Reviews/Previews

Music Review: Matpri - Trud EP (incl. Remixes by Michael James, Zohki) [Deep In You Music 002]

Nearly one year since the very first release, Deep You In Music label opens again its door, this time welcoming Matpri. The entitled "Trud" EP two originals from the Russian promising young and two remixes by outstanding producer Michael James (FUSE, Constant Sound) and German-based Zohki (AVOTRE, Moon Harbour).

 

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Starting the trip out nervously is "Priznak", a concrete and dense minimal slammer. The track begins very softly and thin, with a cold Sweely kind of vibe, waiting for the kick and the groove to jump in, and it's instant bounce. Tight stabs are arranged in a flawless interplay, keeping the hazy jazzy feel going. Glitches and reverse hits create a continuous move on top of the essential drums. Variation happens smoothly and efficiently, a distinct sign of mastery in time management.

 

 

 

On the remix duty, The Zoo Project paladin Micheal James brings his own fast-skipping groovy vision of "Priznak". The bass kicks in almost at the start, light and funky, whilst catchy synths dance in edgy melodies and hits, slowly getting spacey. Michael's trademark groove is yet again more than on point, with just the right elements, at the right time, featuring swingy percussions feel very natural on top of the squeezed hats and snare that give to the whole track to breathe from time to time. Overall, the Manchester-based artist is exploring a slightly upper mood, less dark and more colourful, taking the original as a starting point to imagine a whole new universe.

 

Flippin the wax, "Wobbleton" is a fat and bold deep house groover. Since the first second, a delayed stab emerges in the gaunt but yet effective groove until it gets mental. One insists on its pattern, other hits now and then, pitched, slashed, always coming back on the beat. Bass is wobbly - as the title suggests - and feels old school and heavy weighted, with all other elements playing in and out of its fluid pace.

 

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The more we dig into it, the funkier it gets as label-head Zohki opts for a thick and harmonious start for his remix of "Wobbleton". The main pad is lovely and frames the intro nicely, letting groove populate and bass come up. The closed hat sounds super sharp and 909 rim shot is punchy and has a generous dose of reverb on it, while the open hat, on the contrary, feels very drum-machine-sounding, tastily raw. Zohki's dreamy feel is just right for closing this release down, bringing on loads of class and shaking boomy bass.

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti and Francesco Zambianchi

 

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Music Review: Squep - Where Would I Go EP [Framed Realities]

Zurich’s Framed Realities continues to push the deep house boundaries with a 7-tracker EP by local talent and label co-owner Squep. The entitled "Where Would I Go" EP features four originals and three remixes that come from Christian Schiemann, San Marco and Jerome. C.

 

 

 

The original version of the main track is a sublime and soft deep house tune that features poignant chords and lush atmospheres that blinks to the dancefloor thanks to irresistible dubby drums and a mighty sub bassline.

 

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Up next, San Marco and Jerome C deliver two different versions of “Where Would I Go”, with the Swiss DJ and producer that directs his remix into a funky tool, adding a pinch of extra rhythm thanks to delicious tribal percussions, whilst the Belgian talent Jerome C delivers a stripped back and extra-dry version, channelling his energies to pure warm up intentions.

 

 

 

Mind Travel” is the second original track from the EP. As the name suggests, the overall mood is shifted to more dub feels: a grim kick pounds hard under an interesting interplay between cosmic delayed chords and vibrant synths able to lead the track till the break within which a seductive female voice whispers her story straight to the dancefloor.

 

Label-head Christian Schiemann remix of “Mind Travel” keeps the same dub imprint of the original injecting a good dose of groove, especially by crafting lovely skipping hats, extra dubby chords and tripped out effects on the vocal.

 

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The EP approaches the end with “Recapture”, which howls out a repetitive, hypnotic vocal with a bulbous pulse of a bassline and a deep late-night groove and then closes with “Smudged Eyeliner”, rounding out the package with sinister sounds, sharp hi-hats and twisted sounds.

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti

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Music Review: V.A. - Sensory Vol. 1 [Opulence]

After having released incredible tunes from the likes of Cristi Cons, Mike Shannon, Dan Ghenacia and Martin Buttrich to name a few, Cali Lanauze's label Opulence strikes after a 1-year hiatus with an array of house and techno heavyweights. In fact, the latest VA compilation Sensory Vol. 1 is filled with gorgeous tracks from Kozo, DJ W!LD, DJ Sneak, Cesare vs Disorder, Ryan Crosson, Deaf Pillow, Andre Buljat and label head himself Cali Lanauze, each of which provide slick minimal and house groovy numbers.

 

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Romanian giant Kozo starts the compilation with the deep and hypnotic "See A Man About A Horse". Characterised by tight drums, tiny minimal percussions and a juicy female vocal samples, the track seems to float motionless right into your ears thanks to dusty and grim pads in constant opposition with higher synths, taking off after 5 minutes when the clap finally joins the rest of the groove.

 

 

 

Punchy kicks, hard-hitting 909 elements and a good dose of crunchiness: this is "Be The One", which also marks the debut of DJ W!LD on the label. On this one, the Parisian remains faithful to an essential groove until a dreamy pad suddenly breaks the previous pace to be then followed by a bunch of poignant arpeggiator notes.

 

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On the flip, Opulence head-honcho Cali Lanauze unleashes classic deep house vibes in a minimal approach with the entitled "Sixfortytwo". Some subtle pads and elegant drums effortlessly drag the track for three minutes until unexpected jazzy sonorities take the track to a whole new level, making you feel immediately the summer breeze on your face.

 

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The legend himself DJ Sneak provides one of his impressive house groove rollers within which funky guitars, low-hefty atmospheres, hip hop vocal samples and classic house strings are in a constant interchange over a 7 minutes ride that punches on the 4/4 structure from start to finish.

 

 

 

Cesare vs Disorder kicks off the C side with driving kicks and steel claps but It’s the attention to detail with micro effects and sonic sounds that really bring this track to life. Pads raise the anticipation throughout with 80s style synths leading the way creatively intertwining with a velvety deep bassline.

 

Visionquest’s Ryan Crosson steps up for C2. We’re transported deep in the wilderness with booming kicks and cricket-like tones raising the suspense. The bassline brings the groove instantly with a funky bass guitar riff. Layer upon layer of tight percussion takes us through into the unknown as we twist and turn with propulsive rhythms, robotic pads and whirlpool of echoing voices.

 

 

 

"Devil’s Head" delves into the underworld; welcomed by dark gritty basslines and tight intricate percussive elements. Metallic vocals start to mysteriously present themselves. The Deaf Pillow guys have managed to perfectly keep the groove found throughout this EP whilst still bringing in their signature dark tones. The second breakdown builds and builds as elements of the track are filtered through before dropping us straight back into the vibe. A* tackle left to right and centre.

 

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"Telescope" closes off the EP with dubby tones from the offsetting the score for this affair. Sequences of electronic pads carry you from one rabbit hole to the next whilst giving the groove room to breath. Racing hats take the track into overdrive; this is pure hands up, heads down material and perfect way to close the LP. This is Andre Buljat at his best and a fine addition to his musical repertoire.

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti & Jordan Diston

 

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Music Review: drifting.dubs - |dead.drift.001|

Among the numerous mysterious and hidden by the shadow secret alias that has been exploding in popularity over the last couple of years or so, Canadian drifting.dubs has been a pleasant surprise when he reached our ears. Everything that we know about him is that he comes from the cold Calgary, and that could be one of the reasons that locked him into the studio to focus on dubby, refined and deep productions.

 

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After releases on Deep Tech Records, spclnch and Fantasic Friends Recordings he has decided to unleash the first EP on his homonymous self-titled imprint. In fact, the recent release |dead.drift.001| features 8 original productions that cover every little aspect in the deep n’ dub area.

 

Starting with the obviously titled #1.0, the track kicks nice and deep with a minimalistic flavour that penetrates into every piece of the EP. Some dull pads cover the mid-section, whilst a delicious gloomy groove keeps the beat up, also thanks to a generous dose of reverb on the drums. The track struts enveloping the ears with rare minimal refinement, making gradually reveal few but essential elements such as extra hi-hats and subtle percussions.

 

 

 

Continuing with #1.1 and #1.2, the tracks follow the same trend started on the first one, with the addition of few vocals and dubby delayed synths that perfectly match with the curious structure of the jazzy hi-hats. On #1.3, drifting.dubs introduces dreamy pads and twisted textures giving life to another great opening tool, while #1.4 and #1.5 takes a more energic direction with lively synths that try to arise throughout the crunchy groove elements and the muddy sub bassline.

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The EP closes with some after hour vibes as the Canadian DJ & producer focuses on joyful, but always heavy, atmospheres that lead at the end an overall solid and well-crafted EP.

 

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti

 

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Music Review: Mihai Popoviciu - Motion Manifold LP [Poker Flat Recordings]

Music sometimes, takes artists on spiral-shaped paths, some of which they encounter not once in their life but as well, reoccur as a form of renovation. They take on a road that years later transit with a new vision. This perfectly fits Mihai Popoviciu’s return to Steve Bug’s label, the renowned German imprint, Poker Flat Recordings, with his latest album: Motion Manifold. This is Popoviciu’s third album and sixth release on Poker Flat, and it marks his long-lasting relationship with the esteemed label. The Romanian bread staple has a long trajectory with releases on amazing labels like Highgrade, Dessous, Bedrock and his own label Cyclic to name a few. Nonetheless, this time around, the Sibiu-based studio wizard delivers a more mature narrative, a substantial ten-track album filled with his instantly infectious and recognizable energy and style developed throughout the years. Motion Manifold works as both individual pieces but is best read as a whole experience in itself.

 

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"Milky" initiates the album and takes form as slick deep tech delicacy. Perfect to warm up the soul, it sets off with a four on the floor kick groove, with a hi-hat to clap winning combo for your pleasure. Milky’s groovy bassline pushes the track in motion as the crispy claps accentuate the groove. While its progressive and filtered synth melody and distorted vocals finish it off with an enigmatic statement:¨but I don’t know ¨.

 

 

 

"Understand" maintains the same deep sound with a dubby minimal tech twist, atmospheric and immersive with its textures like an underwater sound excursion, whilst "Double Clap" has a more tech house heavy influence, with a demolishing bassline and sharp percussions. Sneaking up on the groove his aforementioned, double clap rhythmic figure adding his distinctive style to the tune. Popoviciu complements the drum programming with deft and classic, acid 303 synth licks. Whereas, "Going Around" is a straight forward minimal tech cut with its dubby and trippy flair. The track’s heavy bassline moves the action forward with its 4/4 kick drum pattern and sparky cymbals. Dubby chords float upon to keep things smooth and calculated.

 

 

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"Apricot" takes shape as another beautiful dubby minimal house cut. The use of the retro-sounding 2000s vocal articulates something along the lines of ¨hey you,¨ which creates a dialogue with the listener. Similarly, "Sleepwalking" moves into the realm of the alluring yet surreal flair of the late-night hours, sensitively capturing its mysterious and intense essence. The loopy bassline and acid lead synth add a hypnotic feel, while the beat remains steady yet light with jazz-infused percussions and subtle snare fills that seduce the ear. 

 

 

 

Popoviciu then changes things up with "Later That Day" and "El Classico" which are in contrast, more uplifting cuts. These two reveal more diurnal energy, which makes them perfect tracks to be experienced in the sunshine, with their irresistible percussive arrangements and warmer tonalities. "Cosinus" sails close to Larry Heard-ish territory, with a grooving, atmospheric bassline and fizzing, emotive synth pads. Lastly, "Chrome" closes the album off with the characteristic Popoviciu deep and sharp sound that unmistakably envelops and vibrates with audiences across the globe. 

 

 

 

 

Words by Daniel Ordoñez

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