V-Sag's 'A Morning After' was used as the introduction on the aforementioned compilation, and might be played by similar DJs who want to tell everyone there's a new jock in the hot seat! It's not very long, and has a clearly musical (rather than percussive) beginning, although it wastes no time in developing some dynamics. A rushing wind kicks it off, immediately joined by a constant, pitched string holding tension, as an emotional violin motif makes its first of several key appearances. The notes are drawn out beautifully, and it's not long before a solid but flat, and very modern progressive kick and other similar percussion add direct energy. Great use of some very live sounding instruments is made all throughout the track, as in the early breakdown, when a minimally plucked bass and a heavily filtered electric guitar are introduced. The breakdown isn't long, and a pulsing mid-range synth fills the track out as the percussion intensifies. Other elements do their bit before the track finishes around the 5 minute mark with a strong kick, that would be easy to mix with.
'Ha Pardon', by DJ Tarkan, is the out-and-out progressive track here, and it may be what some might expect of GPAL's label - a long, deep, percussive piece. The bassline especially catches your interest, burbling actively through a tight, muted loop, whilst the many rhythmic elements drive the track on. Especially noteworthy is the echoed metallic element. In the long breakdown the pads start to take on a more anthemic note, before everything starts up again with little warning, combining the same previous elements and begging for a lot of layering, which no doubt is intended.
Last but not least, El Greco's 'Nightwatch (Chris Nemmo Remix)' is worth the price of admission alone: this track rocks! Think Lexicon Avenue or Xpress-2 at Pacha Ibiza at 4am on a good night - that kind of magic! Heaps going on in this one, so without describing everything, it's got tons of groovy energy, great melodic pieces (a traditional Greek string instrument, perhaps?) delayed into bliss, tons of amazing effects, a pumped drum track that is inherently tribal and a very tasty upper-mid synth riff that peaks it all out with an uplifting surge. At about 7 minutes, there's room to move on this one.
So horses for courses indeed: 'A Morning After' and 'Ha Pardon' are both more suited to progressive DJs, though 'A Morning After' is more accessible, appealing, and useful, with the live instrument thing really being done well. 'Ha Pardon' will be for the more serious sets, and 'Nightwatch (Chris Nemmo Remix) could be for a lot of house or progressive entertainers who want quality for their big-room sounding groovy antics. Quality's excellent throughout, and again it's great to see labels putting out mini EPs with a wide variety of solid tracks on one disc.
Tue / 14 Mar 2006