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Four-years after the release of Dirty South’s cinematic album, With You, Dirty South has re-entered the album release ring with XV.
The expression “the third time’s a charm” could be applied to XV, which is indeed the visionary’s third LP. Such an application, however, would err in its adjectival minimalism — for the art of XV’s craft warrants a stronger classification.
XV is a cerebral exhibition of Dirty South’s maturity as both artist and producer, and is as fluid in its overall arrangement as it is complex in its construction. Put briefly, XV is the heart of Dirty South’s years of experience as an artist, and it beats duly with the wisdom and expertise that Dirty South’s activity in the electronic industry has conferred upon him.
Listeners familiar with Dirty South’s catalogue will know, and know well, that the producer’s previous albums, Speed of Life in 2013, Dirty South’s debut product, and With You in 2014, likewise were musical “charms” that effectively enraptured the electronic sphere. Speed of Life and With You evinced Dirty South’s possession of a golden touch in the studio, of not simply a talent for the conceptualization of euphoric progressive house productions, but an ingenious mastery thereof.
XV is no exception. The album effectively retains, exemplifies, and deepens hallmarks of Dirty South style: piercing, reverberating commercial house tones, rousing vocal work, inquisitively optimistic lyrical content, and complex chord progressions that enticingly drive the listener of XV from one track on the list to the next, until the album is finished. The work is furthermore miraculous in its sonic diversity, working with a variety of different sounds and associated moods over the course of its ten tracks to forge a release that remains impeccable and refined in its balance despite its roving.
Such fluidity between different tones can be witnessed in cuts like “Night Walks” and “Higher.” “Sonar” and “Love Story” surface as other sweet spots on XV’s track list. XV additionally invites the return of previous Dirty South collaborators, Rudy and ANIMA!, on “Higher” and “Love Story,” and “If It All Stops,” and “Next to You,” respectively.
XV is emblematic not solely of Dirty South’s command of the melodically entrancing, but of the Serbian-Australian producer’s longevity. Dirty South would release his first ‘official’ production under the “Dirty South” stage name in 2004—14 years later, Dirty South continues to enthrall listeners with ease, and last, but hardly least, with dexterity.