The consolidation of a killer run that’s seen Cid Inc, along with his Replug imprint, ascend into the progressive elite, both tracks here pitch the tempo right up and are full of colour and excitement, while also eschewing cheap thrills and overlong breaks in favour of studio craftsmanship. Cid Inc holds things down with deep, driving grooves and precise percussion. The titular track features a central hook that swells into a trancey explosion at the breakdown, drawing it out just long enough, before its drop propels us right back into things. Meanwhile, its B-side ‘Rescue Me’ sports the same pumping tempo, this time with more of a menacing pulse.
Produced by Paul Thomas with the intent of celebrating the 100th release on his overachieving UV imprint, ‘1989’ counters epic, soaring vibes with a heavy dose of menace, which brings a welcome edge to the proceedings. Threaded with an arpeggio melody that’s in constant motion across its eight-minute duration, it’s backed with swirling, atmospheric synths and a mid-point breakdown when Thomas really turns up the heat, before launching back into things with a grindy synth bassline. Groovy progressive trance that's fittingly ‘big’.
HOSH & 1979
'Midnight (The Hanging Tree)'
HOSH and 1979 team up for a juiced-up vocal anthem that’s unafraid to seek mass appeal. A singalong crowdpleaser that arguably pushes “melodic house and techno” just an inch closer towards Europop silliness, the pair cleverly draw on their underground smarts to make sure things are kept on the right side of the divide. Guest vocalist Jalja delivers an accomplished topline (essentially a watered-down reinterpretation of ‘The Hanging Tree’), while HOSH and 1979 lay down their trademark house grooves alongside some surprisingly trancey theatrics. While ‘Midnight’ arguably leans cynically into hit-making territory, the success of the approach is evident in the Beatport charts.
Jody Wisternoff & James Grant
A big-ticket moment on the excellent new ‘Anjunadeep 11’ compilation (otherwise packed with plenty of exciting surprises), as well as the title track from Wisternoff’s new upcoming artist album, ‘Nightwhisper’ illustrates how a simple musical idea can punch above its weight when used in conjunction with accomplished studio work. In this instance, the core idea is a simple female croon, which leads to a particularly powerful drop. It’s the melancholic embellishments and richly textured soundscapes that really drive the emotion home.
'Nova (Joseph Ray Mix) '
Odd One Out
We’re hearing high-profile Yotto remixes aplenty at the moment, though this rework from Yotto’s own Odd One Out imprint represents the connoisseur’s choice for those seeking that same powerful, melodic sound in a deeper setting. To start with, Joseph Ray dials back the progressive trance drama of the original in favour of a throbbing bassline and dense techno percussion, giving its melodic arrangements a frosty makeover. He isolates the evocative harmony that's threaded through the background of the original ‘Nova’, sharing the spotlight equally with the hypnotic, dubby soundscapes he’s conjured up here.
A regular on the Mango Alley imprint, Movement Machina has just unleashed his ‘Analog Politics’ artist album, that’s brimming with dancefloor-driven material produced heavily with the use of hardware for a sophisticated fusion of modern techno and classic progressive. ‘Reference’ is one of the standouts, and sees this embrace of analogue gear in full effect, with a Moog Sub37 deployed for its bass stabs and an Elektron drum machine to nail that irresistible groove. The restrained use of melody ensures the aforementioned groove holds the spotlight.
All Day I Dream
Somewhat of a subdued companion EP to his blissful masterpiece ‘Lanarka’ from last year, Léger scatters these same spine-tingling sunset vibes across three offerings here. While none of them reach quite that same concentrated dose of euphoria, they certainly hit the spot in terms of more restrained DJ tools. 'Ashes In The Wind' digs right into the same shimmering energies with its bleepy melodies, while ‘Menabelle’ uses the same chopped up vocals that made ‘Lanarka’ such a memorable record in the first place. Familiar, though beautifully produced to sumptuous effect.