Reviews/Previews

Music Review: Alessio Viggiano - Standing On Saturn's Ring EP (incl. Nick Beringer Remix) [discotech WAX]

UK based, record label and promoter discotech’s latest release comes by the skilful hand of Italian talent Alessio Viggiano, who delivers a perfect EP for the dancefloor. "Standing On Saturn’s Rings" EP is a four-tracker record that combines a mature yet clever and imaginative take on the label’s house ethos fused with Viggiano’s deep house and minimal sound, the result: a sophisticated, modern and vibrant voyage. Following on from the success of their previous release, Kepler's - Higher EP, discotech WAX second release marks another accomplished work for the young label. To top the release off, "Standing on Saturn’s Rings" EP features a remix from the prolific, German export, Nick Beringer.

 

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"Kalisvar" opens the EP in full style with a charming tech-house cut that combines smooth synths with minimalistic touches. The drumbeat rhythm and the popping bassline provide the foundations for a strong roller that brings high energy forward. Viggiano’s signature elegant and deep melodic synths drift in and out along ethereal vocals. The structure of the track recalls a strong house influence, making of "Kalisvar" a peak time track that will get the groove and energy going.

 

 

 

Concluding the A-side, "Marshmallow" embodies the stripped-down minimal house sound with a slight deep house feel. The birds in the background remind of better days, while a classic snare pattern. The bassline is warm and leads the way through the trippy sonic journey that is topped off with laidback distorted vocals. Perfect for an after hour session.

 

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The B-side starts off with the EP’s self-titled track, "Standing On Saturn’s Rings": a deep minimal house cut with a striking outer planet characteristic. The Viggiano’s track keeps the warmth of the A-side, while going into a more introspective journey. Elegant pads make celestial atmospheres against the robust and groovy bassline that reminds of house gems.

 

 

 

Finishing things off, Berlin's very own Nick Beringer treats the former track with a more melodic approach and dwells into deep and progressive territory. The subtle elegant arpeggiated lick drives the mind into a state of trance, whilst keeping your feet on the floor by relying on Nick's trademark fast-skipping groove.

 

 

 

Overall, discotech WAX 002 is a tip not to be missed as its already charting high up and selling quick. The young label proves that good music transcends in time and despite their freshness in the vinyl game, has aimed for quality and dancefloor-oriented material. This release blends the elegance of a classic and distinctive house style with the new minimal house wave in the form of a definite dancefloor weapon. 

 

 

Words by Daniel Ordoñez

 

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Cedric Dekowski & Felix Reifenberg / DJ Void - Don't Drink Chloroquine EP [BinarySound 004]

There are certain EP’s which manage to hit the sweet spot as soon as you play them. You know instantly whilst listening to a meer snippet of each track that this is going to be a record for the bag. Every track tick’s the box... This is exactly what you have with the new Binary Sound EP. The 4th instalment of supersonic delights from the imprint, this time headed up by Cedric Dekowsk & Felix Reifenberg and DJ VOID on the reverse.

 

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"Pilcher" kicks straight into the mix with cosmic pads, dubby kicks and crisp metallic snares to grab you straight in… dark and cryptic tones are found throughout the track as the groove begins to build. Tinsel like pads and synths come in and out before the bassline drops straight in. Say no more this track has you hooked. This is pure A grade party tackle that is perfect for the dancefloor. All the elements of the track give each other plenty of room to breath and develop as you're taken on an expedition of all things wild and wonderful.

 

 

 

Next up is Pilcher’s twisted sister "Neptuning". The perfect blend of electro meets techno taking you through the wormhole of cosmic exploration. Mysterious pads rise beautifully along with driven kicks and tense snares. The track really comes into its own with perfect use of electro like robotic synths. This is Daft Punk’s cooler brother with 80's-like rhythms perfectly adapted and sprinkled with minimal groove, to confirm the ability of the two Germans.

 

 

 

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We turn to DJ VOID on the flipside. Immediately, electric chords set the right mood right before retro-sounding delayed synths and a gritty bassline kick in, giving unity and compactness to the whole composition. As the track progresses, a twisted acid line makes its way into the already chaotic atmosphere, where noisy hats perfectly match with heavy claps before leaving the scene again to the main element that never left the track: dustiness and analogue harm are felt throughout.

 

 

 

Thus, "Dolphin Tribe" enters and instantly we're swimming amongst a sea of wondrous percussion with those classic 808 kicks and snares doing the business from the off. Electronic harpsichord-esque synths are softly introduced as the breakdown brings a touch of acid into the mix with sonic pads to bring you up and rising out of the sea into the sky.

 

Lastly, the digital bonus "Frametrax" is without a question one of those perfect tracks to start to lift the energy of the night again; it’s sunrise you’re starting to bring back up the rhythm and this is your weapon of choice. Dubby pads accompany a thunderous bassline which gives the track plenty of depth, coupling perfectly with light and energetic snares and claps to give you the energy. Perfect B side paraphernalia rounding the EP nicely.

 

 

Words by Jordan Diston & Francesco Quieti

 

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Music Review: RSLane - Dupa EP [Duck It Records]

Algerian based label Duck It Records’ new vinyl release comes by its label head, RSlane, a man of many talents who has been committed to promote the North African music scene for years now also known for his infectious groovy and deep sounding music. During the past decade, his efforts and his passion for the local electronic music cultural movement also led him, at the age of 34, to also found his own label.

 

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His latest EP, Dupa, contains four tracks consisting of two original cuts and two special remixes, one by Romanian sEmoa and the latter by Algerian talent Harr, perfectly complementing the release. The whole album is a beautiful mix of breaks and minimal house that have a contagious and deep feel that is both distinctive and alluring throughout.

 

"Dupa" is a fiery break driven minimal house cut that captures the listener from the beginning to end with its organic broken rhythm kick drum pattern, coalesced with mysterious and distorted atmospheric background pitch sounds and textures that subconsciously draw the listen inwards. The track’s bass synth gives off an enigmatic and vibrant vibe that both catches you by surprise and pushes the momentum forward. Deep sleek chords float and as cutting one-shot percussions pierce the air through, adding gritty and deep cuts to the sonic trip alongside some catchy female hip hop verses. Overall, a well balanced high key roller that displays RSlane’s versatility and natural instinct for musical blends.

 

 

 

RSlane carries on the release smoothly with his consistent and striking take on breakbeat and minimalistic house cuts with his second instalment, "Cosmic Breaks". The kick drum beat starts of the track as short hi-hat notes appear while a deep synth holds down a modulated key, reminiscing of the grandeur sound of sci-fi film introduction scores. The snare and chopped vocal percussive sample add properly well to the energetic and broken ravey breakbeat feeling of the track. The use of distorted slurred vocal sampling appears effortlessly as it complements the arrangement in gorgeous flair, whilst the panned one-shots drive the listeners' motion and attention headfirst. The hi-hats add the spice as the 808 tom brings memories of the grittier and more vibrant days of the UK nightlife. A deep bassline sine synth with deep house synth chord melody create a beautiful fusion of broken beats and flowing motion.

 

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sEMOA takes on a more acid sound and electro-funk note for his reinterpretation of the lead track. A funky bassline gives off more of a wacky twist on the original cut and the breakbeat kickdrum perfectly works along with the acid synth for a harmonious track. The use of the classic 808 cowbell pattern along with flangerized effects and its characteristic bassline adds on to its particularity in sound design.

 

 

 

Harr, instead opts for a deep house minimal take on "Cosmic Breaks" that concludes the EP on a refreshing note. With beautiful synth chords, the remix lets the listener take on a lighter experience to that of its counterpart on the A-side.  Harr perfectly closes Duck It 002, which arrives as a pleasant surprise for those seeking to search deeper into the broken rhythms and get carried away into a profound daze.

 

 

 

 

Words by Daniel Ordoñez

 

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Music Review: Chris Stussy - Across Ocean EP (incl. DJOKO Remix) [PIV030]

We've already talked (here) with the guys behind the ever-greater PIV brand a couple of months ago, and the latest EP by Dutch frontman Chris Stussy can't do anything but confirm our hypothesis. In fact, PIV030 marks his return to the home base and he does it in style with 5 sonic cuts: four originals (among which appears a collaboration with Aussie rising talent Litmus) plus a remix by the talented DJOKO, sailing across swingy-paced grooves, soothing synths and rumbling basslines. Are you ready to come on board? Let's dive into it...

 

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The EP starts with the title track "Across Ocean" and Stussy's very own touch is instantly recognizable, as the Amsterdam based DJ and producer lay you down deep in the groove. Bass rumbles and shakes powerfully while silky synths lines colorate the space. A vanishing male vocal sample keeps the loop going and washes out the ears with a human element, whilst the heavy kickdrum surprisingly bounces tight on the beat. Some bright percussions create a smooth layer on top of the groove, whilst a catchy 90s lead gives accent to the swingy-paced groove making us feel like you're driving a supercar in the sunny East Coast.

 

 

Thus, the enormous "Seeing & Believing" brings us to a whole new state of flow, flying high with some dreamy chords and majestic chords. The overall sound is fat and bold, shimmery of an analogue detail. Some graceful female chants take the listener into a soothing and lush atmosphere, giving a cloudless feel to the drums, harsh and clear, that perfectly groove tight alongside delicate plucks. Emotional vibe thought for the dancefloor.

 

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Next up, Stussy teams up with the talented Australian-based Litmus for "Independent Woman": a catchy anthem that revolves around an engaging vocal sample, which this time gets prominent than ever. The whole laidback atmosphere is surrounded by jazzy strings and sweet piano stabs, both smoothly dancing on the beat. Drums are gritty and opulent, with a great repartee of different hi-hats that together create an exciting plot. The steady bassline gets the whole track tidy and strong, and to this, the pair add several funky guitar slaps to make the track even catchier.

 

 

 

Again on his own, "Kaizen" is the last original of the EP and it's the more driving piece of the entire release. The bass runs fluid and sparkling pads stutter on the rubbery beat, shiny and soulful. The spatial and dub vibe of the track, also suggested by the track's name, features a lovely warm and calm feel, although still being energetic and dancefloor-oriented. This contrast really takes the piece to another level, further increased by the appearance of distant 80s synths that immediately bring on an unexpected tasty old school disco flavour.

 

 

 

Fresh of the first-ever PIV sample pack, and after three successful releases on the label, Cologne-based DJOKO now puts his hands on "Seeing & Believing". On his remix, the German groover rises up the tempo by relying on a solid bassline that lays underneath his trademark dub synths, dynamic airy pads and splashes of the original vocal, now processed and delayed. Over its 6 minutes ride, the track float lightly, taking the listener through the trip, continuing DJOKO gradual yet unstoppable ascent towards the very top.

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi

 

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Music Review: Size 8 - 002 [The Check In]

With a jazzy background behind his back, Thomas Robinson, better known as Size 8, has been crafting music over the last 10 years. The London based producer then continued the studies as audio engineering, also focusing on learning keyboards, as we can easily notice on his latest EP 002

 

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Side A kicks off with a woody kick that still sounds delicate, able to not overpower the other elements. Little by little, a groovy male vocal chop makes its way on the track, matching harmonically with processed bells from heaven, delicate pads, thin drums and a warm, cosy bassline. The light mood that reigns is partly "soiled" by an LFO-ish synth that, enveloping on itself, enriches the track in an intelligent and not intrusive way.

 

 

 

"Through many musical genres and styles, I found myself starting up my own label "The Check In" last year. "The Check In" is a label and East-London based club night. The music is strongly focused on an intelligent sound design built around intricate bouncy grooves. Inspired by the sounds of iO (Mulen), Jake Flory, Fabe and many more, depth and subtlety are key to the labels sound. It can loosely be described as a minimal house but it is so much more. The second release is simply named "Size 8 002" and focuses on layered harmonies which gives both cuts a euphoric feel, whilst the drums hint at something more playful" - Size 8

   

B Side, instead, goes a little bit harder than its previous colleague, as Size 8 rises up the tempo for a more driving dancefloor tool. Spacey pads meet old-fashioned delayed stabs for an intimate and soulful journey that will leave a luscious taste in the listener's mouth.

 

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti

 

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