick up where “Ride It” leaves off while at the same time gradually evaporating into a pulsating vapour. Aliu’s fame may have been meteoric and unexpected, but his effortlessly enticing tracks argue that it’s something for which he was always aiming.