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.




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