Reviews/Previews

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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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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