Arm in Arm
The Blaufield imprint is proving increasingly canny at finding those particularly powerful melodic records, and this release from Australian duo Arm In Arm is arguably its best yet, a dancefloor friendly effort with the same flourish for songwriting that’s defined the output of label bosses Booka Shade. ‘Warrior Spirit’ opens on an ethereal flourish that morphs gently into a piano note, evocatively stretched and distorted, joined by a delicate vocal hook that itself is a prelude to a glorious progressive buildup. Certainly one of the best vocal records out there at the moment. Meanwhile, look to the Ryan Murgatroyd mix for a more prog, bassline driven take on things.
A lush, driving record to kick off the year from Belarusian producer Dmitry Molosh, a rising name in quality progressive who delivers a journey that’s equal parts deep and melodic, and a perfect fit for the Replug imprint that’s enjoying a stronger reputation than ever after its recent 10th anniversary. Heavenly synths and percussive flourishes lead into some proper chug, as the bassline lands and ‘Cascade’ unveils its decadent melodic hook. Deep and driving goodness.
'Close Your Eyes'
Dezza is on top form here, with an upbeat progressive offering that ticks all sorts of boxes. ‘Close Your Eyes’ delivers plenty of energy as a driving club record alone, though it’s the live embellishments that really give it extra substance. The vocal samples are used sparingly to great effect, and the live-sounding drums and guitar licks really shape its character. A functional effort that benefits from its producer really going the extra mile.
Pash & Tanon
'In My Mind feat. Iskra Bozon'
Intricate seems determined to kick goals aplenty in 2020, if this epic offering from Pash & Tanon is anything to go by. Boosted by a certain euphoria behind its grooves that borders on the Balearic, ‘In My Mind’ is grounded by the deepest of progressive basslines, with accompanying blasts of synth bass kicking things a notch higher still. Its husky female vocal proves very effective, though there's also a dub mix for those seeking a more stripped-back DJ tool.
'My Friend The Sun'
Anjunadeep alumni Luttrell began the new year with the surprise announcement that his sophomore album is just around the corner, and ‘My Friend The Sun’ represents a statement of intent that he’s committed to chasing visceral and exciting sounds with his club bombs. Breakbeats are usually an ethereal embellishment for Luttrell, though they’re pushed into the stomping foreground this time around. They're joined by one of his trademark trippy vocal samples, an Afro curveball this time to reflect the more pronounced bass influences upon which he’s drawing.
Scuba’s surprise return to the melodic territory that defined his brief ‘Adrenalin’ era a decade ago has proved a welcome reminder of just how musically versatile he is, contrasting nicely with the techno of his SCB alias. ‘Never Forget’ stays on this path, showcasing some genuinely evocative melodies; Scuba does work beautifully in this space when he’s so inclined. It’s grounded further by a gritty, earthy energy that draws on more organic textures, plus a dash of live guitar that serves to strengthen the character he’s worked into his composition.
Marc Romboy takes the reigns for Kompakt’s first Speicher of 2020, with a melodic bomb that’s better than most. Its A-side ‘Stalker’ deploys plenty of menacing techno bombast, fittingly loaded with plenty of analogue grit in its arrangements, though Romboy is equally working with melodic elements here to deliver proper peak-time power. Explosive stuff.
'Tell On Me'
A stellar progressive banger that dropped on ZeroThree in the twilight of 2019, ‘Tell On Me’ is a chunky offering that deserves a presence on dancefloors well into 2020. Rodg shows plenty of electro grit and groove from the outset, as ‘Tell On Me’ quickly slams into its driving bassline.