Reviews/Previews

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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 Click HERE to buy |dead.drift.001|

 

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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Click HERE to buy Motion Manifold LP

 

"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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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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