Rank 1 & Dennis Shepherd
High Contrast Recordings
Rank 1 kick out their first of the year, opposite Dennis Shepherd. What in essence you have is a rarely-if-ever previously brewed concoction. Spiky electro sub-riffs, faintly 'Da Funk'-ish filterizations, tech FX and a tubthumper of an M1 piano payoff are all rendered through profoundly trancey note arrangements. It ain’t your average, but the protagonists are all past masters at throwing curveballs for the big win.
Adam Kancerski & High 5
It’s all about the titles with Kancerski. After the woeful ‘Mosquito’ comes the divinity of ‘Divine’. Uplifting, with nary a whiff of cheese, it's only missing a vocal hook to make its success an unqualified one.
'Dreamnasia (Photographer Remix)'
For me Photographer was trance's Rookie of the Year in 2013, for (among others) his ‘This Is Upstep’ release on Digitized. That track's stamp — swift pace, curling acid lines, uplifting, sincere euphorics and organic, played-from-the-heart note-lines are all over his remix of Bluefire's ‘Dreamnasia'. Bridgehead firmly established, a Photographer breakthrough cannot be far away.
Above & Beyond
A&B’s canon was small but impeccably formed in 2013. With ‘Walter White’ and ‘Marianna Trench’ they also palpably developed a new track dynamic. Devoutly non-trance at the frontend, they merged into high harmonics in the break. Following that groove ‘Hello’ rolls out, combining EDM stomp and electro frisson. It finally succumbs to ‘Café del Mar'-esque pads, fluttering FX and piano lines so fine, they’ll cook a goosebump or 20 in seconds.
If tech-trance with a side of psy is your cup of tea, 'Metal Mouth' might well find its way into your cart this month. Gnarly, snarly and a wee bit dangerous to know as Eddie’s ‘Mouth’ is, 'Meloque' (produced alongside Paul Webster), might just be the primer piece. Cut from much the same stylistic cloth, the gradient of its leadline's introduction and supporting melodic elements are that much smoother.
'Mirage/Lost In A Better World'
Somewhat incredibly Perfecto Fluoro 2.0 has become an even more dependable label than its mid-'90s incarnation. This release from Peetu S is but another example. Getting the balance between trance propulsion and steamy Goan equatorial atmosphere cock on, both ‘Mirage’ and ‘Lost In A Better World’ burn from first beat through last.
Restored to high health of late, Anjunabeats are currently turning one trump card release after another. The tempo might be low (ish), but Andrew Bayer’s latest is never short of thrills. Steely, grinding electro lines fire the intro sequence, which segues into a harmonically, celestially toned drop. Its ascension back out the other side brings wholehearted atmospheric uplift, additionally and brilliantly punctuated by elevating FX.
Squawky electronica frequencies and a bassline whose LFO will put the wind up the hardiest of speakers mark out the intro to Lashes’ latest. Throw in some dubby metallic kettle drum FX and an inexorable pitch bend, pressure cook for 90 seconds and release. The result, as you can probably imagine, is volatile. The cleaner cut, marginally more linear remix from Christopher Lawrence is mighty fine too.
New three-ply EP from TIP mainstay Hujaboy. “Should we fear the robot of the future?” asks ‘A.I. Psychology’. On this boomy, delightfully doomy evidence, probably. More lifty and propulsive is ‘Imaginary Time’, which is coupled to the obligatory (but nonetheless welcome) fringe scientist spoken vocal/sermon. Wigging out good and proper, ‘TIPnosis’ is the most minimal (relatively speaking) and ties up a great EP.