Simon Patterson feat. Lucy Pullin
Now I Can Breathe Again
When it comes to several key track fundamentals, there are few that can touch Patterson. Among those are production punch, vocal class and attention to detail. All of those traits play their part in the success of ‘Now I Can’. The backing track thumps and the arrangement is awash with FX ingenuity and quirk, while Lucy’s vocal is beautifully expressed. Setting it all against an (apparently incongruous) half-tech/half-psy backdrop, though, is its dissident ultimate masterstroke.
'Air Punch EP'
A swift one-two from Kearnage’s latest sonic slugger here… A full 12 rounds with ‘Air Punch’ leaves very little impression. A too-busy production amplifies a pronounced case of ‘the muddy middles’, leaving a big loss in overall definition. Just as the deadline bell was ringing though, up popped ‘Kay 9’. A hell of a lot cleaner, it has less all-out bang, more flow, better progression and is the EP’s clear TKO.
Liquid Soul, Zyce feat. Solar Kid
'Anjuna (Jordan Suckley Remix)'
Having been in full production flight for well over a decade, on the surface it’s an anomaly that Liquid Soul has only come centre-stage in the last two years. Moving from the devoutly underground likes of Iboga to labels like Perfecto Fluoro has probably had a lot to do with it. Alongside Zyce & Solar Kid, there’s more of that action here, as Damaged give the trio’s ‘We Come In Peace’ follow-up the Jordan Suckley remix treatment.
John 00 Fleming
00 Fleming’s first sign-in for his newly minted JOOF AURA label delivers something much, much darker. ‘Chemical Equilibrium’'s not in a hurry to get anywhere, either. Speed-wise, it doesn’t sound like it’s doing more than 120. The track swims in surreptitiously murmured vocals and hissing, pressure-valve hi-hats, before swan-diving into breath-stealing bass drops. Its harmonics, meanwhile, cruise with their beams set sub of subterranean.
'Fear The Dark'
For a new label kid on the block, Hyper Reality has a decidedly old-skool agenda. Over the last year their releases have been re-sowing the late ‘90s hard trance sound. ‘Fear The Dark’ has that playbook open and is running it note-for-note. D10’s latest deploys a brutal tempo, staccato percussion, ominously intoned, of-the-age male voiceovers, distortion saturation and snares that, well, truly snare.
Honestly, I’m struggling to remember a creepier title for a track. Gai Barone, as we all know, doesn’t do normal and is so much the better producer for it. Chilled, long and chiming, ‘Mom’s Clown’ haunts the trance/prog border. Flush with seaside atmospherics, it utilizes the bass as an instrument and thus makes it instrumental in the track’s depth, lure and impact.
Alex M.O.R.P.H. & Driftmoon
No ‘almost’ about it, ‘R2D2’'s intro has house on its mind. Funky drums, tempo, popping timbale percussion and a locked-in groove: this could be Axwell, mid-noughties. That’s only going to last so long, though. True to M.O.R.P.H. & Driftmoon’s form, those atmospheres are dispelled by one gear-cranking effect layered atop another. The track’s MVP though is its exotic, spine-tingling Eastern vocal, which is gone all too soon and renders ‘R2D2’'s Instrumental Mix wholly superfluous!
Pure Trance Recordings
Ciaran McAuley’s ‘Maria’ might be slightly fresher to PTR release schedule, but ‘Santiago’ from Temple One tips the quality scales by a hair. Brilliant, rapacious trance wrapping aside, there’s a chilled elegance to the strings in its break — one that materially oozes confidence in its knowing ability to charm. Add to that a extravagantly reclined ‘Autumn Mix’ from Slam Duck and ‘Santiago’ starts to become a whole lot of essential.
'Secrets Of The Sahara'
Black Hole Recordings
Everything around ‘Secrets Of The Sahara’'s drop feels wholly geared towards the staging of its drop. The break sounds so wildly epic in scope — full 80-piece NY Philharmonic stuff — that there has to be something else going on here. And indeed, it transpires, there is. It’s Morricone. Not recreated Ennio. Actual Ennio. And it proves that if you want your symphony done right, no one but the master will suffice.