Enrico Sangiuliano – Biomorph

Enrico Sangiuliano - Biomorph

Enrico Sangiuliano has been a Drumcode favorite since his debut track “Trrbulence” with Secret Cinema on A-Sides Volume 3. He blew people away with his solo EPs, Moon Rocks and Astral Projection, which featured some of his most played tracks of all time. Now he makes his return to the label with a project unlike any seen in his career so far. The project is a concept album called Biomorph and is separated into four sections, all telling parts of a story about evolution and the process of biological and technological advancement. Every track shows a new side of Sangiuliano’s masterful production skills, while still retaining elements of the sound he is known for.

The first section is Organisms, and opens with “Functional Basic Unit of Life.” This ambient track is a slowly-building soup of synths that mix and layer together, giving the impression of bringing order to chaos.

As this piece dies down, it makes way for the thundering percussion of “Multicellular.” This track has been sought after as the opener to the back-to-back set between Adam Beyer and Cirez D earlier this year, and features a prominent sawtooth lead that contrasts with the deeper pads and synth stabs.

Finishing the Organisms section, “Generative Model” takes things in an entirely different direction, with a slower broken beat that’s vaguely industrial in nature. A consistent bass and a pulsing synth progression keep things steady while dynamic arpeggios add some more spice to the arrangement.

Cosmic Forces features two floorburners which are finely tuned to induce dancing from anyone, anywhere. The first one, “Cosmic Ratio,” uses a breakbeat-backed groove to make something melodic and energetic. Chill-inducing, lightning-like synths ensure that the track is truly unforgettable.

“Hidden T” is bound to be one of the most loved tracks on the album. Drumcode’s main man Adam Beyer has been playing it regularly, though the artist and title were unknown until the announcement of this album. It is a deep track, with a long build leading to the break, which is immediately recognizable by a repeated ascending hook. Sangiuliano’s signature percussive synth work is still present, but it takes the sidelines to give a washing pad the spotlight.

“Arboreal” opens the Metamorphosis chapter and acts as an interlude. The first minute or so is quite ambient and features a distant snare ticking like a clock. Then all at once, a distorted drum beat breaks in, bringing a feeling of unstable power. This tune contains prominent industrial and drum & bass influences, and showcases a side of Sangiuliano’s work that has rarely been heard before.

The music then progresses into “Symbiosis,” one of the most anticipated tunes on the album. This one has Sangiuliano’s very recognizable signature style, with percussion stabs and distorted synths, but he throws a curveball with a three-bar hook offset in timing from the backing drum groove. The break begins at nothing before slowly building up its flurry of synths and then launching into the harsh, resonant bass groove of the drop.

The final section is Two Probabilites, which gives a glimpse of the distant future. The first of the two is “New Dawn,” a lovely, slow-burning melodic tune, layered with otherworldly pads, perfectly painting a picture of hope and beauty.

In contrast, “EOL” ends the album with a harsh, off-kilter beat and dissonant lead. The track attempts to build in a couple of iterations before collapsing into chaos: a soup of distant vocals and cold atmospheres. Eventually, the beat returns with the sound of the universe being ripped apart, a pure industrial section that shreds and pulverizes its way through the music before coming to an abrupt end.

The digital version of the album adds one more tune, a massive driving festival track, called “A Further Existence.” This one is dark and upbeat, driven by chugging synth stabs. Emotional leads and phenomenal subtle details make the track an unstoppable vessel of kinetic energy.

The “Biomorph” album is out now on Drumcode.

Follow Enrico Sangiuliano: SoundCloud / Facebook
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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.

Follow Drumcode: SoundCloud / Facebook

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

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
Follow Drumcode: SoundCloud / Facebook

Enrico Sangiuliano – Hook At The Border

Enrico Sangiuliano - Hook At The Border

Enrico Sangiuliano is getting ready for the release of his second massive EP of this year. After bringing out “X-Pollination” at the end of March, he’s now releasing his highly anticipated track “Hook At The Border”, which quickly gained notoriety when Luigi Madonna played it in his set at the Awakenings Drumcode Special last year. Aside from the original, the EP also features two remixes by Paride Saraceni, which provide a deeper take on Sangiuliano’s track. With the heavy support this EP is getting already, I’d be quite surprised if this EP isn’t gonna end up as one of the top releases of 2016.

“Hook At The Border” follows the trend of “X-Pollination”, but what’s different in this track is that it’s quite melodic and also more focused in its delivery. Enrico’s less-is-more approach has worked quite well and this has resulted into a solid dancefloor-oriented track that sets the mood with atmospheric effects, a subtle, yet infectious melodic riff and resounding chants that immediately fill the room. This standout track will work really well in big venues, but it’s also subtle enough to create the right atmosphere in a smaller setting.

Paride Saraceni takes the listener on a completely different journey. His first remix is a deep track that uses just enough elements from the original for it still to be considered a remix. The track alternates between monotone dub sections and melodic breaks, which creates an interesting contrast. On a few occasions, the two overlap, but the monotone elements are still the defining factor in this track.

With his second remix, Paride Saraceni showcases an even deeper side of himself. This laidback track has basically left the constraints of techno and uses minimalism to the point that it’s pretty much indistinguishable from the original. It puzzles me why this track was also included on the EP, for it definitely doesn’t match with other releases from the Tronic catalogue. Could this be a step into new territory from Christian Smith?

Enrico Sangiuliano’s “Hook At The Border” EP is out on July 4th on Tronic.

Barbuto – Vantablack

Barbuto - Vantablack

Barbuto is back on Octopus Recordings with a follow-up of his “Arcana” EP that was released back in 2015. The tone of this EP is just as dark as his previous offering, but what sets it apart is the use of more melodic elements, just like the tracks he has released under his full name. “Vantablack” contains two originals and a remix by Enrico Sangiuliano, which makes for a varied EP that’s likely to be well-received by a big part of the techno audience.

“Vantablack” is a relatively calm track that starts out with a wobbly bass and minimalistic percussion. Barbuto gradually builds up the track by implementing multiple percussive elements, which will function as a lightweight backbone for the growling bassline that’s slowly introduced after the one minute mark. Overall, the tone of this track is very dark and it’s also somewhat repetitive in its execution, but the use of various subtle sounds and effects should make the track engaging enough for the listener.

Enrico Sangiuliano has turned “Vantablack” into a sturdy big room track that’s quite different from the original production. He has replaced the wobbly bass and percussion with a booming kick and added a subtle atmospheric pad in order to give the track his signature sound. Remaining from the original are the male vocal sample and the (pitched up) bass sequence from the second part of “Vantablack”, which is coupled with a chilling synth loop in order to give some extra dimension to the track.

“Armadillo” doesn’t waste any time and kicks off with a with a rolling, trance-like, bassline. With the addition of dark sound effects and noisy sweeps, it sets the tone for the first two and a half minutes of the track, before a delayed synth kicks it. As the track progresses, it alternates between two different sequences, giving the track a bit of a playful vibe, while still maintaining the overall dark mood of this EP.

Barbuto’s “Vantablack” EP is out now on Octopus Recordings.

Enrico Sangiuliano – X-Pollination

Enrico Sangiuliano - X-Pollination

If there’s one man that’s made a serious impression on me last year, it’s definitely the Italian producer Enrico Sangiuliano. With tracks like “Trrbulence” and “The Feeling Of Being In This Place” (both with Secret Cinema) and also his chart-breaking rework of Boris’ track “Can You Hear Me”, he’s definitely earned a prominent place in the techno community. This year has already seen the release of his impressive remix of “Son Of A Gun” by Vangelis Kostoxenakis, but now Enrico has gone even further with his brand-new “X-Pollination” EP. This EP, that features both the original track and an additional remix by Mark Reeve, is definitely a promise of more great things to come.

“X-Pollination” can best be described as a polished track that’s been carefully crafted with the use of multiple reverberated bass stabs, atmospheric effects and faded vocal cuts. This main section is supported by various bassline layers underneath and subtle percussion, which keeps the pace, but doesn’t draw too much attention to itself. This lush and infectious track with its many layers has seemingly found the right mix of momentum and elegance, which probably is what makes it so intriguing.

Mark Reeve’s take on the original is a bit more straightforward. For this project, he’s recycled the bass and percussion from his earlier track “Exposure”, which makes this remix sound a bit too familiar. Other than those elements, no extra components have been added to the mix. It’s only bits and pieces from the original production that have been rearranged and spread out more to create a more minimalistic and laid-back vibe.

Enrico Sangiuliano’s EP will be released on March 28th on Unrilis.