Tim Penner returns to JOOF Recordings with a stunning ‘The Gatekeeper’ EP

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Tim Penner has had nothing short of a monumental year thus far, and his momentum is showing no sign of slowing down. He returns to his breakout label of JOOF Recordings seven months after his last ethereal release, The Temptress, with yet another stunning two-tracker.

The Gatekeeper sees Penner exploring new realms of sounds and breaking away from the status quo. Its eponymous opener is indeed multi-dimensional, opening with subtle, haunting melodies that line a prominent bass-line and cheeky percussion before blooming into a celestial masterpiece pumped with futuristic synth-work. It beauty lies in its development, which twists and turns through never-ending peaks and valleys that keep the ears engaged through its entirety.

Where “The Gatekeeper” is euphoric and emotional, “The Keymaster” offers a counterbalance of brooding intrigue. Simple, yet dynamic, the composition creates a tense atmosphere with gritty bursts of notes that are underlined by almost sinister arpeggios. Penner ensures this sentiment is carried on in greater degrees with each tier, building “The Keymaster” into a multilayered roller built for the darkened, afterhours’ dance-floor.

It’s safe to say the burgeoning Canadian act will only continue to build strength as his tenure within the underground realm lengthens. Having cultivated his Slideways label and podcast into a successful entity, he’s fully primed to take on the progressive scene as its next major talent.


Purchase The Gatekeeper here


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SAMA cements his status as a techno prodigy with ‘Existence’ EP

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In today’s dance music climate, particularly in the US, techno is regarded as a more mature genre than most other styles. While producers in their teens and early 20s pervade — or perhaps, dominate — most popular realms of electronic music, techno often seems to be reserved for veteran producers with long, revered histories. It’s understanding, therefore, that the genre can be an intimidating space for budding producers to attempt entry.

This paradigm hasn’t deterred SAMA, however. At 20 years old, the Dutch producer is already two years into his professional career. In his releases across imprints such as Devotion, Respekt, and Pig&Dan’s Elevate, SAMA has developed a signature brand of techno. Rooted in dark synthesis, entrancing breaks, and quaking percussion, his style is already suited for large festival stages and cavernous clubs even in its nascent stage.

Though SAMA’s connections in the techno sphere are many, his greatest career development in 2017 may come from his recent alliance with Pleasurekraft. At the beginning of June, the duo tapped him to contribute an original to their Kraftek imprint’s inaugural Monolith compilation series; this saw the prodigious Dutchman team up with Spaniard Dave Sinner to provide one of the record’s standouts, in their cosmically enticing “Sagitarrius A.”

Three months later, Pleasurekraft have shown that they have even larger plans in mind for the artist, as SAMA releases Existence, his first EP for the imprint. The scope of this release surpasses that of a standard EP, as it gave the young producer the honor of introducing the world to Pleasurekraft’s forthcoming debut album. In the closing track of the EP, SAMA remixes the duo’s yet-unreleased first album single, “Interiors.”

And, though the merit of the aforementioned remix is undeniable, SAMA’s skill shines through most vibrantly in his original tracks on the EP. Titled “Existence” and “Origin,” both pieces hold thematic significance to the producer, who notes, “‘Existence’ is a word that means a lot to me. I often wonder about life and existence, or the origin thereof. It only seemed right to name these tracks after that.”

Both of the original productions on the record live up to their lofty titles. The simultaneous senses of beauty and darkness that “Existence” evokes in its progressive techno composition reaffirms that SAMA is an artist with skill beyond his years, while “Origin” shows off his breadth of inspirations, almost channeling elements of classic trance in its construction.

Though SAMA remains an underground artist today, the Existence EP proves that he’s well on his way to widespread recognition throughout the techno realm.

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Tim Baresko & Shiba San explore tech house’s cerebral side in ‘The Connection’ EP

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Launched into international fame by his breakthrough hit, “Okay,” Shiba San is best known as one of the biggest stars on Claude VonStroke’s Dirtybird imprint. And, while the his contributions to the esteemed California-based label are many, it’s important to keep in mind that the French producer has also spent the last two years building out his own imprint, Basement Leak.

Today, September 8, Shiba San’s label has minted its fifth release, The Connection EP from fellow French producer Tim Baresko. The record, which Baresko prefaced on Monday with the second edition of Basement Leak’s mix series, contains three original tracks, alongside extended versions of each.

To set the tone for the EP, Shiba San collaborates on its titular track, a minimal, acid-fueled cut which is well-primed for warehouse settings. Following “The Connection,” Baresko continues to err stylistically on the cerebral side with two solo-produced tracks.

Arranged atop an engaging tech house rhythmic framework, “Custom” sees the artist experiment with a variety of unique, often atonal synth-work. To close out the release, Baresko repurposes Crackboy’s heavily-sampled “Something For,” managing to put forth one of the most compelling uses of the track to date — no small feat, considering Gesaffelstein, Brodinski, and Louisahhh’s astute means of sampling the single across various settings in the past.

Ultimately, The Connection EP indicates Baresko’s skill for introducing novelty into a genre often plagued by stagnancy, poising him for an impending breakthrough in the industry.

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DISTO – Free The Freaks [EP Review]

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Free The Freaks EP is what Disto is bestowing upon Kannibalen fans, offering a variety of heavy, bass-fueled songs that seem to get better with each new listen. Disto originally came onto the scene with his well-received remix of Twenty One Pilots songs “Heathens,” which amassed 13 millions plays on SoundCloud and almost immediately became known as a fiery piece engineered to steer listeners to a wild direction.

It’s been a while since fans have heard any news from him, but this week he’s come back strong with his three-tracker Free The Freaks EP. The producer hits the ears hard with “Nobody Stop Freaks,” capturing attention with hearty kicks and hyped vocal clips. Meanwhile, “Visions” with Omar Varela travels in a trap direction, which is bookended by a dose of dubstep that closes out Free The Freaks on as heavy a note as its beginning.

Upon hearing each track, it becomes clear that Disto is carving out a sizeable niche for himself in the bass realm.




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Sasha releases treasured ‘Trigonometry’ on Watergate [EP Review]

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Sasha began road-testing what soon became known as “Trigonometry” well over a year ago. The atmospheric, emotive record captured dance fans’ attention with its moving central hook and gripping arpeggios that flutter around the eardrums. It soon became a favorite among the Last Night On Earth crowd for its euphoric, almost cathartic atmosphere that makes one feel uplifted as they’re listening.

“Trigonometry” is finally out on digital bookshelves as part of his debut GameOvr on Watergate. Joining the aforementioned record is the EP’s title closer, which is more or less “Trigonometry’s” foil. Equally gripping, “GameOvr” is a more pronounced piece with strong kicks and driving synth action that makes it well-equipped for harder, after-hours sets. Cassy and LaFleur also make appearances on the EP as its official remixers.

Sasha has maintained a busy schedule this summer season, carrying out a residency with his renewed colleague John Digweed and touring heavily to reputable dance festivals across the globe. He also contributed to a new documentary on dance music culture titled The Agony & The Ecstasy.




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DROELOE release unique ‘A Moment In Time’ EP

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DROELOE‘s freshly released A Moment In Time has captured one of the most unique vibes in dance music all year.

Over the past few releases, it’s become clear that the duo is fully conscience of this new soundscape they’ve tapped into. They explore this new-found land beautifully in their five-track EP released earlier this week, A Moment in Time. The duo presents their unique style of percussion in a new shade with each passing song, tied together by the theme of time spanning more than 20 years.

They posted their thoughts on what the EP means to them on Facebook coinciding with A Moment In Time‘s release.

“The EP is about small moments and little things in life. The small moments and little things that add up to make up the peaks and valleys of everything you do and everything that happens to you in your life. Each track on the EP is inspired by one of these moments from our own lives. The experience of going on tour in the U.S. for the first time as an up & coming duo. The feeling of being in complete control while performing onstage but stressing about that bottle of water you want to buy at the airport because you’re low on cash. A Moment In Time tells all of those stories.”

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Amidy plays producer and vocalist in newest EP– Lost Home

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Up and comer Amidy is the producer and vocalist on his new EP Lost Home. Amidy specializes in cinematic bass and draws influence from the likes of Porter Robinson and Seven Lions. His vocals are the focal point of the first track “Glass Heart,” which gives way to a slow and yes– cinematic, bass drop. The second track “Fire Within” is far more upbeat and layers complex chords with pulsing vocals. Amidy certainly shows his versatility as both a producer and a vocalist in Lost Home. The EP is available for free download via the Soundcloud link below.

BlackGummy releases ‘Monolith’ EP on mau5trap

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BlackGummy, real name Iman Marouf, has been no stranger to taking on hugely theoretical approaches in his sound design. From his debut EP Singularity, which chronicles the moment when A.I. will surpass human intelligence, to his newest Monolith EP, out now on mau5trap, it’s a wonder how the enigmatic L.A. producer translates deeply complex theoretical concepts into sonic airwaves.

Monolith is a 20-minute aural thesis on the communicative human event by which we pass down universal stories through the ages. The sound design is minimalistic, yet heavy and pure, while the ultimate message is supremely substantive and, admittedly, a bit clunky. What BlackGummy seems to be trying to grasp himself is the significance of symbolic cultures seeking to pass down the “meaning of life” onto structures, for instance, like those of the ancient pyramids and Stonehenge.

From the ominous opening of “Iconoclast” and the progressive waves of “Arp” to the eventual dark, soul-scraping synths of “Edifice,” BlackGummy serves as a sonic shepherd through a myriad of emotions.

The result is a spiritually nuanced, deeply perplexing, challenging and entrancing project that will leave you with more questions than answers.

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Thomas Jack abandons the balmy beach for the darkened club with ‘The Versus’ [EP Review]

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Gone are the days of tropical house’s supremacy..

Though the blithely sedate genre is certainly far from dead, its most important progenitors seem to have moved on since the peak it reached between 2014 and 2015. Though Kygo hasn’t entirely strayed away from the pan flute-laden sound which launched his career, his most recent releases have centered more on straightforward pop than tropical tones.

Meanwhile, Thomas Jack has veered in the opposite direction.

Once considered the Australian counterpart to Norway’s tropical superstar, Jack’s productions in the past year have trended toward chilling deep and progressive house (in the sub-genres’ proper forms, rather than their more commercialized bastardizations). His shift should come as no surprise, either.

In a 2015 interview with Dancing Astronaut, the artist announced his intention to depart from the confines of tropical house, asserting that he “never tried to push the genre, it just happened.” Expressing his love for house music, and desire for a legacy based upon his own, unique musical inspirations, he stated, “I want Thomas Jack to be something special. Not Mr. Tropical.”

In the aforementioned feature, Jack foreshadowed his stylistic transition with a telling anecdote:

“I walked out of a seven hour Dixon show and it literally changed my life. What he gave to me, I want to deliver to others. But I want to do it in my own unique way.”

Thomas Jack Neil Favila 2017 press shot black white social


Today, July 21, Thomas Jack has delivered on his goal from two years ago with the release of his new EP, The Versus. Though the two-track record arrives via Pete Tong’s FFRR imprint, its balearic percussion, mystifying synthesis, and brooding, techno-inspired bass lines would be right at home on Dixon’s Innervisions.

As its title suggests, the EP is collaborative. The Versus sees Jack reinvent tracks from electronica trio The Acid and its singer, RY X. In the EP’s opener, “Shortline,” the producer gives new life to RY X’s haunting croons with a moody, mellifluous composition. Jack’s take on the song further clarifies his new direction, at times recalling the Australian vocalist’s work as a member of Howling, with Frank Wiedemann of Âme.

The producer rounds out the record by transforming The Acid’s “Basic Instinct” from an essence of subdued minimalism into a transcendent, yet harrowing piece that echoes rivals the mesmerizing capacities of Solomun and Adriatique.

Two years ago, Thomas Jack pounded his fists on the table while sitting across from our former editor, Valerie Lee. With conviction, he proclaimed:

“Maybe in a year, or three years, we’ll sit back down here at this table and be like, ‘WE FUCKING DID IT!’”

And, if they reprised their meeting today, he’d be able to do so with full integrity.

Featured image by Neil Favila.


Luttrell explores his musical depth in ‘Generate’ [EP Review]

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San Francisco-based Luttrell is a relatively new member of the Anjunadeep family, but his ability to fashion entrancing, fell-good progressive house has already stood out since the release of his debut single on the label, “Away.” Having released his Need You EP and a string of remixes and original pieces since, the producer returns with an extended body of work that once more offers a deeper look at his musical mind.

Generate sees Luttrell exploring various shades of his genre of choice, beginning on a swift, energized note with its title track. After taking the listener through fields of airy synthesizers and clever vocal edits, he slows things down in the dreamy “Float,” which flows through retro-inspired melodic bursts and conjures summery imagery while listening.

“Walking Dream” takes things off 4/4 for a bit and into the world of breaks – Luttrell artfully navigates this soundscape with cheery synth progressions and subtle bass. “Daylight” ends the EP on a lush note with enticing layers of percussion and atmospheric strings playing a central role.

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