V.A. – A-Sides Volume 4

Various Artists - A-Sides Volume 4

Drumcode is kicking off the new year in style with a brand-new A-Sides compilation. This fourth installment on the Swedish label features tracks from household names like Alan Fitzpatrick, Harvey McKay and Nicole Moudaber, but it also includes newcomers like Pirupa and Ilario Alicante. Selling point of this compilation is that each track brings something different to the table, which makes it an excellent showcase of what the label has to offer.

The compilation opens with Adam Beyer’s track “Pluto”. The track starts out with a short melodic riff, which builds towards the break where the track unleashes all of its power. It does so with a raw and energetic melody that’s unlike anything that Adam has released before.

Next track is Alan Fitzpatrick’s “Eternia”, an upbeat track with sparse percussion that gives off a somewhat melancholic vibe. With deep basses, lush synths and a short, repeating vocal part, Alan has managed to create a captivating journey that will find its way to the hearts of many listeners.

Pirupa debuts on Drumcode with a production under his “Brain Zoo” alias. The track is called “Dee Pawa”, which can be described as upbeat, melodic and very different when it’s compared to earlier tech house releases from the Italian producer. Already heavily supported by Adam Beyer, this track is guaranteed to become one of the hits of 2016.

Harvey McKay makes a grand return to Drumcode for the first time since last year’s “Glasgow Safari” with “The Mad Drummer.” Right off the bat, it is easy to hear that this is something special, with a swooping, bass-range synth, coupled with dark snare and hat rolls that come into the mix soon afterwards. All in all, the atmosphere is different than expected, making it one of the top tracks on the compilation.

Ilario Alicante makes his first appearance on Drumcode with “Temporary”, a very melodic track that’s driven by an intricate bassline, various, interchanging percussion layers and a charming melodic section, which changes and is built upon during the break. A promising debut!

If you thought Harvey’s track was different, wait until you hear Dustin Zahn’s offering, a big-room stomper called “Born Spark.” Dustin himself has mentioned that this track is different than what he normally likes to produce, and that the purpose was to produce something that would sound good in his big-room sets. He did not originally intend to release the track, but we’re glad that it has seen the light. Listen for a heavy Fitzpatrick-style bassline, a siren-like lead, and the periodic sample of a Piccolo Pete firework, which may be where this tune got its name.

Up next is a new track from techno and house heavyweight Nicole Moudaber, and this one is far on the techno side. It is her first contribution to the label since “Rooted,” on the second edition of this compilation from a couple of years back. One thing is clear: Nicole really knows how to take her listeners on a journey. The track evolves over the length of its nine minutes, first expanding the percussion, then adding haunting vocals and sweeps, and finally adding a stab that’s straight out of Drumcode’s golden age (read: 2013).

Mark Reeve makes his return to Drumcode only one release after his last Drumcode EP. Thus it could be tempting to think of his offering for the compilation as an “extension” of the EP. But don’t be fooled–“Exodus” is more similar in many ways to his debut Drumcode release “Drumatic” than it is to the recent EP. With an arpeggio that loops separately from the beat, the track has a flowing feel, which is reinforced at the break by long synth swells.

Nick Curly delivers with “BBC” a modest tech house track that slightly resembles his earlier track “Crossroads” that was released on Truesoul in 2014. With the help of subtle synths, a funky bassline and atmospheric pads, the German producer has created a track that’s exactly what you’d expect from him.

Closing the compilation is a tune that is, in my opinion, easily the best track of the album. dubspeeka has been on fire lately, with a streak of massive releases and remixes that began last year with “Primary,” continued with EPs for Truesoul, Sasha’s label Last Night on Earth, and dubspeeka’s own Skeleton imprint, and shows no sign of stopping now. “K185” keeps things properly simple, while still giving off a vibe of something incredibly subtle and complex, from its bell lead, to its dark and windy pads, to its ghostly vocal accompaniment.

The “A-Sides Volume 4” compilation is out now on Drumcode.

Written by M1KRONAUT (4, 6-8, 10) and Bram (1-3, 5, 9).

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