Café Del Mar (Tale Of Us Renaissance Remix)
Solomun dominated last summer with his ‘Age Of Love’ rework: expect Tale Of Us to do the same here. To be fair, ‘Energy 52’ never really left us (arguably to the point of nausea), though among nearly 150 reissues and remixes, there’s never been one as powerful as this. The duo’s talent for extravagant, otherworldly melodies are allowed to bloom in full, and notably, the iconic build of the original is elegantly reworked into a nine minute “catch and release” tease; ideal for those summer Afterlife residencies. To a degree, it reflects the house and techno elite’s reliance on predictable tropes now they’ve seized the status quo (not to mention, a lack of original ideas). Though these feel like petty niggles when the execution is this good.
Above & Beyond
'Always feat Zoë Johnston (Luttrell Remix)'
‘Always’ is precisely the kind of record you’d expect to find loitering in the trance pages, though Luttrell has done such a superb job with this unexpected rework it’d be criminal not to give him his dues. Its feather-light grooves are functional enough, embellished with floaty synths that at a glance appear custom-built to fuse discreetly with Zoë Johnston’s willowy croons. That’s until Luttrell flips the switch at the first drop, yanking the listener into a techy broken-beat diversion that turns the entire affair on its head. Heavenly in ways that words can’t describe.
'Blade Runner (Maceo Plex Renaissance ReMix)'
Another early ‘90s rework from the house and techno A-league commissioned by Renaissance, which sees Maceo Plex bring a measured, accomplished approach, sticking a little closer to the template than Tale Of Us. The incredible undulating bassline of the original is intact, though it’s countered with some rather stark sonic additions that slice aggressively into the mix; enough to deliver tremendous dramatic effect on the dancefloor. There’s an art to knowing when to fiddle with the formula, and when to leave well enough alone — and Maceo cannily covers both bases here.
'Box Of Wine'
It’s hard to deny Dezza is on somewhat of a roll at the moment, following a string of diverse, high-profile releases that all carry his indefinably unique touch. He shifts to Avanti here, as he pitches the tempo into rollicking progressive trance territory, slamming in at 123bpm with a gritty bassline and growling groove at its core, which he prioritises above the melodies at all times.
The Fatum quartet have methodically polished and perfected their titanium big room sound in recent years, though it’s as if their discography was merely an extended prep for this incredible banger they’ve delivered for the Armind camp. Situated perfectly between big room house and progressive trance, one of those thundering trademark Fatum basslines leads into a breakdown that’s dripping with menace: a prelude for the noisy, glorious chaos unleashed after the drop. Magnificent.
'End Of Lost Cause'
Easily the standout on Digweed’s new ‘Bedrock XX’ compilation, which marks the label’s 20-year milestone, Guy J eschews the studio offcuts that so often land on these comps in favour of going the extra mile for a record grand enough to recall Bedrock milestones like ‘Lamur’ (fittingly, considering he’s Bedrock’s greatest ever protégé).‘End Of The Lost Cause’ lovingly hosts all the hallmarks of a genuine Guy J opus; simmering ambience that’s woven delicately into a percussive techno framework, allowing its delicate melodies to unfold over an epic nine minutes.
Eagles & Butterflies
'Last Dance (Solomun Remix)'
Art Imitating Life
Solomun knocks it out of the park yet again with another remix tuned perfectly to get those hands in the air (let’s just call him the Armin van Buuren of house from hereon). Those mellow broken beats and tempered blasts of bottom-end rumble fuse masterfully with Eagles & Butterflies’ string arrangements — achingly lovely to begin with — though Solomun ascends the harmonies in the kind of calculated fashion that will see crowds exploding in rapture over the summer.