Reviews/Previews

Music Review: Decay Records celebrates its 7th anniversary with a very special VA wax release - Decay Made 7

Decay Records celebrates its 7th anniversary with a very special wax release

 

Founded by Davide Zeta, Decay Records is a London-based imprint that remains firm to its dubby ethos and elegant grooves, a signature sound that ages timelessly. To commemorate seven years of refined and hypnotic tech and deep house music, the label gives life to a massive VA compilation called Decay Made 7. The various artists' four-tracker EP is a special collection of dancefloor jewels that reunites leading local and international figures like Romanian minimal heavyweight Mihai Popoviciu, as well as German-bread, house and techno staple, Christian Burkhardt, alongside British talented counterparts, James Dexter and Ray Mono. The EP perfectly expresses diverse emotions that suit accordingly for different occasions within the characteristic label’s sound.

 

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Mihai Popoviciu’s ¨Biology¨ takes form as a minimal house track that entrances the listener as it creates a profound, both visceral and introspective response. The percussive elements and bassline move back and forth throughout the piece, driving the body into an inevitable and unceasing motion. The heated rhythms along with refined dubby chord pads seamlessly fill in space as they exquisitely glide through the air. The short decay and reversed shotted percussions move along the eighth noted hi-hats that accentuate the straightforward high energy and warm dynamic atmosphere. The faded vocal sample brings nuances of dreamy tones as the synth pad passages deep within the track. Mihai Popoviciu conveys cross beating drumming that brings fire to the soul and dancefloor.

 

 

 

Thus, Inermu boss James Dexter delivers ¨And Then¨, a cool and elegant deep house cut with dubby pads that are perfectly suited for those leisurely moments of the night and day. The kick drum beats and resonates against, a high frequency sustained monophonic synthesizer along with splashing chords. The sizzling clap’s downbeat and hi-hat combination highlight its deep housey DNA. The bassline then simple yet effective follows along with clever flair. Reverberating percussions move swiftly as they evoke a deep tech minimal sound with an upbeat clave. ¨And Then¨ is one of those cuts that are meant to be blended smoothly as it slowly fades away.

 

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German veteran Christian Burkhardt is next with ¨Quanta¨, a funky and groovy acidic roller that keeps the journey both fun and peculiar. Burkhardt weaves a solid groove foundation, using sixteenth noted clicks moving the drive onward alongside a dry kick drum. These polyrhythmic percussive arrangements provide a loose and electric cadence. The robust bassline pulsates intensely while the drumming responds firmly. The weight of the track is all in the bass section: rich, dynamic, and fun. In this cut, Burkhardt, opts for more of an experimental approach and result, skillfully crafting tension and ease through the eccentricity of a combination of modulating and piercing synthesizer and the wobbling, sawtooth waved bass. The tripped-out sonic details along with open filtered pads and sci-fi effects one-shots add to the character and richness of the track. Flanger modulations and phased out percussions contrast vibrantly with the natural timbre of the congas, as they bring a wrap to this tropical and psychedelic journey.

 

 

 

Lastly, Ray Mono’s ¨Uncut¨ closes off the EP with a raw and stripped-down minimal housework. The robust 808 kick brings a heaviness to the mix, which is also emphasized by the filtered sub-bass that drives along. The sharp and bright hi-hat’s presence in the track adds to its stripped-down edge. The 808 clave also brings a robustly saturated tint that keeps the middle range frequencies gritty and hearty. Dubby chords float in reverberated delays, with filtered synths to add a sense of depth and dreamy sounds. The simplicity of the filtered synth opening envelops subtly the melody that charmingly accompanies a vocal sample splashed in reverb, reminiscent of early 2000s progressive vocals.

 

Decay Records delivers another well-rounded recording as its newest addition to its quality catalogue, remaining faithful to its quality and vision which are not compromised despite the musical industry trends, aiming for endurance and uniqueness over hype.

 

 

 

Words by: Daniel Ordoñez

 

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Music Review: Ted Amber - 808 EP [Romana Records]

Promising new label Romana Records steps up to the plate with its third release. The new label is quickly becoming recognised for its sublime minimal beats and this release will do nothing but enhance its reputation. 003 brings us an original cut from Ted Amber and remixes from label head honcho Magnus Asberg and TIJN.

 

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 Buy RR003 on deejay.de or Juno

 

Side A gets dives straight into the action instantly grabbing our attention with a defined 808 kick that we all know and love. Choppy hats and shaking rhythms give the A-side plenty of energy accompanied by a hypnotic bassline providing the groove. Subtle synths and nimble pads paint a beautiful picture taking us deep into the depths of the ocean. This is Ted at his best with elements perfectly arranged throughout, keeping you in a continuous trance as a layer upon layer is introduced.

 

 

 

Label-head Magnus Asberg kicks off the B side as he cleverly brings out the synths as a more defined feature of the track. This really changes the dynamics creating a much-welcomed alternative cut with more energy. Thunderous kicks and a fat addictive bassline keep you dancing as you're serenaded by futuristic vocals.

 

 

 

TIJN steps up for the 2nd remix. He’s an artist who is already making moves in 2020 with his first live show near the start of lockdown and a string of new releases on Curtea Veche, Aesthetic, OFF Path and Constant Black. The track builds intricately giving the elements plenty of room to breathe and progress. Snares are crisp and defined accompanied by a dubby kick which complements the bassline. This is some perfect sunrise material which takes you on a journey from the moment you press play. Another solid remix from TIJN and an excellent addition to the EP.

 

 

 

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Overall another tight release from Romana and we look forward to seeing what else they will bring to the table with future releases. If this is anything to go by we’re in for a treat!

 

 

 

Words by Jordan Diston

 

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Legit Trip - Dreams EP [Purple Box]

After the initial release by Lee Onel on the digital sister-label, newborn Purple Box is ready to raise the standard with a 4-tracker vinyl EP by Legit Trip, backed with remixes from Juliche Hernandez and Ilya Schulz. The entitled "Dreams" EP comes from one of the fastest rising talents in the Russian scene who literally took the Beatport charts by storm last year with his unmistakable deep-tech approach, releasing on labels such as DPE, Aprapta and Bla Bla to name a few. He now debuts on Purple Box, which will be responsible for constantly sharing fresh groovy vibes from the south of Italy, as the label is the result of the union of famous Pressology Distribution and Effetto Disclosure.

 

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Click HERE to buy Dreams EP - PBOX001

 

Starting out with "Dreams", Legit Trip provides his trademark stripped-back groove together with a slick bass which initially covers only the lowest frequencies and gradually opens itself to the whole spectrum. When the pads and stab kick in, the piece immediately jumps into a groovy minimal tech dimension, whilst the open hats cut the mix super swingy. To complete the track, crisp jazzy riffs give another boost to the piece, remaining well-balanced with the addition of vocal chops that bounce nicely on the beat.

 

 

 

The joyful atmosphere of the first track is opposed to the darker "En Dehors". Airy pads almost sound like a choir, heavily processed. Drums roll tight and definite, with the right amount of thickness. Bass rumbles underneath the whole track, rolling and melting smoothly with the stabs. Hypnotic and intimistic, the piece goes round and round, rarely breaking the never-ending rotation. Trippy high-pitched percs flutter with their long tail, opening up to a new layer of tiny sounds.

 

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 Legit Trip

 

On the flip, Spanish groover Juliche Hernandez (UNCANNY) signs the first remix and his strong temper emerges from the very start, as he delivers a classy and heavy minimal number. The stomping kick drum still leaves some room to the other elements, with the woody percussions in full-focus above a dynamic texture. On this version, the vocal is pitched down and brings even more drama to the floor, even if the biggest merit goes to the thunderous implacable bassline. Airy stab arises and starts wandering following the delay on top of the groove, creating a flawless interplay. When the piece gets dry again, once again we get swept up by the huge rolling bass and the powerful drums.

 

 

 

Lastly, Ilya Schultz takes over with his sunny re-interpretation of "Dreams". Starting with a bouncy stab, the track takes shelter immediately in a tunnel and starts speeding. Drums populate smoothly, with a pumping and swingy clyster clear groove that rushes the whole thing up to the break. The Moscow-based DJ and producer takes the jazzy riffs from the original, filtering them just a little, enough to make them look like bubbles about to blow, right before going down and then ascending quickly during the break. Slapping groove with loads of soul. 

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi

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Music Review: Various Artists - OLDiViBES 171

There are certain labels that you know already before you hear the EP that you’re in for a pleasantly mind-bending audible experience. iO (Mulen)’s OLDiViBES ticks this box inside and out. Next up to the plate on the sort after imprint is a VA from 5 artists who are making waves across the circuit at the moment in their own right; Vitess, Mandana, Andrea Caioni, Josh Baker & Alfie Jack.

 

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Click HERE to buy OLDI171

 

The A-side kicks straight into play with Vitess using thunderous kicks and nimble hats to instantly grab your attention. The introduction of robotic pads and electronic synths teleport you to another dimension. Soft under layers and a driving bassline keep you moving. It’s the breakdown where all the elements really come into their own. The synth arrangement here takes you straight back to Acid House movement of 89’ alongside tight breakbeat percussion elements before dropping back into the groove. A grade weapon material.

 

 

 

Following on, Fuse (BE) resident Mandana shows her prowess in the studio. Distinct percussion and crystal clear hats accompany voltaic synths which instantly grab your attention. The introduction of a heart-warming bassline sets the tone of the track throughout. The contrast of ever the building hypnotic synths, precision like percussion and dub undertones works perfectly here.

 

Flipping it over to the B side and we begin a journey through space and time. The layers of this track evolve effortlessly. A master class in arranging from Andrea sees hi-end synths come and go throughout. Skipping hats and tight kicks create the energy and groove complementing the progressive synths. This is one that builds and builds and you’re more than happy to go with it as it does.

 

 

 

The EP concludes with duo Josh Baker & Alfie JackThis is not the first time they have collaborated in the studio; producing yet again a sound perfectly blended and distinctively influenced from both their own individual styles. Intricate pads, accompanied by a deep and resounding bassline send you flying across the skies. New elements are introduced carefully throughout allowing the track too effortlessly develop.

 

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Label owner iO (Mulen)

 

 

Safe to say this is an EP that will be enjoyed on many dancefloors across the world. Another one for the bag from OLDiViBES.

 

 

Words by Jordan Diston

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Music Review: Alci - Can't Dance EP [Meander]

Alci is one of those names in the minimal house scene that has been constantly dropping solid releases, a mixture of sophisticated music with a balance of groove and thoughtful flair that captures listeners and dancers alike. His latest work is no exception to the rule, released on DeWalta’s forward-thinking and top quality Meander label. The entitled "Can’t Dance" - inspired by the weird moment we're all living in - is a four-tracker EP full of bass-jackin' heavy tunes that reflect the high energy, versatility and laidback style of the young Swiss DJ and producer. The EP covers a good range of tones within minimalistic and technoid soundscapes perfect for anything between late-night dancing and early after-hours.

 

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Click HERE to buy Can’t Dance EP

 

Opener ¨Can’t Dance¨ starts off the recording with a walking jazzy bassline, enveloping the listener’s feet and head into a trippy funky groove. The bass dissonances from the glitchy elements and percussive textures in the middle ground section of the song adding a surrealistic feel. The irony of the vocal recording repeating the song’s title, in different pitched registers makes the track both fun and weird, a vibrant minimal roller that keeps feet moving despite the song’s contradictory title.

 

 

 

¨Sonsuz Seconds¨ takes form as a minimal house track with a more upbeat energetic groove cleverly spiced with organic and tribal sounds alike. Sparking warm percussions hypnotically captivate the listener as they respond to the deep and funky bassline that intensely carries the momentum forward. The glittering clicks and textures combine with full-bodied and acoustic percussions as it transports the listener to a tropical vortex-like dream. The track’s tone is emphasized with the gentle yet sharp synth that creates a type of pause and melodious colourful tension as it alternates with the driving force of the heated drumming polyrhythms. The combination of the robust kick, the open hi-hat, a sharp clave, and a crispy clap brings the track together as dancefloor minimal house weapon. 

 

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On the flip, ¨Kelime Bir ¨ conveys a darker toned mood, with dry percussive clicks and drums that evoke a minimal techno dominance and somberness. Modular and analogue synthesizer melodic pads flow as they collide and drift in a dense sea of low-end sound waves. The vocal sample subtlety whispers distorted words which creates a mysterious ambience, while the closed jazzy hi-hat keeps pushing against the beat. The unexpected piano melodies, along with a nice rhythmic lead and syncopated bassline make for a flammable yet inviting musical cocktail.

 

 

 

Closing off, ¨Kelime Iki¨, dwells in a dusky mood and atmospheric minimal track. The track’s drumming entrances the mind with low-end frequencies that resonate steadily in time. The clap accentuates and moves the energy forward as it complements the downbeat in a simple yet effective manner. Shortly after, mumbling voices appear adding a sense of depth and enigmatic dynamism. Short synth pads leak into the foreground while incorporating cleverly a straight-headed hi-hat that firmly raises the dynamics of the track. The low-end bassline reproduces ascending notes which coast smoothly along with the beat. While pads with trippy bends surround the air as delicate deft tones. Once again, Alci proves that it is possible to seemingly combine simple backbone elements with refined details in a reductive and alluring composition while keeping the dancefloor on edge. "Can’t Dance" EP has already sold out in various record stores so don’t sleep on Meander’s latest addition to their catalogue. 

 

 

 

 

 

Words by Daniel Ordoñez

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