The Maas renaissance is now unquestioned. But until about six months ago, the last time I really paid much attention to the craggy-faced Dutchman was pre-Music for the Maases when he was all pent-up aggression and industrial clanging. Things have got a lot cleaner and smoother lately, and much of this Olay effect can be attributed to his recent Siamese-like partnership with Santos, who has always had an uncanny knack for effectively placing a lovely whooshy pad here and a soaring string there.
"Perfect Place" is by far the stronger of the pair here, and while not quite flawless is certainly a coherent lesson in the art of the slow burn. Dubby bass and kicks underpin a skittering line of percussion, while the twisted hook proves that while working with Santos may have relaxed Maas just a little, the outright hostility of his earlier work has merely morphed into something more closely resembling quiet menace. The break is big and beautiful and would be the appropriate soundtrack to the birth of a new star or something equally hyperbolic, but the real beauty of this track is that it doesn't feel like a fraction of its 12-minute length.
"Parallel World" is decent enough, and at over ten minutes isn't exactly succinct, but doesn't have the "big tune" appeal that "Perfect Place" so effortlessly oozes. With a simple bassline and solid snare and percussion arrangement, it's aiming for a Cobblestone Jazz-esque groove and comes very close to pulling it off, but not quite. Stick to the big ones, boys.