Reviews/Previews

Music Review: Aris A1 - In Chaos We Learnt To Be Still EP [Eject Records]

Established in Bristol in early 2019, Eject is a group of likeminded individuals who came together through their love of music, production and DJ’ing. Realising the absence of their taste of Minimal, Deep and Underground House in the city, the collective of creative heads decided to fill the gap. After maturing that year in Ibiza, networking and building the family, at the end of the year they came back to Bristol where, along with their close friends Rubik, ran their debut event in Asylum nightclub hosting the chief Fuse London resident; Rich NxT as their guest.

 

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Click HERE to buy EJECT005

 

Since the very first release by Goras last February, the label immediately climbed the Minimal/Deep Tech chart on Beatport and we're sure that they will do the same with the newly released EP Aris A1 (Rendr, Lacuna Recordings). His "In Chaos We Learnt To Be Still" EP is a majestic ride through all the facets of the deep house sound, as the Italian-born but Perth-based DJ & Producer covers a multitude of shades: from lushy and dreamy moments to funky and easy-to-dance-to groove situations all together in just 4 tracks.

 

Opener “In Chaos We Learnt To Be Still” got loads of swing and a characteristic personal vibe. From the very beginning, the chunky bassline and the lively guitar both make us feel like driving a supercar in the sunny East Coast during the late '80s. The main bass has an old school flavour and so do the samples used. Guitar chops instantly create a Chicago-ish scenario and the deep chords complete the US fascination with taste, on top of a very dense and funky groove. Synths and pads arise abruptly and change the game, taking the track to a new level. A slightly modern minimal imprint is still present, even though the abundantly clear house flavour. Sweet stabs create a light bouncing effect and the open hat is soothing, almost lifted by the rest of the drums, when it comes in track gets trippy and engaging. 80s synth brass completes the frame with style during the breaks, introducing some superb and unexpected evolutions.

 

 

 

Up next, “Poimandres” completely subverts the situation, passing through sunny vibes to mystery feels. This is surely the darker of the four tracks, as it features a nervous and sharp groove with a sinister lofi synth lead goes in its company all the time, almost part of the drums. The rhythmic section is mixed down perfectly, sounds like a single, evolving, percussive texture. Synths get denser and a spooky arpeggio arise with a bell-ish sound. Sustain pads and low strings add even more tension, whilst the bass rolls boldly alongside pitched down male vocal samples.

 

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Thus is the melancholic and warm "Exile”. A subtle dreamy atmosphere finds its frame inside the gentle groove to which is also added some soft female vocal chops and majestic pads. The tight minimal composition highlights many microvariations, while the piece goes on full of soul. There’s a perfect balance between emotional harmonic elements and the always present Aris' dancefloor attitude. This track truly speaks directly to your heart and feet, made for dancing with love.

 

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Rounding out the package, “Illuminatio” gets dirty and we really like the feel overall fat feel that the track transmits from its drums. A recognizable analog crisp is also present on the main stab that goes away just during the break; this parallelism gives the whole piece solid coherence. Jazzy harmony arises from the rubbery and rich sounds.

 

For "illuminatio" I got influenced by the simplicity of the percussions used for the creation of a consistent solid groove, but my main source of inspiration was the mystical sounds, which almost make you feel illuminated (illumination in Latin) by the simplicity of music" - ARIS A1

 

A cowbell insists prominently on the beat, giving to the track an extra dose of funkiness, while kick and bass roll smoothly one above the other. The full-bodied drum section is dense, bouncing loose and bringing bring the piece forward in a laid back way. Arp synths sound at the same time very odd in the piece and very fit, creating another interesting dancefloor tool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi

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Music Review: Revivis - Same Thing EP [Quality Vibe Records]

Revivis' output this year has been above steady, to say the least, as the Berlin-based DJ and producer has maintained a string of fine releases and his next one on Quality Vibe Records is no exception. With previous EPs by the likes of Cinthie and Black Loops to name a few, the Italian label once again becomes the bearer of a certain kind of deep house that fuses classic elements with an avant-garde approach.

 

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Title track "Same Thing" immediately leads the EP into the groove with a minimal stripped back attitude, rolling smoothly around the liquid bass, with a swollen kick drum to pack out the lows. The interplay between vintage-sounding synths and vocal chops add to the groove whilst the crunch of the MPC drums give it a sweet analogue grain.

 

 

 

A2, "Influxt" gets super dubby, with an insistent analogue pad that literally smears on the entire track. The overall atmosphere is hazy and the fat 909 groove enriches it keeping your feet moving. As soon as the track progresses, a subtle acid line finds its own spot in the mix, driving the track till the end on its 6+ minutes ride.

 

On the flip, "Wait" follows the line and brings along a tight tech-house groove with sharp and swingy drums. The bassline is large and beautiful and is worth alone the entire piece. Chords come in, introducing some tense dissonance. The swell of the pads pushes the groove, taking the track in and out of breaks. Nervous hats hit fast, while the clap digs deep creating a flawless and continuous shake along with on-point garage-style snares.

 

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Closing track "You Smile" goes super deep with lovely sampled chords that dominate the scene as soon as they make their appearance. The simple and effective harmony stands out perfectly on top of uber swung drums, to this a 90s female vocal, creating a very old school mood while staying tight and contemporary perfectly rounding out a very cool EP thus confirming Revivis as a one to watch for the future.

 

 

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi

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Music Review: The Lumens - Vetro EP (incl. Diego Krause remix) [Positive Not Happy]

Milan based label Positive Not Happy brings us the second release on their imprint this time welcoming remixes from Diego Krause and Ricky Leo, with the original grooves once again provided by label owners and masters of house The Lumens.

 

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Click HERE to buy PNH02 - Vetro EP

 

The A-side kicks off straight into play with shaking hats combined with ornate kicks. Metallic synths rise and fall as the track builds beautifully. Layers of raw synths cleverly blend raising anticipation throughout. This all comes to a head to a trance-like breakdown before dropping back into the groove with digital pads. Rushes of ecstasy hit you from every angle as you listen to this track; it’s music that you connect with effortlessly.

 

 

 

A2 Diego steps up to the plate to offer his ear on remix duties. It’s here that he really shows his prowess as a producer. Taking nanoscopic samples of the original and reworking them perfectly alongside his signature groove. The track builds as each element has plenty of room to breath. A deep dubby bassline and tight hot kicks keep us moving and mixed synths are introduced. As the track develops it almost has a tribalesque quality to it which works perfectly alongside the robotic pads. Top work as always from Diego Krause.

 

 

 

We flip over to the B side and are welcomed instantly by acid-like synths. Tight, crisp snares get your attention followed by vibrant hats that instantly lock you into the groove. The Lumens'  use of percussion here is a master class partnered with android-like synths and a cruising bassline line. A personal favourite from the EP and top-notch dancefloor tackle.

 

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Rounding things off we have the 2nd remix from Ricky Leo. Dark kicks coupled with mystical synths rise into a crescendo of percussive hats accompanied by compact snares and resonating claps. This track has real progressive elements whilst still holding on to that minimal groove we all know and love. Synths fly across us like shooting stars across the sky as we dance underneath. A quintessential track to the EP.

 

 

 

Words by Jordan Diston

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Music Review: Artmann - Understatement EP [Modula Records]

Edinburgh based Modula Records strikes back with its fifth release which comes from Dutch golden boy Artmann. Since its foundation, which dates back to 2 years ago with the very successful MR001 VA (among which we can find the first-ever Rossi. track), the label has always preferred to release few but quality EPs. In fact, the following 3 EPs have involved upcoming talents including Akyra, Ray Mono, Jerome C, Gregg Dunsmore and Blackdub, receiving support from the likes of tINI, Jamie Jones, Paolo Rocco, Seth Troxler, Yaya and wAFF to name a few. MRF005 arrives from Amsterdam with the nasty Understatement EP from local rising talent Artmann, here able to express his deep-techy vision with three massive originals.

 

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Click HERE to buy Understatement EP

 

Opener "Understatement" starts off with groove and good feelings, showing precisely what Artmann has used us to with his previous releases on Rendr, Whoyostro and TBX. Kick stings precise and cuts the mix, while tight drums alternate swingy on top and small vocal chops give an extra dose of grooviness to the entire piece. Bass is rolling and rubbery, almost feels it grips to the other elements and pulls them with it. Here, the Dutchman is able to achieve a smooth pumping effect that really helps your feet moving. The flawless arrangement puts everything at its place, one can feel the very logical order in which parts are thought of.

 

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Next up, "God Jam It" digs deeper, moving towards a more classic house vibe. After an initial breakbeat moment, the tune back on track with the 4/4 structure, leaving to sharp drums the chance to shine at their best. Kick and bass shake the bottom. Analog pads and stabs create a gentle and flowing harmonic layer, sidechain and wise compression make it spot on in the overall mix. The continuous shift between breakbeat and straight phases is made to perfection and adds a note of interest to a very well-rounded track. The combination between a female (super housey!) and a male vocal samples its the cherry on the cake as it fits so well with the 90s lead on the drops as well as the whole funky mood of the track.

 

 

 

B-side stuff with the more stripped back "Too Many Records", as Artmann went for very tight drums and solid low-end section. The whole piece is held together by the incredible bass hook which cannot leave the listener steady. On this one, we find fewer pads and stabs so that drums and rhythmic elements are the main actors on stage. Each groove element sound super sharp and clean break on the decay makes of the track a real dancefloor stomper, also with the help of a subtle acid line. The track has a massive impact and its harsh sound perfectly fits the general idea. Listen to "Too Many Records" from start to end to properly appreciate microvariations and fills spread throughout the track.

 

 

Words by Francescco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi

 

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Music Review: Latin flavour "Guaguanco Ritmos Del Sur" drops its debut EP

Newborn project Guaguanco come straight from the vibrant South American. Aimed to spread an avant-garde approach to the native rhythms, the label will focus on delivering the perfect blend of old-fashion and brand underground stuff, giving the chance to both affirmed producers and rising talents to show off their skills. From micro-house to more experimental music not intended for the dancefloor, Santiago de Chile-based Guaguanco will take you on a trip between ancestral rhythms, tribal percussions and an unmistakable Latin flavour.

 

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Click HERE to buy Trawun EP 

 

The name of the label is inspired to the homonymous Cuban famous subgenres of the Rumba that unites Latin rhythms with African and Spanish influences, combining percussions, voices and unrestrained dance moves, which is precisely what the label wants to see on the dancefloor.

 

The first EP comes under the name of “Trawun” and it’s a 4-tracker VA which includes South America natives Cahuin (Gianni and Fco Martinez from Santiago de Chile), Manglus, Latuaro Scavuzzo (Rosario, Argentina) and his fellow colleague and friend Guillermo De Caminos. 

 

 

 

As expected, opening track “El Talisman” by Manglus (State of Flow) offers processed ethnic chants, rumbling tom tricks and well-balanced shakers before catapulting the listener into an unexpected break enriched by a new filthy bassline.

 

 

 

Thus, “Piano Tool” rotates around a powerful combination of congas, bells and electric piano riffs, which obviously gives the name to the track. Guillermo De Caminos delivers a 10+ minutes ride with funky and jazz vibes within which, once immersed, will difficult to get out.

 

Chilean duo Cahuin is next with “Ernia”. While the low-slung bass leaves let the groove breath, tiny percussions fill the space optimally, giving to some Spanish vocals and weird synths the chance to shine.

 

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Lastly, Lautaro Scavuzzo (Island Beats, Micra) closes the EP with “Unoydos”, a simple but effective dancefloor burner that perfectly represents the label’s motto, as Rosario’s newcomer serves a nasty tool with a jackin’ bassline, delayed stabs and a solid and compelling groove.

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti

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