It’s not often that an artist makes a non-compilation debut on Drumcode with a full album. In fact, it has never happened before in the history of the label. But that’s exactly what young Amsterdam-based producer Layton Giordani is doing at the end of February, following up his tune “Rivington” which was part of the last A-Sides compilation. The album consists of 12 massive tracks, showcasing the artist’s signature euphoric style and massive big-room percussion, as well as demonstrating the his highly intricate and varied craftsmanship.
The album begins with the intro “Escalate,” a tune which starts the night off perfectly, its swelling energy setting the tone for an unforgettable party. It begins with a simple, yet distinctive repeated synth tone. This tone is eventually layered with a pad that swells to the max, before finally dropping off to make way for a subtle bassline and crowd sample.
Next up, the title track “Where It Begins” is everything we’ve come to expect from Giordani, using dark, heavy-hitting percussion in a distinctive pattern. A two-note pad hook is introduced during the break, which builds along with a rhythmic snare roll before finally continuing into the drop.
“Turn It Around” might possibly be the perfect festival tune. It starts off at nothing but a filtered hat, growing slowly and cautiously, then floats on to the break, leaving only a single high-pitched note. The artist demonstrates his impeccable crowd control with this one, using very specific builds and releases before finally introducing the main theme of the track, a chorus of energetic, stabbing chords.
“Supernova” is a bit of a break, dropping energy levels slightly and calling back to tracks like his Octopus tune “People And Things” by using a single synth pattern that is automated throughout. However, it also takes things in a new direction for the producer, as the beat is a bit softer and less driving, allowing the listener to focus more on the dynamics of the alien arpeggio.
“Fire Eyes” has been hyped for months now, and listeners should easily be able to tell why. It might be considered a counterpart to the previously-released “Rivington,” as the structure and percussion is similar in each, though this track is soft and emotional where “Rivington” is hard and sharp. The break is a wonderfully-crafted melodic gem, using a mixture of deep pads and leads to hypnotize the listener completely.
“Silver Shadows” could be the darkest track on the album, built on a percussive stab with minimal melody and lined with a cyclone of hats. The vocal is instantly memorable, and its repetitive, garbled tone is well-suited for the atmosphere of the track. While the tune still features the pads that the artist loves so much, their use is very subtle and discreet, mostly floating through the background rather than driving the groove.
Next, “Sometimes” is another club killer, though far more menacing than tracks like “Fire Eyes” or “Turn It Around.” The beat marches irresistibly forward, backed by a metallic hit and a dark vocal sample which is forcibly cut. The bass progression that’s introduced during the break is capable of casting sonic shadows on a festival crowd, and something about it feels far more ominous than most of the other selections on the album.
Taking things slightly softer, “Euphoria” has that instantly-recognizable Giordani sound, though the track might be better suited for warming things up than blowing off a club roof at peak-time. The mid-section is based on a pseudo-break-beat, with a pulsating synth layered over the top, practically begging the listener to get up and dance.
“Dragon Fly” is an entirely different beast. It is simultaneously harsher and funkier than the average (if there is such a thing) Giordani production. The soulful, melancholic hook, contrasted with the-well rounded bass stab, makes the track perfect for listening at home, while the cold and hard baseline also keeps it dancefloor friendly.
“Tigerlilly” is very well placed on the album, bringing energy levels back up to take things full circle. Its vibes take it in yet another new direction, but it is clearly built for clubs and festivals. A pulsing, delayed lead and powerful vocal coupled with driving hats almost blur the lines between techno and trance, but the thumping kick and percussive flourishes keep it firmly rooted.
“Good Violence” was one of the first tracks to be produced, played by Layton Giordani as early as the beginning of 2015. While there was a bit of a wait, its eventual release was inevitable. This track is a true anthem, born to be a closer. Euphoric, symphonic pads sing an unforgettable melody that conveys the feelings of unity and soul that are so important in techno culture, aided by a crisp kick and snare.
Finally, closing this masterpiece of an album is “Where It Begins (Outro).” Though one might infer from the title that this is an alternate mix of the album’s title track, this one is completely different, using dark percussion and pads with a softer edge for an electronica vibe, unlike anything the producer has released in the past.
“Where It Begins” will be released on Drumcode on February 27th. Samples (except for “Good Violence”) are not available yet, but we’ll keep you posted.