‘Sestertius’ is Latin for ‘two and one half’, which is fitting, as this is Coldharbour’s pretty-darn-milestoney 250th release. To arrive at that point is one thing. To do it in the form they’re in (and have been in, for the last four years or more) is quite another. Ultimately, the track has a palpably celebratory tone. Before you hit it though, there’s plenty of pulse-quickening, scene-setting minutes, largely provided for by its capacious bass, intense, tremulous sub-riffs and chorally gothic male/female refrains.
Opening your inbox and seeing a Perry O’Neil release is a bit like reading that Lord Lucan’s shown up. In 2007, O’Neil’s midnight flit was one of trance’s most assiduously executed vanishing acts. Now, as then, no reasons given, but right away the EP’s deeply ploughed sonic trenches feel reassuringly familiar. ‘The Secret’ and (to an even greater extent) ‘Afterwards’ will remind you of just how much O’Neil had progressive-trance on lock throughout the Electronic Elements years.
Joint Operations Centre
Two darkly druggy titles to match two correspondingly dark, druggy numbers. Hypnotically, ‘Plextron’ works together chunky drums and crunchy percussion, which is further amped by some hefty reverb. Its tribal groove is lent an additionally narcotic edge by its looped, chanted single-word vocal. By a few degrees the lighter of the pair, ‘Dexathol’ has some Eye-Q-ish harmonies fleeting through it. Juxtaposed between are indistinct vocals, atmospherically panning FX and echo, greater march to its drums and a fiercer final payoff.
'Endless Wave (UCast Remix)'
First of an initial four semi and full-blown classics to receive Grotesque-esque rebuilds. UCast’s refashioning of ‘Endless Wave’ is first out of the gate. The man from Minsk takes De Goeij & Tiesto’s beloved co-op on a briskly paced, razor-toothed ride to techs-ville. In short order, Ralphie B’s ‘Massive’, Phynn’s ‘Lucid’ and Marc Simz’s ‘Forbidden City’ are in line for comparably Grotesque treatments. Daniel Skyver/LTN, Amir Hussain & David Gravell are the men assembled to handle them.
Scott Bond & Adam White
Who’s Afraid of 138?!
Scott Bond follows up his outta-nowhere ‘Apocalypse’-return with ‘Exodus’. Accompanying him this time is another blast-from-the-past vet, Adam White. The track is a straight-shooting prime-timer, robustly built in the M.I.K.E.-mold. The mainline appreciates with each spin, but the best-by-a-nose part is the catchy, metronomic chime to the drop. Scott & Charlie Walker provide a comparably energetic rework, and the release only adds to WAO138?!’s exceptional current run of form.
'Magic Seven/Living The Dream'
With two singles released on the same day, it’s a busy month for Matt. Monster Pure’s ‘Living The Dream’ offering is uplifting in intent, but falls a touch short on delivery. There’s a strong, acid-fuelled post-break sequence, but the mainline that precedes it remains somewhat static. MPS’s ‘Magic Seven’ is made of more aerodynamic material, with some very neat, care-taken touches to its arrangement and all-round more dynamism to its execution.
The first of Johan’s now-traditional twice-annual Airscape check-ins has come a little later than usual this year. There’s a mass to appreciate on ‘Pacific Waves’, but it’s not a complete home run. The early sub-melodies are decent, but it’s only with the second one that its ether really begins to rise. The drop’s harmonics are very fine — beautifully arranged and sequenced, whilst the build sees it comfortably to the boil. Its kick-in though sounds a fraction too busy, zealous and ultimately overcooked.
Black Hole Recordings
As an opener for ‘ALMA’, Giuseppe’s third artist album, ‘Slow Motion’ is at the very least an original one. The concept is a thumpingly drummed, upliftingly riffed, properly blood-pumping trancer, albeit one played out at 110bpm. It’s one of those ideas you can’t believe hasn’t been tried before. No, it won’t explode your average trance-floor, no matter how much you want it to. In the context of what’s looking like a more multifarious album from the Italian though, it’s an intriguing sign-in.
Armin van Buuren & Dave Winnel
Armin’s first post-‘Embrace’ material arrives in the form of a collab with Australian Dave Winnel. Whip-crack effects, back-warped sub-riffs and a more prominent bleepily stabbed mainline overlay a tangibly enduring techy air and energy by the bucket-load. Some highly effective, excellently sited key changes and a tense, ratcheting lift out of the drop bring plenty more to cheer on ‘The Race’.