Imagine What EP
A solid trio of tracks from Dusky that arrived somewhat discreetly, though perfectly captures their natural affinity for crafting visceral club records that are beautifully tuned for maximum impact. The lead single is the most straightforward and housey of the trio, woven with ravey breakbeats as well as prominent melodies, which are worked to great effect throughout, particularly during its seductively lush breakdown. Meanwhile, its remaining tracks both take a deep dive into ethereal breakbeats composed in the key of Global Communication. Lovely stuff.
'Dreams Of You'
The Bristol brothers launch back into things after their ‘Brotherhood’ EP earlier this year, and go for the jugular with a single featuring pop vocalist Rae Morris that tilts hard towards the progressive trance end of the spectrum. ‘Dreams Of You’ drops in at a nice house tempo, reinforcing the duo’s reputation for getting the most from their vocal partnerships. Morris’ emotional croons steer clear of saccharine, as their arpeggios and breakdowns flitter powerfully.
Luka Sambe & Filter Bear
The imprint run by Finnish progressive legend Cid Inc unleashes a particularly evocative banger that’s reflective of the label’s trademark sound. Less percussive perhaps than those groovy records flooding out of Argentina, it's the emphasis on haunting ethereal energies that complements its distinctive melodies, that never come at the cost of deepness. A collaborative affair from two producers hailing from Sydney, Australia, ‘EKHI XIX’ takes an indulgent eight minutes to weave its dreamy, melodic narrative, that’s nicely propelled by a funk-fuelled bassline.
Petar Dundov & Marc Romboy
'Ex Machina EP'
Romboy might have only just celebrated 15 years of his Systematic imprint, though clearly he’s not interested in losing momentum, as he returns to the studio with fellow maestro Dundov, who’s notably been playing and producing on a particularly proggy tip as of late. Their longstanding talent is on display across both tunes; the title track is a noisy, groovy offering with some distinctly robotic acid taking centre stage. Meanwhile, ‘Upiter’ builds into a proper banger.
Joseph Ray is one of the silent studio heads behind bombastic EDM trio Nero, only occasionally venturing into slightly edgier territory under his own name, although this tremendous offering for Anjunadeep has proved one of the sleeper progressive hits of the year. Opening on heavenly synth swells, it quickly gives way to the cavernous thunder of a static-drenched horn section, which punctures the soundscape intermittently to dramatic effect. Stylistically, there’s a nod to '90s rave euphoria, not least in its choice of iconic vocal sample. Big and magnificent.
'The Future Now'
This is the sweet, sweet sound of progressive emanating from the sweltering temps of Dubai. Subandrio returns to Hernan Cattaneo’s famed imprint for a three-track EP that’s quality all the way. Its title track sprinkles touches of melody while keeping the focus on its churning grooves, while ‘Lydian Manuscript’ delves deeper into hypnotic Latin percussion, a Sudbeat trademark, as its momentum ebbs and flows. ‘The Other Side’ raises the pulse further into peak time, with a processed vocal that simply sounds incredible. In all instances, there’s the lavish attention to sonic detail that is the hallmark of the very best deep progressive.
'What You Need (Kölsch Remix)'
The extravagant melodies of Kölsch might be an unexpected addition to the Drumcode release schedule, even more so when it’s a relatively obscure selection from label boss Adam Beyer’s ‘Stone Flower’ EP from 2015. It’s oddly fitting though, as the original record roughly marks the time that Beyer’s flirting with stadium-busting melodic techno was in its formative stages. Kölsch takes the core chords of the original and adds his trademark melodrama, with melodic embellishments galore, including a particularly lavish string arrangement as the remix hits its peak.