AMA Mixology Vol. 1 – Ray Okpara

RAYOKPARA REVIEW

AMA Mixology Vol. 1 – Ray Okpara 

Brought up in Nigeria but residing in Berlin, Ray Okpara has slowly been shaping his sound for over a decade, with releases on Mobilee, Cecille, Oslo, Get Physical, and Area Remote warmly received by DJs across a broad spectrum of electronic music, thanks to his versatile, groove driven style. Natural progression led to the birth of AMA Recordings back in 2010, an imprint which stems from his own middle name and means ‘you will never get lost’ – a comment the strength and unity found through music. AMA Mixology Vol.1 feels like a celebration of the label so far, and features exclusively material from artists that have previously released on the label.

The release offers both a mixed & unmixed version, allowing you to sit back and enjoy Okpara crafting together his selection to form an hour of forward thinking house music spanning across the darker stretches of the genre. Alternatively, each track can be taken in separately and in its entirety, which will no doubt prick up the ears of fellow DJs. Kicking things off is Sek with ‘Bala Rina’ with dark atmospherics reverberating around a straight laced beat, before a far techier offering by Enrico Peretti dubbed ‘Lentamente’. Okpara follows up with one of his own; ‘Airplane’ has that unmistakable percussive swing synonymous with his name – provided by a bouncing two-note bassline. It’s simple but effective, and one of the strongest on the album. Back to a techier feel with ‘Looper’ by Andre Butano & Juan Zolbaran, which is a pretty versatile track but doesn’t realy leap out at you.

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Double Change’ by Maiki, Matthew Lima & Toni Varga is littered with lovely rich textures from a combination of percussion and effects. ‘Nelipot’ is a track by Greek duo Ntemos & Stef; driving techno with a metallic lead and a relentless backbone. Nekes is next up, and he lays down the no-nonsense ‘KUTSCHO (RAW)’ – a track that’s been a favourite of Okpara’s for some time now. He makes his second appearance alongside Mobius Strum next for the eighth chapter in the album – ‘Skumpt’. It’s got a real nice feel to it, with a pounding bassline that moves through you, coupled with snappy, marching snares and the obligatory robotic monotones. The next track, 'I Tell You (Marcus Sur RMX)' by Sven Kerkhoff & Bata again stands out as one of the strongest tracks on the release; a sophisticated remix that never fully lets go, leaving you constantly craving a little more, which is delivered in calculated doses throughout as the track moves forwards.

Marko Nastic’s ‘Just a Ride’ crosses borders between house, techno, acid and electro, as Nastic toys with a 303Clone to great effect. The penultimate track by Gebrüder Hartmann has a different feel once again. ‘Mono Moon’ is a pacey deep house number with a playful keyboard acting as the main foothold whilst soulful vocals soften the edges, before the original of ‘I Tell You’ closes the release with bags of funk that really feeds the craving felt earlier during the remix. All in all a strong release and a great representation of the label.

RELEASE DATE: JULY 24nd 2013

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Words: James Ellis