Review: SevenDoors – Mesoplodon EP

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UK producer SevenDoors is back for another emotional, passion-infused ride through the dreamscape of melodic techno on Mesoplodon (Carioca Records). SevenDoors’ unique sound is layered with seemingly random 808 attacks, staccato rolls and a synthetic lushness. “Oceano” ushers in heady atmospheric swirls around a pulsing bassline and galloping drums. “Belaena” brings big bottom beats with stuttering acid rips and hypnotic percussion cresting melodic layers of techy riffs. Title track “Mesoplodon” packs a gut-punchin’ kick drum and lays a solid foundation for stacking sounds and fills, each finding its own order from techno chaos. As they drop into place the big picture slowly builds into something you hoped for but weren’t sure you should expect. The angelic chorus and smashing breakdown wash back into the heavy undercurrent of drums; this is my top pick of the release.

Review: CEV’s – Raw EP

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As the name suggests, CEV’s Raw EP out now on Hi! Energy Records is just that: raw. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The nervous energy might be a bit busy to some old-fashioned ears, but it works here. “Raw to the Roots” serves up a fat, almost garage-y groove with big beats, stuttered hits, fun fills and percussive rolls. Twisted samples reach up through the musical madness and electric keys sprout from the chaos to punctuate the groove. Nico Medez’s “Raw” remix ditches the faux-garage reminiscence as he retools the tune in a deeper, more sinister tech-house image. The EP rounds out with the upbeat “Set Me Free,” a driving house shuffle riding a funkin’ bassline into a classic club vibe. Solid cuts all the way around from French producer Julien Cadet.

Review: Giorgio Moroder – ‘Déjà Vu’

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★☆☆☆☆

Giorgio Moroder was pioneering the sound of the future long before he gained international notoriety in the ‘70s. Lauded for his groundbreaking production work, musical partnership with disco diva Donna Summer as well as collaborating with David Bowie, Blondie and countless artists, Moroder’s artistic renaissance began to take shape in 2013 by way of “Giorgio on Moroder,” a track on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. The expansive 9-minute homage opened him up to a new generation and gave him the chance to provide a first-person account of his amazing career. “Nobody told me what to do, there was no preconception about what to do.”

After beginning his DJ career at 74 later that year, the now 75-year-old synth legend presents his first album in 30 years, Déjà Vu. Despite of his impeccable credentials, influence on dance music and heartwarming comeback story, Déjà Vu is underwhelming pop fluff.

With its cookie cutter buildups and breakdowns “4 U With Love” is schlocky and unimaginative EDM. “Don’t Let Go” featuring Mikky Ekko is one of those unlistenable faux inspirational songs torn from David Guetta’s crossover songbook. “Diamonds” featuring Charli XCX and “I Do This For You” featuring Marlene are both horrific pop-dance schmaltz. Both tunes fit the archetype of the frustratingly awful Euro songs you’ll hear bleating from a pizza joint on Collins Avenue in Miami any day of the year.

Moroder’s cover of Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” featuring Britney Spears is the album’s strongest moment. Spears’ voice is bold and suits Mordor’s rock-solid production which builds upon Vega’s 1987 original and DNA’s subsequent chart-topping 1990 remix. In the end this glimmer of hope isn’t nearly enough to turn the tide.

Giorgio Morodor’s 17th album, Déjà Vu, is one I’d prefer not to have again.

Track of the Moment: Frankee – “Snarl”

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Emerging London-based drum ‘n’ bass DJ/producer Frankee (a.k.a. David Franks) comes out swinging on his kick-ass All Four One EP on Andy C’s mighty Ram label, adeptly displaying musical diversity on many fronts. “Deep Down” featuring vocals from Caan is a radio-ready roller packing the right balance of melody, wobble and bottom end to serve many masters with aplomb. Bass jams “Drop It Low” and “Flim Flam” are well designed to inflict maximum dance floor devastation, but for me it’s all about the appropriately titled “Snarl.”

A properly dark and menacing affair following the blueprint drafted by influential tech-step pioneers including Dom & Roland, Doc Scott and Noisia, the straightforward, no-nonsense track’s click-clack hypnotizes as basslines rumble and chug beneath like an express subway car bound for the center of the earth.

It’s been said that the best club tracks are all about simplicity. “Snarl,” a wicked tune destined to incite plenty of rewinds, is a fantastic case study for those who believe in this ethos.