British producer Gary Burrows returns to Respekt Recordings for another round of thumping techno. His “Burning EP” is a four-tracker, which contains three original tracks and a remix by Dave Sinner. Compared to his earlier offerings to the label, this release is a more minimalistic and also a more experimental effort, which definitely helps to keep things interesting. With this addition to his diverse and solid back catalogue (which also includes releases on Funk’n Deep, Eclipse and Orange Recordings), Burrows continues to expand his reach and is building a great reputation for himself in the process.
Opening track “Burning” can best be described as a bare techno thumper that features thriving drums and a rhythmic vocal loop that serves as the only festive element in this very minimalistic production. During the break at the 3 minute mark, a gripping bassline is introduced, which is a welcome break from the continuous pounding of the arid synth / percussion combo. It is repeated once more at the 4:30 mark before the track comes to a close.
Dave Sinner’s interpretation of the title track has made it a lighter affair and gives it some more room to breathe. Another notable difference is that he’s ramped up the rhythmic portion of the track, somewhat resembling the percussive style of Spekre. Staying true to the spirit of the original, Sinner has kept the main synth hook intact, but has given the vocal lines a less prominent place.
“Reaper One” kicks things up a notch with a hasty 133 beats per minute. As the title suggests, it unveils a somewhat haunting vibe that’s brought forward through an ominous pad and a dreary synth sequence that interplay for the duration of the track. The weary, monotonous vibe of the track can be a little fatiguing at times, making this a track that’s probably not for everyone.
Final track “Can’t Hold Back” brings some acid elements into the mix. It is supported by relentless percussion that’s somewhat reminiscent of the style of Gary Beck and has been layered with a vocal line that repeats the title phrase. Piercing synth stabs give the track a bit more depth and make it more dynamic as well, something that was definitely missing in the previous track.
After a string of impressive releases on labels such as Funk’n Deep, Elevate, Tronic and Unrilis, British producer duo Spektre returns home for the release of “Forged In The Heart Of A Laserbeam”, which, if you ask me, is definitely their best track of this year. On remix duty we have Ukrainian producer Skober and hailing from Italy, Sasha Carassi, both heading out into different directions. All in all a solid release, which is perfect to finish off the year in style.
With “Forged In The Heart Of A Laserbeam”, Spektre delivers a seven and a half minute journey that is characterized by somber bass sequences and a simple, but very catchy melody. Galloping vocal chops further spruce up the track, giving it a lighter touch, which is a welcome counterbalance in this gloomy composition.
The Skober remix stays fairly true to the original, but the key difference is the addition of a sidechained bassline and a rolling synth sequence, which add a lot depth and momentum to the track. This makes it stand out even more than the original and gives us a track that’s perfect to end your set with.
Sasha Carassi, on the other hand, has completely reworked the original and transformed it into a slower and also deeper venture that’s dominated by long, drawn out pads, coupled with repeating synth stabs and the memorable vocal chops from the original production. Despite it being a fresh approach, the end result is a bit underwhelming, especially when compared to the other two tracks on this release.
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…
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.
After releasing “Spark” on the Mutual Respekt Vol. 4 compilation, Luca Gaeta is now following up with a full EP on the label. This EP contains the highly anticipated “Line”, which was introduced as “Subway” at first, but it turned out that it needed a few rounds of revisions before it could finally be released. A quick look at Luca’s releases from this year reveals a collaboration with Skober on Funk’n Deep and releases on labels such as Selected Recordings, Florida Music and Stickrecordings. It’s probably safe to say that 2016 has already been a pretty great year for the Italian producer.
An observant listener might have noticed already that the start of “Over Me” is somewhat similar to Luca’s earlier track “Rate”. This changes after the one minute mark when an anxious sounding synth slowly fades in. It is then built upon with a repeating vocal sample and occasional bas chord sequences that will go on for the remainder of the track.
Ant Brooks has transformed the original into a stripped back production that only features bits and pieces from “Over Me”. The track starts out with a drawn out sequence that features sparse percussion and subtle dub accents. After the three minute mark we hear the first subtle hint of the vocal that is used here as a repeating dub element. The main melody from the original makes two appearances, but doesn’t have a prominent place in this track.
“Line” stands in stark contrast to the two previous tracks. It uses an echoey bass to create depth and subtle layers of percussion to drive the track forward. It also features a soothing and slightly restrained melody that slowly fades in after the one minute mark. Accompanied by atmospheric vocal cuts, it ascends and decreases over the course of this track, never leaving a dull moment.