Tech house inspired by early '90s rave.
At first, I was surprised to hear Siragusa drawing comparisons between the hectic rave music of his youth and the so-called "Fuse sound," a style of punchy, swinging tech house built to rock dance floors. But the similarities, however subtle, are there. Take Siragusa's debut album, A Decade Of Rave. Across its ten tracks, it captures the Fuse sound while also paying homage to the genres that influenced it. There are no straight jungle or hardcore bangers, but you can hear their energy woven into the rolling, four-on-the-floor beats. It's Siragusa's largest body of work to date. Overall, it's also his strongest.
Siragusa has always released functional music for DJs, but on this LP he breaks from tradition, crafting two ambient jams that display a soulfulness and maturity that we haven't heard before. The opener, "Good Night," is maybe the album's standout. Bass notes, jazzy twinkles and a philosophical vocal sample form a cocoon of sound, priming us for "Beautiful Emi," another strong track with deep house elements. Later comes "Mixed Emotions," with cascading synths and muted horns vying for attention over a pumping groove. This is Siragusa exploring new ground, conveying a musicality that feels fresh.
The second ambient track, "Lost And Found In 93," surely a reference to the early days of Fuse, captures the vibe of East London with a tangle of warped vocal samples in various languages. It's a bridge to the album's bassier second half, which features the strongest nods to jungle, hardcore and UK garage. These sounds come through particularly well on "Voodoo" and the LP's closer, "Rollin' Riddim," which includes a cameo MC appearance from fellow Fuse DJ Rossko. Both tracks do a nice job pairing rude grooves with classic '90s noises and that unmistakable rave energy. They'd provide a welcome jolt to any house and techno dance floor today.
One of the things Siragusa most admired about rave music was its simplicity—achieving a lot with only a few sounds. He's tried to carry this through to his own productions. "Mysterious" is a shining example. Tough yet bright, it pairs a quivering bassline with a gorgeous, glowing melody. It's hard to say why, exactly, but my mind immediately wanders to Chinese lanterns floating on a breeze. "Only having seven elements, but still having that impact on a dance floor," he said in that same interview about "Valley Of The Shadows" by Origin Unknown. "There was a lot to learn from that." A Decade Of Rave shows that he has.