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Various Artists – A-Sides Vol. 6

A-Sides Vol. 6

Drumcode has released the 6th installment of the A-Sides series, which is greatly renowned and for a good reason. The concept of the series is to feature tracks that are of high enough quality to be A-sides for their own EPs, but for which other tracks could not be found to complete the release. Each volume features a mix of Drumcode’s main artists along with some new faces. This edition sees the return of legendary household producers, such as Enrico Sangiuliano, Timmo, Luigi Madonna and Roberto Capuano, while welcoming Spektre, Amelie Lens, Mars Bill, Wehbba and others to offer their contributions to the label’s history. Due to the sheer volume of tracks, I’ve decided to select my favorites from this compilation, which are six tracks in total. You can find a link to the full release below.

Amelie Lens kicks off the compilation with “In Silence”, a minimalistic track in her signature style, but with a highly contagious acid twist. The Belgian producer has brought together rolling basslines, acidic arpeggios that twist and turn and calming vocal samples that make an appearance on a few occasions. With just these elements, Lens has created a compelling track that will definitely be of interest to lovers of the harder varieties of techno.

Brazilian producer Wehbba is a newcomer to the Drumcode family and for this occasion he’s created a dark and menacing track that’s nothing like his usual productions. The main focus of the track is a heavy sidechained bass, which has been augmented with rhythmic synth- and vocal patterns. An eerie arpeggio playing in the background creates the necessary tension, while an array of different sounds and effects breaks it up and prevents the track from becoming too monotone.

Adam Beyer and Enrico Sangiuliano have joined forces for the first time and the result is just phenomenal. “Preset Heaven” features an infectious melody, which is backed by subtle pads and Sangiuliano’s signature bass stabs. What gets me most, though, are the exhilarating vocals chants that immediately fill the air with love and elation. There’s no doubt about it, this is my absolute favorite track from this release and probably one of my all-time favorites from the Drumcode catalogue.

Pig&Dan’s “La Bruja” stands in stark contrast with their other Drumcode releases and is more in line with the tracks that usually end up on their own Elevate imprint. The structure of the track is simple, which is centered around an exquisite melodic loop. Aside from a few sound effects here and there, the track doesn’t stray very far from the beaten path, which can get a bit repetitive on occasion. For me, though, there’s just something about that irresistible melody that makes me listen to it over and over again.

The opening of Timmo’s “Muzik” features a loomy sub-bass and ponderous vocal cuts that have been contrasted with vigorous percussion. This section plays out for exactly two minutes and sixteen seconds before emerging pads swoop in and bring some playfulness to break up the weary mood of the track. Unfortunately, they only persist for a minute or so, which leaves us with two and a half minutes that don’t bring anything new to the table. This doesn’t make it a bad track or anything, but I will say that I’ve come to expect a bit more from the Bulgarian producer.

Observant listeners will have noticed already that Dense & Pika’s “Just A Beat” has some similarities with “Going Down”, which was last year’s collaboration with Adam Beyer. There are some differences as well, which are the wide selection of reverberated sounds that have been scattered around this production as well as the quality of the sounds, which are exceptionally crisp. Overall the track is quite an immersive experience, which is kept somewhat grounded through the reiteration of coarse vocal cuts.

The “A-Sides Vol. 6” compilation has been released today on Drumcode. You can check out the other tracks on SoundCloud or on Beatport.

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Credits go to M1KRONAUT for writing the intro text (that I modified a little bit).

Sourmash – Pilgrimage To Paradise

Sourmash - Pilgrimage To Paradise

Respekt Recordings has made a pilgrimage to the 90’s with the 144th release on their imprint. Inspired by the Sourmash classic “Pilgrimage To Paradise”, the label bosses decided on re-releasing the track and providing their own take on it as well. It’s safe to say that this makes it a bit of an unusual release, but for oldskool ravers, the EP is probably a breath of fresh air. Check it out below!

The original mix brings us directly into rave mode with a galloping synth and a reverberated stab. The tumbling percussion brings the track further to life and serves as an energetic backbone to the various melodic layers that are introduced as the track moves forward. This has resulted in a somewhat chaotic mixture, that, with its 134 beats per minute, isn’t very practical for contemporary DJ sets, but is still quite charming in a way.

Spektre has re-mashed the original into a stripped back version in their own signature style. What the track lacks in energy (and maybe a little rave potential) it sure makes up for in structure and playability. All in all, The British producers have done a great job in updating this track, without sacrificing too much of the classic elements that make the original what it is.

The “Pilgrimage To Paradise” EP will be out tomorrow on Respekt Recordings. If you’d like to listen to the original track, check out the sample over at JunoDownload.

Follow Spektre: SoundCloud / Facebook
Follow Respekt Recordings: SoundCloud / Facebook

Enrico Sangiuliano – Astral Projection

Enrico Sangiuliano - Astral Projection

Last summer, Italian producer Enrico Sangiuliano shook up the techno world with his “Moon Rocks” EP and now he’s back for the release of his long awaited second EP on Adam Beyer’s Drumcode label. “Astral Projection” is very different from its counterpart, as its focus is not on delivering dancefloor stormers, but on bringing ethereal atmospherics to the listener. The EP, which features two tracks, draws some inspiration from the “Alone In This Place EP” that was released in 2015, but not in an unoriginal way, as the content is still fresh. One thing that has remained the same, though, is the overall production quality, which is the mark of a true perfectionist. Check out the tracks below. You won’t be disappointed.

“Astral Projection” is a calm, introspective track that combines deep reverberations with ethereal pads. A rhythmic percussion layer underneath provides the necessary momentum, while joyous vocal chants and smooth arpeggios take the track to a higher level. The structure of the track is fairly straightforward, but the constant cycle of building up the pads brings the necessary intensity into the mix. Highlight of the track is definitely the one and a half minute break, which increases the pressure to the max, but the drop will leave you a bit disappointed after the memorable “I Know You Must Follow The Sun” vocals.

“Blooming Era” teases the listener with atmospheric toms and faint pads (that resemble an Elvish choir) before unleashing the murky basslines at the two minute mark. From that point on, they take center stage and give the track a somewhat restless vibe. The breakdown provides some relief and here we are introduced to the melodic portion of the track, which comes in the form of reverberated synth stabs and an entrancing arpeggio. After the break, things quickly turn to your regular programming again, only for the melodic parts to re-appear once again around the five minute mark.

“Astral Projection” is scheduled for release on July 17th on Drumcode.

Follow Enrico Sangiuliano: SoundCloud / Facebook
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The Reactivitz & GNTN – Gravity

GNTN & The Reactivitz - Gravity

French producer The Reactivitz has found his way back to Respekt again, but this time for a full EP in collaboration with a name that recently got on my radar, the duo GNTN. These German producers released their first track mid-2015 and have been featured on labels like Familia and Selected, but are now taking the next step to take over the world by storm. In this joint effort they’ve created an attractive sound that comes in the form of the “Gravity” EP, featuring two originals and two remixes, courtesy of Drumcomplex and Giorgio Rusconi.

“Gravity” is an introspective track that presents a mixture of rough bass sequences and light, celestial pads. Adding to these elements is an arpeggiated synth that acts as the driving factor in this track. Even though the composition lacks a main melody, the pads are quite engaging and mix well and interchange often with the other melodic parts of the track.

Giorgio Rusconi’s remix of “Gravity” lacks a bit in the low end, but the Italian producer makes up for that with the calmness he’s created by removing the acute snares and the rough basses from the original. This makes the role of the pads more prominent and gives the track a bit more breathing room. The catchy, tumbling percussion, starting at the four minute mark, also helps in that regard and is simply icing on the cake.

“Think Different” is a bit more static and opens with straightforward percussion in the unmistakable style of The Reactivitz. The main theme of the track is a rigid chord sequence (with slight variations) that has the potential to escalate into something bigger, but mostly simmers for the duration of the track. Airy atmospherics and occasional vocal spurs bring some more ambiance to the composition, but they also can’t live up to the “different thinking” that’s being suggested by the title.

German duo Dumcomplex delivers a very modest remix of “Think Different” that doesn’t stray very far from the path of the original. Apart from some softer touches and the use of ill-placed and slightly clashing sound effects, there is not much of their involvement to find here. I hate to say it, but it sounds like this remix was made in a hurry and I don’t understand why it was even included on this EP…

The “Gravity” EP is out now on Respekt Recordings.

Follow GNTN: SoundCloud / Facebook
Follow The Reactivitz: SoundCloud / Facebook
Follow Drumcomplex: SoundCloud / Facebook
Follow Giorgio Rusconi: SoundCloud / Facebook
Follow Respekt Recordings: SoundCloud / Facebook

Alan Fitzpatrick – You Got Me

Alan Fitzpatrick - You Got Me

Techno heavyweight Alan Fitzpatrick brings with “You Got Me” his third installment on his own We Are The Brave platform. Besides being a label, We Are The Brave also serves as an event project, which has already led the British producer on a remarkable tour around the UK, where he performed in the houses of fans. If that hadn’t garnered enough attention already, this release will certainly do the trick. With a brand-new track from Alan and a remix from producer duo Slam on the flipside, this EP is guaranteed to end up high in the charts.

The first two minutes of “You Got Me” showcase dynamic percussion layers and a wobbly bassline, which are then quickly interrupted by the ecstatic vocal chants from Emmanuel Top’s “Play It Loud”. From this moment on, the track kicks into high gear, but except from a short melodic break at the three minute mark, the track doesn’t bring much variation to the table. Despite its carefree energy and use of vocals that are full of life, the track falls a bit short of really intriguing the listener.

Slam brings their own flavour to this release with a stripped back version of “You Got Me”. In all honesty, they’ve stripped it to the bone, because except for the memorable vocal chants, there’s nothing in it that links it to Alan’s original. In true Slam-fashion, the Scottish producers have fused the vocals together with a massive kick and an addictive, visceral lead. The arrangement is simple and the range of elements is limited, but I’d still say that this dancefloor stormer is highly effective.

Alan Fitzpatrick’s “You Got Me” EP is out now on We Are The Brave.

Follow Alan Fitzpatrick: SoundCloud / Facebook
Follow Slam: SoundCloud / Facebook
Follow We Are The Brave: SoundCloud / Facebook

Gary Burrows – All Your Dreams

Gary Burrows - All Your Dreams

It was at the end of last year that Gary Burrows made an impressive debut with two tracks (“You & Me” and “Why Can’t We See?”) on the “Prospekt EP01” compilation. Around that time, Spektre was already hammering “All Your Dreams” in their livesets and podcasts, which was destined to be released on their label as well. It was a bit of a wait, but now the highly anticipated track finally sees the light of day. It comes with a remix by Ukrainian producer Yan Oxygen and an additional track by the British producer as well. I’m very excited to share this release and I hope you’ll like it just as much!

Opening track “All Your Dreams” is a thundering track that’s firing on all cylinders. Gary uses a combination of oldskool vocal samples and a chilling arpeggio that’s been made out of the hardest of materials. The underlying, distorted bass, which materializes and vanishes at certain intervals, adds to the rave portion of the track and cements it all together. In just five minutes, this high energy festival track will manage to lift your spirits and get your heart pounding at a rapid pace.

Yan Oxygen brings the listener into deeper territories with his remix of the title track. While the changes made to “All Your Dreams” aren’t revolutionary, the softer percussion, the slowed down main riff and the additional pads definitely bring a certain calmness to the track. In the process, the track has also lost some of its momentum, which is a bit unfortunate. This could’ve been avoided by a less drastic BPM change.

Final track “Koda” shows a completely different side of the British producer. Even to the point that I wonder if I’m actually listening to a new Shelley Johannson production. This isn’t a bad thing, of course, for this deep track with its ominous vocals definitely speaks to the senses. The percussion is soft, yet still energetic and provides something for everyone on the dancefloor.

“All Your Dreams” is out now on Respekt Recordings.

Follow Gary Burrows: SoundCloud / Facebook
Follow Yan Oxygen: SoundCloud / Facebook
Follow Respekt Recordings: SoundCloud / Facebook

Raffaele Rizzi – Secret Combination

Raffaele Rizzi - Secret Combination

After debuting on “The Blokk Vol. 2” last year, Italian producer Raffaele Rizzi returns to Unrilis for the release of his first EP on the label. On this EP, which features two original tracks plus a remix of the title track by German duo Drumcomplex, Rizzi returns to his usual style, which is a bit of a surprise after the release of his “Hybrid / Under The Lights” EP from a few months ago. Even though this release isn’t as refreshing as his Tronic EP, “Secret Combination” is still a solid effort and definitely worth checking out.

Title track “Secret Combination” opens with a hard hitting kick and a somewhat restless melody that slowly fades in. This combination results in a calm, but also driven effort that has some hypnotic tendencies. While the arrangement is fairly straightforward and doesn’t contain many twists or turns, the journey is still intriguing and definitely keeps you going.

Even though the Drumcomplex remix of “Secret Combination” does not stand in stark contrast to the original, the German duo has certainly made some positive changes to it. Aside from bringing in additional percussion layers and rearranging the main riff to make the track more dynamic, they’ve also supplemented an extra synth, which brings some more depth to the track. Thankfully, its use is subtle enough to not draw too much attention away from the main melody.

Final track “Total Black” is not so melodic. The first three minutes consist of soft percussion, airy atmospherics and irregular synth bursts and vocal loops. Except from the melodic break at the three minute mark, the track doesn’t deviate from its course, which results in a bit predictable, but certainly not a lifeless effort.

Raffaele Rizzi’s “Secret Combination” EP will be out today on Unrilis.

Follow Raffaele Rizzi: SoundCloud / Facebook
Follow Drumcomplex: SoundCloud / Facebook
Follow Unrilis: SoundCloud / Facebook