Reviews/Previews

Mihai Popoviciu: Underground Survival Kit

Deep house maestro Mihai Popoviciu shares his first sample pack on Samplestate

 

Every artist has a signature and deep-house maestro Mihai Popoviciu is no exception! For over a decade the ever consistent Romanian producer and DJ has built a body of work characterised by deep grooves, crisp precision, and irresistible energy. Mihai’s prolific production schedule has seen him regularly releasing on labels such aBondage MusicPoker FlatBedrockDessous and also his own label Cyclic which he established in 2012.

 

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This calm determination became Mihai's trademark as his career blossomed from production to DJing. After honing his skills in the studio he learned to DJ and began drawing attention in Romania and across Europe. Playing international gigs was a big move for someone who grew up only seeing clubs on TV but Mihai stepped up with professional aplomb. His CV now includes the best clubs in Europe and around the world, from Berghain and Watergate in Berlin; to London's Fabric and The Egg; to D-Edge, Sao Paulo; DC-10, Ibiza; and more!

 

 

Mihai's ambition with every track and every DJ set is to transmit the joy and energy that fuels his dream. "It feels great to see people dancing, smiling, having a good time. No matter what I do, that's the main thing."    

 

This pack lets you into Mihai’s signature sound, with each sample carefully crafted with the attention to detail you hear in every one of his own productions. Track ready drum loops split into Full, No Kick and Top loop varieties. Music loops include sophisticated chord and bass loops. Also an exceptionally very well rounded resource of one-shot samples that includes Bass, FX, Pads. Drum Hits as well as all major sampler instruments being represented.

 

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As always its Samplestate's philosophy is to bring you forward-thinking and inspiring artists, delivering unique high-quality sample packs that can provide endless inspiration for your own music.

This pack comes in three main formats, Ableton, Apple or standard Wav as well as Music Loops, Drum Loops and One-Shots and Sampler formats only.

 

Ableton Pack - Complete with pre-made Drum Racks, Instrument racks and macros.

Apple Loops Pack - Includes Apple Loop aif files with pre-analysed and tagged drum and music loops. 

Wav Pack - Standard wav pack, if in doubt then select this one. Contains standard wav files and is suitable for any DAW system.

In all 3 versions, you will also receive 3rd party sampler instruments as well as all the other content in the other formats such as REX2.

 

Product Details:

• 22 Full Drum Loops
• 68 Drum Loops (Without Kicks)
• 34 Top Loops
• 34 Bass Loops
• 29 Chord Loops
• 25 Bass One-Shots
• 136 Drum One-Shots
• 14 FX One-Shots
• 25 Pad One-Shots
• 55 EXS Patches
• 55 Halion Patches
• 55 Kontakt Patches
• 55 NNXT
• 100% Royalty-Free
 

Get your hands on Mihai's sample pack right here!

 
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Words by Dom Fletcher
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Top-notch groovers Guti & Djebali release "Almost Finished" LP

Exactly 1 year ago, Guti and Djebali met in the French capital. After the initial greetings, the pair decided to spend some in the studio. And what was supposed to be a without-expectations jam between two long-time friends ended in an intense four-day session: that's how "Almost Finished" LP album was born. During those days, Guti and Djebali worked on six tracks, which were successfully played and roadtested till the end of the summer season, where the pair, after having received many positive feedbacks from all over the world, decided to arrange a second session to complete the album.

 

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Artwork by Misterpiro - Buy "Almost FInished" LP on Beatport

 

The final result is an elaborate dancefloor-oriented album made of 13 tracks (12 + 1 digital bonus), The styles of both the producers garner special appreciation; blended together into a groovy and hypnotic compelling mood. Listening to the whole work, it can be noted an incessant look to the 4/4 groove, sometimes dark and moody ("Today's Vibe"), sometimes funky ("A Night In Tunisia") and sometimes purely designed for melting the crowd.

 

In every Almost-Finished-piece emerge the harsh Guti's approach on the drums which is softened by the gentle French-touch, in effect, of Parisian Djebali. Among all the tracks stand out "Pillow Fight Me", characterized by the typical Guti's obsessive vocal tricks (do you remember Her House and Judge Me?), the powerful "Then I Am Free" with its mighty house vocal, and "Isabela", where the pair give life to a moody roller with a catchy and mesmerizing synth line that flows underneath an overpowering tech-house groove.

 

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Pic by Julia Fihman

 

We're going to share with you some quotes of our personal favourite tracks straight from the minds behind the album. If you want to know more about the gear used and how the track came to their mind we got your covered... Let's get it started! 

 

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Pic by Julia Fihman

 

#1 - Almost Finished

Funny thing, there’s a sound that you could mistake for a cicada which is actually a basic hi-hat, we ran it through the Eventide Effect H3000 and Orville to get that sound! 

 

#3 - A Night In Tunisia

Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker or Ella Fitzgerald… they all made a song with the same title: ‘A Night in Tunisia’! It’s a kind of tribute to all of them, bringing that soul and funk vibe to our track. On top of that, my father (Djebali) is from Tunisia so, it makes sense!

 

#4 - Recreational Drugs

We used the Roland SH-101 on almost every track, combined with the SH-09 to write the bassline. It goes so deep, you can feel it in your body!

 

#5 - Pillow Fight Me

Guti is the master at finding vocal hooks! Almost all the drums come from the TR808 clone (8raw8) and the original TR909. The synth line is thanks to the Moog Voyager.

 

 

 

#8 - La Brava

It’s a trippy song this one. We made it after a long night in the studio when emotion was at a climax. There is a second version of this track, on the vinyl version of the LP.

 

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Pic by Julia Fihman

 

 #10 - Isabella 

Isabella is the name of a friend that passed last year. It was our attempt to say goodbye with a nice song.

 

#11 - La Belle Harmonie

Basically, this track is centred on the chords, so we built everything around these three notes! We added hypnotic synths to support the chords and then it was all about finding the right bassline and the drums. It all came together in the end.

 

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Pic by Julia Fihman

 

The album will be available on all the digital stores and streaming platforms from April 10th and will be later released on vinyl later this year. In the meanwhile, don't forget to follow them on their social pages! More Guti: Facebook and Soundcloud | More Djebali: Facebook and Soundcloud

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti

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Italian gringos of Triptease debuts on Visionquest with "Mescaleros" LP

The legendary Visionquest proudly welcomes Italy's gringos Triptease with their debut "Mescaleros" LP. After more than 2 years since Cerulean LP dropped by head-honcho Ryan Crosson and Cesar Merveille, it's time for a new album on the mighty US label. The entitled "Mescaleros" LP comes from a curious and unconventional collective of friends who are better known as Triptease.

 

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The project, which initially only included Topper, Jacopo and Francesco, now also welcomes frequent collaborator and studio partner Hugo in its ranks. Together they came up with the idea of Mescaleros, a cutting-edge experiment with different performers joining into the live improv jam of the likes of Ambiq, Ion Ludwig, Daniele Papini (with whom Topper runs the successful Sleep Is Commercial brand) and Greg Paulus among others.

 

They've performed in iconic venues such as Club der Visionaere and Hoppetosse in Berlin, Fuse Club in Brussels, Studio 338 and Red Gallery in London etc etc.) and delivered hours (up to 17!) of powerful beats and sparkling musical ideas.

 

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Despite the relentless work, mostly done in their Pausenraum Studio, "Mescaleros" EP states only the third release as Triptease and follows two EPs on the homonymous label. The album consists of 8 tracks in the vinyl version, to which are added 3 digital extra tracks in the digital version. Within these jam sessions, the guys indulge themselves from heads-down techno/minimal tunes where the 4/4 beat is the master, to lighter electronic music pieces with a series of musical contaminations difficult to quantify. It's also pretty hard to catalogue this entire work in just one genre especially because four minds have taken part in the project, each one carrying its own background and his studio - or should we say "jam-session" - skills. In fact, most of the tracks are cut from long jams that contain a mixture of some prepared material and a hefty amount of total free form improvisation using midi and electric guitars (Hugo and Francesco), modular synthesizers and drum machines (Topper), synthesizers and samplers (Jacopo) and a vast array of eFX pedals they create a soundscape completely fresh while retaining the signature sound of the city they call home. 

 

The album results to be, in its entirety, the natural output of a consolidated work-flow to which is added an undeniable synergy between the members, consolidated by a true and sincere friendship from which it is impossible not to get carried away over the whole LP duration.

 

 

 

Mescaleros is, in their words, "a concept we like to use to indicate an approach to making music and art in general, inspired by spaghetti western esthetics and 60’s lysergic emancipation put through the lens of modern technology and science fiction. We translate that approach into long improvisational jams where we try to feel the music as something alive that can and must change from time to time and also within the same performance."

 

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We've decided to premiere B1's Tony Little Something, which slowly takes shape with fat and deep breakbeat rhythms, sinister atmospheres and warm wavy bassline. Some vocal chops give an extra dose of groove till the first break, where an analogue synth makes his appearance, gently carrying the track till the end.

 

 

 

Triptease - Mescaleros LP [VQLP009] is now available on vinyl and digital, don't forget to buy your copy!

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti

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Music Review: Cerec - Moving Visual Things EP [RE.FACE LIMITED 007]

Italy's RE.FACE Records continues to deliver fantastic music reaching the 7th release, which is brought to you by Cerec. The young Argentian talent, after having inaugurated both The Senss and Unic vinyl-experiences, debuts on RE.FACE with "Moving Visual Things". He perfectly follows the path of the label, continuing the journey started with previous releases by Vern, Ted Amber, Fabrizio Maurizi, Peshka, Vincentiulian, Nektar Agu and Petar Milicevic. The EP features three deep 'n raw deep minimal originals which are already played and support by Arapu, Giuliano Lomonte, Gescu, Sepp, Cally, Prichindel, Viceversa and more others.

 

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"Brisa" opens with a funky and jackin' bassline that winds below the entire track. The light groove is dominated by crisp claps and delicious snare drums, making of this one a bouncy roller. Some early "Tale Of Us" synths appear in the mid-section of the arrangement, giving an extra twist to the track.

 

 

 

On the flip, "Recuerdo" goes moody with dark textures, sinister synths and dreamy pads that float above a super fat bassline, driving drums with SCI-FI details that bring real charm to the track. 

 

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Closing the EP is "Laguna", which is also the track we have chosen to premiere. This one is a truly compelling deep house track that over its 7+ minutes ride, is a real ballad of love. Here, everything's delicate and composed: from the tiny hi-hats to the shakers, each element is exactly in the right place, giving you, despite some stretched and resampled nervous atmospheres an absolute sense of peace, not allowing existing excuses to stand beside the wall. Just close your eyes and dance like nobody is watching.

 

 

 

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Words by Francesco Quieti 

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Music Review: Jamahr - Cloud Formations EP (incl. Urulu Remix) [Captea 001]

The Italian duo of Jamahr is finally ready to launch their own label Captea. The label's name draws inspiration from the Romanian "to capture" and for the first release called "Cloud Formations", the guys have unleashed 3 powerful originals, calling US veteran Urulu on the remix duties. Hailing from Biella, a small city near Turin, these long-time friends have started their venture of 10 years ago, slowly making a name for themselves thanks to their deep and techy productions, within which you can always find a 6th sense for intriguing melodies and catchy grooves. Over the years they've released both on vinyl and digital on renowned labels such as Tamango Records, What NxT, Mulen Records, Politics Of Dancing Records and EWax to name a few, getting support from heavyweights like Enzo Siragusa, Yaya, Rich NxT, Djebali, Reiss, Seb Zito, Janeret and Burnski. 

  

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A1's "Cloud Formations" is an intense trip in which the Jamahr drives us miles away from the Earth's crust, making us discover intricated rhythmic bounces, rattling percussions and warm groove patterns. Some female whispers joined to hypnotizing pads and curious SCI+FI sounds are perfectly placed above breakbeat inspired drums, giving life to a hell of an opener.

 

 
 

 

Up next, US eclectic Urulu goes faster, with his 132 bpm "No Satisfaction Guaranteed" version of "Cloud Formations". He provides a gun-powder remix which features splashes of cyber-electro sound with rolling and heavy bassline, turning the original into a real dancefloor heater.

  

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On the B-side, "Kamigawa" is the perfect representation of the sound that the Jamahrs got us used to over the last couple of years. On this one,  pulsating toms and hi-hats encounter mystical long-tailed pads and synths into a majestic and dreamy progression.

 

 

 

Closing the EP is another energetic club tool called "Voyage". The wise use of 909 hats and vocal loops, together with housy strings and pulsating basslines have made of this track one of Enzo's favourite over the last couple of months.

 

Distribution by Memoria Music Group: https://www.memoria-musicgroup.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti

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