The Anjuna camp is arguably overrepresented on this page, though when recruits like Grum are dropping bombs like ‘Stay’, it makes the label(s) hard to ignore. The UK producer has been quiet of late, though ‘Stay’ is the first single from his upcoming ‘Deep State’ LP, and it’s a pitch-perfect rendition of late '90s progressive trance. Moreover, it taps into its darker, more intense moments. Fitted with mid-tempo house grooves, and a female vocal that’s simple yet beautifully redolent of the era, it’s all a prelude for the glorious burst of acid that arrives at the breakdown. There's always a risk of trite nostalgia when you’re channelling tropes, though Grum reaches for sweaty transcendence here.
CJ Bolland & The Advent
'Camargue 2019 '
You can just picture the techno fraternity digging into rave’s back catalogue in their search for that perfect summer rework, though Drumcode get kudos for pulling out all the stops here. The original duo are given a chance to polish up their 1992 classic, alongside a techy rendition from Maceo Plex and a melodic crowdpleaser from Adam Beyer. However, it's Enrico Sangiuliano who really throws it down, climaxing with a drop so bombastic it flirts with EDM-level thrills.
Eagles & Butterflies
'Can’t Stop feat Coloray'
Art Imitating Life
Eagles & Butterflies is dedicated to pushing the ‘melodic house and techno’ formula a little further than the rest, and this grandiose effort has earned well-deserved support from the likes of Solomun and Tale Of Us. Dropping the BPM below 120 for a tempo that resolutely plods through its paces, it’s the extravagant vocal that offers the magic touch. It could have been lifted directly from a Human League record; it’s rare you hear a vocal feature executed with this much artistry and expertise.
'Latch EP '
Mood of Mind
Fehrplay celebrates the second anniversary of his imprint with a two-track EP that perfectly captures the path he’s blazed — powerful melodic progressive that's loaded with proper techno grit. The tempos might rise, but it never descends into cheese. The title track is the crowdpleaser, with a signature ascending melody, though ‘From Where’ on the B-side deploys killer electro breakbeats among the euphoric harmonies. Both are packed with loads of studio detail.
'Summer Of Love'
More rave nostalgia on the menu here, though it’s decidedly artful in its execution. Raito channels the same joyful sounds that soundtracked rave’s actual ‘Summer Of Love’, though he filters the mentality through modern studio techniques, so it legitimately sounds like something its pioneers would have created if let loose with today’s full suite of digital tools. Alan Fitzpatrick toughens things up with his remix, and overall, it’s a fitting salute to rave's 30th anniversary.
Dutch stalwart Estiva shows he’s committed to packing his progressive trance with exciting musical ideas, refusing to fall back on formula. This is an unusually groovy effort for a big room imprint like Armind, thick with percussion and sporting some particularly sophisticated breaks and builds. Eventually, Estiva summons a cyclone swirl in the breakdown that morphs into an intricate arpeggio melody. Kudos to the legit cleverness on display here.
Guy Mantzur & Khen
'Where Is Home'
Two of Israel’s biggest progressive producers unite for a percussive peak-time roller that’s definitely not afraid to go for the jugular. ‘Where Is Home’ is the sort of record that sounds sizeable enough on your home stereo, though absolutely thundering over a big system. The bassline is fittingly deep, and it's embellished with dashes of melody and menacing vocal grabs — though it’s that thick percussion work in the spotlight the entire time, and it’s juiced to maximum effect through a righteous breakdown.