Turn Off The Lights EP
The first we’ve heard from the Dog Blood collab in five years is definitely more than the sum of its multitude of moving parts. It’s also better than you might expect, showcasing Boys Noize’s versatility and Skrillex’s instinct for dancefloor energy, plus a chemistry that just seems to work. Multiple genre influences are thrown aggressively into the pot. Lead single ‘Turn Off The Lights’ dives into '90s rave, the Prodigy-channelling ‘Break Law’ throws down thunderous breakbeats, and there’s wild percussion and raucous energy across the board. But it’s the outstanding programming that leaves an impression. Bangers with a gritty edge.
'Era Of Tomorrow'
Elliptical Sun Melodies
A lively progressive trancer that’s packing genuine heart and soul, even if it is a little by-the-numbers in terms of the notes it hits. Full of big, sizzling saw-wave synths and intermittent, huge blasts of lead that accompany its central hook, the Italian duo tap into one of those resonant hands-in-the-air melodies that's packaged with a dash of deepness, making it stand out from the crowd.
'No More Words (Wa Wu We Gentlyfication)'
Definitely the deepest offering to make it into the column this month, Minologue’s Sebastian Mullaert takes us deep into ambient house territory with a rework that requires a full 16 minutes to allow its dreamy tale to unfold. Brimming with layered textures and atmospheric pads, it’s so softly hypnotising and crafted with love, that you’ll be at the end of its odyssey before you even know it.
Nox Vahn & Marsh
Marsh’s talent for producing deep, melodic progressive of the highest calibre has been long evident, and it was just a matter of time before he drew attention from the Anjundeep camp. Here, he pens a dreamy EP alongside Portugal’s Nox Vahn (formerly Fairchild), with all three tracks boasting a huge amount of artistry in both the musicality of their arrangements and emotional resonance. There’s a lot more than just functional four-to-the-floor going on, with plenty of textured vocals, sweeping synth arrangements and more importantly, a sense of build towards its more dramatic dancefloor moments. Highly recommended.
Those familiar with rising prog star Kasper Koman know exactly what to expect, as far as top form modern progressive goes, embellished beautifully with just the right amount of melody. The Dutch producer’s distinct sound has an affinity with proper deepness, and alongside those killer basslines, there’s a huge amount of atmospheric detail in the soundscapes across the three different tracks here. Deep progressive at its best.
'Shooting Stars Never Stop'
Romboy turns his attention from ambitious ambient and classical fusion projects for a moment to celebrate 15 years of his Systematic imprint, offering a timely reminder he can produce “melodic house & techno” with the best of them. ‘Shooting Stars Never Stop’ is utterly indulgent with its melodies (and utterly fearless in doing so). Romboy’s chord progressions ascend with a delicious whimsy, high-pitched synth stabs hovering over the mix like comets.
'The First Man EP'
Haitian-American trance producer Mike Saint-Jules takes a breather from all those relentlessly uplifting records and turns out a lovely summery EP of melodic progressive that sounds like he’s not even trying. It’s a sound situated somewhere between Balearic sunsets (see the piano house of ‘Butterfly Nebula’ in particular) and a late night, proper progressive blowout. His transition into more nuanced terrain is a little bumpy at times, but there’s plenty of character in these compositions.
Rodriguez Jr. & Marc Romboy
“We made this track a few years ago, but never found the occasion to finish a flip-side. It‘s pure love, check it out yourself.”