Stoneface & Terminal
Future Sound Of Egypt
Oh Stoneface & Terminal, you had us at ‘Berlin’! The dazzle of their Berlin-prefixed ‘99’ & ‘2000’ offerings has generated considerable good will and ‘2001’s so confident it deliberately throws in an ironic (meta-even) frontend wildcard. The ludicrously OTT-bosh of its drum/bass intro melts away into a rolling, overwhelming groove that develops in urgency and energy seemingly by the second. Tiny harmonics pop to its surface, skillfully micro equalizing its otherwise thrillsome doominess.
‘Adrenachrome’ is another textbook example of the subtler route ultimately proving the more satisfying. The track will outright capture few on first listen, but plant just enough of a highly honed/ melodically served note arrangement to beget a second. Seed planted, so it sinks in. ‘Circles’ is strong musically, but — by the high bar Darren’s set with song elements of late, its lyrics are a touch so-so.
Full Tilt Recordings
Ever irreverent, Full Tilt celebrates its 108th release with an outing from Element 108 (aka label boss, Tommy Conway). The track is a low-slung, minimally inclined, naggingly throbbing prog-trancer that furthers its hypnotic aims through a looping spoken element urging you to ‘concentrate’. Drop-side, we’re ‘distracted’ though by the presence of another male vocal (sung this time). Is that Placebo’s Brian Molko (and even more specifically magpied from ‘Passive Aggressive’)? I rather think it is.
In terms of the sounds and dynamics favoured by Anjuna artists of late (that’s to say ‘the Anjuna sound’), ‘Curiosity’s well in step. Hailing from an earlier generation though, Oliver’s melodies feel more instinctive and real. Further, they’re given all due space to do that breathing and developing stuff, and when all ‘Curiosity’s cards are down, it’s those properties that make the difference.
Not a big lover of leading titles, especially when they’re pointing at something as previously well addressed as the 303. As such, ‘Doctor Acid’ has some convincing to do. Success in that quarter has as much to do with creativity as anything, and Indecent finds some decent tricks — unexpected dropouts and the like — to keep things spicy. Nonetheless, I suspect this is one you’ll need to have the right head on for.
Suanda’s 200th release is one of those that — title through tone — offers nothing new. What it is doing, though, is generated with such feeling, spirit and exactitude, it's impossible not to be carried along. Its riffs are well layered, with palpably shifting textures throughout, and the arrangement (and trajectory) are impeccable. The chiming notes of the mainline are elaborate yet catchy, and the vocal’s simple but elegant. Something of an all round achievement this.
Sean Tyas & Niko Zografos
Following its Activa/Simon Bostock ‘Contour’ debut in March, release-wise, Regenerate hasn’t hung around. It has taken eight notches for label co-owner Sean Tyas to do the righteous thing though. Produced with a high degree of efficiency alongside Niko Zografos, ‘Drop Two’ services the uplifting end of the night. It does, however, add the most judicious waft of psy, which — by virtue of its casually (and unusually) understated use — makes it all the more successful.
Markus Schulz & BT
'I Need Love'
Deducing the ‘who’s doing what’ on first time meets like this never gets old. With ‘I Need Love’, the first part’s easy at least. That’s BT on vocals, and with its half-angst/half-anthemic lyrical theme — I'm betting — songwriting duties too. From there, the picture’s less distinct, though. Tempo, the thrusting drum/perc march and murky intro-riff: all likely Schulz, but the celestial twinkle of its effortlessly captivating mainline, well that’s anyone’s guess.
I reckon all could agree that ‘Within’ owes a debt to ‘Sweet Harmony’. That’s a neat conceit in itself, as Liquid’s sweepingly proto trance pads have never previously been placed within that context. Konektiv keeps the tempo low and the rhythm grooving, before — drop-side — modifying the organ into something sharper edged. In turn, it counteracts that ‘sweetness’ by just the right degree.